Designing couture wedding gowns is pure bliss for Lues

By Lyse Comins Time of article published Mar 1, 2019

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DURBAN - Durban designer Hanrie Lues du Preez started her small business, Hanrie Lues Bridal with a single sewing machine in her flat in Glenwood and has grown her brand into a household name in quality couture wedding gowns.

Lues, 34, who has been sewing since she was 10 years old, obtained her diploma in fashion design from the Victoria Toma Institute of Fashion and Design in Bloemfontein. She moved to Durban to start working for another designer after successfully running her own business for six years in the Free State.

However, having tasted the life of an entrepreneur it wasn’t long before Lues quit her job to start her own business in the city in 2011.

“I moved to Durban without a sewing machine and within four months I was sewing out of my flat and seeing clients in my living room,” Lues said.

She became involved with the Durban Fashion Council and was soon awarded her first slot to showcase her work at South African Fashion Week in Joburg. She was invited on four further occasions to Fashion Week and was also invited to showcase her work at the Vodacom Durban July.

During that time Lues was working for herself designing daywear, evening wear and matric dance dresses as well as working as head designer supplying a local boutique.

This intricate designer wedding gown forms part of Hanrie Lues du Preez 2019 collection ‘Paradiso Perduto’. Jono Nienaber

Lues moved her business to a house in Durban North in 2014 and business picked up dramatically. “I got so busy and started focusing solely on wedding gowns. We have 50 to 60 brides a year and we already have about 30 brides for this year,” Lues said.

“It gives me the opportunity to place my heart and soul into a garment. I’m a stickler for detail and finishing. We built the brand mainly using social media - Facebook, Instagram and our website.”

Lues employs two highly skilled seamstresses and outsources the beadwork finishing of dresses to an independent specialist. She supplies bespoke dresses to clients and creates wedding gowns to sell off the rack.

“There is so much emotion and so much memory tied to it which is why I wanted to do bridal work because it connects me to my client so much more. The wedding dress is the most special thing on the wedding day. Our target audience is the model, yet nostalgic, bride who is on trend and has always wanted to be that princess bride,” Lues said.

Her work will be showcased at the Brabys Future Bride Bridal and Beauty Show at The Globe Theatre at Suncoast this weekend.

“We would love to reach an international market so the first step is to cement ourselves in the local market. We are available in Pretoria and Cape Town and our eyes are set on Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. We are also looking at expanding overseas.”


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