Making a wedding dress is an art where it is not enough to create something of enduring beauty. A dress is not a piece that is made to be admired from a distance – it is made to be worn, and as such the driving force in its inception lies not in the fabric, accessories or motivations of the creator but in the identity of the person who will be wearing it.
This philosophy has been guiding the Vinka label for over fifty years and forms the heart of what we do. While we do create collections of bridal gowns for display in our showroom, most of our clientele opt to have a wedding gown custom-made for them, which is where as designers and as artists we hit our stride.
To us the decision to have a wedding gown custom-made is the beginning of a partnership between designer and client, wherein our experience and knowledge become a tool to craft the ideas, tastes and character of our client into drapes, folds, embellishments and angles that accentuate their personal style and figure. Once a wedding dress design has been made the process of physically creating the gown begins and is carried out by hand in our Auckland-based atelier. A series of fittings ensue to both ensure that the gown embraces and flatters the client and that by the end of the process the finished artwork is truly the bride’s fantasy brought to life.
Making a bridal gown is one of the few types of art where the creator does not work alone. A bespoke wedding gown is unique in that it is made to reflect the identity and style of the bride though the hands and craftsmanship of the designer, something which can only be successfully achieved through a unified collaboration between dressmaker and client. This concept forms the backbone of all the work we do at Vinka Design and drives us as artists to create pieces that celebrate the silhouettes, compliment the characters and embrace the integrity of the women who will be wearing them. It’s how we know that what we design is couture.
The goal of our very first consultation with our clients is to come up with a concept for their dream wedding gown. Our head designer Anita works in collaboration with our brides to find the perfect silhouette and discuss possible fabric and lace options to best complement their design.
During the consultation, Anita creates a hand-drawn sketch of the envisaged concept, after which pricing options can be discussed.
Often we find that our brides want more than one consultation to hone in on the finer details of their design and make their final choice of laces and fabrics. After the initial consultation fee, all further consultations are included at no extra charge. We have a vast array of incredible laces and fabrics sourced from around the world in our Auckland atelier for you to select from, and the talents of our experienced team to help guide you through the process.
Upon confirmation and finalisation of your gown’s design, we require one third of the quoted price as a deposit. At this stage we send a folder to our brides containing samples of the fabrics and laces that will be incorporated into the gown, as well as an intricate hand-drawn sketch of the design that can be kept as a reference while the dress-making process begins.
The creation process typically begins between ten to twelve weeks before the wedding date to ensure a perfect fit. On average, we take around thirty different measurements to make this a reality. However, this stage is quite flexible, so it is possible to start the gown creation process earlier or run it on a shorter time frame if needed. Once the measurements have been taken, the real work begins!
We typically recommend a minimum of three fittings for your gown once the measurements have been taken, though the number of fittings and their timing largely depend on the design and availability of the bride. The first fitting is all about perfecting the neckline and the fit of the gown, as well as fine-tuning the silhouette. The second fitting is where the base of the gown is finished and the hem and zip are finalised. At this stage, the discussion moves to incorporating the lace into the design, something which occurs between bride and designer to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The third and often final fitting is where the gown is completed and we talk about accessories, custom veils, and any final adjustments or modifications if necessary.
Collection of the completed gown usually takes place the week before or the week of the wedding, depending on what works best. We like to rehearse our brides in the gown to make sure they know how to get the most out of it, including how to get in and out, and also how to hook up the train. Finally, we discuss care options before we hand over your dream gown!
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