ROZ LA KELIN – Interview with the wedding dress designer

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Wedding dress designer, Roz La Kelin, outside The Willows in Melbourne. Photography by Lara Antonelli-Leorke.

 

1. You have been in the bridal industry for over two decades, what initially inspired you to create bridal designs? I have always been drawn to bridal, from as early as I can remember. I love gems, beading, laces, textures and these are all elements that can be used in one gown. It’s also rewarding to be appreciated for your creativity. Plus, bridal gowns not only fulfill someone’s dream; every aspect of them is appreciated and admired.

2. Your uniquely constructed and designed gowns are sold the world over, what do you want women to feel when they try on a Roz la Kelin creation? Luxury! I want women to experience luxury, from the fit and shape it defines for the wearer, through to the tactile quality of the fabrics used and visual applications of the finishes.

3. Your collections tailor to sizes 6 to 48, why do you believe there has been such a gap in the market for glamorous plus size designs in the bridal industry? The gap for glamorous plus designs is lacking in many industries, not only bridal. This is due to a lack of knowledge of how to dress fuller figure and curvy girls. Knowing how to grade and pattern make and create lines through certain sections of the body can make all the difference on a fuller figure. Where to start and finish seams can make the difference of the wearer appearing two sizes smaller or larger and an increment of even 1/2″ in where a sleeve finishes on an arm makes a difference. It takes a skilled eye.

4. Your understanding of the female body, in all its shapes and sizes, sets you apart in the industry. Why are you passionate about ensuring that all women have a chance to experience that fairy tale wedding dress moment? I believe as women, we all have something within us to celebrate and share with others. Many women don’t believe that about themselves. As much as wedding gown shopping is highly anticipated and exciting for most, it’s also a time when insecurities come to the forefront; after all this is an event in which you cannot escape being the pinnacle of attention. Therefore, I love to design gowns that will minimise any areas of doubt, accentuate the assets to boost confidence and let each bride radiate on such a significant day.

5. What do you love most about what you do? Being able to express my creativity in something that brings joy to not only the bride, but her family and friends. I love that I get to share in such a special day. Most girls have dreamt about being a bride and their wedding day from the youngest age and my gowns fulfill the dream they’ve had… It’s like being part of a secret that has a spectacular reveal. Some of my greatest experiences have been working with my Glamour Plus brides. It’s one of the greatest moments to assist a woman into a gown that actually alters her self-perception. For some, it’s the first time they discover their body has ‘best features’ and it’s wonderful to be part of them embracing these and remembering their self-worth. Finding a gown that fits and enhances their curvy shape is empowering and it’s wonderful to be a building block in that person’s life.

6. What respectively inspired your Diamond, Pearl and Glamour Plus Collections? This season Bohemian tends to be a massive trend, providing many twists and variations on that theme; from Princess Boho through to Festival Chic. We’re seeing layering and separates adding to the romance and giving bride’s options to build their own styling or mix up pieces and change their looks from ceremony to reception.

7. Your designs give women an opportunity to try many different styles that suit their personalities and figure, however is there a bridal fashion faux pas you wish we could do away with? I’m delighted there is so much fashionable gown choice available these days and also platforms for brides to be able to research from. The faux pas I’d like to see girls alter isn’t to do with ‘fashion’ as such, it’s more to do with the ‘traditions’ surrounding the expectations of gown shopping. Women’s lives are becoming more and more independent, in all aspects, even within their relationships, yet when it comes to gown shopping these same brides-to-be step back into a past era of ‘approval buying’. There’s a tendency to invite other people (often too many people) gown shopping. This is an important purchase and as it’s based around the bride and her personal dreams (and in many cases being paid for by her and her fiancé), it should involve only treasured people or just herself if that’s her choice. I’ve witnessed many brides miss out on the ‘perfect gown’ because they felt obliged to wait on showing a bridesmaid or waiting on mum or mother-in-laws to be available and, all agreeable. My advice is that these people will be happy with your choice, because you’re happy.
Another ‘tradition’ is expecting their mother to cry as a sign of approval, or maybe she herself to be moved to tears….that may not happen, we’re all built differently. There’s many factors that relate to a display of emotion. If there were no tears the day the gown was chosen, be assured there will be plenty on the Wedding Day.

8. Many women believe they know what they want in a wedding dress, and may not want to try a particular style. Do you find that many brides leave with a gown design that they initially didn’t think would suit them? Yes! This happens quite regularly. It is to be expected; it’s not every day you wear a wedding gown or have occasions to wear a long gown and, for some girls, wearing a dress is something unique. Having an idea of what styles usually suit you or images that have caught your eye and imagination is a great place to start. If you’re open to try on all that is on offer, you will discover something new that will make all your previous ideas be turned on their head; whether this be style, colour,
fabrics or finishes. Embrace the new in all areas of your planning as these are the elements that can enhance and redirect your event to new levels.

9. What is your idea of bridal beauty? Happiness! We’re seeing so many different bridal stylings and themes these days, all with varying budgets to be able to categorise beauty. Whilst we may not personally be drawn to a particular choice of gown, location, hair style etc, the consistent element most people will agree on is – her beautiful smiling face that radiated happiness from deep within. Everyone is most beautiful, bridal or otherwise, when they’re happy. As most girls have been planning and anticipating their wedding day for so long, it is a day of celebration and love which results in a glow of happiness….that’s true bridal beauty.

10. What is next for Roz la Kelin – the label and the woman? I’ve spent the past year merging my business with new management in LA and after this showcase my husband and I will be moving there on a semi-permanent basis. This merge has allowed my brand to grow and the labels within to become more refined, giving each line it’s own clearer identity. This new management and production has freed me of many responsibilities, allowing me more time for development and design. I’m seeing the benefits of this already with this new collection and I’m looking forward to greater things to come as I’m able to focus on design alone.
Personally I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting acquainted with LA over the last 12 months. It’s not too dissimilar weather wise to Australia and is a great location for work and play. I’m always discovering new places to dine, exercise and relax, so I’m excited to be setting up home and together with my husband, further explore our new surroundings.

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QUICK RANDOM ONES
– Do you have a favourite bridal silhouette?
I’m partial to layering, so I’d say I am drawn to a ‘wistful’ silhouette, where you have a defining shape beneath, whether this be Mermaid, Fit’n’flare, A-Line and then a soft transparent layer over, which adds texture and an air of mystique. This overlay may be the same line as the cut of the gown beneath or have more fullness to add a surprise element.

– What would be your ideal wedding location? Beach, Forest or City?
This is a hard one…it changes each season. However I’m a little spoiled as I get to live out each of my ideas….through photoshoots! It’s whilst researching for my shoots that multiple ideas and the discovery of locations or themes inspire me and then I’m able to have fun and artistic license to make them come alive and share these through the beautiful imagery.

– Best movie wedding dress?
There’s so many to choose from, ranging from the gaudy to the stunning…but one that comes to mind from recent times is the wedding gown worn by the Katniss character in The Hunger Games – Catching Fire (before it’s transformed into a Mocking Jay). It was a flattering modern ballgown silhouette with a fun skirt and, as a lover of layers, texture and finishes, this had all the elements.

– Best celebrity wedding dress?
With the number of times some celebrities marry, there’s plenty of opportunity to get the look right, and still some don’t… And it’s sad that the nuptials sometimes don’t last, but the gown is still remembered, as was the instance with Gwen Stefani – she had such a gorgeous gown with a fade-out pink hemline. There’s recent weddings that we hope will last, such as Ciara and Victoria Secret model Ana Beatriz Barros. Both had fabulous concoctions of lace layers and shaped silhouettes under illusion over-skirts with gorgeous Bohemian features in keeping with current trends.

– Favourite fabric to work with?
I’m not sure I could list just one favourite fabric… I’m a texture girl and I love to mix fabrics and finishes. Making embroideries look like laces and then building them onto lace. Or creating sections of beading, placed over nude sheers, mixing back with textured tulles, lace and layering sheer fabrics, makes for exciting creative dimensions. There’s a lot of this application featured throughout all three of my lines this season.

– Most loved travel destination?
As I’ve not yet ventured everywhere on my bucket list, I will settle for the most loved so far…Paris! I’m welcoming the challenge of discovering somewhere to topple this from first place.

– Tiara or veil? Or both?!
Definitely veil…it’s what makes a bride look like ‘a bride’ and what makes a girl ‘feel’ like a bride. She can be absolutely delighted with her choice of gown, however many are surprisingly overcome with emotion when a veil is placed on their head and the transformation occurs before their very eyes that they are ‘a bride’ and all of a sudden
the event is now very real. There are so many great contemporary and fashionable options available in veils now that highlight not just the gown but also a brides features.

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To view Roz La Kelin’s Ready To Wear bridal collections, head to: http://rozlakelin.com/

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