Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making Magic For Brides-To-Be

[As published on Emmagem.com HERE]

Bridal gown designer Celest Thoi probably has the most romantic job in the world. Day in and day out, she’s surrounded by lace, satin and beads, designing and making wedding dresses for blushing brides-to-be. However, the petite mother-of-two admits that she’s secretly a homebody, preferring to spend her free time hanging out with her family.
She took time out of her busy schedule to answer Emmagem’s questions in this exclusive look into the life of a bridal gown designer.
What spurred you on to become a bridal gown designer?
It’s always been my dream to design pretty things, especially bridal gowns. It all started with my own wedding – I had so much fun and fulfillment that I decided I didn’t want to stop there.  I have been in the bridal industry since 2004, but I finally decided to fly solo and start my own label, Celest Thoi, about a year ago.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
After sending my kids to school, I’ll be either out sourcing for fabrics, or at my showroom meeting clients for enquiries and fittings. Sometimes, I also do hands-on tasks like beading or patching laces on wedding gowns together with my team. After I get home, I make sure my girls finish their homework, pack their schoolbags for the next day, and put them to sleep. Only then, I can get down to sketching my designs, while juggling answering emails and clearing off paperwork.  Phew!

Celest busy at work
What’s your signature style like?
All my gowns are designed with the philosophy of ‘Simple and Elegant’. I like my dresses to be timeless and classic.

Simple embellishments give a classic dress a wow factor
How do you find inspiration for your designs?
It usually boils down to a combination of ideas from talking to my clients, and understanding what they wish for in a dress.
Your personal favourite design is…
A trumpet-cut dress made out of lace and soft tulle. It’s very romantic!
What do you love most about your job?
Besides creating beautiful dresses, I love meeting new people and making new friends in the process. Can’t say the same about accounts and paperwork, though! (laughs)
The most rewarding part of your job is…
Seeing how beautiful my client looks in my design. A happy bride equals a happy Celest! 

Celest at Mifw with model Deborah Henry and her two daughters
Do you need a specific set of skills to become a designer?
You definitely need to have an eye for details. Besides, knowing the practicality of certain cuts and shapes, and understanding what fabrics flatter a particular silhouette best are also important.

As a designer, you have to be hands-on with the creative process too 
In your opinion, a good designer is…
Personable, humble and friendly.
Advice for aspiring designers:
Follow your heart – your gut feeling is always right!

Tips From A Pro
Celest shares some tips on how to find the perfect wedding gown:
Try on as many dresses as you can! Be open with designs, you’ll never know what works until you’ve tried it on you. The design that you least expect to look good on you may just turn out to be that perfect dress.
Lace is an evergreen choice. Something sweet and romantic is usually very popular among Malaysians.
Don’t go for trendy gowns. These will look dated after some time. Go for classic, timeless designs that will still look good after many, many years.
Celest Thoi’s namesake label showroom is located at B2-1-1, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, (West Gate Entrance) 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480, Kuala Lumpur. 

(All photos from Celest Thoi)

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