International wedding gown designer, Tony Ward, made a personal appearance at Stanley Korshak Bridal on Thursday, November 7, during the designer’s trunk show.
Tony Ward, stemming from Lebanese and Italian descent, studied design in the fashion capital of the world: Paris, France. Ward’s designs are sold in 36 countries and counting, with showrooms from Beirut to Moscow.
D Weddings sat down with Ward to discuss the wedding gown design process and how a simple dandelion flower inspired his 2020 bridal collection, with transparency and shape at the forefront.
What initially got you interested in fashion design?
I was born [into] a family that did fashion for the last 74 years. I fell into it since I was born [into it]. I was studying something else, but [fashion] kept coming back to me. So, I switched back to fashion and here I am. I’ve been doing this for the last 33 years.
When did you start designing bridal and why?
My first dress was a bridal dress. I did a wedding dress for a girlfriend—she was getting married to someone else, but she was still my friend. When she told me she was going to get married, I told her that I was going to gift her the wedding dress. I was 18 and it was my first real wedding dress. I started the first [bridal] collection 15 years ago, and now I do three bridal collections a year.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
All [designs] come after a theme. For example, one season, I’m inspired by the churches of Italy. The aim is not to cater to the bride as much as it is to give her something that comes out of a story or a theme.
Tell me a little bit about your 2020 bridal collection. Are there any major themes throughout the collection?
The latest collection was all around a flower. We call this [flower] in French the “dent-de-lion.” It’s a flower with a certain shape. We took this flower and we gave it volume, and then we gave volume to the dresses through the embroidery, the material, and the lace. It was very fun.
In your biography, it says you garner inspiration from architecture, specifically playing with light and transparency. Can you expand on that?
I’m very much fond of architecture. When I build a dress, I work on the volume of the dress, the pleating of it, the touch, and the stones. Volume is very important to me. Volume is very linked with architecture, like transparency and 3D effect—It’s very important for fashion.
What trends should 2020 brides look out for?
I think the bride at this certain moment likes a lot of long sleeves and transparency in the lace. [She] is less into beading, and more into lightness and transparency.
What does the future hold for Tony Ward bridal?
When we first started with our bridal collection, we used to only do couture bridal. Couture bridal is somewhere between $200,000 to $300,000 a wedding dress. We were having a lot of brides saying, “We can’t afford your dresses. Do you have anything different?” So, we launched our second line of dresses between $20,000 and $30,000, and that was a big hit. Everybody was loving it. Then we started a third line—something more commercial that speaks to more of a democratic bride.
I think the future of bridal is being able to read different minds and give a dress that looks like a $30,000 dress, but is actually a $5,000 dress. The future of fashion is being able to adapt, and we are working very hard toward that.
What piece of advice would you give a bride who doesn’t know where to start when looking for her wedding dress?
Follow your dream. I’m sure everybody has a dream or an idea. Don’t say, “I don’t want to try.” She has to try the romantic dress, the full dress, and the tight one. She has to look at the venue. She has to wear her wedding dress for her. Not for her parents. Not for the people coming to the wedding. I’m sure she has kissed a lot of frogs before she got married to the nice guy, so she has to try a lot of dresses before she says yes to the dress.