One of our favorite designers, Irene from Milamira Bridal has made her way through the world of international wedding fashion all the way from St Petersburg, Russia.
Meet the woman who brings the delicacy of ballet into your own wedding and discover how these splendid designs emerge from a mountain of tulle, satin and lace to transform into your bridal gown.
I give you Irene - the god fairy of future brides who teaches us how to buy your bridal dress online.
Where do you find inspiration for creating such stunning bridal gowns?
I would describe our style as refined romantic dresses for strong women. I am very much inspired by ballet, not just with the beautiful performances on the stage but with the work, strength, and dedication it takes to become a real ballet dancer.
I see ballet girls extremely beautiful, elegant and graceful. They may seem fragile, but they are in fact unbelievably strong — both physically and mentally. That combination of strength and femininity is the main idea that I try to express through Milamira designs.
What are your favorite fabrics?
We like to experiment with different materials a lot, always trying something new, mainly looking for practicality and comfort (for example we incorporated a lot of stretchy materials in our latest collections to make figure-hugging styles more wearable and dance-friendly). However, I would say, we still love traditional fabrics such as tulle, satin and lace. In my opinion, these classic materials never go out of style and there are endless design possibilities while using them.
One of Milamira's signature features is our work with color. We were never afraid of bringing some color into bridal and so we use a lot of non-white materials — both fabrics and decor elements. Our favorite shades are dusty pinks and greyish blues.
What prompted you to start a wedding business?
I first started working with brides back then I was a student (I studied Interior design). I got a job as a consultant at a local bridal boutique and instantly fell in love with bridal fashion. After some years, I opened my own boutique and started selling dresses from my favorite designers from all over the world.
After seven years of running the boutique, I created my first collection. The time was right — I gained a lot of experience working with brides every day, attending professional events like fashion weeks and fairs. I knew exactly what I wanted to bring to the bridal world and how to implement my vision.
After some time, I ended up closing the boutique to dedicate all my time and energy to Milamira and don't regret this decision at all. Milamira became my most successful business, my ideal creative outlet and my connection to the world through hundreds of interesting, cool and beautiful women — my brides.
What is the basic process you go through when creating a bridal dress?
I gain inspiration from art, photography, and nature all the time.
However, when it actually comes to designing the next collection, I usually start with choosing fabrics first. I select the "basic" fabrics that will be used in several dresses from that collection and play with them for some time: look how they drape; how they "behave" naturally; try to "catch the feeling" that every fabric awakens. Only after interacting with fabrics for some time, I start to sketch and add details to the initial ideas. I sketch a lot. Usually, I draw every dress at least 10-15 times before it actually goes into production.
Although it takes a lot of time and effort, I still create every pattern myself . But I feel that it's important for me to decide on every seam placement and every line.
After the patterns are ready, our small but effective production team comes in play and the sketches finally come to life.
What are a few common styles that you offer, and what are the benefits of each?
I try to incorporate different styles and silhouettes in all of our collections. We do have a lot of A-line gowns because this style is both classic, versatile and complements all body shapes very well.
Personally, I am a ball gown lover so we usually have at least a couple of really full dresses in our line. We spent a lot of time working on making our fuller skirts both voluminous and light so now we can proudly say that our dramatic ball gowns are as well comfortable to wear.
Lately, we added more figure-hugging designs but used only stretchy materials to make these dresses. Thanks to that we managed to combine sexy silhouettes with real-life practicality.
Our two latest collections have some jumpsuits in them — my new obsession. In my opinion, pants and jumpsuits are a fun alternative to gowns and will become a new bridal classic soon enough.
What advice would you give to someone on choosing the right size and style?
All of our dresses can be ordered in standard sizes or made to measure. We provide every bride with a very easy to follow measuring guide and then always double check the size with her.
Nevertheless, we ask our brides to be ready for and not to be afraid of some final alterations that can be made with the help of any experienced local tailor. Nuances like skirt length or additional sewn-in cups are easy to finalize face-to-face with a professional while sometimes hard to determine while working remotely. After some minor alterations which are a common practice in the bridal world, the dress will fit perfectly.
What tips can you offer when buying a bridal dress online?
The most important advice would be ordering the dress well in advance. It will allow us plenty of time to discuss all the details, answer any questions, and really help the bride to feel confident with her choice. Sometimes it means making some changes to the original design. This is totally possible but it requires time and is best done in no rush. Actual production of the dress usually takes 2-3 weeks in our case but the shipping does take about the same amount of time too. And then, it's important to still have some time for possible final alterations.
To conclude, ordering the dress earlier can really save you from additional stress.
The second tip is not to hesitate to ask questions. We are always happy to help: offer some professional advice or just to talk about the future wedding day.
Any other advice you’d add for future brides?
It may sound a little cliche but I honestly do believe in it and find it crucially important: be yourself and listen to your heart while dress shopping. It's so easy to lose your inner voice in this overwhelming flood of information that comes your way. And everyone probably really tries to help but by the end of the day, it should be your decision. Go with anything that makes you happy, brings the smile to your face and don't take it all too seriously. It all should be more fun and less stress. Good luck!
Make sure to check out Weddings By Laremi Blog for more wedding inspiration and advice.
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