In this fast paced world where instant gratification is everything, it’s nice to know that there are still a few people who understand that, sometimes, in order to make something exquisite, you need time. Meet Hannah Kong, a 29-year-old designer who can make the wedding gown of your dreams.
Last night (May 24, 2016) at Aruga by Rockwell, Hannah formally launched her 15-piece debut collection boasting of masterful workmanship and decadent broderie d’art occasion wear. “This collection is all about creating romantic, timeless pieces. It’s really in the details,” she says. With every piece that walked down the mini runway, it was undeniable that she has a skillset not many designers in the country have. Aside from the meticulous stitching and the use of imported materials, Hannah embroiders her pieces with a technique known as the Lunéville or Tambour. This skill is something she learned from studying at the Ecole Lesage Paris, the very couture house that worked with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton, Valentino Garavani, and Christian Dior.
We had a little chat with the designer before the show and aside from the fact that her eyes sparkled with excitement when it came to talk about anything and everything vintage, here’s what we learned about the chinita with a skilled set of hands.
The Florence is made with ostrich feathers!
What made you decide to focus on wedding dresses when most designers your age would rather take the income generating RTW route?
“I don’t know. I really like details and I feel like with wedding gowns, I can do so much with one dress. I feel so honored when a bride comes to me and books me to make her wedding dress. It’s the most important dress a woman will wear in her lifetime. That in itself feels awesome.”
Will you make your own wedding dress when the times comes?
“I think I want someone else to make it for me because even when I attend weddings, I don’t know what to wear. Laughs. I know how to dress other people, but I don’t know if I can dress myself. And I think I would want something simpler with just a bit of detailing, like a vintage Oscar de la Renta.”
You first fell in love with fashion because your father was in the garments industry, but where do you get your inspiration now?
“I’m very girly and I love vintage clothes. I used to collect vintage pieces and open them up to see how it’s made inside. There’s a lot of hand work that goes into it. It’s just so interesting! You will see the cut is different, the quality is really there.”
A closeup shot of the showstopping finale piece made with imported beads, pearls, and rhinestones. "We put layered rhinestones and different beads on top. This dress maybe has 10-12 layers including the petticoat."
Can you describe the type of woman you imagine wearing your pieces?
“Someone who really appreciates embellishments or detail work and the time that goes into making a piece.”
What’s the current trend in bridal wear? What do brides ask from you lately?
“They like it sexy! To show off the back or a slit. I think before it was more conservative, but now it’s like 'Okay my church says bawal sleeveless, but let’s find a way to show off my back.'"
Any encounters with bridezillas?
“I had one recently. I rushed the dresses for an entire entourage. It came out like 30 dresses in 30 days. At that time I wasn’t that good with costing yet. After the wedding, they didn’t pay the balance and were complaining about the dresses. We had fittings, they could have raised their concerns there, right? But even after they used the gowns, in the end I just told them to leave the dresses and not pay for it.
Yikes! That’s crazy!
“Yeah. So now I have an assistant who does the accounting and paper work for me so I can focus on designing.”
The Stephanie is sparkly in front with a ruffled now surprise in the back.
What would you say is a good time frame for a client to come to you? How many months before the big day?
“It depends on the piece. If they want it beaded, give me three months. That’s enough time for me to do all the beadwork and perfect the fit.”
Do you also make debutante gowns, prom dresses and the likes?
“Yes! Anything formal, I would love to do.”
What’s next for Hannah after this launch?
"I’m working on ready to wear or off the rack pieces as we speak. But most of my work will still go to customizing pieces."
Launch the gallery to see all the looks from the fashion show.
Hannah Kong’s atelier is located at 6063 R. Palma Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City. For more information, visit her website at www.hannahkong.com and @hannahkong on Instagram
Photos by Ryan Ong