‘Fashion Focus with Mariana Hardwick’ on Ivory Tribe
Ivory Tribe//Natalie Dunn

“All hail House of Fashion!” Recently we chatted with Ivory Tribe and shared our hints and tips when it comes to selecting the perfect gown, discussed why Mariana Hardwick has stood the test of time, and emerging trends in the bridal fashion industry.

The name Mariana Hardwick is synonymous with high quality bridal fashion, and the brand has stood the test of time, why do you think this is?

Quality and silhouettes – our brides are always commenting on how different our gowns feel on and how flattering the silhouettes are compared to our competitors. Also, we believe in less is more, we have an impact but are not frou-frou or over the top – you don’t need an unnecessary add-on when the cut is sublime, fit is right and quality superb. To us, that is the definition of a timeless gown regardless of the style.

There is a level of skill and technique that has been developed by our team over decades and this isn’t easily replicated. This combined with a fearless and visionary approach to design and fabric development allowing Mariana Hardwick collections to remain at the forefront of bridal fashion.

What can a bride-to-be expect when it comes to the Mariana Hardwick experience? 

A bride can expect a high-quality service and advice, free of the “pressure sale” they may experience at other stores. Our consultants love their job and we think it shows, we constantly have great feedback! We have spent the last 35 years perfecting the fittings process and we are acutely aware that we are creating someone’s bridal gown and the importance of that.

What we love about Mariana Hardwick is that you are constantly evolving, what is next on the cards?

More evolving! We plan on expanding our ready-to-wear collection so we can be more accessible to all bride’s budgets. We will also continue to offer a more personalised custom design made to measure service and support Australian made couture – something we are hugely proud of!

Choosing a wedding gown can be one of the most daunting aspects of wedding planning, what are your top tips for brides to stay calm and ensure they can enjoy the process?

Don’t sweat the small stuff – focus on the whole picture – the look, the fit and the silhouette – this is true for many aspects of a wedding. Also, when trying gowns on consider who you bring to your appointments, large entourages can confuse brides with various conflicting opinions. Bringing along those that know your style and whose bridal vision aligns with yours will make for a smoother, more focused shopping experience.

What are some common misconceptions around wedding gown shopping?

That you put a gown on and know it is the one. In this bridal fashion climate brides are more likely to have a few consultations before ordering – don’t get upset if you do not have that “the one” experience. It is much harder now as there is so much more out there and most modern brides will visit at least a couple of store before selecting their favourite.

What is the general process and lead time for a gown, starting from initial visit through to pick up?

For our made to measure gowns most of our bride’s order between 6-12 months prior to their wedding date.

Fittings usually start about 4-5 months prior the wedding date with extensive measurements, a first fitting or Toile fitting follows about 12-13  weeks prior and then the second fitting is about six weeks prior. Then a final fitting /gown collect is about 2-3 weeks prior to the big day. We schedule the fittings so we have room for extra fittings and any issues that may arise, we believe we have the perfect timeframe and structure which we have tweaked over our 35 years in the business.

How do you ensure the perfect fit when a bride’s measurements will no doubt change throughout the course of her wedding planning? 

We ensure we have open dialogue with our brides about any intentions they may have about changing body shape and book their fittings with this in mind. In most cases the final time we make adjustments before finishing the gown is about six weeks before wedding date which we have much success with. However, in some instances we will push fittings closer together and closer to the wedding date if it will benefit our individual bride more.

What is the approximate lead time you advise brides to adhere to ensuring they avoid disappointment?

6-8 months, but really any time between 6-12 months.

Fashion is constantly trend driven, what are the current trends in bridal fashion, and what do you expect to see in the future?

Bridal is far more fast paced and trend driven then it was when we started, or even 15 years ago.

Current trends are deep V necklines, low and open backs, long sleeves and definitely a fuller, circular skirt has been making a comeback for a while now. The sheer element is still very much in demand as well as the unembellished, clean matte crepe gowns. We feel for the future there will be a resurgence of beaded gowns with interesting shoulders/ neckline/ sleeves. Beading has such a great flattering weight to it and done right can give the wow factor without being over the top.