During lockdown we thought it may be a good idea to give our readers some background of Meliza, she has a unique passion for bridal gowns. I decided to get more insight in to her inspirations behind Meliza Mary Bridal Wear. She is a Durban based qualified fashion designer who has had a passion for dressing women since she was young. She studied at a small college called; Linea Academy where she received her honours degree in fashion design, the academy has since closed.

She then went on and did a short course in image consulting after her studies, this also included personal styling and shopping. Meliza is married and has two beautiful twins that were born in January this year.

 What inspired you to get in to fashion designing and more specifically, bridal gowns?

“The first people who inspired me were Trinny and Susannah, two British personal stylists that ran a show BBC, ‘What Not to Wear’. They inspired me to figure out how to dress every different woman and their individual figure shapes because none of us are the same shape, we don’t all fit into a cookie cutter mould. This project became a real lifetime quest for me.

I love figuring out what suits each woman and how to make each of them look their best because we are all capable of looking amazing as well as having the potential to make ourselves look absolutely terrible. Just depends what we put ourselves in. I did my courses to become a stylist.

The main objective wasn’t to be a designer, it assisted me in understanding the clothing industry in it’s entirety. I got in to wedding gowns very indirectly. I never thought I would end up in bridal wear, I was always just passionate about dressing women and then when I was looking for a job there happened to be a local bridal store hiring in which I ran for a year. During that year the bridal gown bug bit me and I just absolutely loved working in the wedding industry.

I began to realise quite quickly that dressing brides was like dressing them for their most important outfit of their life and so, for me it was a pinnacle of every women’s wardrobe, ‘well, what wedding dress did she wear?’ and in that case I thought it was just amazing to help women with this search for their perfect dress.”

Who is your inspiration?

“I would say my inspiration comes more from moods and identities. What sort of identity do you want to put forward? What is in fashion? All of these things are the kind of things that inspire me, not necessarily just one person because not one person is the perfect example to look at. I would say that in terms of specific. I really enjoyed watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ for wedding dresses.

That store inspired me a lot, I love the way that they encourage women, I love the variety of dresses that they have. It didn’t matter which bride came in to their store, whether she was a Texan beauty or a New York Rockstar they had a dress for her, and so I really like that they celebrated peoples individuality and our diversity.

I have a few local brands who inspire me, like Casey Jean and Hanrie Lues Bridal. Internationally I am inspired by Maggie Satero’s work, Burta Bridal Wear, Pronovias, David’s Bridal and Kleinfeld Bridal to name a few. I’m also inspired by other designers like Dior and let’s not forget Chanel! Their work is incredible.”

Image by Misha Lee

What is your personal favourite gown in our studio at the moment? Why?

“I have to say my one favourite gown at the moment is one of our new samples, Gabriella. It is so dreamy because of the colour, I am really enjoying fun coloured dresses at the moment. I think they speak of a bride’s individuality and so I really quite like that. It is however, available in normal Ivory/ white as well.

I also just love the beadwork on it, I am a person of detail and this dress is full of it! I also absolutely love the off the shoulder strap and the plunging V in the middle, it is so flattering. Even on a bigger busted woman because it has the mesh element, so it’s not super revealing. It still has an element of sexiness and very slimming because it draws the eye up and down the body. It makes any women look beautiful.”

What was your inspiration behind the theme of your studio?

“My inspiration came from an exercise I did when I was rebranding a few years ago. I looked at what I wanted my brand to be known for and the reason why I ended up going quite vintage with a lot of my furniture is because vintage things are made well and they’re often classic. I always find fashion and the things that you wear should always have a foundation of classic style. Something that has classic style lasts forever.

Let’s be honest, we all want to look at our wedding photos 10 years from now and still say that we absolutely loved our dress. I found that antiques had that charm and that element of classical style. You can always appreciate an antique, and so I started collecting old; classical pieces from my deep boron pink couch from the 80’s to my beautiful carved out mirror that just has such an old school boudoir feel which is really beautiful. These all add an element of sophistication as well as solidarity.

People want to know that they can trust your services, that they can trust that you are going to deliver what you promise. Something for me about things that are old fashioned is that they are solid. I’ve always been more of a girly girl rather than a tom boy and so that’s why I went with the pink wall, because where better to throw a splash of pink than in a bridal studio. It’s one place that we as ladies can get away with a lot of pink.”

Image by Misha Lee

What is your favourite part about a bridal appointment?

“My favourite part HAS to be that moment, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but the moment a bride is standing in a dress and she just realises that she’s found the one. Whether it is this silent nod and sure feeling or the look on her face that she just knows she’s found it, or it’s this emotional moment where she sheds a tear, be it one or many.

 I think what is exciting is when you see a bride who finds her dress. It’s like she is reminded all over again that she is getting married and it makes that feeling of excitement so much more real. The bride is transported to her wedding day in that very moment. As she stands in front of our mirror in the dress she is going to wear when she gets married.

On the other hand, I have to say I love it when I see moms cry, it just reminds me of my mom. My mom and I were very; very close. I lost her a few years ago and so I absolutely love to see those beautiful connections between a mom and her daughter.”

Do you have a few pointers to new brides who make an appointment with us?

“We have our studio in my home, we do this intentionally so that we can offer the best dresses possible for the best price possible. We also do this so that we can give our clients that personal touch that you don’t get in a big store. Side note: I’m Greek, and so I believe in being hospitable and I just love having people in our home.

 I always say be careful who you invite to your appointment. When guests they don’t have your best interest at heart. Those are not the people that you want to bring to your appointment. You want to invite the people who will see you in a outfit and go, ‘that is so you!’ or your sister who just knows you so well and also knows how to tell you when something is not for you.

Be mindful of what underwear you are wearing, don’t wear black or bright underwear, it can sometimes show through. Rather come wearing skin colour, strapless bra is always a good idea if you are feeling a bit conservative. Most dresses have got interesting shoulder lines and bra straps really can interrupt the flow and you don’t get to see what you would really look like.

If you can, spruce up your make-up a little bit, do your hair even. Make yourself look nice in a way that adds to the ‘final look.” You’re trying on beautiful ballgowns! If you try them on when you’re possibly feeling a bit drab with no make-up on and natural hair you may not feel as confident. If you complete the whole picture a little bit, trying on dresses can feel a little bit more real and you can get a feel for it.”

What is your favourite part of a wedding?

“Let’s be honest, there’s a reason why it is everyone’s favourite part of a wedding. The moment when the doors open, and the bride walks down the aisle. It’s that emotional, butterfly filled part. Everybody is waiting with bated breath to see what she is wearing, to see her in all of her glory. To witness the height of emotion that everybody has in that time, and then I always just love turning around and looking at the groom. It really is such a special moment to see because you watch a man put his heart on his sleeve.

My husband started crying when I got out the car at our wedding, I hadn’t even gotten to the front of the aisle yet to start walking and he got emotional. We went to a friend’s wedding a few years ago, the groom is not really the most emotional person and yet when my friend got half way down the aisle he couldn’t hold in the emotion anymore, he just caved and put his face in his hands. He just started to cry. Nobody thought that he looked any less of a man, everybody just thought it was a beautiful moment.”

Image by The Shank Tank

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“Currently, I don’t really have any spare time. All I have time for is my twins. But if I could really choose, I absolutely love surfing Pinterest and finding inspiring things. Especially for nail art, I don’t know why but, I really find fun and interesting nail art very inspiring. One of my best friends is a nail technician, her and I absolutely love creating fun and interesting things on our nails.

I really enjoy meeting up with one of my three best friends for coffee. I just enjoy people and being social. Thankfully, all four of us are business owners and so we just bounce ideas off each other. Cooking is another thing I love doing! Baking is too precise for me. With cooking, you can be a lot more creative. You can decide last minute to throw something in and just have fun with the creativity of making a dish up as you go and just doing some gardening when I get a chance, just a few of lifes pleasures. That’s me, in a nutshell.”

Image by Misha Lee

We hope you are all keeping safe and staying home during this time. All our love,

Meliza & Jane