Courtesy of Aria
Tak Hau launched Aria in 2001, a stylish line of dresses that can easily be customized for both wedding parties and individual bridesmaids. The complete line of classic dresses and accessories are crafted from fine fabrics and manufactured in California. Aria dresses are sold direct to the consumer via online try-ons and ordering as well as at three showrooms in Los Angles, Boston and Washington, D.C. Tak began designing women's fashion in 1989 and supplied clothing to Entertainment Tonight and a variety of movie productions. His affordable line of bridesmaid dresses has now expanded to include silk satin wedding dresses that sell for less than $400! We asked Tak to explain how he developed his unique retail model as well as his tips for shopping for bridesmaid dresses and how to make both bridesmaid dresses and wedding dresses unique to reflect your wedding and personal style. Here's what he had to say: —Anne Chertoff
Why did you create Aria? What makes Aria unique?
Having been in the dress business for many years, I'd noticed that there weren't many affordable modern, sophisticated clothing choices for bridal parties. Dress buyers were telling me how their customers were purchasing my dress designs to be worn in their weddings.
The business model favored by many lines today is to pre-manufacture overseas a limited selection of dress size/style/color combinations. When your preferences are sold out—they are often not available again for quite some time, which is unfortunate when trying to coordinate a larger bridal party. Since Aria produces our dresses locally in California we are able to offer brides and bridesmaids the ability to truly customize their dresses, with all our colors, neckline and skirt silhouette choices always available at a very competitive price.
When designing dresses, I am always thinking of the wide range of women and their various body types. It is very important as a designer to remember that we are dressing real women and not runway models.
In what ways can a bride make her bridesmaids' dresses more personal to her wedding as well as each girl?
Aria understands that everyone is unique and no two women ever have the exact same body. Since we offer about 90 different fabric and color choices, brides have the luxury...
of picking dresses of just the right shade to coordinate with their wedding theme. We also offer a dizzying array of necklines to flatter all body types, and with over seven different skirt silhouettes and sizes ranging from 0-petite to 24-tall to choose from, we are sure that most everyone in the bridal party will find a dress style that works best for them.
You recently launched a bridal line. Can you tell us how a bride can make her dress reflect her own personal style?
We are very excited about our bridal line. Finally brides are able to own a beautifully made silk wedding gown for under $400! As with our bridesmaids dress line, our bridal gowns are highly customizable. From the neckline to skirt silhouette, brides are able to piece together a dress that suits her best. We offer many trims and accessories, so the bride can further personalize her wedding dress. These classic styles are made to be easily modified or embellished after purchase if it is so desired.
Do you have any suggestions for brides regarding shopping for or how to pick bridesmaid dresses?
Visualize yourself and your bridal party on the day of your wedding. You will begin to see certain colors and silhouettes materializing, be it classic, romantic or modern, you will begin to get a clearer picture of what you are looking for.
While the Internet can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing, it is still a great place to start. Web sites such as Brides.com allow one to granularly seek out your type of dress without having to waste time wading through a bunch of unrelated styles that don't work for you. Begin gathering ideas including colors and the look that you are after, and take into account the formality, season, theme and even hair and skin tones of each girl and build on that.
If a bride's bridesmaids are in a wide range of sizes and silhouettes how do you suggest the bride find a good style that will flatter every girl?
I feel that the V-neck dress is universally flattering; they look great on everyone from an A-cup to double D's! ..not to mention the comfort of being able to wear a regular bra underneath.
As for a dress silhouette that most people can agree on, I recommend the A-line skirt. Sheaths and pencil-skirts can "cup" the hips of curvier women and those who are pear shaped, in short, not very flattering.
Visit ariadress.com to browse the complete collection of bridesmaid and wedding dresses as well as a gallery of real bridal parties to help inspire you!