10 Minutes with Theia Designer Don O'Neill

Wedding Dresses
10 Minutes With Theia

Photo: Courtesy of Theia

Designer Don O'Neill has trained with the greats, from bespoke British dressmakers to Christian Lacroix in Paris, and his international pedigree shines through in his collections for Theia. We're especially in love with the romantic embroideries and romantic silhouettes of the White Collection, Theia's bridal line. We sat down with O'Neill to discuss his inspiration, the motivation to design a collection specifically for brides, and his dream celebrity clients.

O'Neill has some seriously imaginative inspiration.
Asked about how he begins to design each bridal each collection, O'Neill explained his muses. "Each collection begins with a specific girl, whose inner goddess shines in her Theia gown. This inspiration informs the look of the collection; for example, Spring 2015's collection was inspired by an Irish fairy goddess, who we imagined living in a mystical land underneath the ocean. For Fall 2015, she's the daughter of a cashmere goat herder in Mongolia!"

His favorite part about designing for brides is helping them "shine their brightest" on their wedding day.
"Theia is designed for women who glow from the inside out, so designing for a bride is the epitome of what I do with the collection. My favorite, and the most rewarding part of designing bridal is the role I get to play in her wedding day through her gown, enhancing and augmenting that inner light that radiates from her. When designing bridal, I keep many different body shapes in mind within the collection, so that every girl can find a dress just perfect for her."

See more: 6 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

His bridal collection was inspired by Theia's ready-to-wear designs.
We asked O'Neill if women often purchase gowns from Theia's ready-to-wear collection to wear for their wedding days, and the designer explained that in fact, that's exactly why the brand expanded into a bridal collection. "The Theia collection dresses didn't have the super long trains that brides love, so the bridal collection was born!" His favorite fabrics to design bridal gowns? "I love all the fabrics I use for bridal, from the Chantilly laces to the hand embroidered tulles sparkling with crystals, pearls and tiny sequins. I love designing with soft, flowing Spanish tulle, satin-faced georgettes, and incorporating my signature, weightless petal embroideries."

O'Neill loves daring bridal trends.
"I am loving the crop top look, which is so fresh, modern and fun. I'm also loving the backless trend, which at Theia is sexy, but rests just on the right side of elegant and sophisticated."

He has his eye on Emma Watson.
"Emma Watson," said O'Neill without hesitation, when asked about his dream woman to dress. "Emma typifies the modern, carefree woman — she's beautiful, smart and intelligent. I see her in "Suren" from our Fall 2015 collection, a micro-sequined embroidered crop top, with a sheer silk organza back that becomes a super long weightless train, over a body-hugging sinuous crepe mermaid skirt (seen above). She would look absolutely divine!"

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