It's that time of year again! Bridal Fashion Week is fast-approaching. To gear up for the Fall 2015 wedding dress collections, we sat down with the creative director behind one of our favorite bridal brands, Theia, to get a sneak peek at their latest range. Here, what inspired Don O'Neill's latest collection for Theia, plus his shopping tips for brides-to-be.
Brides: What is the inspiration for your upcoming collection?
Don O'Neill: For this show we're going to Mongolia in the winter (Ed note: You can see Don's inspiration, above). When I started working on the collection, I was inspired by a beautiful Mongolian lamb. It was a beautiful ivory color and it just looked to me like warm, cozy, and luxurious and it sort of took life from there. I mixed my own Irish heritage with the heritage of the tribes of Mongolia — blending in cashmeres and as I said the exotic fur of the Mongolian lambs and chunky embroideries and heavy laces (see below!). The whole idea is to be cozy, warm and luxurious.
Photo: Courtesy of Theia
Brides: How would you describe the Theia bride?
O'Neill: The Theia bride is number one and above all elegant. The whole idea behind the label in general is true to being a goddess. And like a goddess, there's this special light that comes from within on your wedding day — which is very much part of what Theia's all about. And to think that my dress helps her feel special on that very magical day is what I strive for when I'm dressing a bride.
Brides: What bridal trends are you loving at the moment?
O'Neill: Well, this season, I've been thinking a lot about texture. And mixed with the texture, volume — but soft volume. A lot of my skirts this season are very full, we've put big circle skirts onto the gowns with tulle and chiffons that are 10 and 12 yards. It's all about having lots and lost of beautiful volume swirling around you. At the same time keeping the line long and lean with very special embroideries.
Brides: What silhouettes can we expect to see from you this go-round?
O'Neill: So far nothing is particularly huge. Last season, I had giant huge ball gowns, so this time I still have volume but I've taken away the crinolines. So you're not going to be knocking people over going up the aisle, but you'll still have the luxury of all that fabric swirling around you as you walk.
Brides: How would you say this collection is different from previous collections?
O'Neill: My last collection was Celtic fairy goddesses rising up out of the ocean. So this time basically my girls are up in the mountains, herding cashmere goats, and they're in the high Himalayas and they're coming through snow into a new existence. So it's a very different girl, from a very different part of the world, with a different aesthetic. It will be interesting to see how my frozen ice queen compares to my Irish sea fairy goddesses.
Brides: What are your top wedding dress shopping tips?
O'Neill: First of all you should know your own body and what you look good in. So that when you go into the bridal salon and you're faced with a thousand dresses you can narrow it down very quickly. And actually listen to the sales associates because they're very good at what they do.
When you're in the dress, you should listen to your instincts. A lot of girls tend to listen to the four to five other people that came with them, and at the end of the day you're the one looking in the mirror on your wedding day. There are girls who have a specific idea from when they were very little of what they thought they'd look like on their wedding day, but I think when you put on the right dress and you look in the mirror you'll know exactly that the dress is right for you.