Sandra of Elvi Design makes the most delicious lacey creations, from her design and production studio just out of Perth in Western Australia. The beautiful laces and fabrics she uses to create her vintage inspired gowns, her sense of style and care taken with the designs, ensure that each bride glows on her wedding day. Let’s join Sandra to read her thoughts on Elvi Design.
What led you on the path to designing bespoke wedding dresses? Have you always been creative?
I think it’s in my blood! My Mum, Birgitta, and my late grandmother, Elvi, are talented seamstresses. From an early age I was hand-sewing outfits for my Barbie dolls and teddy bears, then in my early teens I would help my Mum design and create my dancing costumes. It only seemed natural to study fashion when I left school.
Is your eye for design, and what suits a particular bride, an innate talent, or is it a learned skill?
It’s a bit of both. I have a lot of fun with my brides, I like to get to know their personality and the style of wedding they are hosting. I then take note of their figure and what they feel comfortable wearing before suggesting a particular design. I think it’s a talent to deal with brides in this manner but it takes experience to know what designs suit each particular body shape.
Image by Merge Photography
Do you have a design or business mentor whom you admire?
My business mentor is my Dad. He runs a building company and has a really good understanding of small business. He always call me up to check on how everything is going and to give me some advice.
Image by Leisl Cheney Photography
What is the design process when a bride approaches you to design her wedding dress? How long does it take from start to a finished bridal gown?
A bride will contact me anywhere between 6 to 18 months prior to her wedding. I offer a complimentary design consultation, so we’ll meet up and discuss her wedding gown ideas. A bride will often to try on a number of our samples to get an idea of what suits their figure. I will then sketch up a design for them and offer suitable fabrics.
A bride can expect 4 – 5 fittings before finishing up with their bespoke wedding gown. Our brides enjoy having the opportunity to be involved in every step of the process.
Image by CJ Williams Photography
What are your design influences when designing a dress?
I’m influenced by the client. I take into account where she is getting married, what style of wedding they are having and what time of year it is. From these details, I can help them select a style of gown and then I can suggest suitable fabric/lace.
Are you known for a certain ‘look’ or ‘style’?
We are well known for vintage inspired wedding gowns. We specialize in tea-length gowns, lace wedding gowns and wedding dresses with sleeves.
Is there a trend towards more colours in wedding dresses (be it bold fabric or in subtle beading)?
Yes and we love it! We like using a slightly different shade under an ivory lace, it enhances the pattern and texture of the lace. We’ve even heard from one of our suppliers that they are creating more ‘subtle colours’ in bridal colours for this purpose.
Image by Christine Lim Photography
Can you design outfits for the bridesmaids and flowergirls once the bridal gown has been decided on (to provide a cohesive look)?
Absolutely! We often create flowergirls dresses to compliment the bride. We are also able to design and create bridesmaid gowns if we are given plenty of time.
Are you able to design for brides who don’t live in WA?
It’s possible but it can be a bit tricky as we need to meet in person to fit the bride. We currently have a bride from the Northern Territory and another from Victoria. It works well if they are visiting family and can see us at the beginning and end of their trip. As you can imagine, this can take some planning!
Where is your design studio?
Our design and production studio is located in Kalamunda, in the Perth Hills. It’s only 30 minutes from the CBD.
I love living in Western Australia because……
It’s such a big state so it has a lot to offer. You could head north and experience the amazing Ningaloo Reef or head south to visit the Margaret River wine region. I love the laidback lifestyle and great weather.
Image by Still Love Photography
My choice for a honeymoon or short break destination in WA would be…..
Denmark. A beautiful beachside town set amongst the forest in the greater southern region of Western Australia. It’s just so relaxing and the scenery is magical.
Thank you Sandra for giving us an insight into your business. To find out more about Sandra and Elvi Design please visit her website
Headshot courtesy of Sandra at Elvi Design