I’m not sure if there’s anything more breathtaking than a wedding dress that’s been created from scratch using the world’s finest fabrics and is exactly what the bride envisioned wearing on her special day. We love that the talented team at d’Italia kickstarts this process for brides, and without the designer fee. This is also perfect for the majority of us who don’t fit perfectly into off-the-rack styles or for those who want something a little different. d’Italia has a huge range of designer laces and silks in their Melbourne store, plus dedicated couturiers who can turn your dream dress into a reality. Today we’re chatting to Shuchi Tabeck, one of d’Italia’s incredible bridal consultants. She runs us through the process from selecting fabrics to final fittings, and how they provide an expert service along the way.

Tell us about d’Italia…
The multi award winning d’Italia is Australia’s most beautiful bridal fabric store, that specialises in a range of services. Our main speciality is making one-off bridal couture, mother of the bride/groom couture and haute couture for any type of women’s wear our client desire.

For customers that are talented dressmakers themselves or have their own seamstress can just come in and select from our exquisite designer fabrics from Italy and top-quality bridal silks and French laces. Each season we carry all the new season French laces and fabrics that are in trend, so our brides and customers do not miss out when it comes to designing their dream wedding dress.

Where do you source your fabrics?
We source our fabrics from Florence, Italy and lace mills from France and India.

How do you stay up to date on trends?
We stay up to date through researching new trends, following the latest blogs and our favourite fashion designers.

Image: Corey Wright Photographer

What styles of wedding dresses are your fabrics turned into most often?
We design and make virtually all types of wedding dresses, from the most intricate corseted lace applique gown to the simplest tailored gown or suit. We can provide the right fabrics and dressmaker for any design our clients are after.

Tell us about a few of your favourites and why you love them…
When you are working so many beautiful fabrics and laces, it’s hard to tell which design I love most? However, having said that, I do know I have done my job properly when I assist customers with matching the right design and fabrics to suit their body type and personality, and it makes my job worthwhile to see how happy they are with the end results.

What’s a typical day at work look like for you?
Typical day at work starts with booking in design consultations for potential clients to come and meet our lovely team of bridal consultants. Consulting brides, mother of bride/groom and so forth with their designs and referring each client to one of our amazing couturiers. We work by appointments, so appointments can be lengthy process can take 1 to 2 hours or more, depending on the design. Then there are all the not so exciting admin duties we must be on top of!

Images: Alma Photography

What’s your showroom like?
Our beautiful store in Malvern is a piece of heaven for any bride or designer. If it is your first time coming in you will be in awe…

Here at our store we have on display all our stunning designer fabrics and French laces. We have a very organised system so our clients can be free to touch and feel the fabrics and laces during their consultations with us.

We also have examples of our couturier’s work in our store and on all our social media sites.

You offer one-on-one consultations. What usually happens in those sessions?
During our one on one design consultations we go through in detail the client’s ideas, inspirations, then we sketch and put all their ideas together and fine tune the design. Once we know the basic shape then the fun begins with selecting the most suitable fabrics, colours and laces for the particular design our client is after.

Does a bride need to know exactly what she wants in terms of style or are your dressmakers able to make suggestions?
Absolutely not! The bride does not need to know exactly what she wants. We do need the client to have done some research and bring in their inspirations and ideas as a starting point. However, the designing process is something we can guide people with according to their body shape and personality. The team of our couturiers are top notch designers and we hold our client’s hand all during the fittings.

Image: Ephemeral Creative

How long before her big day should a bride source from d’Italia?
We do final finishing up close to the wedding but the process usually starts 12 to 18 months in advance. As everything is hand made and designed in Melbourne, fabrics, especially laces can take up three to four months when it needs to be made and hand beaded from scratch from Europe.

After selecting the fabric, what’s the process with your couturiers? How many fittings will a bride have etc?
With our couturiers our clients have unlimited number of fittings. It will be up to the individual person and what design they are going for to determine the number of fittings required.  We don’t charge extra for fittings or alterations, it’s all included in the price given.

What about veils? Why is custom made the way to go?
Our d’Italia bridal couturiers do make absolutely beautiful custom-made bridal headpieces and veils. Many girls tend to use the elements from their lace fabrics to design a matching headpiece. Custom made veils are a better option as the tulle fabrics we carry are really good quality bridal tulles. Not like the cheap plastic tulles you may find with ready made veils. Also, we find some bride’s struggle to find a ready-made veil to match the colour or lace of their wedding dress. Having it custom made gives people the option to design their own.

Images: Sarah Jane VR

You also assist with mother of the bride dresses. What’s your main advice for the mother of the bride when it comes to choosing the best type of attire for the occasion?
I absolutely love helping mothers with their outfit. Mothers are a lot of fun and they also want to feel and look special on the big day. The best advice I always give is to always feel comfortable, confident in what you choose to wear. You can still look fabulous if you stay true to yourself and your body type. Just because you are certain body shape or age, does not mean you cannot look stylish.

What trends have you noticed for mothers of the bride in 2019?
The trends I have noticed for mothers this year are a lot of vibrant colours for summers, and for winter weddings mothers are drawn toward the textured patterned brocades and jacquards.

Can you share any lovely stories or testimonials from brides you’ve helped?
We receive so many lovely testimonials from our d’Italia brides everyday. Just visit our Instagram and Facebook page. Many lovely brides send us their photos showing off the end result of them in their custom made and designed wedding dress on their very special day!

Most memorable was a delightful lady from New Zealand, who designed her very own red haute couture wedding dress. She got married in Italy and her photos were absolutely beautiful. She selected the most stunning French red corded lace. Every visit she made to Melbourne, she made it a point to include me in every decision that needed to be made, as she said I was a big part with the design process and she could not have made it without my guidance. It was lovely to see her fittings and her dress coming to life. Her photos are again on our Instagram page.

Image: Gab Connole Photography

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt after working with brides for so long?
The most important thing I have learnt after working with brides for so long is ALWAYS important to listen to what the bride is after and really take the time and go that extra mile to put their dream wedding dress together.

Even though we deal with brides on a daily basis and certain designs do get repetitive, we still must not forget that the experience is still new and exciting and that they are doing this for the first time. It shouldn’t be stressful, or difficult, as a bridal consultant we are there to make the process pleasant right from the beginning until the dress is completed.

What do you love most about your job?
What I love most about my job is the fact that each day is different. My job is never boring. It’s always exciting to help a new client with a brand-new design. Even if someone walks in with the same ideas, when they walk out the door, the design is always very unique! And that I love most, because why should people compromise and wear a design someone else has worn before, especially on their wedding day!

Thank you Shuchi for sharing d’Italia’s story and services with us today! Your job as a bridal consultant sounds extremely rewarding (and also a lot of fun). Looking to get your wedding dress custom made? Or something for your bridesmaid, mum or future mother-in-law? Check out the beautiful range of fabrics and find out more about d’Italia over on their website.

Headshot courtesy of d’Italia