The EsposaCouture creator talks through being immersed in gown making from her childhood, wedding dress trends and the importance of getting it right.
Kristie Romanos has been immersed in bridal couture her whole life. Born into the Romanos family who founded the Middle East based bridal boutiques Esposa Privé, Kristie along with her two sisters Juliana and Jihane bring the best of international luxury and couture bridalwear to the region.
Their Dubai boutique along with the Beirut branch have become the Middle East’s must-visit destination for brides-to-be, offering an exclusive selection of gowns and dresses for the elegant woman who knows a thing or two about luxury.
But Kristie has taken things one step further with her own line of wedding gowns. EsposaCouture comprises of bespoke creations distinguished with luxurious fabrics, and meticulous attention to detail. Inspired by her background in bridal couture, Kirstie specialises in pieces that are designed for the modern woman but have the timeless elegance of classic bridal couture.
The latest collection for 2019 is inspired by sacred love. Floral and leaf patterns are very much in play and designs are deeply influenced by the lotus shape. Dresses float effortlessly with cascading layers of fabrics, exuding a feeling of lightness at all times. There is also intricate embroidery combined with rich lace and layered details, translating the designer’s sophisticated taste with a longing for modernity.
Through deep plunge, strapless, off-the-shoulder, and high neckline cuts weaved with luxurious fabrics, the result is full-on seduction combining craftsmanship with innovation and promising romance and sensuality for the contemporary and fashionable woman.
We caught up with Kristie to discuss her latest collection and why she was so inspired to create wedding gowns.
What do you think today’s woman is looking for in a wedding gown?
The most important element that the bride seeks to find in a wedding dress is to choose the right dress for her shape, personality, character and wedding theme or venue. She should be comfortable and happy and reflect her personality through her dress.
What is your first memory of weddings?
Fashion was always present in my life from an early age. I was born into a family that is very passionate about bridal couture. However, I particularly felt involved in the world of fashion at the age of 16 when I started travelling with my mother to luxury couture markets to buy the top brands. This is where I discovered, not only the latest collections and trends of luxury brands but also my immense love for this field, especially bridal fashion.
Why were you particularly drawn to designing wedding gowns in particular?
When I joined the family business after my studies and career abroad, I felt the need to add my own input, to make a difference somewhere. This is when I started designing dresses based on my clients’ demands, adding this extra something they were desperately looking for. This gradually led to the birth and expansion of Esposacouture, which today is a full bridal line that is being distributed worldwide.
What’s the feeling you get when a bride finds their perfect gown?
To see the happiness in the eyes of a bride when she finds the dress of her dreams is the most beautiful thing we can achieve. Knowing that we have realized the vision she has been dreaming of and contributed to her love story. This is the ultimate aspiration and the strongest testimony of success for me.
How difficult is it to keep creating gowns that are timeless but also follow trends?
Trends are very important since they revolutionise the designs and create something different. However, you can always go for something classic while adding a trendy twist which will create a timeless look.
How would you sum up what you are trying to achieve with EsposaCouture?
I see the future of Esposacouture as a brand that keeps on making a difference in the lives of the people we work with or meet along the way and a brand that continues to influence women. We hope – and we will work hard – to make more and more women happy around the world, and to keep weaving love stories and influencing the bridal industry through a forward-looking vision and a love spreading philosophy.
What can you tell us about your latest 2019 bridal collection?
The Esposacouture 2019 Collection is inspired by Sacred Love. Celebrating love in the purest of its forms, I was inspired by the lotus flower to create pieces that blossom magnificently. Floral and leaf patterns are very much in play, intricately adding my signature style on dresses that exude elegance. Overall, it’s full-on seduction with a myriad of cuts and fabrics that combine craftsmanship with innovation, promising romance and sensuality for the contemporary and fashionable woman.
How difficult is it to keep reinventing your designs?
Adding a modern twist to the classical look is always a good idea. This is why at Esposacouture, we are trying to add the trendy modern elements in a way that will keep the design of the dress a timeless one. And this is done by using bows, capes, sleeves, etc.
When it comes to buying a wedding dress would you recommend made to measure or ready-to-wear?
It really depends on the bride. Sometimes a dress can perfectly fit the bride’s body shape and personality. However, we sometimes have brides who don’t know exactly what they want and who are very modern, and that’s when we advise them to go with the made to measure option where they can create any style in any cut they want.
Are there any particular fabrics or styles you are enjoying working with at the moment?
There are many fabrics – Gazar, Mikado, Chantilly Lace, and Jacquard.
What about dresses that aren’t white or cream – what’s your opinion on that?
Many bridal designers succeed in breaking the rules which say that a wedding dress should be white. And that rule doesn’t always apply to the modern bride. However, to look perfect with coloured dresses, the bride should choose the right colour that’s flattering to her skin tone. I think this trend is a gorgeous idea because not every bride looks great in white.
Are there any bridal trends you’re really enjoying right now?
Geometrics cuts and 3D details on the dress are my favourites.
What can you tell us about the buy and selection of dresses on offer at Esposa Privé?
We make sure that the store holds different styles and cuts of exclusive dresses to satisfy the taste of every woman searching for her look of love.
What guidelines do you follow when choosing dresses for the boutique?
Esposa Privé promises unique diversity in its stores and unparalleled quality of exclusive designs.
How many dresses should a bride try on before finding her perfect gown?
What a wedding dress looks like on the hanger or on a mannequin can be totally different with a real person wearing it! Trying on a selection of wedding gowns in each style will help the bride in deciding which direction she is heading in, be it strapless, full-skirted or empire line for example. In eliminating the styles that she doesn’t like or that don’t work with her body shape, it will help to narrow down the search, saving the bride effort and time.
She should not be afraid of trying on what the consultant suggests even if it is not her idea of the perfect gown at first glance. Many times an experienced consultant can show the bride what will look best on her body. The most important thing is to find the gown that makes her look her absolute best! She would want to accentuate her best features and disguise the areas that are her least favourite.
How do you know when it’s the perfect dress?
When the bride is given the full look of love from the dress, topped with the headpiece and veil, she would be able to imagine herself on her wedding day which will definitely help her in choosing her dress according to what makes her feel comfortable and different.
What’s the biggest challenge you face today in what you do?
Although I grew up in a family that worked in the bridal luxury field and I had the chance to discover this exciting world at a young age, I had my share of challenges in the industry, especially at the beginning of my career. Gaining the trust of clients and graving your own fashion signature is a process that requires time, in an era where competition is rising and digital marketing is unstoppable – and free.
However, leading the growth and expansion of Esposacouture internationally has been a thrilling journey with many beautiful successes. When passion is big enough, nothing can stand in the way of your motivation to accomplish your goals and realize the dreams you’ve always had for yourself.
Do you have a motto or quote that you tell to your brides?
I always tell them that their dress should reflect who they are, they should be happy and comfortable, and they will look effortlessly gorgeous.
Are there any particular gowns or brides that stand out in your memory as proud moments?
I have designed bridal and evening dresses and worked with many celebrities including Nadine Njeim, Amel Bouchoucha, Dana Wolley, Martha Graeff, Mina EL Sheikhly, Bibi, and many other inspiring women.
If you could design a wedding dress for anyone who would it be?
One celebrity that I wish I could have dressed on her wedding day is Grace of Monaco. Her incomparable elegance is a challenge by itself; it makes the idea of designing a bridal style that would match her distinguished look a unique experience that I would have loved to been involved in.