Couturier Tony Ward Discusses His Latest Bridal collection And Creating A 360-Lifestyle Experience 

Lindsay Judge   |   16-06-2024

Tony Ward transformed his late father Elie Wards Beirut-based couture house into an international brand when he took over the reigns.

Expanding his fathers vision globally, the young designer soon captured the attention of royal families, celebrities and esteemed clients, captivated by his feminine designs that combine innovation with the finest craftsmanship. Before taking over his fathers business, Ward graduated from L’École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and deepened his knowledge of Couture techniques at Dior, Chloé, and Lanvin for seven years in Paris, learning from the greatest before returning to his home country.

Today he is a master in his own right and his haute couture and ready-to-wear designs, which are presented throughout the fashion week calendar in Paris, have become instantly recognisable for their timeless yet modern appeal. While his headquarters remains in Lebanon, today, Tony Ward is very much an international brand and this is only just the beginning. Here we find out more about the latest collection and the designers vision of creating a 360 lifestyle brand. 

What is your vision for Tony Ward today?

My vision is to keep walking with the Tony Ward family by my side, to keep creating, to keep filling in the blank pages, and most importantly of all, to keep my fathers legacy. The sky is the limit!

What can you tell us about your latest collection?

For this collection, and for the first time, we made the decision to merge our two Bridal lines under one main collection in order to cater to more styles and tones of voice. The challenge was to create an elevated style for the simple bride and to tone down and modernise the extravagant gowns for the other style of bride… All while keeping the same DNA of intricate flowery craftsmanship and innovative techniques, translating the rare bloombehind this Pollen Dance.

Your designs always have a sense of beauty and elegance. Do you think women still appreciate elegance today? 

I always listen to my clients needs and being elegant and standing out in her unique allure is something I will never let go of while designing for her… especially when it comes to the Bridal collection.

Tell us a little about your design process and the choice of fabrics. 

For this bridal collection, I was inspired by the rare blooms of flowers that we dont see so often. My ateliers integrated them into classical bridal cuts with lots of savoir-faireto make them stand out, yet still blend in. For the choice of fabrics, we used silk magnolia, taffeta, French lace, silk tulle, and organza in different white hues. 

Who is the woman you design for?

She is the woman of today: A modern woman with an edge, yet forever a romantic.

Can you share a little about the brand in the Middle East and why it is an important market for you? 

I always say that this market is my source of inspiration and my driving force for success in the rest of the world. I love the regions sophisticated taste, their way of dressing up, and this modern orientalism that we see more of each day. The women in this market have a special vibe that keeps inspiring me!

What else is in the pipeline for this year?

Many things, we never stop! We were just at the Cannes Film Festival, then we will be in Paris for Haute Couture Week, which is coming early this year. We will also present the ready-to-wear collection during New York and Paris fashion weeks. 

Tell us about the brand on a global level and where we can expect more growth over the coming years.

We are present in over 30 countries, with the USA, KSA and Southeast Asia as our primary markets. Our growth has always been fuelled by exploring new territories before anyone else, so we expect more growth from emerging markets such as India, Thailand and Mexico.

Tell us a little about some of your highlight pieces for this year.

The highlight of the Spring Summer 2024 Couture collection was the show opener; the piano dress. The structure of the dress, its circular shape, and the blend of black, silver and white, gave this beautiful visual illusion of a piano, or even a soccer ball for some! It actually went viral after being worn by Janelle Monae for the NFL Honors, on point with the theme of the event. 

In my ready-to-wear collection, I wanted to introduce daywear pieces to cover my clientele from day to night. The highlight was a black structured blazer contrasted with a big white collar. It was worn by the iconic Youssra for her latest film premiere in Dubai. 

Whats the biggest challenge you face as a designer today?

To keep going despite what is happening in the world and to control whats uncontrollable.

What inspires you, and how do you continue to be inspired?

I get inspired by literally everything that surrounds me – but mostly, I get inspired by my trips and the people I meet. I always come back with a new idea to share with my designers and a set of sketches. 

How would you like to see Arab designers supported and represented globally? 

I would love to see Arab designers supporting each other. We tend to travel to Paris, New York, and Los Angeles and shine there. But were missing a lot because we do not have a federation that strengthens us in our region. 

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Live every moment as if its your last. 

What would you still like to achieve with the brand that you havent done yet?

Growing beyond fashion, I envision Tony Ward as a lifestyle brand. I would love to explore how the aesthetics, values, style, identity and stories that make the House stand out could be translated into other types of products and experiences.