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There’s nothing like slipping into an item of clothing that feels as though it’s been made for you. But when it comes to high-end couture wedding dresses, that’s exactly the end result the designer is after. But finding that perfect wedding gown is no easy task–unless you’re Jennyvi Dizon, who’s known as “the Gown Whisperer” for her uncanny ability to figure out exactly what it is that her clients are looking for in their bespoke gowns. Jen’s designs are truly extraordinary, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a chat to her about how she goes about designing that perfect wedding gown–something she manages each and every time.

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Jen on the journey of couture

Having a custom dress designed is a journey for both the designer and the client, and Jen tell us that it’s one that’s not for everyone. “Before we even start I let them know that the creative process requires me to take some time to get to know exactly what the bride wants.” Fortunately this is where Jen shines: she’s been given the nickname “the Gown Whisperer” for good reason! “Sometimes after just a brief chat I get a real sense of her personality and I end up suggesting something she didn’t even think of but loves,” she says.

Jen may seem like a psychic, but she points out that it’s her background in psychology and analysing people that’s the real key here. “When I was getting my degrees in both fashion and business, the psychology classes really inspired me to try to get into the bride’s head and design things based on both their verbal and non-verbal cues,” she says.  Still, despite this well-honed skill, she has to take care in doing so. “As much as I want to get into a bride’s head, listening to a bride is key,” she says.

Jen also knows how important the visual side of things is for her clients. “Making a prototype of the bride’s dress is essential,” she says. “Not everyone is a visual person and the brides feel so much better knowing that I’am flexible when it comes to making slight changes.” The prototype can also be an effective springboard for launching new ideas. “Sometimes we even come up with some great design ideas that really express the bride’s personality.” Jen emphasises the importance of capturing the bride’s personality in her designs. “That’s the key to a custom gown,” she says. “Essentially, the bride will be wearing a gown that no one else in the world has and we both put a lot of effort into making sure that the design is both unique and suited to her personality.”

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Jen takes us through her design process

So what’s involved in the design process? “The first all-important step is meeting with the bride,” says Jen. “The main part of this appointment is for me to get a feel for a bride’s likes or dislikes. This helps me get ideas, which in turn allows me to start sketching.” Being aware of what makes a bride feels comfortable or uncomfortable guides Jen in the direction that she needs to go. Magazine clippings are also a help. “Using those, I can easily gauge what will work with their body type and combine elements of each,” she says. “Still, whatever the preferred style, when someone comes to me I always stress that I want this gown to express their personality.”

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Comfort

Once the broad ideas for the design have been laid down, Jen turns to issues of comfort. “There are two key issues a bride should consider when designing her dress,” says Jen. “The first is whether there are any parts of her body she’s particularly self-conscious about. Most women have an area of concern that they may not want to accentuate on their wedding day. While in my mind every bride is perfect and shouldn’t worry about these things at all, I’d like to think that having a gown that hides or flatters the area of concern gives the bride that extra confidence when walking down the aisle.”

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Movement

The second issue is that of ease of movement. “One of the first things I ask potential clients is how much are they planning to dance!” says Jen. “Having a twenty foot-long attached train might not be the best choice if the bride’s main priority is to dance the night away.” Still, she points out that a bride can have her cake and eat it, too. “Most of the time, compromises can be made–for example, opting for a four foot train that can be bustled up off the floor.”

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Ideas

Seeking out ideas is also key. This is because most of Jen’s clients come to her after having had no success in finding that elusive gown despite scouring all of the shops in their area. “Most clients come to me with several magazine clippings or pictures of gowns,” she says. But while this is a good start, Jen recommends that brides first find out which silhouettes and styles best suit their shape. “The best advice I can give them is to try on as many wedding gowns as possible and to give me a call when they’ve found the right style. From there I can get a better idea of what to design for them: for example, whether they want an elegant wedding gown that’s classic in style or elaborate in beading, or even a combination of both.”

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Patience

Finally, says Jen, the last component of the design process that impatient brides have to take into account is time. “The amount of time to give a custom gown designer is about 4-6 months,” she says. Brides should also allow for 3-4 fittings of the gown. “Allowing enough time for this means that a bride can take the time in choosing her fabrics, and that she can be picky in choosing the elements that work for her. This allows her to really make her gown hers.” Jen points out that beading can add extra time to the design process. “Depending on how intricate the design of your dress is, beading alone can require between 15-300 hours of labour,” she says.

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Contact Jennyvi Dizon

For more information about Jen’s work, or to get in touch with her about having a custom dress designed, visit her website.

A PS from JennyVi

Hi guys,

I’m in a design competition next Friday, but to win I need you to be there to text in the vote. Tickets are $10, and the show is at Axis Radius, Arizona I have tickets I can reserve for you, and you can pay at the door. I just need a confirmation if you’re coming!

Jen


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