It’s wedding season, so if you’ve said yes, then fear not: you can still say yes to finding the dress of your dreams in spite of social distancing. We asked long-established bridal gown designer Michelle Roth how brides can plan, function, and even flourish these days, since she knows a thing or two about rising to a challenge.
Michelle Roth is a third generation wedding gown designer and was steeped in the industry from birth, if not through her DNA. Raised in Sydney, Australia, she’s a New Yorker by dint of having lived here all of her adult life. She remembers 9-11 and how it impacted her brides and their weddings. Her parents and grandparents lived through the Holocaust to forge a successful bridal gown brand that celebrates love, life, joy, kinship, respect and laughter. She knows you want to find the dress that suits your unique personality, that speaks about you. She knows how to design it, deliver it, and how to reassure you every step of the way… right until you reach the top of your aisle.
9 Questions for Michelle Roth – and A Few of Her Gorgeous Dresses. (see the others at MichelleRoth.com).
1. Q: In terms of choosing a dress right now, where does a bride even begin?
A: Choosing the dress that reflects who you are can be a stressful process if you over think it or complicate it with too much ‘expert’ advice. From my experience, the best way to start the process is with your heart; ask yourself the question ‘how do I want to feel on my wedding day?’ Once you have decided on how you want to feel, your mission is to find the dress to match. A good starting point is Pinterest; start by creating mood boards. I love Pinterest, and have created lots of mood boards for Brides to follow and to inspire you. Find dresses and designers that you like, decide on the dress shape you prefer, your budget, and once you have a definite date then book an appointment at Kleinfeld, as my dresses are exclusive there. I would be thrilled to see you at one of my upcoming trunk shows. https://www.pinterest.com.au/micheller2318/
2. Q: Is There an Upside to Facetime and Zoom consultations and fittings?
I think there are great advantages to these ways of communication for example, friends and family that normally are too far away to weigh in can be there remotely.Also, you have a chance to see what you’ll look like in a wedding video and the wedding photographs.
As an optimist I believe there is an upside to everything and although I prefer to meet my Brides at my trunk shows and face to face, the wonder with Zoom is the intimacy that is created between me and the bride.
3. Q: How do you work with brides right now?
My focus right now is making sure my brides feel supported, both in terms of service and communication – and so Zoom and Facetime at this moment are the norm, as well as lots of emails and phone calls. However, I am also very conscious that it’s important to support the morale of wedding couples, many of whom have had to postpone their plans. So I have stepped up my social media and Q+As to get the message out there that whilst our sensibilities and perspectives have undoubtedly changed, their wedding day, whilst maybe in a different format or season, will happen. History proves that after world events such as this, weddings always become the focal point for the celebration of life and love, and a touchstone for normalcy.
4. Q: How many dresses do brides typically try on before they choose or find the one they love?
The answer to this question is unique to the bride, there is no ‘usual.’ What I can tell you is that every bride knows when she has found the dress that belongs specifically to her. Some brides will burst into tears and others just feel a great sense of happiness (and most probably relief), but it’s always the same: they just know! It is this pivotal moment with brides that has kept me in bridal all this time!
5. Q: What was the most unusual wedding you can recall?
Weddings are all unique and these days, with couples deep sea diving in their wedding outfits, it’s par for the course to have an unusual wedding. However, in terms of a dress, it would have to be the bride who wanted a bright red wedding dress. She was getting married in an old theatre in London, as her father-in-law was a playwright. I was all for it!
Real bride / Style: Teal
6. Q: How is Michelle Roth different from your brother Henry Roth‘s bridal gown brand?
Henry and I are similar in many ways because we have the same family heritage and I can often see my family’s influence in our gowns, which is really wonderful. However, our dresses differ because we have a different design process. For example, I always start my design process with fabric, and as soon as I lay my hands on a beautiful piece of crepe or lace, my mind starts popping with ideas. I also have different muses who inspire me. All of these factors and many more result in us having different design signatures.
7. Q: What is it that brides are worried about the most right now, and how do you reassure them?
Like all of us, brides are in a holding pattern and having to cope with uncertainty right now – and being in a holding pattern is nerve-wracking. In some cases, they may have also have had to change dates or downsize, which is very stressful to manage. The most important thing right now is to keep the communication highway open, and thankfully I was able to reassure my brides very quickly that all their dresses were safe and on time.
Michelle Roth Custom Gown
8. Q: How do you see weddings changing in the future, with or without a pandemic and the civil unrest in the U.S.?
Weddings will become more meaningful and more important than ever in the coming years, not just to brides and grooms but to society. I have been galvanized by this crucial fight for racial equality in all aspects of life. It has garnered global attention toward the critical necessity for change. We have all had an opportunity to reflect on what is truly important in life and most of us agree that family, friendship, and an encompassing community carry so much more significance in this changing landscape.
Michelle Roth Veil 1932
9. Q: Is there a silver lining to being a bride-to-be right now?
On a human level, during these last 3 months we have all had to stop in our tracks to really consider what is important and what takes priority in our lives, both personally and as citizens in our larger world. What changes can we effect that really matters to us personally, and thereby the way we interact on a daily basis? This has a different interpretation and result for every person. Humanity and health above all else – this is the “silver lining:” to really listen and open our eyes, which has repercussions in our everyday interactions. On a wedding planning level, rather than getting caught up in the stress that organizing a wedding can bring, brides are more focused on the meaning of their future and how precious it is to be with family and friends, amidst a country piercingly poised to make choices for change.
Michelle Roth / Style: Rhoda
Michelle Roth / Style: Koral
Michelle Roth / Style: Hadden
Michelle Roth / Style: Gala