Martine Harris is the Chief Creative Officer of Essense Designs, the award-winning fashion house behind bridal labels Essense of Australia, Stella York and Martina Liana, as well as bridesmaid label Sorella Vita. We chatted with Martine to see what she is excited about in bridal for 2019.
Martine and husband Wayne Harris founded Essense Designs over 20 years ago in Perth, Australia, with the mission to exceed brides' expectations by designing, manufacturing and wholesaling wedding gown collections with fashion-forward styling, superb fit, couture finishing and extraordinary customer service. The company has grown to serve a global customer base with offices in the United States, Australia, Europe and the UK.
What makes designing wedding gowns so special?
For the bride, her wedding dress is more than just a piece of clothing; it’s an experience. To help a bride feel beautiful on her wedding day is something that still gives me chills! A bride’s wedding day is one of the most special and important days of her life, so to be part of it—and to be able to design the perfect gown for her—is just so incredible.
What are brides of today looking for?
With so many influences, today’s brides are looking for a little bit of everything. There are brides who are in search of runway-inspired looks—think cutouts, high necklines, strappy features and romantic florals. And then there are brides that are looking for something a little more traditional—sweetheart necklines, simple fabrics and classic silhouettes. The fantastic thing about my new collection is that it caters to all brides. There are simple silhouettes, ornate details, sexy styles and romantic elements that come together to create an all-around appealing collection.
What makes the Martina Liana wedding dress collection stand out from the rest?
As I’ve created my wedding gown collections, it’s been very important to me to focus on the small details that help the gowns feel special and unique to the brides wearing them. Not only are the gowns constructed impeccably, the details of the gowns are mindfully applied and designed to be both beautiful and functional. Additionally, all Martina Liana gowns are available to be customized to a bride’s liking. Many times this will be lengthening the train, adding sleeves or amplifying beadwork, but no matter what changes the bride wants to make, we are able to help her feel like her gown was made specifically for her.
What are the bridal gown trends you see being popular in 2019?
2019 will be the year of subtle sexiness! For so long, overtly sexy gowns have been popular, but now we’re seeing that brides want to show off their sexy side in more subtle ways. This will show up in sheer details, disappearing straps and ruching that shows off the bride’s body in all the right places.
What is a piece of advice you’d give a bride searching for her gown?
Show up to your appointment with an open mind! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a bride show up to her appointment completely adamant about not wanting a particular silhouette, and that’s the exact silhouette she ends up saying “yes” to. You may not think you want to wear a ballgown, or lace, or beading on your wedding day, but I always tell brides to try them on anyway—because you never know what “the one” looks like!
To find a Martina Liana retailer near you, visit the store locator!