09 Mar Designing Dresses for Real Women: Tony Mentel Creative Director
It was my first time at the Bridal Buyer event and I had the pleasure of meeting the fantastic designers behind the bridal gowns that we love to bring into our store. At the Justin Alexander stand, I was fortunate to meet the wonderful, award-winning designer, Tony Mentel who has been the creative director of the brand for 13 years and is the magic behind the gorgeous Justin Alexander gowns that we all love. After interviewing him about his creative process and favourite designs, I realised the reasons behind why JA head hunted him and why so many of our brides-to-be opt for his dresses.
“It’s making them confident and feel really good in their body – that’s something I really love”
“It’s about empowering women and making them feel fabulous.”
Mentel came from a family of tailors and clothing manufacturers, one of whom worked with Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. Mentel inherited the family’s natural gift of design and went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, and began his career freelancing for various designers including Jaeger and Karen Millen.
Mentel worked abroad for several years, gaining experience from Italy and Germany. In the interview, he describes how he is greatly inspired by his travels, books and things that are close to home like the Chelsea Flower Show. Most importantly, however, he outlined that the brides he has met and worked with throughout his career have helped him to learn about how women want to dress and feel at their wedding. So not only is he incredibly creative, but he also understands the sentimental and emotional aspects that are associated with wedding gowns. That is why he delivers the most gorgeous and awe-inspiring designs that allow women to find what they are looking for and feel amazing.
Why is Justin Alexander Different?
Justin Alexander is well known for its fantastic construction, great fit and quality. After browsing the collection and seeing that the dresses are gorgeously unique and different to the current and previous collections in the past, I asked Tony what it is that makes the latest collection different. It seems like it’s so easy to fall into the trap of creating almost duplicate dresses that revolve around the perennial tradition of lace, white, florals and ivory, however, Mentel hand-makes the first of every design which gives him the freedom of making changes to the initially drawn designs.
“We constantly develop our own fabrics, design our own laces and beadings. We have our own colours and our won textures… and with that combination…and that hand made feel… it might not be just one piece of lace, it might be three different types of lace that are combined and make it more special.”
Have a look at the JA Spring/Summer 2017 campaign below for a preview of the current collection. If you want to know more, give us a call on 01473 213313.