The Bride Wore Black…

Signor Mont dresses Sophie Cachia Shaw, also known as The Young Mummy.

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When I first met Sophie I instantly knew we would soon have a special gown in the making. The brief: a black bridal gown. My reaction: Alleluiah! So refreshing to meet a bride that could throw caution to the wind and was prepared to do something different, but more importantly, a bride who did it exactly the way she wanted to.

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After Sophie came with some initial ideas I sketched some concepts for her, incorporating these ideas and my own. We came to a silhouette that emphasized her assets and not only suited her body but her personality. To put Sophie in a strapless tulled mermaid gown would’ve been wrong on every level.

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In terms of detailing, Sophie wanted something with a little ‘wow factor’. As well as sourcing a heavily beaded lace for her, I suggested we incorporate leather throughout the gown to add dimension and depth. This added further visual interest and an unexpected, modern touch. The fact that Sophie didn’t flinch in the slightest at my suggestion of leather confirmed to me that she was prepared to take a risk and trust the process.

Photo 24-08-2015 6 03 19 pm As we worked through the initial fittings we refined the fit on the toile (a mock-up gown made from calico) and ensured the lines of the gown were placed perfectly to accentuate each of Sophie’s curves. Once the gown was then constructed in the actual silk fabrics, the ‘marathon fittings’ began.

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At Signor Mont, we drape the lace on the bride. Although this takes some time, it allows us to best contour the body and ensure that the lines and patterns of the lace truly frame each client’s body. This is the beauty of bespoke. It is made only for you. The curves match yours. No matter how hard you try, the gown can never be replicated exactly. Every leaf, crest, motif or flower is strategically placed whether it is to enlarge or reduce the appearance of the bust, cinch the waist visually or frame the hips.

Photo 10-10-2015, 12 25 31 PMAt each of the draping fittings we would also discuss styling options such as hair, makeup and shoes, trying various options and photographing them so we could reflect on them later. I sourced 2 veil options for Sophie, one a modern cage net veil and the second a vintage French silk netting however once we tried these we opted for a cleaner, fresher look without either. It is this added step in the Signor Mont service that ensures our brides always hit the mark with their styling, as Sophie did so perfectly.

Photo 10-10-2015, 7 06 09 PM Sophie’s gown incorporated a full corset structure as well as 100% silk inside and out. Each of the pieces of lace was cut and meticulously hand sewn in place, as was the leather paneling. The flouncy skirt incorporated triple volume so that Sophie’s walk would be striking and the gown would flick open dramatically in trumpet shapes as she moved. The closure of the gown was 50 leather covered buttons, made locally from the leather in Sophie’s gown.

Photo 27-09-2015, 12 50 36 AM With countless hours of hand finishing, Sophie’s gown was entirely made in our Brunswick atelier. There is no hiding our work space from our brides, we take pride in the fact that couture is art and we are artisans, tirelessly creating each piece with love and attention to detail.

Photo 10-10-2015, 5 19 20 PM On the day of the wedding, as with every Signor Mont bride, I personally delivered the gown and dressed Sophie myself. This is another aspect of Signor Mont that sets us apart. Every gown is a piece of us and we want to be part of the day. Our brides are our muses and it’s only natural we want to be there to see them in all their glory on their most special of days.

Photo 10-10-2015, 5 19 37 PM Sophie was in essence the perfect client. Strong, independent and she knew her style and her body innately. She had an incredible amount of trust in the process and at every stage she’d repeat ‘I trust you’ when I would seek her feedback on aspects of the gown. As I would drape on her for hours at a time, this hard-working woman would be tirelessly multitasking, blogging, Instagramming and kicking goals in a hundred different ways, as she tends to do so well.

12096334_992779294112044_6473156421092750293_n The result was the most spectacular gown which captured the core of Sophie’s style with a distinctly Signor Mont flavour. Timeless yet edgy and an heirloom of the future.  I am honored that Sophie chose Signor Mont and loved every minute of working with her.

12074753_992771697446137_2746326444283333293_nWishing Sophie, Jaryd and little Bobby a lifetime of happiness, it was a blast being part of their magical day!

SM xx

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5 Things Every Bride Needs To Hear

There are two ways to look at a wedding gown. It’s either a dress you’ll only wear once, kind of a waste of money, or it’s the most important gown you’ll ever wear, your most definitive wardrobe choice ever. Obviously at Signor Mont, our views are in line with the latter. So below are a few messages we have for brides that we think are a must before embarking on the hunt for the perfect gown.

1)  Forget your dream gown.

So many girls say “I already know what dress I’m having” when they are waiting for that question to be popped. This is one of the key mistakes many brides make when beginning their search for ‘the dress’. You cannot know what your dream gown looks like. If you’ve seen a picture of a dress you love, then there’s every chance you’ll see a new picture next week that you like even more. Tastes change. Fashions fade. The bridal gown process can last a year or more, and what you love today may be offensive and dated to you in a year’s time, especially now in the age of Instagram, where fashion evolves at lightning speed. So what do you do then? Take inspiration but keep an open mind. Think of the things you do love about gowns that you’ve seen but remember that most gowns can’t be recreated (and shouldn’t). If you love a gown with volume or a particular style of detailing, use this as inspiration rather than the whole gown.

2)  Honesty is everything

You need people who will be honest to help you with the hunt for the perfect gown. Anybody can say lovely things and feel all warm and fuzzy about trying on gowns or meeting with designers but you need to know what will work for you and what won’t. Whether you are a flawless self-loving goddess or you hate aspects of your body you need an objective eye to tell you what looks best and what doesn’t. So many girls love gowns that are wrong for them, sheer panels on saggy busts, curves in the most unflattering places, details that draw attention to the least impressive parts of the body. Not to mention silhouettes that shorten and widen women. No matter what silhouette you like, remember you must keep an open mind. If you only try on mermaid style gowns you’ll never have a point of comparison.

3) You are unique

You are one of a kind in every way. At Signor Mont, we celebrate this. Every bridal gown should be one of a kind, like the person wearing it, for so many reasons. The curves of a gown should enhance your own shape. The lace detailing should play up your assets. The silhouette should best compliment your taste and figure. The style of the gown should speak to the core of your being. If you are a trendy, modern woman, why would you look like every other traditional bride? The thought of walking into a shop and buying a pre-made gown baffles me.  How can it possibly be the right shape? How can the placement of the detailing contour your body? These are all things that bespoke couture caters for.

3)  Trust the process

I stumbled across a quote that, to me, embodies the most important message a bride needs to hear: “Give them what they never knew they wanted”. Think of all the most inspiring gowns you’ve seen. What do you love about them? Probably that they were different. Would you have imagined this yourself? Probably not. Trusting a designer, an expert in their field is important. This is the difference between a dressmaker and a designer. Have an idea of your style, have an idea of your aesthetic and the feel of your wedding and let them drive the rest. It would be like going to a restaurant and telling the chef how best to cook each meal if you didn’t. Also, get rid of all that anxiety about a dress not looking ‘bridal’. If you are at your own wedding , I’m fairly certain everyone will know that you’re the bride. What would be worse would be everyone thinking you looked like a typical bride. To me, that’s the problem with the entire bridal industry. If we had a dollar for every strapless mermaid bride that walked down the aisle we’d all be filthy rich!

4)  Styling is as important as the dress.

We’ve all seen it. Beautiful dress, awful styling. Veils aren’t for everyone. Not everyone looks nice with their hair in a chignon, some people look far too casual with their hair down. They might have a beautiful dress, then go for a ‘statement bouquet’ that destroys everything. You need all the elements to work together in harmony. Sometimes, a classic gown needs an edgy hairstyle. Sometimes everything needs to be classic in style to continue the story. If you’re going avant-garde, a veil might undo all the modernity. There’s no hard and fast answer but the best tip would be to rely on the professionals to help. That’s why with every Signor Mont bridal gown we offer an inclusive styling service. When we create each gown, it becomes a part of us, and we want you to look the best you can on the big day, in every way possible from the gown to the hair and flowers. The gown should tell a story and we want to be a core part of this story.

5)  The process is just as important as the product.

With bespoke gowns, it’s about more than the gown. It’s the provenance. The background. You know that it’s been made for you. You’ve been there from the inception and at every stage you’ve seen it come to life. The lines contour your body, the shapes compliment your curves. The designer has put their blood, sweat and tears into the gown and it reflects the both yourself and them. It’s a part of both of you. And on your wedding day, you can hold your head up high as you stun your guests, knowing that you are dressed in a gown that has captured the essence of true couture. Yours and never to be repeated.

Hopefully we’ve helped open your mind when embarking on the journey to finding ‘the gown’. If you take one message away from this post, let it be these words from the photographer Cecil Beaton:

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.

Signor Mont xx

 

 

 

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If the shoe fits….

We know it can be hard to find bridal shoes that aren’t satin-covered and horrific so here’s a guide to some standard and some not-so-standard shoes that we love! We’ll keep adding to this page as we find more! Tag us on instagram @signormontcouture or email any others you’ve seen that you think we might love to info@signormont.com.au!

Click on the images to shop the look…

Giuseppe ZanottiLUG673_in_xlGianmarco Lorenzi

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Giambattista Valli

Melissa x Vivienne Westwood

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ACNE Studios

Charlotte OlympiaDolce and Gabbana

 

Invitation love…

Here’s a selection of all things stationery we love at Signor Mont. Raw, organic, embossed, black tones, gold foiling, florals, wax seals, calligraphy and a few other things that we just can’t get enough of! Enjoy!

(Images via Pinterest)

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A Lesson On Luxury

How fortunate we are in this day and age. Instagram, Facebook, social media. Everything at our fingertips! Gone are the days we had to wait months to see what the major fashion houses were sending down the catwalks. Now, it’s instant. Yet with all this access to information, I have never felt more at odds with the current direction in bridal trends. The words ‘luxury’, ‘elegance’ and ‘style’ are thrown around by every ‘blogger’ and ‘stylist’, yet I see very little actual refinement. So today’s task for me is to give a little lesson on style.

I’m Italian. I was born in Australia, but I have essentially been saturated in Italian culture all my life. My parents were migrants, and my grandparents. They abandoned their Italian villages some 50 to 60 years ago in search of a better life for them and their families, and this is exactly what they found. So here we are, three or four generations on and myself and my extended family, and hundreds of thousands of other migrants’ families are living a comfortable, financially secure life in Melbourne. Yet there is something I can’t help but be bothered by. Our lives have improved. We have acquired wealth and education that our descendants would have only dreamed of. So why then, is there such a lack of style amongst our generation, in particular when it comes to evening and bridal trends? Why all the glitter and sequins? Why all the fake tan and exposed skin? Why the tacky hair down with spiral curls and weddings with white flowers and crystal chandeliers from entry to exit? I have a theory.

It all stems from our migrant ancestors. They had very little, often nothing. Food was a luxury and their lives were the simplest of simple. They dreamed of things like houses large enough for their family, meals that had meat and that they could find paid work in the town. What hard lives they had. If only they knew how fortunate their families would become down the track. Their values and morals were so strong, and even though they had very little, their faith, their family connectedness, their sense of community were astounding. So as the generations have evolved, these amazing values have filtered down to us today. That love of celebration, family, community, it lives on through us. What a lucky bunch we are to have such heart.

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Another thing that has passed down is the longing for the ‘finer’ things. With our descendants’ longing for a comfortable life has also come a longing for wealth and ‘glamour’ in our generations. Our grandparents and great grandparents couldn’t have it, but we can! So the solution? We want it all. Everything. And this is the problem.

Yes, we have reasonable wealth. Yes, we have disposable incomes. Yes, we have access to finance and education and great jobs and careers. This doesn’t mean we need to show it all off. The biggest sign of a lack of class is the need to show excess. You can afford a fully sequined dress? Congratulations. So can most people in Melbourne. You can look as tanned as a Grecian goddess and have long tresses of curled hair to your bottom? Good for you, so can anyone walking into that affordable beauty salon. We have access to everything. So what is the true meaning of luxury today, in these amazing times of abundance? Restraint. Simple as that.

You walk into the cheapest of ‘boutiques’. What will you find? Most likely lace, sequins, shiny fabrics. These are no longer commodities. They have filtered down to the bottom of the fashion food chain. And wedding styling, my biggest worry. All these weddings plastered over the internet. Masses of white flowers vomited over the gawdiest of function venues. Crystal chandeliers sprayed around like confetti. Tiered cakes that look like buildings covered with white, tacky sugar flowers and patterns. These over-the-top, excessive, un-inspiring events, to me, are the antonym of chic.f535bf42396d5dee8c18bd6fa56ee2f9

We have evolved enough to know that we can dream big. These days, whatever you want, if you try hard enough, you can have. So such excess is, to me unnecessary. The way to show luxury is to know when to stop. To show depth and flair. To understand that less is more. We are not our poor ancestors. We have no need to show our riches. In fact, the opposite is true, the more we flaunt it, the less style we truly omit. There’s this discussion I had a few years ago with an old friend that really helped me understand this. He told me about how he had moved to an affluent suburb and couldn’t believe the wealth around him, yet nobody felt the need to show it. It was natural. They had always had wealth. They lived their lives, for the most part, stylishly and with no agenda. After moving back to his old neighbourhood my friend really saw the difference. Such wealth was still present. But it was shown wherever possible, in any way. It really highlighted that it was ‘new money’ for such people and the only way they could validate their success was to display it publicly.891a8256a0d26f6d6a1a4350f7b87a07

So that’s my view. Style comes from within. Luxury and excess are very different things. Restraint is a precious commodity and should never be neglected. Through Signor Mont, I have hope for the future of the bridal industry. I have hope for a return to style, eloquence and true glamour in all its simplistic glory. Hopefully now you have some idea of what drives the Signor Mont aesthetic and how I view the world.

Anthony Montesano

Signor Mont Couture

Who cares about a wedding dress?!

Welcome to the first of many Signor Mont blogs. This page is dedicated to all things style-related, usually of the wedding variety. Today’s entry is about me. It does make sense after all, for my readers to know a little about me and what drives me, Anthony, the man behind Signor Mont Couture.

So how does a twenty-something man end up in the business of bridal couture? Well, the truth is, I was born this way. From as early as I can remember, I was obsessed, consumed with brides. As a boy of 5 years old I was hand-sewing bridal gowns for my sister’s Barbie dolls. When all my friends and I would be at the newsagency, while they would be trawling through comics, auto magazines and Playboy, there I would be gasping at the pages of Bride To Be. At around the age of 9, my father drove me to a number of bridal shops in the northern suburbs to place some of my sketches under their doors asking if they needed a designer.

Now, after all these years and after life has unfolded, here I am, having founded my own label to make dreams come true, both mine and those of my future clients. Many would look at bridal couture and the bridal industry in general and label it as ludicrous and ridiculous, commercial and outdated. That is their prerogative. In my view, a wedding is a chance to escape from the reality of every day and to unashamedly celebrate the most sacred of commodities: love. And shouldn’t you feel special on that big day? I think so, for many reasons.

At most weddings, the happy couple invite all the people who are dearest to them in this world. All of them. If you’re European, you also invite an additional few hundred guests just to keep the peace. All these people, gathered. What’s one of the things they’ll remember most? The dress, of course.

But that’s not the only reason it’s important. I can’t name a bride I know who didn’t try her hardest to look her best for the big day. Your wedding day is the day when you aim to look the most fabulous you’ve ever looked, the healthiest, your hair and makeup done, all attention on you. The photographers, professional and amateur are capturing your every move. And there it will be immortalized: Your ultimate, most important wardrobe choice, ever.

That’s where I come in. I live for this. I understand how important that gown is to you. I know you want something that you will forever cherish. I believe a gown should be one of a kind, just like the person wearing it. It should be made from the finest materials and with an attention to detail. I believe that brides in 2015 are the luckiest, most liberated women and that a gown should reflect the modern bride. I believe that craftsmanship and artisanship is of the highest importance and that a bridal gown should be made using only the finest of materials and both traditional and cutting-edge techniques. I believe that a wedding dress should exude style that is not only avant-garde but that nods to the past so that it can stand the test of time and become a classic of the future. And above all, I believe in beauty and creating it from the heart and with passion.

So if you are a prospective bride, get in touch. Let’s create magic for your most special of days.

Anthony Montesano

Designer, Signor Mont Couture

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