The Myanmar Times - - Wedding 2016 -

RIDES-TO-BE in Myan­mar are spoilt for choice when they need to choose that gown for that spe­cial day – and the de­signer who can make that dream come true.

One such de­signer is Pyae Soe Aung, one of the most pop­u­lar when it comes to tra­di­tional wed­ding dresses. Most of his de­signs fea­ture clas­sic pat­terns and cool colours.

“I will cre­ate about 30 wed­ding dresses for this year’s new col­lec­tion. Mostly, I will be play­ing with colours in par­tic­u­lar. Most brides choose cheik [an elab­o­rate silk longyi or htamein with a beau­ti­ful and in­tri­cate wave pat­tern in sev­eral colour com­bi­na­tions and worn al­most in­vari­ably by the bride and groom in match­ing colours]. So all my dresses are based on cheik pat­terns – large, medium and small sizes – and my new col­lec­tion mixes all sizes of cheik pat­terns. Some will be made in creeper plant pat­terns – straight, hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal creeper,” he said.

Mo­gok Pauk Pauk, who al­ways makes wed­ding dresses in clas­sic colours and Western styles, said his cre­ations this year give more at­ten­tion to cheik pat­terned de­signs.

“Htaing ma thein [tra­di­tional bridal dress] can’t go against con­ven­tional cul­ture, so my dresses will be based on tra­di­tional de­signs. I’ll play with mul­ti­colours for cheik, but I’ll use cool base colours. I’ll make dif­fer­ent kinds of pat­terns for shawls, yin khan [bodice] and the yay thee nar [hem of the htamein] and use real cheik de­signs.

“I’ve cre­ated my dresses in such a way that they can be worn not only by those go­ing along with tra­di­tional cul­ture but also for mod­ern-day young peo­ple. There is tra­di­tional cheik with Western style that looks grace­ful. And then, I will be adding flow­ery pat­terns to shawls,” he said.

De­signer Ma Pont (My Favourite) said her col­lec­tion puts em­pha­sis on colours that look cool and Western.

“I will add lace and flower mo­tifs to cheik with mul­ti­colours. I don’t want to be recre­at­ing htaing ma thein so I will just play with colours and cheik lines based on tra­di­tional cul­ture,” she said.

De­signer Myo Min Soe from Man­dalay, who cre­ates dif­fer­ent types of shawl ev­ery wed­ding sea­son, said his col­lec­tion this year is based on the royal look.

“Dur­ing a wed­ding cer­e­mony, a bridal’s back is most no­tice­able, so I’ve made shawls with ma­chine em­broi­dery dec­o­ra­tion. I chose light green, light yel­low and golden colours in pre­vi­ous years. I don’t like un­usual colours at all,” he said.

Pyae Soe Aung takes a dif­fer­ent tack. “What colour will be pop­u­lar de­pends on cus­tomers. If I use my favourite colour, they may not like it. For me, I like re­ally pink colours for this year. But cus­tomers choose their own colours when it comes to wed­ding dresses.”

Myo Min Soe likes light pink or baby pink. “I’ve made dresses with a com­bi­na­tion of pink and pur­ple colours. I’ve also made vi­o­let dresses with sil­ver cheik lines for pre-wed­ding photo shots. I think peo­ple are choos­ing light colours more and more.”

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, designers lis­ten to what women want.

Pyae Soe Aung said, “I al­ways ne­go­ti­ate with my cus­tomers to make a de­sign that would be pleas­ing to both the cus­tomer and me. Women look pretty in wed­ding dress re­gard­less of their skin colour or body size. If a bride’s fea­tures don’t match a tra­di­tional dress, I make a Western-style cre­ation, twig and creeper pat­terns, for her. I am sup­posed to cre­ate a dream dress for my cus­tomers. I also need to know where the wed­ding reception will be held. The lo­ca­tion and the wed­ding dress have to be bal­anced. A grand lo­ca­tion would not go well with a nor­mal wed­ding dress. Like­wise, an unim­por­tant lo­ca­tion and an over-dec­o­rated wed­ding dress would not match.”

Ma Pont said her de­signs take into ac­count the bride’s skin tone and body size. “I have to give ad­vice to them once I know what they want,” she said.

If any­thing, designers are busier than ever be­cause wed­dings are not just a one-event day any more. Many now in­clude a sep­a­rate mar­riage sign­ing cer­e­mony, an of­fer­ing of food to monks, a pu­ri­fy­ing cer­e­mony for the bride and groom, and din­ner. That means dif­fer­ent out­fits are needed.

Myo Min Soe said, “Din­ner dresses are de­signed in un­usual colours, or white with lace. I use bright blue or gold mostly. Dress lengths de­pend on the cus­tomer’s choice. I pre­fer long sleeves with thin lace to strap­less de­signs.”

Pyae Soe Aung mostly cre­ates ca­sual dresses rather than ele­gant ones for the din­ner.

“Brides usu­ally wear two dresses – the first dress for the evening is from wed­ding gown shops and the sec­ond is de­signer- made. Most of them usu­ally order brightly coloured wed­ding gowns. Some do go for black or white gowns. I have to de­sign based on the cus­tomer’s de­mand. Mostly, I cre­ate sim­ple dresses for din­ner. It would be bet­ter for the bride if the dress is ca­sual and freestyle,” he said.

Mo­gok Pauk Pauk, who favours at­trac­tive evening gowns, said, “Cus­tomers choose cool colours than bright ones for Western-style wed­ding dresses. For white dresses, I cre­ate de­signs us­ing lace. Some are strap­less with a long train at the back. I al­ways make the dresses in Western style. Brides look spot­less in those dresses.” Pyae Soe Aung’s main ad­vice is that brides should choose sim­ple dresses rather than com­pli­cated ones. “They should choose de­signs that suit them. Brides are of­ten wor­ried on their wed­ding day. But if a bride is not re­laxed, it will show on her face. That’s why brides need to choose com­fort­able dresses.”

Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe and Khant Lin Oo

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