mailife - - Contents - By CHRIS­TINE EVANS

Dressed to Im­press

Un­like any other day, what you choose to wear on your wed­ding day is a ma­jor de­ci­sion in your life. Get­ting that bal­ance of con­tem­po­rary chic, tra­di­tional el­e­gance and mak­ing sure there is smidgeon of you ver­sus ev­ery­one’s ex­pec­ta­tions of what you will wear down the aisle, is a mon­u­men­tal task. In Fiji, it is even more com­pli­cated be­cause it is of­ten not just one wed­ding day or one event. With so many di­verse tra­di­tions and cus­toms, a wed­ding can be staged over a week with each event need­ing a spe­cial some­thing to wear. It’s al­most as though a bride needs a whole host of per­sonal de­sign­ers and stylists to help an­swer the ques­tion of “what do I wear?” that has been ring­ing in her ears as loudly as church bells since ever she said “yes”. How do you start to make those de­ci­sions? Are you look­ing on­line and dream­ing? Are your friends and fam­ily clog­ging your In­sta­gram mes­sages with ‘sug­ges­tions’ of what they think will look good on you? Or per­haps you have al­ways known what your wed­ding day looks like and you are just look­ing for a de­signer who will help you bring your dreams to life? All the ma­jor run­way shows in Fiji this year had at least one de­signer show­ing a bridal col­lec­tion – Rowie Lal Bridal de­buted an all-white col­lec­tion ac­com­pa­nied by a sound­track that would have any bride be­liev­ing in the magic of love; while Hupfeld Ho­erder De­signs graced the run­way with stun­ningly ethe­real ivory and muted pale pink hand-painted dresses. No doubt, all fu­ture brides could see them­selves in a gar­ment from ei­ther de­signer (and all fu­ture hus­bands felt op­ti­mistic for their bride to look as beau­ti­ful!) Fiji is blessed with many tal­ented de­sign­ers who have been help­ing brides and grooms to present the best ver­sion of them­selves on their wed­ding day. To cre­ate your own bridal run­way fantasy you could try any of these top emerg­ing or es­tab­lished de­sign­ers.


The master of tra­di­tional In­dian bridal wear, de­signer Zul­fikar Ali’s name is syn­ony­mous with style, lux­ury and the pin­na­cle of con­tem­po­rary In­dian fash­ion. His la­bel AZA is stocked in Tap­poo and caters for ex­tended bridal par­ties – lit­er­ally some­thing for ev­ery­one – as well as brides and grooms. You’ll find lehen­gas that shim­mer brighter than the sun­set over the wa­ter in the West, heav­ily em­broi­dered zardozi saris, the lat­est jewellery and ac­ces­sories to make a bride look and feel like the queen she is. Not for­get­ting the groom - Ali’s taste in sher­wani is im­pec­ca­ble and more than a match for a bride. AZA’s fab­rics and fin­ishes are sub­lime and spoil

wed­ding par­ties for choice. Ner­vous brides and grooms are safe in AZA’s hands with Ali and his knowl­edge­able sales team able to have them kit­ted out in the finest In­dian bridal wear. See more @aza­_fj or email zul­[email protected]­ for en­quiries


Hupfeld Ho­erder is Pa­cific cus­tom bridal de­signer. Perfectly at ease with cre­at­ing con­tem­po­rary or tra­di­tional gowns, he is in­spired by the fab­ric, the bride and Fi­jian mo­tifs when de­sign­ing. “I mostly make cus­tom gowns be­cause young brides like to in­fuse their de­sign with some el­e­ment of who they are and their back­ground, so that the dress is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of where they are from,” he said. As one of Fiji’s most es­tab­lished de­sign­ers, Huppy un­der­stands his craft and role to make his dresses al­ways flat­ter­ing - show­ing the bride’s best fea­tures in a swathe of masi, Kuta, silk, satin or lace. He com­pletes his look with fan­tas­tic de­tails, of­ten hand paint­ing, then em­bel­lish­ing with hand-selected pearls, hand­carved shells and maqi maqi - el­e­ments that help to cre­ate the look, with the fo­cus of­ten on the train. His tal­ent and work­man­ship is his trade­mark. Most of his brides choose to have two dresses cre­ated - the tra­di­tion­ally in­spired dress for the bless­ing cer­e­monies and an­other white dress for the re­cep­tion. Hupfeld Ho­erder De­signs works with clients around the globe and love be­com­ing a part of the jour­ney. Tes­ta­ment to Huppy’s skill was send­ing a cus­tom gown to Ire­land which, af­ter only one try­ing on ses­sion, fit­ted the bride perfectly. His pre­ferred pal­ette is so­phis­ti­cated and el­e­gant pas­tels of ivory, beige and white, al­though he adapts style and fab­rics to clients’ cus­toms and be­liefs. He will cre­ate for all mem­bers of the bridal party. See more @hupfeld­ho­erder or email hupfeld.ho­[email protected] for en­quiries


Tak­ing her cues from renowned in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers such as Carolina Her­rera and Alexan­der McQueen, Rowie Lal’s foray into bridal prom­ises the mod­ern-day bride a touch of el­e­gance and class un­par­al­leled in the in­dus­try. Rowie ef­fort­lessly de­signs for that fairy tale mo­ment or for the bride long­ing to unite na­ture and ro­mance. She un­der­stands the con­nec­tion be­tween bride and dress, with fab­ric se­lec­tions that are spot on, im­mac­u­late at­ten­tion to de­tail and a tal­ent to make a bride look and feel in­cred­i­ble. “I love the re­ac­tion of the bride, see­ing all the months of plan­ning the dress de­tails come to­gether and the life­long friend­ships that de­velop,” Rowie said. Rowie Lal Bridal of­fers a range of ser­vices to brides in­clud­ing cus­tom and ready-made dresses for the bridal party, as well as styling with stun­ning tiaras, jewellery sets and ac­ces­sories. She spe­cialises in white and ivory over colour, so ex­pect a tra­di­tional dreamy bridal look. See more @rowielal­bri­dal or email [email protected] for en­quiries


Ilai Jikoiono is the artist, de­signer and maker be­hind the la­bel ZU­BER. One of Fiji’s most recog­nised lux­ury high­fash­ion la­bels, it has spread its wings into equally lux­u­ri­ous and high-fash­ion bridal wear as ZU­BER Bride. There are no lim­its to what they can achieve – tra­di­tional, con­tem­po­rary, masi, all-white – Ilai is not fazed by spe­cific needs of clients with whom he works closely through­out the process. From se­lect­ing fab­rics and lace, through to fit­ting and wed­ding day, Ilai en­joys the ex­pe­ri­ence of en­sur­ing ev­ery bride is unique and truly in­vests his time, en­ergy and pas­sion into his cre­ations. ZU­BER style is go­ing to be dra­matic - fea­tur­ing be­spoke gowns with corsets in de­li­cious and sen­sual fab­rics. “Usu­ally my brides have an idea … and I bring their ideas to life with my style and de­sign. I’m al­ways grate­ful to be cho­sen to make bridal gowns, to be part of one of the big­gest days in their lives.” Ilai works from a place of love, see­ing the hon­est and deep felt com­mit­ment that part­ners bring to a mar­riage union. ZU­BER Bride can de­liver the whole wed­ding pack­age from gown to hair (by Elaine from Edge) and makeup to com­plete the look - Ilai’s artistry knows no bounds. See more @zu­ber­fiji or di­rect mes­sage for en­quiries

Hupfeld Ho­erder De­signs

Rowie Lal


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