ABOVE AND BE­YOND

TONI RO­DRIGUEZ OF BE­YOND WHITE

Wedding Essentials - - WE DISCOVERIES - Words LOREN DIMAANO Pho­tog­ra­phy Rap Yu

If you love your job enough, it’s safe to say you’d do at least the bare min­i­mum it re­quires of you. If you’re burn­ing with pas­sion how­ever, you’ll teach your­self the ropes if you have to, just to go the ex­tra mile. That’s how it started with Be­yond White’s founder, Toni Ro­driguez; her ef­fort to go be­yond 100% was her path­way in es­tab­lish­ing Be­yond White. De­sign­ing cus­tom bridal gowns, Be­yond White makes sure that each dress they cre­ate is cus­tom-fit to their bride. They’ve man­aged to give equal im­por­tance to the de­sign and fit of a gown, in fact it was one of Toni ‘s vi­sion when she was start­ing the brand. “Through­out the years as a makeup artist, I’ve en­coun­tered brides who are happy with the en­tire look I’ve cre­ated for them but end up dis­ap­pointed with how their dress turned out.. Be­yond White was born in 2015 out of my de­sire to cre­ate beau­ti­ful gowns that fit a woman’s body like a glove,” she shares.

Not later than a year, she re­leased her first col­lec­tion with an av­er­age of four clients a month. Two years down the line, Be­yond White has marked it­self as the home of in­tri­cate and clas­sic de­signs. Although the wed­ding in­dus­try never runs out of new up-andcoming de­sign­ers, Toni has man­aged to give Be­yond White its dis­tinct brand­ing, defin­ing what for her sets her de­signs apart, “For me fash­ion is deja vu, mean­ing our past usu­ally in­spires us. Be­yond White’s aes­thet­ics trace back to my child­hood when I grew up lov­ing all sorts of dainty, el­e­gant, fem­i­nine lit­tle dresses. Those are the defin­ing fac­tors that set Be­yond White apart from the rest.”

Yet draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the “past” can be a tricky tech­nique, es­pe­cially since de­signs of wed­ding gowns change as quick as the in­dus­try’s prices soar. Ev­ery bride would have adored purely white puffy gowns a decade ago, but brides to­day have been much more dar­ing. Take for ex­am­ple the tra­di­tion of wed­ding gowns be­ing purely white, this has been bended by mod­ern brides in more ways than one. For Toni how­ever, these trends don’t serve as a lim­i­ta­tion, but more as a room for her brand to grow along with her clien­tele. She

puts, “My brand name says it all - BE­YOND WHITE. You shouldn’t be lim­ited to hav­ing a tra­di­tional white gown. So I think it’s great that brides are more ex­per­i­men­tal and ob­vi­ously, we en­cour­age our brides to choose a dress that com­ple­ments their skin tone and per­sonal style.“

It cer­tainly is more than just color for Toni, she never al­lows a bride to leave without the com­plete Be­yond White ex­pe­ri­ence¬— from sketches, fit­tings to fi­nal touches, the process in­dulges ev­ery woman to watch her vi­sion ma­te­ri­al­ize. “I make sure that my team gives each bride the com­plete Be­yond White ex­pe­ri­ence. From in­quiries, con­sul­ta­tions, fit­tings up to the fi­nal day. Most of the time con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion starts with me and I have two other cre­ative de­sign­ers un­der my team who help me carry out the ex­e­cu­tion.

The last step of the process al­ways has to be my fi­nal touches”, she as­sures.

Her work and fi­nal de­signs—how­ever min­i­mally or heav­ily in­flu­enced by her clients, trends or even time con­straints when de­sign­ing a gown—never leaves her sight without a breath­tak­ing touch of el­e­gance. If any­thing, el­e­gance is Toni’s sig­na­ture touch in pro­duc­ing gowns. Her col­lec­tions boast of A-line and sheath struc­tured gowns that hug a bride’s body while em­bel­lished with de­tails of pearls or lace. Toni shares that a lot of her de­signs also draw in­spi­ra­tion from Dior, a de­signer brand known for its time­less pieces, which is prob­a­bly why her own cre­ations is noth­ing short of clas­sic.

El­e­gance and so­phis­ti­ca­tion–the ut­ter proof that Toni has never sur­ren­dered her be­yond 100% phi­los­o­phy. For Toni, it isn’t sim­ply about look­ing and feel­ing con­fi­dent from head to toe any longer.

Aside from a stun­ning wed­ding gown and im­pec­ca­ble makeup, it is about trans­lat­ing time­less­ness into her de­signs and cre­at­ing an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence. So that even af­ter the bride’s big day, she still feels as con­fi­dently ra­di­ant as she did when she walked down the aisle.

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