Wedding Essentials

Borne out of the discipline towards achieving her rigorous academic pursuits are teph’s meticulous approach and eye for detail in creating her pieces.


If there’s anything that could be said to exemplify magic, it’s probably Stephanie Tan’s skill to tell a fairy tale without having to utter a word. And this skill is certainly on display in her most recent collection, called “The Stuff of Fairy Tales.” Dancing in lace, prancing in ruffles, and striking in pastels, every piece that Steph Tan Couture produces is a whimsical wonder.

Still, no matter how enchanting her collection may be, Steph understand­s that producing breathtaki­ng formal wear doesn’t happen with the stroke of a wand. In fact, the birth of Steph Tan Couture was, like any fairy tale, a road that was hardly straightfo­rward. It was a road that began in her early years, since Steph had already developed an eye and love for fashion then.

“I was exposed to fashion at an early age. I’ve always wanted to become a fashion designer since I discovered my mom’s closet and her Vogue magazine collection,” she said.

But she didn’t get to fully immerse herself in fashion until after she had earned her master’s degree in management from the University of Asia and the Pacific, and completed a one-year Mandarin course at the Beijing Language and Culture University.

It was eight years ago when she started to hit the books and study fashion under the tutelage of Jojie Lloren, Joey Samson, and Pidge Reyes. This was the influence she needed to open an alteration and dress shop in 2010. But Steph felt like she needed to learn more about fashion and so, despite already running a business, she enrolled in Slim’s Fashion and Arts School and Central Saint Martins in London. Now, with several courses under her belt, she caters to an array of clients producing bridal wear and formal RTWS under Steph Tan Couture.

Even with an aggressive­ly growing business, Steph had a clear image of how she’d make formal wear her own: “I want to bring something refreshing to the bridal wear or formal wear market. I want to make bridal gowns that are modern, detailed, but not over-the-top. I try to make my pieces unique but I also make sure they are wearable. I try to stick with classic feminine silhouette­s with figure flattering cuts but I also incorporat­e something fun or modern.”

Steph Tan Couture consistent­ly creates bridal gowns that tastefully fit the brand’s clientele. The brand’s designs celebrate every body type, all while including classy embroidery and intricate lace. Steph balances textile with shape, making sure that each piece makes a statement without taking away the spotlight from the bride.

Even though all the pieces have been much appreciate­d, it’s intriguing to know what she considers her proudest work. She shares: “I can say that my sister’s wedding gown is my favorite piece. It was the most challengin­g because you want only the best for your sister. I combined three types of Italian lace, which we bought together abroad. The different types of lace were cut and sewn by hand. Ostrich feathers were incorporat­ed into the skirt. This wasn’t available in the Philippine market at that time so it was something new to us. After several months of laborious work, we were able to execute my vision and more importantl­y, my sister was happy with her wedding dress.”

And while this piece was certainly special, Steph gives the same dedication to her clients. It’s a collaborat­ive effort that can sometimes bring surprises. She shares: “Sometimes brides come in with a set idea of what they want for a wedding gown but when they try it on, they realize it’s not for them. Instead, they fall for something completely different that they never thought they’d consider.”

It often begins with suggestion­s and a sketch, and once approved, they move on to production. Not too long after, fitting and the final touches occur. Throughout the entire course, Steph makes sure she is present. Being a hands-on designer has worked wonders for her, not just because she can oversee everything and accommodat­e the bride, but also because it shows the utmost respect and value that she places in her work.

While there’s no fixed formula to successful­ly establishi­ng a fashion brand that speaks volumes, Steph has proven that with a layer of hard work, a jolt of determinat­ion, an undeniable vision of passion and a pinch of magic, you can make an enchanting mark in the world of formal wear.

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 ??  ?? WO R D S Loren Dimaano PORTRAIT &PRODUCT PHOTOS Erron Ocampo
WO R D S Loren Dimaano PORTRAIT &PRODUCT PHOTOS Erron Ocampo

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