Laura Guirgiu first entered into the world of bridal with St.Patrick’s sister brand Nicole.
Today she is lead designer of St. Patrick, a brand she has always admired.
Here Guirgiu talks about her vision for St.Patrick, and how working in bridal fashion has allowed her to express her deep love of haute couture.
Have you always been a creative person?
I have always been an artist. I entered all the school art competitions and won a lot of them. I fell in love with painting, and I still paint today.
But by the time I finished high schools I had discovered another form of art - fashion design. I won third place in a nation-wide art completion for a dress design, and I thought, well I am quite good at this!
What was it like?
Well, it was a sketch for a dress based on architectural principles. It was quite haute couture actually! I should go back and check it out for inspiration!
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
So then I did a masters in fashion design in Bucharest and went onto work for [celebrity designer] Maria Lucia Hohan.
I learned a lot from her, from selling to running a showroom. It was with her that I started flirting with haute couture – and I loved it! My first wedding dresses were made with her.
Then I took a two-week trip to Italy, to Turin, and fell in love with the country and it’s culture – especially the food!
How did your start working at Nicole?
It’s a funny story. So after three months I was on my way back to Italy for the next phase of my career.
But some time before, I had seen a beautiful campaign for [St.Patrick sister brand] Nicole wedding dresses in a magazine. I thought, wow! That would be a wonderful company to work for.
But it was only when I walked into their office for the interview that the penny dropped! I saw the same campaign hanging on the wall. It was at that moment I realized it was the company I had fallen in love with years before!
I was like, OMG! I am about to do an interview for my dream job! The rest is history.
And after nine years working for Nicole you were made head designer of St. Patrick..
Yes, and that was another thing on my wish list. For me St. Patrick was a role model brand. A huge brand, an inspirational brand.
What was the first thing you did when you took over the design direction of St. Patrick bridal?
I firstly asked, what is the vision for this brand? For me, it was already super glamorous, super sensual. But I felt it needed some fresh ideas. So I brought in more of my style, my taste and more innovation.
Who is the ‘St.Patrick bride’?
The sensual type! She is knows she is quite a unique bride and doesn’t need sexy details to stand out. The dresses may appear simple, but when you really look at them, your realize that they are not simple at all. You discover the dress in its details.
What do you love about working in bridal fashion?
What is great about bridal is that it's not prêt à porter. It’s not like shopping for trends. Bridal hits you when your partner pops the question. Then, like Alice in Wonderland, you enter into this fabulous bridal world.
Where does your bridal design inspiration come from?
Haute couture, definitely. And putting a highlight on details, like in painting. One of my first jobs was in haute couture lingerie, which is where I learnt about corsets, push-up cups and the like. I am applying a lot of this in the new collections.
I get a lot of ideas from books, tomes on bridal history, famous designers – this sort of knowledge is unbeatable, and inspirational!