Every job has its problems. Things you have to put up with, tedious tasks, long hours. But every job has its perks, something to look forward to that only you get to experience because of the nature of your business. That for us is the bi-annual bridal market.
Wedding gown designers operate just like fashion designers meaning they produce both a fall and a spring collection.
Every year in April we travel to New York City to see the fall collections at New York Bridal Fashion Week. I know poor me right? Four days in the big apple looking at fashion shows and picking out dresses. This is the part where I tell you it’s harder than it sounds. And this is also the part where I admit ya its hard but I’m still in NYC so everything is fabulous.
Our journey began at 4:30am on a Friday morning. Now I personally do not believe in rising before the sun does, I feel it is unnatural and inhuman. But you do what you gotta do I guess. My travelling buddy this year was fellow store owner and manager Maria, she also happens to be my sister. At 4:30am this works in my favour because she knows not to talk to me because I am severely grumpy. Anyways a hop over to Vancouver and then a big skip to Newark and we have arrived. We make our way to the Hotel Roosevelt and then a quick change and back out for Mexican at Rosa Mexicano’s for dinner. Margarita’s and tacos, the way to my heart.
Saturday morning our day starts at 9:30am at the Mori Lee offices. The racks are filled with all the gowns from the new collection and two lovely models ready and willing to put anything on we would like to see on an actual human. Our rep for Mori Lee is Dan, working with him is always a breeze. So informative and knows everything about the line we could possibly need to know. Plus he’s funny, at 6:30am Pacific time that’s a bonus.
Two hours later we have ordered 15 gowns for the fall collection, and funny enough the dress we are most excited about is the most simple and understated. Can’t wait for it arrive. Now time to call Uber and get us over to Pier 92 for the next designer. Before this trip Maria had never experienced Uber, I had from recently living in Toronto. I think it’s safe to say Uber has changed Maria’s life and she may have become a tad obsessed.
Pier 92 is great because it houses so many designers in their building for the weekend. So on top of getting actual work done, we can walk along the aisles and take a look at all the different designers of jewellery, shoes, dresses, and other accessories. And then sometimes you stumble upon a new label that you get to learn about and decide to add it to your store. This time however we were on a mission so it was straight to Stella York. So many lovely lace dresses this year, can’t wait to see them again.
With all our homework done for the day it’s time to relax and unwind a bit. We head over to Soho to peruse some of the consignment stores and then back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
Dinner this evening is at a beautiful little French bistro, then a mad dash over to the Paris Theatre to see the just released documentary The First Monday In May. I have been dying to see this film and ever so gently demanded it become a priority for the New York trip. The movie was visually and intellectually stunning. However the crowning moment of the night was when after the credits started playing the director, producer, and Andre Leon Talley himself showed up to have a talk back with the audience. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. Witnessing Andre in the flesh in his gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana outfit made me look up to the heavens and say thank you to all the angels.
Sunday morning, time to get back to work. We head to the Metropolitan Pavilion today to first visit one of our newest brands called Watters. Two of their labels: WToo and Willowby we started carrying in January, so we came back to buy more pieces from the lines as well as looking at the Watters line to see if it’s time to add it to the boutique. Two hours flies by and we are so excited for the new lines. These designers have such a distinct way of playing with really ornate fabrics and making beautiful silhouettes that we couldn’t help but gush when we met the designer. She is brilliant and we are eagerly anticipating expanding this brand within our boutique. These dresses I think just really signify the Okanagan lifestyle; fashionable women who want to still have that really feminine silhouette, without having an obscene amount of fabric to deal with In the Okanagan summertime.
Having finished at Watters, we head downstairs to see the Maggie Sottero and Sottero & Midgley show. The one thing I will say about Maggie Is that their models are absolutely stunning and always have the most beautiful hair and makeup. We watch the show, and then quickly race to snag a table. Maggie is always packed so it’s important to have a plan of attack when it comes to seating. The next 90 minutes is spent poring over the images of the gowns and picking out the styles we will be bringing in. One thing we tried really hard to focus on bringing in is more dresses with sleeves. Lately we seem to get a lot of requests for them. When we left we felt a bit exhausted but really excited about the dresses we picked up.
One area of New York that is always a must for us to visit is Little Italy. Our parents were born and raised in Southern Italy and later immigrated to Canada so Italian culture was a huge part of our upbringing. We spent the evening walking the streets, picking up cannoli’s to eat as a pre-dinner snack, and then finally dining in a beautiful Italian restaurant where the pasta was perfection.
And as quick as that, it was time to fly home. Upon arriving home, the following week is spent completing the orders by reviewing the gowns with our lead consultants. The most difficult part of the process I would say is sizing. You have found a gown you love, great! But now you need to figure out what size would be best to bring it into the store. Is it best suited as a size 10? Will that be a good enough size for the majority of women that will like it to try on? Should we order it in two sizes? What colour should we get? All of these questions surround each and every dress we order.
But now all we can do is wait in anticipation for all of our dresses to arrive. Looking ahead to the fall season we are so excited for the women in the Okanagan to witness the beauty in each dress that we felt when we first saw it.