Three weeks ago, I gladly accepted the position to do the presswork for Sareh Nouri, a designer participating in New York City’s Bridal Fashion Week. Last Saturday was the event and this is a narrative of my experience that I am so honored and lucky to have been given.
Large Americano in hand, I step out of a cab and into the London NYC hotel. I text the designer’s PR director to tell her I’ve arrived; I’m embarrassingly early, due to recurring nightmares of sleeping through the entire event, because, well, I would. She responds with the hotel room number.
It’s the penthouse suite.
Don’t spill your coffee, act nonchalant, I tell myself. The elevator doors open and I see the designer’s name engraved on a plaque under the words “Penthouse Suite.” I open the door.
Candles lit, mini cherry blossom trees and bouquets of flowers, a mannequin dressed in a Sareh Nouri lilac gown placed in front of a 53-story Manhattan view. I thought the ambiance of this room alone was the epitome of romance… until I saw the wedding dresses backstage.
Pearls, diamonds, ruffles, lace, satin, and silk—the color white, and all the shades in between, never looked so mesmerizing. I suddenly understood what makes a wedding dress so special and why that’s incredibly important.
I go upstairs to find the models being assisted by the hair and makeup crew. I hold my breath in fear of looking outlandish and awkward, yet quickly recover as everyone greeted me with the warmest of welcomes I have ever experienced. They even asked if I’m one of the models and I hike up my dress and blame the five inch heels I not-so-secretly can’t live without. I had never felt so beautiful, the same effect Sareh’s gowns would give any bride.
We laugh. We talk about the gorgeous spring weather. There’s something about being in an environment surrounded by people with dreams as big as these New York City skyscrapers. I hand out my business cards and introduce myself as “Ella the writer” for the first time in my entire life. Excitement is an understatement for the feeling in the air that day.
The mother-to-be and designer, Sareh Nouri, walks in with her PR director, Amber Smith. I imagined this moment would be like a scene from “The Devil Wears Prada.” It was nothing like that; it was better. Sareh and Amber entered the room and were so graceful and sweet, practically gleaming, with surprisingly a hint of nervousness? But that is what made the moment so delightful. They’re human. So I introduce myself to them and tell myself to give them a reason to be less anxious.
The models and I run down to the first floor of the building for backstage pictures. Music’s on, the models are still in their own clothes. I think it’s universal for women to be excited about getting dolled up, and it was an unspoken thing for the photographers and me to do everything we could to capture that exact sensation that was happening right in front of us.
This week was not solely centered around showcasing Sareh Nouri’s wedding gowns. It was about impressing the buyers and sellers these gowns were being presented to.
15 minutes before our first client arrives, the models run backstage and put on the gowns. The clients arrive and are greeted by Sareh, Amber, and delicious catered food, such as tiny cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and mini cheesecake bites that would be fit for royalty. Even the details of this event were just as well thought out as the designs of the gowns themselves.
The models come out one by one as Sareh presented them by: name (Greta, Ingrid, Dorthy, Mona Lisa, to name a few), price, and other information about the pieces. The models circled around the the clients twirling their trains and ooh-ing and ah-ing the clients. To say the least, everyone was in awe.
The whole day was so beautiful in such a natural and organic way, just as the elegance of wedding dresses should be. These gowns were the perfect combination of vintage meets modern classic. Beauty with an air of mystery. These dresses were not stiff and most definitely not about looking sexy. They had movement; they were clean and light, graceful and dignified. These gowns were so beautiful it’s no wonder why a bride would take someone’s breath away.
Nouri’s style, however, isn’t entirely Cinderella-esque creations in spotless white, and I think that’s what I loved most about the collection. My favorite piece was, in fact, blue: the Mona Lisa (pictured, left). A midnight navy blue gown with long sleeves, the top of the gown was an intricate lace while the skirt of the dress flowed with ruffle upon ruffle, the type of dress skirt you would see straight out of a fairytale. The nontraditional choice of color paired with a timeless silhouette only seemed fitting to be the grand finale dress, AKA the editorial dress, or the dress of the collection.
Above all, one truth stood out to me crystal-clear that day: whether it’s a fairytale ballgown or something that’s more of a wild card, a wedding dress should and must be special. That’s so incredibly important. Because while a wedding dress is about the bride, it should also signify just how special it is to find someone you’re head over heels in love with. With someone that important, wouldn’t you want to wear a dress that does justice to facing the world with the person you’re about to spend the rest of your life with?
Nouri’s collection not only reiterates why a wedding dress is so special and incredibly important, it also reminds us that’s what falling in love is all about. At its best, love is about pulling out all the stops for one another and adding a beautiful new element to each other’s lives.
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