A couple weeks ago we attended the grand opening of Dominique Chan’s Bridal Couture boutique on Jalan Maarof, Bangsar. On top of being mesmerised by the gorgeous gowns, which were strategically placed throughout the pristine 2,900 square ft. bungalow, we had the pleasure of meeting the talented and vivacious designer himself to snag some information about his label, inspirations, future plans and many more!
Tell us your background story
I’m a very simple person – I was initially working with Astro doing costume design, when in 1999, I started designing under another fashion company. I was with the company up till 2012, which was when I eventually channelled out and did my own thing: Dominique Chan.
What made you decide on bridal wear?
I was inspired when I first saw my mother’s wedding dress. From that moment on, I was intrigued and fell in love with the colour white. I asked her many questions about it and she responded by saying that without this dress, I wouldn’t be here. That sparked my interest, which has now developed into a passion, as I realised the importance of a wedding dress and that it has the ability to transform a girl into a woman.
In addition to this, I feel that being a wedding designer enables you to have a close and very meaningful relationship with your customer. You’re essentially designing for the most important day of her life!
Define your signature style.
I’m not a very traditional person, but I still respect those ideals. My taste is more red carpet gowns, simple and nice yet glamorous!
What are the key influences in designing a wedding dress?
When it comes to designing, it really comes down to the bride. I like to study the bride, theme and venue of the wedding, such as whether the wedding is going to take place indoors or outdoors. If it were a beach wedding, I would go for lighter weight fabrics, whereas if it were to take place at a ballroom, I would go for a more voluminous silhouette and add more glamour in the details.
Generally, what inspires your designs?
There are many elements that inspire my designs, ranging from flowers to conversations I have with people. I draw my inspiration from almost anything! One aspect that is prevalent in my designs is my attention to detail. I love beautiful lace and embroidery, however nothing too extravagant that’ll outshine the bride herself. I try to keep everything just nice! Although it’s tough, I believe it’s all about finding the perfect balance between the bride and the dress.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I think I place relatively high targets for myself, so I would say that I still haven’t achieved my greatest achievement so far. But fingers crossed, I’ll reach it soon!
Who is your style icon?
I have many, but if I had to narrow it down I would say Maggie Cheung and Sheila Majid. I love the way they dress, especially Sheila Majid – her style is so simple and she never fails to look presentable!
Take us through your latest collection.
For my latest collection, I’ve used French satin and quite a lot of lace from France, Italy and Japan. The materials chosen are extremely comfortable against the skin – they’re basically like a second skin. The line that I’ve created is simple yet glamorous. There is also a touch of luxury through the detailing, such as the beading and Swarovski crystals, which have been added only at the trim.
Also this time round, I’m making the dresses more one-to-one. I’m not forcing my customers to conform to my signature style and how I want them to look, instead we’re working together to create a dress she’ll love and be comfortable to wear.
Have any famous icons worn pieces from any of your past or current collections? If yes, could you name a few?
Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some local and regional celebrities wear my dresses from both my past and current collections, including Datin Maylene Yong, Amber Chia, Chris Tong and Debbie Goh.
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects about being a designer?
I love that I get the chance to meet so many lovely people and that I get to travel a lot in this line. I enjoy visiting fabric stores around the world; I can stay for hours and hours just admiring the different colours and textures! Also I’m not a very good speaker, whether in English, Chinese or Malay, and so expressing myself through my creations is a form of haven. Fashion is like my best friend!
I don’t have a least favourite thing. I consider myself a happy-go-lucky person, so everything to me may be a challenge but in a good way.
What distinguishes your label and designs from other bridal couture labels in KL?
I’m not the competitive type. I believe that everyone has a different and unique way of doing things, so I never compare myself to other designers. I just enjoy my own work and love making friends with other designers too.
Do you plan to launch any more stores after this?
It’s still in planning, but I hope to! I also hope to spread my name overseas. I’m not sure if I’ll succeed in doing this, but I will try my best!
Do you plan on designing collections other than bridal?
Yes, I’m currently working on both bridal and evening wear for my upcoming show in October, but I’m hoping to branch out into menswear and Malay-inspired clothing. I also hope to design RTW clothing, however not at the moment, I want to stick to formal wear for now!
Image credit: courtesy of Dominique Chan, The Red List & Oh Bulan