24 Minutes with designers Juliani Jamal and Arene P. Khairudin on Innai Red’s 2018 bridal collection
Bring us back to the start. How did Innai Red Bridal come about?
Juliani & Arene: Innai Red Bridal came about since the inception of the brand in 2012. The brand's founder, Izrin Ismail was clear that Innai Red should be a label that exudes contemporary femininity and sophistication through bridal pieces, and luxe evening and traditional dresses. Our first bridal collection called Airy Tale made its debut in 2012, and it's inspired by pure dream and romance.
What is the inspiration behind this year's collection, called 'Modern Grace'?
A: Grace Kelly is the main inspo behind the collection—her beauty and her sense of style are what we'd like to channel in the pieces.
J: I believe wedding dresses need to stand the test of time, so these are classic wedding gowns with a fashionable modern twist. You wouldn't want to look back at your wedding photos 20 years later and regret what you wore!
Tell us more about the design process. How early did you start working on the collection?
A: From sourcing the material to finishing the collection, it takes a year to complete the collection.
J: We started with fabrics. An intricately embroidered tulle is our key material this year. Then, we worked on the different silhouettes we want to feature in the collection. Classic shapes were reworked to suit the modern bride—hence the name 'Modern Grace'. The final touches are the embellishment which is Innai Red's signature.
Do each of you have a favourite look from the collection?
A: Mine would be the Aria—I would wear it if I'm getting married again (laughs).
J: My favourite is the Kellie—the duchess satin dress with a dropped waist tulle skirt. It's minimal, modern, and so me.
What are some of your favourite materials to work with, and why?
A: This year we worked with a lot of structured materials such as the duchess satin and taffeta. I love the idea of using a harder material as base before finishing it with a softer embellishment or beadwork.
J: I like to work with crepe silk the most, because it falls beautifully on any body type, and it's more breathable and resilient compared to other materials such as chiffon.
Do your customers prefer purchasing ready-made gowns or making a bespoke piece?
A: Our customers usually refer to the collection pieces only as a guide. We usually end up designing new looks for them.
J: The collection is pretty much to showcase what we can do and give the brides some ideas, but the dress will be designed according to what they want and what suits them. Sometimes it's a mixture of two designs, or maybe even three.
What are the main difference between designing a RTW collection and bespoke pieces?
A: Bridal pieces are definitely more personal. We design according to their personality, body type and also the theme of the wedding. Brides have their dream dress in mind for their wedding and it's our job to make it happen. It's very challenging but I love that we are part of something that they will remember.
J: The expectation is a lot higher for bridalwear. It's a once in a lifetime event and brides-to-be can get quite emotional when it comes to their wedding dress. So with bespoke bridal pieces, the process takes a lot longer from design, fabrication to fittings.
What do you think are some of the skill sets necessary for designers who have their own RTW line to be able to tap into bridalwear?
A: They should be able to work with different body types and accommodate different personalities. You need to have a skilled team too, because the cuts and finishing are very important. So it's not just about designing a nice dress, but to have a perfect-fit dress for any sizes.
J: A designer's technical know-how and a good team to execute the dress is paramount.
Let's talk about the upcoming royal wedding. What do you think Meghan Markle's dress will be like?
J: Her style is quite simple but chic, so I think it'll be modest with minimal lace. I'm really hoping it's not a ball gown silhouette—that's so predictable for royal weddings!
What are you guys working on at the moment, now that both the Raya and Bridal collections this year have been launched?
Juliani & Arene: Our RTW KLFW 2018 collection to be shown in August.
What's next for Innai Red Bridal?
A: Perhaps to explore more traditional styles from different cultural backgrounds. For example, songket and tenun for the Malays; cheongsams for the Chinese; and sarees for the Indians. That would be interesting.
J: For me, perhaps a collection that speaks to different bridal styles, such as the minimalists, the romantics, the traditionalists and more.