We caught up with talented Australian designer Sophia Tolli to discover all about her latest collection and what’s next for the label…
What do you love about bridal fashion?
I was attracted to the fact that with Bridal, it is an excuse to go all the way, use all your technical skills and let your imagination sore. It seemed to me that any amount of time spent on a wedding dress was always worth it.
What inspires you?
I’m one of those people that find’s inspiration everywhere and it’s never ending – with nature, movies or history to name a few. Hollywood and classic screen sirens are always a favourite that I never seem to tire of. I always try to imagine what kind of bride I am designing each gown for. The bride is always at the forefront of my thinking. Today’s modern brides are all so individual and unique, making them a joy to design for.
Can you describe the Sophia Tolli bride?
To begin with she is elegant and chic. On her big day she will feel comfortable and confident that her gown brings out the best in her. She has a contemporary flair, but also appreciates classic elements of bridal fashion. I feel my brand can identify with many brides as my collections offer a variety of looks. Whatever she chooses, she knows she will have a gown that suits her personal style, and that it will become part of some of her happiest memories.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style is quite simple and perhaps a little modern bohemian. I love beautiful fabrication, and simple cuts suit me best. For daywear I prefer to keep things understated, and I actually enjoy dressing up more for evening and love glamorous evening wear! I suppose being a bridal designer is a natural extension of my love of dressing up for a special occasion!
Who is your style icon?
I do adore Cate Blanchett’s style. Always chic but not too precious about it. She takes chances with fashion and I love that about her. She can be done up in the best couture but still look naturally down to earth – like it’s no big deal.
What inspired your latest collection?
For my latest collection we looked at all the bold and delicate nuance of the classical French Riviera style, and the notion of escaping away in style. I was inspired by warm colours and a mix of slenderising, fluid silhouettes as well as classical A-line’s.
Describe your typical day?
My day begins by getting my two young children ready for school! I can often spend long days in the studio and so I need to start my day connecting with my family and being a mum. It keeps me grounded and happy as they are my priority. Once they are off to school, I can begin thinking about my work and the day ahead. Switching to ‘design mode’ in my Sydney studio, I work on new sketches whilst selecting fabrication, colour and figuring out all the many layers that go into my gowns. Developing and arranging embellishment is often a big part of my day, as well as refining the fit and cut of each style for the perfect look.
What’s your best advice for brides planning their big day?
Maintain a positive attitude and try to stay relaxed during the process. It’s easy to get swept away or overwhelmed by it all, so doing things that keep you focused is a good idea. I always suggest a bride creates a mood board of all the things that appeal to her, dress, flowers stationery, colours, etc etc. Her style will then start to emerge and throughout the planning process she can keep referring back to that. Delegate whatever you can to trusted people – be they professionals or trusted friends.
What’s your favourite bridal accessory?
The veil is my favourite bridal accessory. I feel it really creates an aura around the bride, and can easily be removed later for the festivities. That’s why I feel veils work so well. Many brides often feel they are “too much” or do not want to bother with a veil. However, when they try the right veil with their gown it always complements the gown and the bride. Another would definitely be gorgeous shoes! It’s the perfect occasion for some stunning shoes that you normally would not splurge on.
What’s next for the Sophia Tolli brand?
My supportive team and I are hoping to grow the brand together to be bigger and brighter. I am so happy with what we have accomplished and making dreams come true for beautiful brides all around the world. It’s all about the brides and their changing styles, and we are always looking to keep that signature Sophia Tolli style whilst exploring the boundaries of the modern bride.
What trend is going to be huge in 2017?
We’re going to be seeing a lot of luxe boho looks that radiate effortlessness with intricately considered embellishment and fluid silhouettes – perfect for destination or outdoor weddings (which continue to grow in popularity). Also trending will be the continued rise of the ‘ornate princess’ look with detailed, opulent embellishment and grand silhouettes.