Guest Post: Interview With Dorian Ho

Meet Dorian Ho, the Hong Kong designer who’s surprising Western and Asian brides alike with his collection of sophisticated and glamorous bridal designs. With stockists all over the world from Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Barneys in Japan and Saks Fifth Avenue, New York – we managed to get hold of the very busy Dorian for a quick interview on how he ensures he’s always a step ahead.

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dorian-ho-wedding-dresses

Let’s start with the beginning of things. How did you go from being a Boston grad to launching your own label ‘Doriano’ for the Chinese market in 1993?

Once I finished studying, I did as many Asian students do – and returned home. Back in Hong Kong, I was given the option of working for the family business, which manufactures garments for brands such as Donna Karen and Calvin Klein. However, I decided to choose my own path and started out with an internship at the Australian label Country Road. One thing led to another and when I noticed the Chinese economy starting to boom, I thought it was simply the right time to launch a line of good quality ladies’ wear.

Why didn’t you decide to join your family’s business?

The role of a manufacturer is very passive so by starting my own retail business I was able to actually create demand and dictate what would be designed. I utilized my family’s factories, which helped because the manufacturing business in HK was in a decline at that time.

You sold up Doriano and created your namesake haute couture line in 2001. Tell us how you managed to debut in Australia and New York in your first year? How does Dorian Ho compare to Doriano?

Doing a show in Australia and New York is very costly. However, I was lucky to have the opportunity to present my collection at both the Australian and New York Fashion Week with the help of the HK Trade Development Council.

The experience of Dorian Ho and Doriano is completely different, the two are like night and day. With Doriano, my collection had to be ‘safe’ as it catered to the Chinese market, so I had to work around design restrictions that limited my creativity. However, Dorian Ho is a designer collection; therefore, buyers were looking for something new and exciting so the design possibilities are always endless.

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Dorian Ho Bridal is known for its feminine and classic designs that are accentuated by hand-stitched detailing. What, to you, makes a Dorian Ho Bridal dress stand out?

Ladies always want to look stunning and most of them care how they appear to their husband’s eyes, especially on their wedding day! Wedding gowns designed by a male designer, using a man’s point of view are usually thus more persuasive. And with the high quality fabric like silk taffeta or brocade, our designs can bring out the bride’s unique characteristics.

You have showrooms in Sydney, Hong Kong and New York. Is Europe next on your list? Do you think you will be able to achieve a similar form of success there, even with the spectre of the Made-in-China label?

It is every designer’s dream to get into the European market. However, being a Chinese designer and knowing the mentality and the consumer power of the Chinese market, it is always easier to operate in the Asian region.

The made-in-China label is not a big problem with our customers, because our quality rivals those made anywhere else in the world.

What is your inspiration when creating your bridal line or even a one-off bespoke piece?

Inspired by both classic and modern elements, our bridal collection is a tribute to the past and a celebration of the future. Each season heralds a myriad of styles, textures and color that scream for attention because of their original design. Perhaps more important is the universal tale of love that each dress tells: the tale of two people, brought together by great odds on this one day, in celebration of their history, friendship and new life to come.

What are your personal preferences, in terms of design? E.g. absolute favorite silhouette, fabric etc.

Well, the trend changes, but not as frequently as the ready-to-wear. In past seasons, the ball gown silhouette has been my favorite, but now it’s a bit more classic with a touch of detail, such as ruffles, feathers and raw edged trims. My personal favorite is simple silhouette in silk peau-de-soi and a touch of beading.

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The best compliment you’ve received?

It was definitely at the Bangkok International Fashion Week 2007, when I received the “Recognition Award” that was presented by the Royal Princess of Thailand. Among the recipients of this award are Jimmy Choo from London and Khoon Hooi from Malaysia.

The most challenging/unusual design you’ve created?

A customer came to us with a very expensive vintage lace; and our task was to design around the lace. As there was barely enough material, we had to be very precise and accurate or else we would have wasted the lace and ruined her dream dress.

Give us your 5 top tips for brides when choosing/designing her dream wedding gown.

Theme – Stick with the theme of the wedding, no matter if it is pink or a floral wedding, match the dress with the theme!

Venue – The venue of the wedding affects the style of the bridal gown. If it is a resort wedding, choose a flowy dress like chiffon; if it is a church wedding, choose an elegant A-line bridal gown like Duchess Satin.

Body figure – This is a very important point as everyone wants to look stunning on their big day. Choose something which can strengthen your best assets and cover up your weaknesses.

Budget – If there is a budget for the wedding, stick within your limits when choosing your bridal gown. There are lots of choices for different budget ranges out there in the market.

Trust in yourself – A lot of brides tend to seek advice from different friends, but you must always trust in yourself. No one knows you better than yourself!

# Interview by Alia Soraya and courtesy of Wedding Guide Asia.

  1. Gwenda says:

    Congratulations Dorian Ho!!! You design seriously beautiful and elegant wedding gowns.

  2. Love your designs, so unique..

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“I’m Marcela, an Aussie expat living in Hong Kong. This space is where I share my love for weddings and bits and pieces from my family’s life and adventures. I love celebrating weddings, motherhood, family, travel and life’s simple joys.”