There aren’t many fashion designers where what you see is what you get. But having spent what, by interviewing standards, is an inordinate amount of time with Henry Roth, he of Project Runway and Beauty and The Geek fame, I can honestly say that the enthusiastic, effervescent and charming individual who appears on screen is exactly the same in the flesh. And once you enter RothWorld – be warned – you may never want to leave – because it is fun, frantic, and fashtastic…and of course full of that special breed of dress that every girl dreams of wearing – the wedding dress.
I met Henry in Canberra and he gave me an extraordinary invitation; to come down to Melbourne and watch him do what he does best; individual appointments with the people who are the most important members of the fashion industry; the consumers. I was to be a ‘fly on the wall’ as he met with brides to be who had booked especially to get his viewpoint on his new collection, straight from New York. As it was – well, my time was slightly different. Your intrepid Melbourne Girl blogger became at very short notice – a Henry Roth girl…
Let me say this; I do in fact have my own personal styling business, so I was not just being unleashed on unsuspecting gorgeous girls from across Victoria with no experience. But it is an amazing thing to be a part of a brand new bridal collection – including Henry’s sister Michelle’s debut couture line – that is being shown to brides in Australia for the first time.
And the entire collection is truly gorgeous (yes, I did play dress ups in it, as you can see from the photo). There are some very strong trends in bridal wear – and the emphasis is on the location and the style of the wedding, rather than the ‘cookie cutter’ uniform that we have often seen in past seasons of wedding wear. Who wants to wear a ballgown on the beach? Similarly, if you are doing the grand gala, then clearly a grand gown is called for. So what we are seeing is gorgeous embellishment in the form of intricate beading; beautiful antique lace; ‘bling-less’ dresses where the concentration is on cut and amazing fabric – and then truly unique designs that flatter any figure – and I do mean any figure. There is no ‘plus sizing’ in Henry’s range; every style is available from a size 2 to a size 22. This is, as far as I am able to ascertain, unique amongst custom fitting bridal designers.
The other thing that seemed to truly astonish every bride was the pricepoint of the frocks. These are dresses that celebrities would be seen in – not the girl next door – but they are at a cost that is accessible to almost every bride, without any sacrifice on quality, cut or fabric. The Roth family has been in business for 57 years and the tradition of giving good gown is very obvious.
This is not a traditional fashion story, because Henry Roth is not a traditional fashion designer in many respects. He is incredibly accessible; he is (and I mean this) very, very sincere; and he cares as much about the women he dresses as his design aesthetic. This is not something that you see every day.
To see a bride to be like Rachael, who travelled all the way from Horsham sans mother or friends, to pick out her wedding dress for next November – and to watch how amazing she looked – that is something that makes fashion a true passion. That plus the dresses, naturally…
And did I love being a Roth Girl? You bet I did. The chance to style brides – and then write about the experience?
The big tips for S/S 2012/13 in bridal? The tea length dress; fabulous beading – and yes, the 1920s. Naturally, Gatsby has infiltrated the wedding party – but be aware chicks, it isn’t for everyone. If you are curvalicious, then there are some amazing looks out there for you that don’t involve dropped waists and handkerchief hems. Tea length trés chic nipped waist New Look creations are the dresses for you.
And that’s straight from the man to you. And after being put into a whirlwind of his creations – believe me, the man knows that of which he speaks.
A total couture crush…
Go to Henry Roth online to look at his fabulous new collection and for Australian stockists.