Finally, a ready-to-wear bridal gown salon!
LIVIN' & LOVIN' - Tetta Matera () - November 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Listening to Pepper Periquet Guanio talk about wedding dresses made me want to purchase one even if I wasn’t a bride-to-be in search of one. Her passion for bridal gowns is infectious and she has a mission to find the ideal wedding gown for every woman about to marry; she believes, just like the groom, that there is the perfect wedding gown to match each and every bride.

Mi Sueño (my dream, in Spanish) Bridal Boutique is her answer to that momentous, once-in-a-lifetime quest of every betrothed woman. The process that led to her decision to open a ready-to-wear (RTW) bridal gown salon started with her own search for a wedding gown.

“I was studying in the United States then (2007) and in my free time, I would visit bridal boutiques; I initially considered buying a gown made by an American designer. I was keen on Badgley Mischka but everything I tried on wasn’t quite what I was looking for,” Pepper said. “Then, the French woman managing the bridal gown salon I visited in San Mateo, California, told me to try on a Pronovias gown; in my mind I said, I don’t know the brand but I’ll give it a shot anyway.” As soon as she was zipped up, it was love at first sight, touch and fit.

Bejeweled wedding masterpiece: Pronovias Sofia chiffon gown with applications, V-neckline and detailed thick straps leading to a T back strap is available at Mi Sueño Bridal Boutique. Photos by JONJON VICENCIO

It turns out Pronovias is a household name in RTW bridal gowns in Europe; the Barcelona-based brand has collaborated with high-fashion designers like Valentino, Elie Saab and Spanish designers Hannibal Laguna and Manuel Mota and is sold in 150 locations in 75 countries. “Everybody loved my Pronovias wedding gown,” Pepper shared. 

A few years later her good friend who wanted a Pronovias gown for her own wedding traveled to Hong Kong to buy one. “Why don’t you just bring the brand here and open a bridal salon?” her friend suggested after a not-so-pleasant experience buying her gown. Pepper was not sure the RTW bridal gown concept would fly in the traditional Filipino market but after careful thought she took on the challenge and contacted the Pronovias corporate office in Spain in mid- 2010. “We’ve been wanting to open in the Philippines for a long time,” was the answer they gave her. A representative from the brand came to Manila and in a few months, Pepper became the proud owner of a Pronovias dealership in Manila; in January 2011, she formally opened Mi Sueño. Now brides-to-be living in the Philippines no longer have to travel overseas to buy their Pronovias gowns.

“It’s time we had something like this in the Philippines since the concept is everywhere else in the world,” Pepper enthused. “The brides of today are modern, more open-minded; they also like the fact that they can choose, fit and see how they look in the gown within hours … even minutes. No more guessing game or disappointment.”

Grecian goddess-inspired: One-shoulder Morbido satin fitted gown

The idea that ready-to-wear bridal gowns are cheap, poorly made and carry no “exclusive” value is not only misleading but long gone, which is why even famed bridal designer Vera Wang offers a line of off-the-rack wedding gowns.

See, Feel And Touch

Pepper believes that for a bride to be 100-percent happy and satisfied with her wedding gown, she must be able to see, feel and touch it all at once. “We’ve had brides come here in a panic looking for wedding gowns at the last minute because the original one they had made didn’t quite live up to the sketch and vision the designer had promised,” Pepper says. “At Mi Sueño, we guarantee that every woman who walks away with a Pronovias gown gets exactly what she wants.”

The Pronovias wedding gowns come in a wide array of beautiful designs: bustier, one-shouldered, A-cut, princess-style, ballroom-type, flowing, body-hugging, simple, dramatic, chic and elaborate — all magical creations. They come in lace, tulle, chiffon, satin, Paris Gazza, Mikado silk and taffeta, some with bead and sequin applications all deftly executed and exquisitely finished. “There is definitely a wedding gown design for every kind of bride at Mi Sueño,” assures Pepper.

Here comes the bride: Scoop neck asymmetric A-line Geneve satin gown with beaded embroidered applications and halter neckline

Mi Sueño carries sizes 2, 4 and 6 in ivory, champagne and off-white. The boutique takes care of alterations for free but for brides who prefer to have the made-to-measure Pronovias gown of their choice, Mi Sueño will order the gown from Barcelona in the required size with a lead-time of five months; each gown comes with a veil but is sold separately. The gowns are priced between P50,000 to P150,000 — comparable to made-to-order, locally designed gowns. 

“Believe it or not, Pronovias gowns are commonly used as pegs by designers for their bridal creations,” Pepper says. So the popular designs, plus the reasonable prices have appealed to young brides-to-be. “My first client was a Malaysian flight attendant based in Abu Dhabi and getting married in Bali,” Pepper recalls. “She was on a layover and was browsing the Internet killing time when she came across Mi Sueño and found out we carried Pronovias wedding gowns; she called us around noon, came to the shop at one o’clock, tried on the same gown she saw in Abu Dhabi in the next 30 minutes or so, bought the gown thereafter and flew out at three in the afternoon of the same day!” She has since catered to brides from Manila, Cebu and other parts of the Philippines, including Filipinas living in Singapore.

So far, Periquet Guanio has been very happy with the market’s overwhelming response to Mi Sueño; word of mouth has proven an effective marketing tool for them but they have also made their presence felt in bridal fairs. “It is wonderful to go out there and make ourselves available to the brides who are still not aware that there is an RTW option like Mi Sueño for them,” Pepper enthused.

Strapless beauty: Geneve satin asymmetrical gown with beaded embroidered application

She and her team still have to deal from time to time with traditional and conservative mindsets that have come to represent most Filipino weddings. Some brides come looking for packages that include the dresses of the entourage, thinking that this is how things must be done. They are also under the impression that it is a less expensive option to purchase gowns separately. But when Pepper sits down with them and suggests that they break down the cost, they realize that the bulk of the package price often goes to the entourage and not to the bride’s gown. When they learn this, they become more receptive to Mi Sueño’s approach. Some brides also find it less intimidating to go to bridal boutiques than to well-known designers because they are free to browse through the available choices and ask questions comfortably. Besides, how many women have easy access to local fashion designers?

A Bright, Rosy Future

Pepper has doubled her order of Pronovias wedding gowns for 2012; she also wants to add a new label of the same caliber at Mi Sueño to complement their Pronovias offerings. In February, she will introduce Atelier Diagonal, Pronovias’ diffusion line of bridal gowns, which will be sold at a different location. Prices for the gowns will range from P35,000 to P65,000. “The more wedding gowns we offer to the market, the more dream weddings we can help come true,” Pepper says excitedly.

She has also partnered with Nicole Whisenhunt, an in-demand Filipina accessories designer who will create pieces exclusively for Mi Sueño. Accessories company Bonne will create fascinators and birdcage hats (think British Royal wedding headpieces and hair accessories) for brides with specific wedding themes like “vintage.” All these will be available starting January next year.

Pepper Periquet Guanio, owner of Mi Sueño Bridal Boutique: “We guarantee that every woman who walks away with a Pronovias gown gets exactly what she wants.”

While the location of Mi Sueño is central, it is somewhat obscure; Pepper prefers to keep it that way because clients like the exclusivity and privacy the boutique provides compared to being in a busy commercial area. “Brides don’t want to see their wedding gowns displayed for everyone to see even if they are RTW; they would like to preserve the shock-and-awe factor of the wedding gown for the wedding day,” she explains.

In less than a year, Mi Sueño has made impressive inroads into the bridal business; I would not be surprised if Mi Sueño, just like Pronovias, becomes a household name in the Philippines for their carefully selected, high-quality RTW bridal gown collection.

* * *

Mi Sueño will launch Pronovias’ 2012 bridal collection together with the exclusively designed accessories of Nicole Whisenhunt and Bonne at a by-invitation only afternoon tea on Nov. 23 at The Conservatory of The Manila Peninsula.

Mi Sueño is located at The Penthouse, Athenaeum Building, 160 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City. Telephone numbers are 848-7277 or 848-7278. Visit their website misuenobridal.com or Facebook page Mi Sueño Bridal.

BRIDAL GOWN GOWNS MI SUE NTILDE PRONOVIAS SUE WEDDING
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