Filed under En-Route To
Written by Jo Hombsch
“I was immersed in the fashion industry at a very young age – it became part of my life,” Jess Andreatta tells us as the morning light fills the room of her Surry Hills Atelier.
Allow us to paint a picture as we walk down the stairs, we’re treated to Jess’ boucle couches, surrounded by a sea of the latest J.Andreatta collection that takes inspiration from the disco era of Studio 54. But it’s upstairs where all the magic happens, “I have a team of 9 incredible pattern makers, cutters, machiners, hand sowers, and production managers that all work together to make one singular dress for our clients – all made in-house.”
Jess has taken a vow to her business model from the beginning, breaking the mould of traditional bridalwear to design feminine bridalwear with an edge. “I wanted to do anything in white and embrace all kinds of styles and personalities,” she tells us. “I am always thinking of innovative ways to create texture and new shapes, without conforming to trends or traditional ideas of bridal wear,” Jess adds.
Tell us about yourself?
“I was born and raised in Sydney, my mother was a pattern maker and had her own children’s wear label so I was immersed in the fashion industry at a very young age – it became part of my life. I knew as a teenager I wanted to be a fashion designer and decided to study design at the Whitehouse Institute Of Design. From there I worked within the industry for several brands and fell into bridal. I fell in love with the whole couture process – from there I decided to go out on my own and start my own couture label, which I absolutely love.”
“I like to seek inspiration from a vast range of avenues, this could be travel, architecture, movies, different era’s and everyday fashion. This helps me to stay innovative and not be too swayed by the current bridal trends. The original inspiration behind my latest collection, ‘Studio 421’ was the disco era of Studio 54. It all started when I found an old image of Cher in a sparkly cutaway top and pants – which I just loved and thought I could translate this vibe into a glamorous bridal gown, from there the rest of the collection began to form effortlessly.”
You’re known for pushing boundaries and redefining tradition. What does this mean for you?
“I think that that has been true from the very beginning from when I launched J.Andreatta, my whole business model was to do anything in white and embrace all kinds of styles and personalities – I think that has been consistent in my career and with my label to date. It means that my brand is forever changing and evolving. I am always thinking of innovative ways to create texture and new shapes, without conforming to trends or traditional ideas of bridal wear.”
Has the pandemic changed how women shop for their wedding dresses?
“Definitely brides were frequently being required to postpone, alter and reschedule their weddings – therefore priorities have changed which has very much reflected in their gowns! The pandemic influenced the rise of the short mini wedding dress and two-piece sets, as the perfect option for elopements, civil ceremonies and the more intimate, casual wedding format – which we have seen a huge trend in since COVID.”
On The new J.Andreatta Atelier in Surry Hills:
“Our new Atelier in Surry Hills opened in February 2021, when we moved from Paddington as we needed a bigger space. I particularly loved Surry Hills as it’s the original fashion hub of Sydney, full of all sorts of creative people. Surry Hills is where I learnt how to design and create – I had many experiences in other design houses here, so it has a special place in my heart. It’s nice to be able to bring the label back to where it all began. Upstairs I have a team of 9 incredible pattern makers, cutters, machiners, hand sowers, and production managers that all work together to make one singular dress for our clients – all made in house. So many hours are involved and so much care is taken for each individual gown right here, where I oversee all aspects of the design and production process from start to finish.”
a typical day:
“My day always starts with emails and a coffee! Followed by fittings with my gorgeous brides. When I have time in between, I’ll work on my designs for the next collection and each week have a team meeting to catch up on production and see where everyone is at.”
most fulfilling part of what you do:
“Seeing a sketch come to life and when my brides try on their dress for their final fitting and they have tears of joy on their face, you just know that you have made their special day.”
advice for up-and-coming designers:
“Be prepared to work 24/7! As a business owner you never really switch off. Be passionate about what you do, remember why you started and also integrity and business ethics are really important.”
Wedding dress trends for 2022?
“I think strong trends for 2022 are and will be anything that symbolises breaking traditions with a sense of liberation. This can be demonstrated through experimenting with different colours, shorter hemlines, fun ‘party’ style dresses, out-there fabrics, accessorising with fashion items such as belts, designer shoes, statement earrings and incorporating two looks rather than one as 40% of brides are wearing 2 looks for their wedding day.”
You’ve just had your first baby. Congratulations! Have you had the chance to step away from the business and enjoy this time with your little one?
“I did! Within a week I was popping into appointments when I could – and now she comes into the Atelier with me which my brides love!”
Have you ever experienced a ‘pinch me’ moment in your career?
“I think the pinch-me moment in my career was waking up at 5AM in Capri to shoot our La Dolce Vita Collection, watching the sunrise whilst sailing under II Faraglioni with my photographer and model. It was such a surreal moment and I just knew we would create magic that day!”
If you had the chance to dress anyone on their wedding day, who would it be and why?
“I would have loved to dress Margot Robbie or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. I feel they are just so effortlessly chic and would look incredible in my gowns.”
What is one beauty product you cannot live without?
“I cannot live without my Epara Face Cream. It’s 100% natural and makes my skin feel so hydrated and soft.”
“In my wardrobe, my favourite purchases are my Ferragamo black slides, a wardrobe essential that is so easy to pair back with jeans. For my home, I’m obsessed with my linen hand crochet tablecloth I found years ago in an antique store in a little town in Spain or my favourite set of hand-painted Italian ceramic plates.”
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