Winnie Couture Focus
The wedding gown is an all-important element of the bridal experience. Every bride wants her walk down the aisle to be an absolute dream-come-true — and the dress she will be wearing can make or break the fantasy.
Hong Kong-born designer Winnie Chlomin Lee understands just how much this piece of garment means to what’s possibly the most memorable occasion of a person’s life. Having encountered difficulties in finding the perfect wedding gown when she got married, the designer saw an opportunity to channel her creativity. Combine that with the business smarts and garment industry knowledge of husband Chris Lee, and Winnie Couture — a high-end wedding attire brand — was born in Beverly Hills. The brand has since become well-known in Hollywood, having dressed celebrities such as Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Aniston, Lea Michele and Helen Hunt.
The couple recently made their first international expansion in Hong Kong by opening a flagship store on Staunton Street. We meet up with the dynamic duo to discuss the trending wedding gown styles and the evolving needs of the modern Chinese bride.
Can you tell us about how the Winnie Couture label came about? What inspired you to start the brand?
Winnie Chlomin Lee, co-founder and creative director: I have been passionate about dressmaking and sewing ever since I was little. With my background in architecture, design has always been part of what I do. I thought about starting a brand after creating my own wedding dress in 1999 — I really enjoyed the design process and felt like nothing out there was really getting my attention as a bride-to-be. After launching our first collection in New York in 2001 and opening our first flagship store in Beverly Hills, California, we continued to develop a range of luxurious wedding attire and eventually took our business to the next level.
What made you choose Hong Kong as the next international stop for your flagship expansion?
Chris Lee, co-founder and CEO: We were born and raised in Hong Kong. We’ve always had a strong connection to the people in Hong Kong due to the culture. We want to share the excitement and accomplishments that we have with the people we love. Our brides in Asia can try on our newest collections and enjoy the same level of experience without travelling miles away to the States. Furthermore, being in the heart of all Asia, half of the world population lives within 5 hours flight of Hong Kong, opportunities for growth is endless here.
Many Chinese brides also wear the traditional Chinese wedding dress — which is red and comes with intricate embroidery. Do you see this practice affecting what they look for in wedding gowns?
Winnie: Every bride-to-be wants to experience every aspect of getting married. The Chinese wedding gown is more subtle and sophisticated. Whereas the Western-style wedding dress is more modern, and they get the opportunity to highlight their best features and channel their personalities.
In what ways does Winnie Couture stand out from other bridal ateliers?
Winnie: My designs are very structural and tailored to the most flawless construction. All my creations radiate with glamour and modernity, a sense of the ultra-luxe and dreamy romanticism. We offer a variety of styles and customization services so brides-to-be can get the perfect dress of their dreams.
Chris: From the grand chandeliers and the skillfully designed masterpiece on the mannequin at the storefront to the intimate fitting spaces, the lavish décor is part of our signature shopping experience. Brides are treated like a star upon entering the salon, and they are greeted by our expert bridal stylist with a big smile and taken on a tour of bridal heaven.
What emotions are you hoping to inspire with your bridal gown designs?
Winnie: We want our brides to feel confident and comfortable in our designs and get that dreamy and joyful glow. The experience of becoming a Winnie Bride is fun and magical, a bridal moment that can be forever cherished.
Describe the quintessential #WinnieBride to us.
Winnie: A Winnie bride is intelligent, kind, and very much in love. She’s someone who appreciates the aesthetics of my design; the luxe detailing, the exquisite weave of fabric.... She’s able to discern its beautiful beading and simple, gorgeous lines, and when she puts on her gown, she makes it look effortlessly glamorous.
Winnie Couture, 37 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2259-9318