Its not everyday that a gorgeous white-flowing dress is on the menu. It is perhaps one of the more special concessions that comes with getting married. While of course, walking down the aisle to your love couldn’t be sweeter, as a woman, it’s the dress that gets the hype for months before the wedding and is that one special touch that transforms you from everyday life, to living out your dream.
Just recently I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with one of the leading bridal gown designers, Angel Sanchez. I don’t know if its possible to be charmed over the phone, but I am pretty confident I was! After our call was over and I was able to reflect back on our conversation and aside from the phenomenal designs, it was very easy to see why so many women have fallen for Angel Sanchez & his wedding dresses. Before I get a head of myself, allow me to digress into his story.
Anyone who hasn’t been fortunate enough yet to be savvy with Angel Sachez allow me to bring you up to speed. Originally from Venezuela, Angel actually began his career as an architect. After only a few years, he decided to give into his childhood influences, which were immersed in fabric & design while growing up around his mother’s atelier, to pursue fashion design. Starting in evening gowns & cocktail dresses, Angel quickly grew very intrigued with the height of bridal fashion. The sweet allure that is the challenge of bridal design, combining all the skills one has with quality & superb construction, Angel’s now 22 year love affair with bridal gowns was born. I often hear of various successful artists who began their careers as architects only to later change and flourish in their respective fields. It would seem that architecture has served as a magnificent opening act, and the career of Angel Sanchez is no exception.
I’m intrigued by designers that choose to design bridal as well. After Angel & I exchanged pleasantries, I lead with that exact question, why Bridal? His answer not only hit the mark but it also eluded to why he is as good as he is at what he does. To him, bridal is unique & the most important occasion one can wear a dress to, but most importantly, its a challenge. I really appreciated that. To know that bridal would be something that would at times offer him difficulty & test him as a designer, & yet still run full steam at it, really speaks to the heart of his character, which clearly shows through his elegant designs.
Angel has established a sizable footprint within the bridal industry, dressing brides in gowns that show off the gorgeous woman inside. When I asked Angel what exactly he thought was his signature style, he walked me through his love of clean smooth lines, highlighting the body’s natural curve. If you’re looking for that traditional ideal of a wedding dress, lots & lots of heavy fabric, dare we even say…’puffy’, then we’re afraid Angel isnt your designer. He much prefers to keep with silhouettes that are streamlined yet still allow for gentle movement & flow. While his designs certainly give a solid nod to tradition, he elevates the overall idea of a wedding dress, making the gown more modern, sleek & refined. His background in architecture is evident in the way he is able to blend sharp strong lines while marrying the fluidity of some of the more supple fabrics he works with, in a way only a master architect can do. The dresses almost take on another life, one that is essentially wearable architecture.
His most recent collection leans on the romantic classics of the 30’s & 40’s, however in true Angel Sanchez fashion, he is putting his modern stamp on them. Working with a fun technique & a newer element to Sanchez’s designs, he has begun toying with cutouts within the silhouette. Opting to find ways to work them into the overall look, while adding an opaque secondary layer of fabric over these cutouts to keep the fluidity of design. The end result is truly gorgeous. This technique is not something often seen in bridal, but Angel’s craftsmanship & elegance in design has taken a simple cut out to a dream worthy state.
It was very clear as well, that Angel has a healthy respect for his fellow designers. As regards the bridal industry, he holds Ms. Vera Wang in very high regard. He admires Vera’s evolution with the ever changing bridal industry. In Angel’s opinion she really can do just about anything, but its really her masterful understanding of the bridal business & her perfection of the dress that Angel really holds in high regard. However as far as master of all fashion designers go, Angel didnt hesitate for a second to divulge to me who inspires him most: Balenciaga. Referred to as “the master of us all” by Christian Dior, its not hard to understand why Angel feels as he does.
Wanting to know just a bit more about who Angel was & what he holds lovely, I asked in his opinion what was a very iconic wedding dress in our past that really stood out for him. Again without hesitation he said, Grace Kelly. The answer was so very Angel Sanchez. How so? Her wedding dress was the pure definition of classically elegant with smooth sleek lines, however it was only one part of the whole formula. Not only did he tell me that Grace Kelly was a bit of an idol for him, he was completely swept up by the entire story of a Hollywood movie star marrying a real prince! He felt the dress was utterly perfect for the moment and I couldnt agree more!
As Angel & I got a bit away from his designs and more into the relationships that bloom with his brides, I learned a whole new dimension to his persona. Angel actually gets quite excited when he has the opportunity to personally oversee getting a bride into the right dress. Any opportunity he gets to do custom designs, he holds very dear. For Angel, its not just the opportunity to design a one of a kind dress, its the interpersonal relationships that he builds with the brides & has the opportunity to foster throughout the multiple visits & fittings Its plain to see that Angel takes the pressure of such an important dress onto himself, wanting to collaborate with the brides yet remain true to Angel & his signature design. By the end of the whole process, Angel falls a bit in love with each bride. When time permits, he sneaks his custom brides to a quiet lunch or dinner, allowing them the much needed opportunity to escape and decompress, taking a step away from the last minute stress & details. Angel has a deep love for what he does & the women who love his designs back.
From the moment Angel meets his bride, his mind is already firing away at what would make the perfect wedding dress. Angel let me in on a special secret of his which helps him to deduce the right dress beyond that of body type alone. Believe it or not, from the moment Angel meets his bride, he is taking everything in, from the way she walks into the room & carries herself, to how she’s dressed & styled. He likes to learn a bit about his brides as well, as even career can help Angel learn that much more about his bride and match her to THE dress. He always tries to encourage women to be honest with themselves & who they are, allowing the dress to be an extension of them, most importantly dressing for themselves & never trying to please everyone else.
When I asked Angel what advice he’d like to give brides that simply don’t know where to start or what they want, he sweetly chuckled “Come to me!” While Angel would love to dress every bride, we know that cant always be the case. Angel suggests finding a bridal boutique that you have good chemistry with & are clearly experts in what they do. He advises, “Listen to the experts and not random people.” He also holds the same opinion that frequently is heard: Less is more. In this case however, Angel is referring to the number of people that come with a bride to shop. “Its hard with a large group. There are a lot of opinions going on & often brides go from being happy for themselves to seeking the approval of the group” he told me.
To finish our conversation, I told Angel I wanted to take him out of designer mode and into wedding guest mode. Every designer everywhere has been apart of the very industry they help to shape and define. I asked if there was a special element, moment, or simple touch that stood out of him in the past. His answer was further proof that Angel is forever Angel down to the last detail. “I like simple tables, simple food. A space where you can really connect with the other people at the wedding. Really feel the happiness & love for the couple. Intimate & not pretentious. The right people & the right details.”
My time chatting with Angel was so warm, welcoming. He never once gave me the slightest indication that he had anything else in the world to do but to chat with me. That’s why I say chat. It really did feel like speaking with a good friend. Angel’s personality & designs are one in the same. Smooth, thoughtful, & passionate.