The young fashion designer Hannah Kong made her debut recently in the wedding industry at Marry Me at Marriott with a glimpse of her promising career as a master craftsman in the lost art of embroidery and beadwork. Fresh to the industry, Hannah established her atelier in 2015, where brides-to-be have sought her touch on their weddings dresses.
Hannah studied couture embroidery at Ecole Lesage, a specialized fashion school in Paris, France. She has since acquired expertise in the meticulous aesthetic of beadwork evident in her wedding collection. “I tried, as much as possible, to showcase what I could do in terms of handcraft,” she says revealing that the Marry Me at Marriott show challenged her team with a three-week lead time.
In the Philippines, Hannah acknowledges that the conventional thinking towards beadwork has been limited to heavy, dated dresses dominated by crystals and pearls. “I wanted to show that you can do so much more,” she shares, “The craft of using your hands is a dying craft, doing those types of embroidery and beadwork from scratch. Whenever someone asks me and I talk about embroidery, I always say that it’s like you’re painting but you’re only using threads, that’s the only difference from a painter that uses watercolor.”
Hannah’s canvasses at Marry Me at Marriott included an entourage of bride-muses: Maricar Reyes-Poon, Hidilyn Diaz, Tricia Gosingtian-Gabunada, Janna Simpao, Maris Racal, and Maika Rivera. Poon-Reyes, celebrity, and friend to the Kong family, wore a fully beaded dress that Hannah had initially wanted for her own wedding gown in 2018. “I was just so excited to use the beadwork that I thought, I can just use something else [for myself,]” gushes Hannah, “Maricar’s hair was so edgy that I really wanted something classic for her.”
Hannah met Diaz at one of her father’s talks, where she struck a friendship that resulted in a quintessential silhouette that the 2016 Olympic weightlifting medalist elegantly carried down the expansive runway at Marriott.
“For Tricia, I made a dress that only she could pull off, with those sleeves,” says Hannah of the fashion blogging celebrity, who is also an old friend. Her churchmate, Janna Simpao of Bride & Breakfast fame, also lent her personal style to Hannah’s decision in designing an ephemeral loose gown. Hannah said Simpao is among the wedding industry professionals that continues to push her to get her work out. The young actresses, Racal and Rivera, for their parts, wore youthful cuts. Rivera, in particular, caught the Marriott Grand Ballroom’s eye with a feminine handpainted piece.
“I feel that my brides may not be super girly, but they want something classic, timeless, and elegant,” says Hannah. Some of them are edgy but, of course, I tell them it has to be a bridal dress. Ten years from now, when they look back, I want to give them something they don’t have to explain was the trend. My brides are more timeless and they really appreciate the finer details.”
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