photos by Tony von Thelen
By Cristina Slattery
Ioana Calin presented her collection of wedding dresses called “I Love Fairytales” at No.3 NYFW in New York on September 13th. The dresses were all hand-made and Calin, a Romanian designer who lives in Rome, customizes each dress for a particular client. Ioana Calin graduated from Accademia del Lusso in Rome and started creating wedding dresses with the dress she made for her own wedding nine years ago. Calin, who has an atelier in Rome and a shop in Satu Mare, her home city in Romania, says she feels passionate about wedding dresses because a woman’s wedding day is one of the most emotional days of her life.
L’Atelier Ioana Calin has four employees and Ioana Calin designs about 150 dresses per year. She says she is even sometimes invited by many brides to attend their weddings, but that she cannot possibly go to that many weddings every year. Her clients are mainly women from Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, and Italy, her adopted country.
She loves fairytales, obviously, but Ioana Calin also loves beauty and happiness. This sensitive and enthusiastic designer adores her work and her dresses are available at different price points. ($5,000 per dress is typical) Rome is Calin’s adopted city and she is continually inspired by the people she meets there and feels grateful that Rome was the city in which her dream became a reality.
Ioana Calin does not advertise her dresses. She does have a Facebook page, but most of the potential clients find her via word-of-mouth. This designer is happy to have her atelier grow gradually although she admires “people who do great things.” She believes that there is space for everyone in the wedding dress market and that artists can “start off small and become big.”
Her focus is solely on wedding dresses rather than other types of garments because creating these dresses is the true passion of this young Romanian woman. Calin’s own husband and several friends came to see her show her collection at No.3 NYFW and the collection was met enthusiastically by those in attendance. The dresses in Calin’s “I Love Fairytales” collection varied greatly. Some dresses were see-through and for brides who would not feel uncomfortable showcasing their silhouettes on their wedding day, while others looked more like Cinderella was walking down the aisle and were a more traditional “princess” style.
Calin says that she designs each dress with the particular bride in mind and her collection included one mini-dress as well as a very long and sleek dress that featured large, white flowers that looked like they could have been magnolias made of fabric extending from the neckline to the waist.
Again, every dress was unique and the crowd seemed impressed by the eclectic mix of styles that Calin included in the collection and how the models looked in each dress. Although Ioana Calin doesn’t seem to want to take the American market by storm, she can be assured that her work has been well-received stateside and that brides outside of Europe might become potential clients in the near future, as well.