Young fashion designer Hannah Kong made her debut in the wedding industry at this year’s “Marry Me” at Marriott bridal fair and successfully presented herself as a master craftsman in the lost art of embroidery and beadwork.
While fairly new in the fashion scene, Kong quickly gathered a following after establishing her atelier in 2015 precisely for this very intricate touch on her wedding gowns and in dressing the rest of a bridal entourage.
Kong studied couture embroidery at Ecole Lesage, a specialized fashion school in Paris, France. She has since acquired expertise in this meticulous aesthetic as seen in her runway wedding collection.
“I tried, as much as possible, to showcase what I could do in terms of handcraft,” said the designer at the end of her show, revealing that Marry Me at Marriott challenged her team with a three-week lead time.
In the Philippines, Kong 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 continued, “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.”
Kong’s muses at Marry Me at Marriott included an entourage of bride-muses in Maricar Reyes-Poon, Hidilyn Diaz, Trisha 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],” gushed the designer. “Maricar’s hair was so edgy that I really wanted something classic for her.”
Meanwhile, Kong had 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 Trisha [Gosingtian-Gabunada], I made a dress that only she could pull off, with those sleeves,” said Kong 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 Kong’s decision in designing an ephemeral loose gown. Kong shared that Simpao is among the wedding industry professionals who continues to push her to get her work out.
The young actresses, Racal and Rivera, finally wore youthful cuts. Rivera in particular stood out for wearing a very feminine hand painted piece.
“I feel that my brides may not be super girly, but they want something classic, timeless, and elegant,” reflected Kong. “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.”