A moment with... ZOLOTAS Bridal Couture

A moment with... ZOLOTAS Bridal Couture

Tijan Biner speaks with the designer and creative director of Atelier Zolotas, VG Zolotas, and the owner of Zolotas Bridal Couture Australia, Sophie Linardopoulos, who reminisce about the company’s establishment, and give us an insight into the remarkable success of the world-renowned haute couture house.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

In 1972, the Atelier Zolotas bridal house was established on a tiny island off the coast of Greece. Since 2005, it’s been managed by two brothers, Dim and VG Zolotas. Creative director and designer VG Zolotas, who studied in Italy’s fashion capital, Milan, and now resides in Greece, often reminisces about the company’s establishment, but he never expected what it would lead to.

“The history of the Zolotas bridal house goes back three generations,” he says. “My grandmother used to hand-knit each lace in order to make a dress, [which was done on] a small island off the Aegean Sea, Chios. When I became the creative director of one of the biggest bridal houses in my country, I had a clear personal vision.”

By this point, Zolotas had become one of Europe’s most sought-after designers, and the company is now recognised as one of the continent’s most renowned haute couture bridal houses.

“Today, I am running the family bridal house and have [more than] 70 bridal stores in Europe. Having virtually been raised in this environment ever since I was a young child [has] helped me gain a unique perspective and vision of my own.”

Enter Sophie Linardopoulos; she travelled to Greece with her partner for a wedding, and after uploading a photo of the bride’s gown to social media, she was flooded with messages by friends who loved the look. Determined to bring the collection to Australian shores, Linardopoulos went looking for Zolotas. Within three weeks, Linardopoulos launched a bridal boutique in Perth, and she can confidently say it was her dream come true.

“I spent 5 weeks in the designers’ bridal house in Greece, watching the [gown-making] process from start to finish. [Zolotas] taught me everything I needed to know, which helped me create Zolotas Bridal Couture Australia in Perth,” she says.

Zolotas Bridal Couture Australia may have only recently launched in Perth, but the company is set to take over the country, with plans to launch studios in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Queensland and New Zealand. For Linardopoulos, being the owner of Zolotas Bridal Couture Australia isn’t just a job, it’s her heritage, and she’s proud to be able to offer Australian brides such unique and elegant designs from her homeland.

THE INSPIRATION

The Hellenic Vintage collection, with its unmatched vintage character and exquisite handmade designs, has already stolen the hearts of brides across the globe, but Zolotas says his work is inspired by the country he calls home.

“I think of a wedding dress as a reflection of an entire culture,” he says. “I draw inspiration from the Hellenic heritage in my designing process. The simple lines of the collection derive from the landscape and architecture of my country.

“As I grew up spending my summers on the Greek islands, which are among the most mesmerising summer destinations around the world, the sun and the sea became vital elements of my creative philosophy. This is why I design gowns that are unconventional in a bohemian way. I like to get creative with loom fabrics and organic material.

“When you get to feel the fabrics and work with them, using your hands, it is a very inspiring process. I draw my inspiration from many things, [but] haute couture craftsmanship and originality are the most important ones.”

His latest collection, which features gowns that are aptly named after popular Greek monikers, was a personal vision of the designer’s that became an inspiring success story. Linardopoulos says she’s shocked with how popular the collection has been among local brides, and she believes it’s because Australia has never received anything quite like it.

“I didn’t expect introducing the Hellenic Vintage collection to Australian brides would do so well,” she says. “Australia had never seen anything like this before, but, at the end of the day, brides love to be unique and different, which is what we are all about!”

A PERSONAL TOUCH

Finding the right inspiration for a bespoke wedding dress may not always be a simple process, but for Zolotas, he believes in letting his imagination, and mind, run wild.

“Before designing a wedding dress, there is always a certain feeling that I have,” he says. “So I’m driven by that in order to express what I have in mind. You have to give it time. Let it find its way to you. Every dress is like a small journey. You just follow the path and see where it takes you.”

When working with Zolotas and Linardopolous, brides can expect superior service and remarkable attention to detail, which combine to create a truly unique work of art.

“Brides-to-be should expect my personal attention in this journey of making their dream dress,” he says. “Every day, I am able to connect with brides from every corner of the world. The means we have make it so much easier; with Facetime [and] Skype, I am able to listen to what they want to express and make unique designs that best suit their personality. For me, every dress has its own unique story. In the end, it’s not about the perfect one, it’s about finding the one that is a reflection of you.”

Zolotas Atelier allows brides to completely customise their look, which is an element that Linardopolous was proud to bring to Australia.

“I love that a bride can make as many changes as she wants to a dress,” she says. “For example, she may want to add sleeves, have an open back [or] add a train. It’s all customisable!”

When asked what his favourite part of the job is, Zolotas says it’s more than simply creating a bride’s coveted gown.

“Seeing brides from all around the world [and] finding a personal connection to the collection is really fulfilling,” he says. “I believe that choosing your wedding dress is a mindful and very personal experience. It is not just about laces and fabrics, it is more than that. Our hands have taken care of every detail, which is so rare in today’s mechanised world.”

“Another thing that I love is making every model of the collection personalised to the bride. I like to listen to what she has to say, [and] this is why I want to give them my personal attention. For me, this connection with the brides is pure joy.”

Similarly, meeting new clients is one of Linardopolous’ favourite parts of the job. On a daily basis, she works closely with local brides to provide them with their dream gown, which, as one can imagine, certainly has its rewards.

“Being able to meet new brides and their families, and watching them meet the designs and being a part of their journey, [is truly rewarding],” she says.

When it comes to bridal fashion, Zolotas Bridal Couture exudes originality. Zolotas is thrilled that brides are thinking outside of the box with their designs, which, in turn, allows designers to do the same.

“I like the fact that now, more than ever, brides opt for designers, not big bridal brands,” he says. “They want their dress [to be] unconventional and different, not just a well-known brand. In the past, most brides wore a uniform style of a wedding dress. You would see the same style [at] every wedding.

“Nowadays, brides seek more personalised dresses, and designers are able to provide so much more than the usual tulle dress. This inspires designers to think outside the box. I also see that there is a tendency for original vintage flair and bohemian vibes, [which is] a style that I favour most. “

Zolotas is proud to be perceived as one of Greece’s leading lights, and offers aspiring fashion designers a word of advice. “The most important thing one has to conquer is to find your personal character as a designer,” he says. “[You need] to see where you want to go, and be true to your vision. Then, of course, comes the training and the experience.”

With Zolotas creating exquisite designs in Greece, and Linardopolous offering them to Australian brides, it truly is a match made in bridal fashion heaven. Their vision isn’t clouded by popular trends or what other designers are doing, and that alone gives the two, as well as the company, a serious edge over the competition.

Images courtesy of Zolotas Bridal Couture Australia