What is the difference between Haute couture and couture?

‘Haute Couture’ literally means ‘high-sewing’ and has come to signify the most luxurious form of dress construction.  It is a term that can only be used by Parisian couturiers – much like the term ‘Champagne’ can only be used by wine makers in the Champagne region of France.  It is governed by certain rules and regulations set by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, France.

‘Couture’ literally means sewing or dress-making.  It is a term that can be used by couturiers or fashion designers anywhere in the world who design and create an individually tailored garment for a client.

What’s the difference between a custom designed couture gown or dress and a made-to-measure couture gown or dress?

Custom designed gowns and dresses:

A custom designed couture gown or dress is a unique piece of art that is designed and constructed especially for you.  The design is first developed with you through a process of consultation.  Then patterns and toiles (mock-ups of the dress) are produced for fittings.   Only when we have ensured that the design and fit are correct, will the gown be produced in your selected fabrics.  After the final fitting, the gown is completed with finishing touches and embellishments.

Designing involves having a conversation with you about your inspirations and from there we will develop sketches to help you visualise our ideas.  We will then assist you to select appropriate fabrics, laces and embellishments of the best colour, texture and weave that suit your style.

Custom designing a gown is a lengthy process and you are part of that process at every stage to ensure that we get it right according to your requirements and with the AY Couture signature style.

Made-to-measure gowns and dresses:

A made-to-measure gown is a piece that you select from a range that already exists in our collection.  The selected design is then made according to your measurements.  This may involve producing toiles for fittings.  The fabric texture, colour, weight and embelishments can be changed according to your liking but the design is not changed, except for minor adjustments such as length of the hem and/or sleeves, position of the waistline or length of the train.

How long does it take to construct custom designed and made-to-measure gowns or dresses?

Custom designed gowns and dresses:

Due to the extensive process of consultation, design development, fittings, sourcing fabrics, detailing and finishing, custom designed gowns and dresses can take up to 8 months to complete.

Made-to-measure gowns and dresses:

A design selected from an existing collection can take between 2 to 6 months, depending on the design and availability of fabrics chosen.

Do I need an appointment to visit your salon for a consultation?

Yes an appointment is required to visit the salon for a consultation.

Are there different sizes of each gown or dress available to try on at your salon?

Due to the nature of our business we are able to offer selective sizing options to try-on.  You can still get a feel and sense of what suits your style by a thorough consultation with the designer and draping the various fabric colours and textures at our salon.

How many appointments are required for fittings?

Generally 5 appointments are required for custom designed and 2 to 3 for made-to-measure gowns and dresses.

In some instances additional appointments may be required for more complex and intricate designs.

Can I make an appointment to see you on a Sunday and public holidays?

Yes.

I live interstate and would like to purchase a custom designed gown from you.  What is the process involved for interstate clients?

Yes we provide our services to interstate clients and we try to minimize the number of times you need to travel to Melbourne.  We do this by accommodating 2 appointments for each visit to Melbourne.

Do I need to prepare for a consultation appointment before visiting your salon?

It is helpful if you have an idea of the colours, necklines and dress styles that suit you.   We will then work with you to refine these ideas and provide you with options so that you can select dresses or fabrics of the appropriate colour, texture and weave to suit your style and budget.

Do I need to prepare for my fitting appointments beforehand?

It is helpful if you can wear similar undergarments and footwear that you intend to wear on your special day.  Complete details about preparing for fittings are provided to you at the consultation appointment.

Is it possible to complete my  gown or dress urgently?

Yes in some instances we are able to accomodate urgent orders.  Please note that urgent production and completion will attract additional fees.

Where are your gowns and dresses made?

All AY Couture gowns are designed and made in our atelier in Hawthorn in Melbourne, Australia.

Where do you source fabrics from?

We have direct global connections with manufacturers and suppliers of fabrics, laces and embellishments.  Generally these are sourced from France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.  Because we have a large range of suppliers, including in other countries, we are able to accommodate varying budgets and requirements.

Is it possible to dye fabric or lace to the colour of my choice?

We can dye fabric and lace, however, each fabric absorbs dye differently and the results can vary from your original swatch colour.   Given that it is a time consuming and complex process,  dyeing will attract additional fees.

We usually find that that clients are happy to select from our wide range of fabrics and laces that we source globally from  leading manufacturers and suppliers.

I know exactly what I want for my wedding dress or special occassion dress.  Can you make it for me?

Yes we will work with you to design your special dress.  The design development occurs at the consultation appointment.  We will always endeavour to design your dream dress that meets your needs with AY Couture signature style – it is a very exciting part of the process.

We cannot, however, recreate an existing piece from another designer.  And there are occasions when certain ideas cannot be translated into a product for technical reasons.   Please feel free to discuss your dress design options with us.

Does AY Couture sell couture gowns and dresses online?

We sell our custom designed and made to measure couture gowns and dresses from our atelier in  Hawthorn in Melbourne, Australia.

What is the price range for AY Couture bridal gowns and special occasion dresses?

The price range varies widely depending on the design, choice of fabrics, lace and embellishments.  For example, natural silk fabrics that are woven and dyed in Europe generally attract a higher cost than synthetic fabrics.

French lace is famed throughout the world for its beauty and delicacy.  Genuine French lace that is made in France will attract a higher premium than imitation ‘French’ lace.

Likewise, Swarovski crystals and pearls are more highly valued than imitation glass crystals or plastic base pearls.

We have a wide range of fabric, lace and embellishment options for you to chose from to suit you style and budget.

Prices will also vary depending on the Australian dollar’s value as this impacts the cost of importing fabrics from overseas.

Prices for a custom designed wedding or a special occasion gown or dress are in the range of A$ 2,800 – A$ 6,500.

More intricate and complex designs that use extensive amounts of fabric, lace or embellishments can be up to A$20,000.

Prices for a made-to-measure gown or dress, selected from our designs of existing collection, start from A$1,900.

Do you design dresses for bridesmaids ?

Yes we can design a story of dresses for the bridesmaids in consultation with you.

The process of designing and creating bridesmaids’ dresses is similar to custom designed dresses. Bridesmaids’ dresses can be produced in  any colour, lace and embellishments of your choice.  Please contact us for further information.

Is AY Couture an accredited business?

Yes AY Couture is accredited with the Australian Bridal Service.  As an accredited business we are committed to good practice and service excellence meeting the highest standards of quality.  Accreditation is based on a code of conduct that provides a framework to conduct our daily activities with professionalism, integrity, honesty and trust.  Accreditation ensures our clients have peace of mind when planning for their wedding day.

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If you have any queries about how we can assist you further, please contact us .