Concept to Couture

Designing a dream.

By Heidi Elnora

Photos by Studio B Photography


One of my favorite things about being a fashion designer is the art of designing. It will never cease to amaze me how something in my head turns into a wearable work of art. From the initial concept to a dreamy couture gown, I am literally creating an article of clothing that will be cherished for decades to come. Now, designing a collection and designing for a client are two completely different things. When I design a collection, I am free to do whatever I want. When working with a client, I must try to figure out exactly what that client really wants and needs. It’s always both a challenge and an opportunity to create something so special for such an important day in someone’s life.

Since 2006, I have designed thousands of gowns for thousands of clients, especially brides. One of my favorite clients to work for over the years has been Amanda Boyd Dufner. It all started with her reception gown for her wedding in May of 2012. “A friend of mine recommended me to Heidi and I’m so thankful she did. The whole experience was laidback, stress-free, and so fun. I trusted her 100 percent and never once worried about the end result,” Dufner says. “At the initial consultation, we talked about what I was envisioning: a fun, flirty (sexy) dress that I could move around and dance in. We played with some different silhouettes and fabrics—even feathers. Once we had a neckline decided, it was easy. Everything just kind of fell into place. We discussed options for every little detail, like buttons and exactly how full the skirt needed to be. Heidi is a perfectionist, which is one of the many things I love about her. Nothing was overlooked. Heidi drew a beautiful sketch afterward to show me the overall look. (I now have it framed.) I honestly don’t remember much about the day of the wedding. It was all so rushed and seems like a blur. I do remember, though, not being able to wait to put on my Heidi Elnora dress and change into my second look. My hair stylist helped me with the dress and was the first to see it. I knew by his reaction that it was exactly what I wanted and more.”

Heidi-AmandaBoyd_sketchWhen I help brides design their dream gowns, I want to get to know them. I want to know what their personality is like, what styles they tend to wear, and what makes them unique. Every gown I have ever created seems to perfectly echo the character and personality of the client. Dufner’s gown was a joy for me to design. When the client is as sweet and as kind as she is, the job becomes a lot easier. Purchasing a gown “off the rack,” is completely fine, but investing in a couture gown that will be custom fit to your unique body type is an experience unlike anything else. My clients can attest. You see scraps of fabric turn into the gown of your dreams, and it becomes something magical. The majority of our brides come to us saying they want something “different” for their wedding day. We have stunning gowns that can be purchased “off the rack,” and we have the ability to add accessories and trims, making each look something special. But choosing something couture is a way to achieve that truly unique look on your wedding day.



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