Perched atop the hills of Sheung Wan in between bustling al fresco restaurants and antique storefronts sits a wedding oasis for the modern bride.
The newly renovated The Lab Of Fairy Tales (LOFT) Bridal is a 1,600 square ft. ‘wedding and lifestyle concept space’ that breathes modern sensibilities into the timeless accord of holy matrimony. At its helm is ex-fashion buyer and Vogue Australia bride Jacqueline Au, whose expertise from her time at Celine and Lane Crawford has helped introduce brides-to-be to a roster of enviable dresses from brands such as Toni Maticevski and Giambattista Valli.
“Wedding dress shopping is an intimate experience,” Au tells me, her eyes lighting up as the stunning bridal pieces housed at LOFT bridal come into question. Her own big day might have taken place back in the safe and surreal world of 2017 but Au is still concerned with traditions of old, new, borrowed and blue, having since made weddings her career. It has been close to half a decade now but the bridal boutique founder still harbours the same fervour for the process as the newly-engaged would if armed with limitless imagination and a mighty Pinterest board. “I wanted to show off a curation [of bridal gowns] and place them in an environment that inspires people.”
If Au is in the game of fairy tales and inspiration, she has done her job and more. A change of address and sprucing up of details; coats of fresh paint, a table made of marble flown in from Italy and betting on curved interiors certainly aids in the process. Sitting on the 23rd floor of Centre Hollywood Building, interplays of sunlight and minimal design lift the space, imbuing a soft and serene ambience.
Practically speaking, LOFT Bridal is admittedly not as lofty as its name might suggest but the smaller setting works in favour of realising a client’s vision rather than overwhelming it. Walking inside places you in front of the collection within seconds, in which your eyes will meet a curated selection of gowns handpicked by Au herself. “We are not about putting as many products as possible in front of your eyes,” she explains of the selective pieces. “It’s important to us that, when you walk in, it’s about taking in the experience. This is a space you can spend hours in for a private, one-on-one appointment.”
Just in time for the comeback of wedding season, the reinvented LOFT Bridal is an unorthodox alternative to getting a dress online or from a tired rental store, the latter of which has been described by Au as cramped and stuffy – not to mention surprisingly unsustainable. “A piece that is transformable and fits beautifully is rewearable for several events. In my head, that will stay a lot longer in your wardrobe than four to five oddly fitted rental dresses that will end up in the trash.” As eclectic as it is, LOFT’s bridalwear collection is no less versatile – perfect in the pandemic where wedding themes will hinge heavily on social restrictions and guest vaccine rates. With that in mind, Au says that the bride of today seeks a wedding gown that can perform flexibly while, of course, speaking to the heart. “[Brides] are no longer in the kind of mindset of getting a certain dress. They go for pieces they truly love.”
The boutique is meticulously thought out, with no detail left untouched. From carefully chosen Italian marble to a signature Cire Trudon x Giambattista Valli Positano scent that follows you throughout the store, Au has laboured to create a factory for your wildest wedding dreams. It’s hard to believe that LOFT Bridal is the first of its kind – a concept store that has truly thought of every possible obstacle in the vision to wedding day pipeline. And sure enough, when you head to LOFT Bridal there may await flutes of champagnes, but there will also be designers who push the boundary of what bridal looks like, while LOFT also provides a service where visionary florists and photographers can preserve the magic of your day.
“The bridal world doesn’t need more of the same,” Au says – and as one of only six stores worldwide to exclusively stock Vivienne Westwood’s made-to-order bridal collection, it’s safe to say you can expect the extraordinary at the new LOFT bridal. “This [is a] singular world where fashion, style, design and lifestyle meet. We’re thrilled that we now call it our home.”
CreditLead Image: Courtesy of Kay Lai Studio