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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Marguerite Hannah

We caught up with the talent behind Alan Hannah, MiaMia and Rita Mae to find out a little more about where it all began

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Marguerite Hannah from Alan Hannah Bridal
Marguerite Hannah from Alan Hannah Bridal

Marguerite Hannah is the lead designer at luxury bridal and bridesmaid brands Alan Hannah, MiaMia and Rita Mae. In an exclusive interview, Marguerite shares information about her personal background, working life and how she became the success story she is today.

Watch Bridal Buyer’s video interview with the Alan Hannah team where the Marguerite explains how an Alan Hannah wedding dress is made, and what makes their dresses so unique.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I lived in Cyprus for five years when I was 19 until 24, where I studied pattern cutting for fashion. At the same time, I worked for a couturier whose clientele were mainly from the diplomatic community in Nicosia.

I gained a huge amount of practical experience when working here and eventually I acquired my own couture clients. This hands-on experience was priceless, and I learned so much from this.

When I returned to the UK, I studied at the London College of Fashion under Martin Shoben. I wanted to gain further qualifications in the UK but, to be honest, I had gained a huge amount of knowledge working with my couture clients.

How did you get into bridal?

I always loved high couture and tailoring as well as theatre design. Bridal allows me to fulfil all aspects of glamour and theatre, as the bride is centre stage, and the dress is the main focus of the occasion.

Learn how the star of a previous Wonder Woman Wednesday, Rosanna Garden from Motee Maids, got into bridesmaid dress design.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I am very interested in the human form in art and fashion and I love all the challenges it presents.

My favourite part is the sculptural element of pattern-cutting which enables me to use fabric to create a 3D shape. I love moulding it on my mannequin or a body to sculpt and invent new shapes.

Every time I use a new fabric there is a different challenge.

What’s your greatest achievement?

I guess my greatest achievement is having never planned this journey for myself, instead I almost stumbled into it. I found my calling and something that came very naturally to me, but in order to make it work, it needed a huge amount of hard work and dedication.

I am very grateful for the success and recognition that I have received and the fact that I have played a little part in making so many brides happy on their big day.

Starting out in bridal design isn’t an easy career path. Here’s how new bridal designer, and another Wonder Woman Wednesday nomination, Jacqui James got into the industry.

What’s your secret to success?

The secret to success not really a secret: it’s very hard work and absolute commitment to whatever you do.

Everyone with a bit of talent who has been successful knows the truth of this.

Who’s your greatest female inspiration?

I could give you a list of amazing, famous and influential women that I admire, thank goodness there are so many these days, but there are so many everyday women I know who truly inspire me.

Women are forever juggling all sorts of commitments and careers but it’s amazing that we still love fashion and the empowerment, art and elegance that it brings.

It is still the greatest feeling when someone chooses an Alan Hannah dress for her special day and that is still the biggest inspiration on my work.

Read Maria Ryan’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to learn about her greatest female inspiration.

What does your typical working day look like?

My day is pretty unpredictable. I prioritise production and personally respond to design queries from our retailers. Customer service is top of our list. For six to nine months of the year I am fitting in designing. I source fabrics, prepare new patterns and start production on new designs.

Read more: My Diary: Richard Lill, Director of Lionheart Portfolio

What’s your favourite part of your job?

The most exciting part of my job is receiving my new fabrics and immediately using them to sculpt new ideas. This actual hands-on part, cutting, putting things together and experimenting is my absolute favourite thing.

What can we expect from your brands at White Gallery?

For Alan Hannah, I want to follow up on our very successful geometric structured dresses from the last collection. I plan to keep the architectural focus but make the dresses a bit more whimsical and delicate.

I have some gorgeously light, semi-transparent fabrics which I am working on now. This is still a work-in-progress, but I am really excited about the initial results.

It’s a balancing act between keeping good structure in the dresses but at the same time keeping a soft and feminine feel to the silhouette.

Alan Hannah showcased their wedding dresses in a private fashion show at White Gallery 2018. Make sure you check out the full video.

With MiaMia we have a lot more straight dresses in crepe and other softer fabrics with less embellishment. We had fantastic feedback from our Beautiful You collection which we launched at Harrogate, and we feel that the retailers are loving more unusual cuts and fabrics with less beading.

Finally, we have given a whole new angle to Rita Mae. Expect more long dresses but in very light floaty fabrics which are fantastic for weddings in warmer climates and more relaxed venues.

Make sure you register to White Gallery to ensure you don’t miss out.

Can you tell us five interesting facts about yourself?

Interesting facts? Probably more like annoying facts!

  1. Perfectionist, stubborn etc.
  2. My work is my hobby, but I also design and make ceramics.
  3. I was born in Cyprus, but my family lost our home in a war.
  4. I love cooking.
  5. When I was 18 I wanted to be a scientist.

Want more from our Wonder Women? Make sure you read Wendy Wallis’ Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out more about how she became Sales Manager at True Bride.

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