10 Questions with Designer, Mira Zwillinger

1) How did you get into designing couture wedding dresses and eveningwear?

I was raised by a talented and creative mother, whom I watched sew and handcraft beautiful dresses from an early age. Therefore I developed a deep love for all things fashion and design-related and knew that’s what I wanted to do for a living.

Lihi was raised in a similar way and as a child used to join me on trips to Paris and Milan to look for new fabrics and materials. By the time she grew up, it felt pretty natural for her to walk down that path as well.

We became particularly passionate about bridal gowns for several reasons. First, it’s a great privilege to be able to create gowns for one of the most special moments in a woman’s life. Second, since the color palette is more constricted in bridal, as opposed to ready-to-wear, you have to be very creative in order to produce something unique. Working within strict borders whilst constantly trying to break them is extremely challenging and rewarding.    

Third, with bridal gowns we have the luxury of investing a lot time and effort into the finer details through beading and handwork in order to turn the gowns of our dreams into a reality. We are not limited in terms of what we feel we have the ability to create.

2) Where are you based?

Our atelier is located in a beautiful area of Tel Aviv. All our gowns are couture custom created in-house by a skilled team of some of the best in the industry.

3) Describe the Mira Zwillinger aesthetic. What is the signature look?

Our signature is the ultra-high attention to detail. Each custom made-to-measure gown is uniquely brought to life in a meticulously and thoroughly detailed process, which includes handmade embroidery, beading and ornamentation. Each gown tells a story of a timeless fairytale, with modern-day chic, leaving behind an aura of dazzle, sophistication and sensuality. Every gown we create is a work of art, with no two exactly alike.

4) It’s so great to see a mother-daughter team. How do you divide up the work?

Ever since Lihi joined the business six years ago, the studio is conducted in full partnership between us. We work together from the very beginning of the process, be it choosing the fabrics, coming up with the concept or designing the gowns.

We feel very fortunate to have each other as partners and work very well together. Lihi and I generally have similar taste and love the same things, but when we do have disagreements, we always make sure to make up quickly and compromise and the resulting gowns are often our favorite in the collection.

5) Give us a little insight into your couture design process.

Beautiful and innovative fabrics have long been our greatest infatuation and in many cases are a source of inspiration. After choosing the fabrics, each fabric is then handcrafted for additional modifications in order to create something unique, before turning it into a sketch and finally coming to life.

We are meticulous when it comes to our process and we don’t make any compromises in our gowns. We hold ourselves to an extremely high standard and are perfectionists for the good and the bad.

6) Do you design your fabrics as well?

We create the majority of the fabrics we use in every design.  We have developed a special process for altering the DNA of fabrics, combining multiple materials and elements to create something entirely new and different. It’s an arduous process, but at the end we know we have something unique.

 It’s almost as if each garment is our little secret.    

7) What are the challenges you face in the bridal industry today?

One of the biggest challenges we face is reinventing ourselves with each coming season, in an industry where you are inherently confined, but still want to feel you’ve created something new. We invest such great mental and creative capital in each collection, that by the time we’re done, it's hard imagining having to come up with something entirely new just a few months down the road.

Eventually another moment of inspiration comes to us, opening the door on a new world of imagination, excitement and creativity, which ultimately leads us to ideas of gowns we just can’t wait to see!

8) What is the most rewarding part of the process?

The most rewarding moment is watching our designs come to life for the first time at the runway show each year. The months leading up to the show are extremely arduous, with dozens of designs fleshing out around you simultaneously, each craving what seems like an endless amount of attention. We work around-the-clock for a long time, so when that moment on the catwalk finally comes where for the first time all we can do is watch our story come to life, the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming.  

Seeing our gowns worn by real brides is also extremely rewarding. There is nothing as special as seeing a women look beautiful and flawless in one of our gowns on her wedding day.

9) Do you have some criteria to sell your gowns to specific stores?

We are very fortunate to be working with some of the most prestigious boutiques around the world to sell our gowns. 

We make sure that boutiques who represent our brand are situated in the best and most prominent locations, carry an assortment of high-end bridal brands, display our gowns in a tasteful way to help bring out their unique qualities and of course, last but not least, retailers who have a reputation for impeccable service.

10) How do you decide on a theme for each collection?

Just about everything could spark inspiration for a theme. It could be a song, or a painting or even something as brief as a thought. Anything with a fairytale quality to it that elevates us from the ordinary and mundane. Every collection of ours tries to tell a story of a timeless fairytale-like dream, expressed with modern style and elegance.