This month, we're bringing back The Bride Wore series, where we feature the metro's hottest bridal designers to help brides-to-be find their gown designers for their special day. First on the list is John Herrera, who dressed up model Vanessa Matsunaga for her wedding to Jun Sunga.
How model Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga was led to designer John Herrera for her bridal gown is a bit of a moving tale, complete with a fashion disaster that was fortunately averted, owing to John's generosity.
"My history with John was not the usual bride-designer scenario. In fact, I met him because of a gown tragedy," Vanessa dolefully recounts. But throughout the whole ordeal, Vanessa says John "ensured me serenity," and that his kindness "ultimately led to a perfect wedding."
Click on the photo gallery to see Vanessa's gown and to read the entire story behind it. Meanwhile, check out our interview below with John to know all about having him as your bridal designer.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY AS A BRIDAL DESIGNER?
Aesthetic-wise I have no restrictions. But I get excited when my clients have an aversion to beading (I'm not a big fan). I love fabric manipulatulation and making my own patterns.
WHAT IS THE SIGNATURE FLAIR THAT IMMEDIATELY CHARACTERIZES A JOHN HERRERA WEDDING GOWN?
I wouldn't say my wedding dresses are unique in terms of design. I'd like my gowns to be trend-free. If anything, I always strive for impeccable quality and finish, as with any other bridal designer.
HOW EARLY BEFORE THE WEDDING DO CLIENTS HAVE TO APPROACH YOU?
Most book me a year in advance. I accept at least two months before the wedding. I have a very small production so I can't accommodate a lot of clients.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE TO TALK TO CLIENTS REGARDING THEIR WEDDING GOWN DESIGNS?
As often as needed. A big part of the process is getting a bride's trust and confidence that the designer will deliver and exceed expectations.
HOW OFTEN DOES A CLIENT HAVE TO VISIT YOU FOR FITTINGS?
I get the fitting correct the first or second time. Since I make the patterns, I know how to follow the client's form.
ON AVERAGE, HOW LONG DOES A WEDDING GOWN TAKE TO MAKE?
A month or two is enough.
WHAT ARE THE PRICE POINTS OF A JOHN HERRERA WEDDING GOWN?
A wedding gown costs P100,000. I make the groom's suit for P25,000 . For the entourage, I charge P150,000.
It was Heart Evangelista, Vanessa's friend, who approached me to make a wedding gown for Vanessa. When I met Vanessa I thought she was lovely. I knew I was very lucky to be making her wedding dress.
PLEASE DESCRIBE THE GOWN THAT YOU DESIGNED FOR HER.
The design was from my Aphrodite collection (bridal show with Cary Santiago). It has "scales"—fabric cutouts made of mikado silk on the bodice. The skirt is of shirred honeycomb organdy with piping at the hem.
ANY POINTERS PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HAVING YOU AS THEIR BRIDAL DESIGNER?
As far as design, I make sure to flatter my clients' shape (silhouette, cut, and neckline). We give full service. My team and I take care of our bridal clients like family. I dress them up, attend the service and reception. I love this part of my work.