Wedded Wonderland got the first look at Belluccio’s newest Snow Queen collection when it launched on the runway at the annual Belluccio Ball. During the evening, we managed to pull Belluccio’s head designer, Julie Sufi aside to get the 411 on the gowns and how she manages to pull of such an incredible event year after year (hint: there’s chocolate involved).
WW: How long was the process of pulling together this new collection (from designto runway)?
Belluccio: I’m always thinking about new ideas for a collection. Ideas can hit me at any time. Shortly after the release of last year’s Silver Screen collection, I began to focus on the next year’s collection. I was really inspired in New York last year when we showcased at Fashion Palette in New York Fashion Week. Just being there gave me so many new ideas, so the process kind of began then. It did take longer than usual, it wasn’t until March that we began production on the Snow Queen collection.
What was the #1 thing that got you through late nights and long mornings?
Belluccio: I love my chocolate. Cadbury Black Forest chocolate was my saviour!
WW: You work closely with your family – what are some of the positives and negatives of mixing work and family?
Belluccio: Yes, I do (laughs). It has its positive and negatives points. It can be very difficult to have a conversation between siblings when you have to give them constructive criticism, but sometimes you have to pull the band-aid and just get it over and done with! Also, they are never too shy to speak their mind. This, I think, is a positive. I can trust that they are giving me their absolute honest feedback, even though sometimes there is no filter.
WW: What’s the inspiration for your new collection?
Belluccio: This year I was inspired by a combination of the Snow Queen, The Chronicles of Narnia and Cinderella! It’s all about the big ball gowns or fishtails that are heavily embellished with diamonds, beads, Swarovski crystals and pearls. It is meant to embrace a classic royal look with a frosty touch.
Basically, this collection merges to embody the characteristics of the modern day ‘Snow Queen’. A domineering, fierce and powerful woman, who is always the centre of attention and is always ready to go.
If you think about a Snow Queen, you think of someone who has all of these characteristics, and in today’s day and age, many women are more than the traditional wife/mum. They are career-orientated, run successful businesses and often are in a position of power. This collection is designed for those women. When you put on a piece from the Snow Queen range, I want to see your inner snow queen unleashed.
WW: Describe the moment you decided that you were going to run with this inspiration.
Belluccio: I was with my fiancé. I actually dragged him the movies to watch Disney’s Cinderella, the poor thing! This was a childhood favourite of mine, but seeing it again it re-kindled my love for princesses and big ball gowns. Also, the story line opened my eyes. The bold and beautiful characteristic of Cinderella, in my opinion, is what gets her out of a troubling situation. I feel as though every ‘snow queen’ has a situation of their own, and with the right state of mind, they can overcome it.
WW: What are some of the on-trend styles, shapes, embellishments or motifs that you’ve used?
Belluccio: The biggest challenge of creating a range, is to not scare the clients into thinking the design will only look good on a size 0 model; so my aim was to try and experiment with cuts that flatter all sizes. This year I put a big focus on pencil fit gowns which I have discovered is an extremely flattering cut on almost any body shape.
Along with that, I have embraced a beautiful damask pattern for the base of my embellishment designs in the collection, I feel its classic but still has a modern twist.
WW: How would you describe the Belluccio signature style?
Belluccio: Typically we are known for our beading and embellishment, a signature style would be a full sleeve heavily beaded sheath gown. It’s very old school, Hollywood glamour-ish. A lot of my inspiration stems from this era.
WW: Describe how you feel right now in three words.
Belluccio: Ecstatic, excited and overwhelmed
WW: Do you have a designer or style icon you admire?
Belluccio: Sonam Kapoor is a style-icon right now that i love, I feel as though every gown she wears is on point! My classic style icon would definitely be Elizabeth Taylor, dripping in her diamonds.
WW: How do you celebrate finishing a collection?
Belluccio: We are thrilled to have created the concept of the annual Belluccio ball; rather than releasing our latest collection with a standard fashion show, we take it up a notch by hosting a gala dinner. We love to see all of our guests, clients and VIPs have an amazing night. Seeing everyone get dressed up looking very Belluccio is how we love to celebrate the launch of our collection.
WW: What’s next on your agenda?
Belluccio: New York Fashion Week! We are heading to NY with Fashion Palette in four weeks’ time, so that should be exciting. We have expanded our ready-to-wear range in various locations throughout the United States since last year, so we are taking the Snow Queen range to the USA to launch.
WW: What was the most challenging part of planning the Ball? Do you have any funny anecdotes?
Belluccio: The most challenging part of planning the Belluccio Ball would have been taking that first step in deciding to actually host the Ball. Tasks like selecting the right date, inviting the right guests, selecting the right models and picking the right venue for the event is probably the hardest part of the process. It seems like it’s always the first few steps that are the really difficult, but once the ball gets rolling then it falls into place.
The team all make fun of me saying I’m ‘bridezilla’ in the lead up to the ball, but I beg to differ (laughs). I won’t lie, I can be a little indecisive. I treat the Ball as if it were my wedding. Sometimes I feel I’m more focused on the décor and the table arrangements than the actual runway show. I guess it all goes hand in hand, and as we are hosting an event for all our VIPs I just want things to be perfect.