Off-the-rack wedding gowns | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

It was her own experience of hunting for  her dream wedding dress that propelled Pepper Periquet-Guanio to establish Mi Sueño Bridal Boutique. (Mi sueño is “my dream” in Spanish.)

In 2006, she was taking her postgraduate course in Finance at University of California, Berkeley, and was engaged to Jay Guanio. During weekends, she  would spend time trying to find the perfect dress—although, she was still uncertain if she was to have her dress made, a tradition for most brides in Manila, or just buy a gown from a boutique.

“I tried so many designers and it didn’t suit me,” Periquet-Guanio recalls. Right before she was about to give up, she chanced upon a boutique in San Francisco that carried ready-to-wear Pronovias wedding gowns, made in Spain.

Exquisite fabrics

Pronovias prides itself as the world’s leading bridal house. It is present in 75 countries, with 150 store locations. It dates back to 1922, in El Suizo, a prestigious Barcelona shop specializing in exquisite lace, silk and embroidery of fabrics for bridal gowns.

Throughout the years, it has been known to collaborate with high-fashion designers such as Valentino, Elie Saab and Manuel Mota in crafting gorgeous wedding gowns.

Intrigued, Periquet-Guanio tried on a gown, and fell in love with it instantly.

“I was so happy even years after! Everybody loved it,” she recalls.  The piece was a bustier gown made of lace and silk, made by Spanish designer Hannibal Laguna, and now proudly displayed on a mannequin in her boutique.

When she started her business late last year, Periquet-Guanio wasn’t  sure if the RTW concept for bridal gowns would sit well with the traditional Filipino market. She started with only four pieces of Pronovias gowns.

“But why not off-the-rack for bridal gowns? We are one of the few countries who don’t have this. Many brides even plan trips abroad just to hunt for wedding gowns.”

According to Periquet-Guanio, RTW for bridal gowns is not an alien concept anymore; it is, in fact, a standard option worldwide. “It’s something we should finally have locally.”

Penthouse boutique

As you enter Mi Sueño Bridal Boutique, everything is in perfect white. The boutique occupies the penthouse of the nondescript Athenaeum Building in Salcedo Village, Makati City. It’s a semi-loft, with high ceiling and glass that allows natural light to come in, illuminating the ethereal bridal gowns in off-whites and ivory.

Mi Sueño carries just enough gowns—22 pieces from Pronovias’s collection—and Periquet-Guanio  handpicks them herself. She has become familiar with the style that suits most Filipino women.

“Filipino brides are still very traditional and conservative,” she says.  “Brides normally go for the princess look or the bustier, or gowns with A-line cut. They really feel the role when they are wearing something like that.”


Despite the market’s single-mindedness, Periquet-Guanio brings in a diverse collection, from simple gowns  to sheath-looking pieces, all the way to  very elaborate and super-chic ones.

“There is definitely something for every taste,” she says.

Heavier and bigger ball gowns sit harmoniously alongside lighter, more streamlined designs made of the most sumptuous fabrics: silk taffeta, hand-crafted embroidered lace, organza, satin, heavy tulle, Paris Garza and Mikado silk.

Another advantage of buying your dress off-the-rack is that you can envision the dress right away, how it fits you physically and visually.

“We are not saying this is the right choice for the  bride,  but certainly an option available to her,” she stresses.

For a practical bride, the more options available in the market, the better chances of finding the wedding gown of her dreams.

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