Chelsea Clinton or Ivanka Trump? (The wedding gown, that is) | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Ivanka Trump in VeraWang for her wedding to Jared Kushner;
Ivanka Trump in VeraWang for her wedding to Jared Kushner;
Ivanka Trump in VeraWang for her wedding to Jared Kushner


Hot on the heels of the deeply factious United States elections, an imagined “bride war” happens when women take a peek inside the newly opened Vera Wang Bride boutique in 8 Rockwell, Makati.


“Do Filipino brides want to dress like Ivanka Trump or Chelsea Clinton on their big day?” they ask, holding up the replicas of the two women’s Vera Wang bridal dresses side by side.


More importantly, which dress costs more?


President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter’s Vera Wang dress, called “Esther,” is a Grace Kelly-inspired A-line sheath of Chantilly lace draped with soft tulle, with short lacy sleeves.


The Clintons’ only daughter wore “Diana,” a full-skirted strapless laser-cut organza dress, cinched with a jeweled sash around the waist.


Like the dresses of the American designer’s celebrity brides—Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey—the Trump and Clinton dresses have been replicated, and are available at Vera Wang boutiques, including Manila.


The Clinton dress retails for P420,000; the Trump dress, for a little over P700,000. Bridal dresses start at P200,000—all in, including alterations and shipping.


top seller in Asia: KateHudson’s dress in “Bride Wars”
top seller in Asia: KateHudson’s dress in “Bride Wars”


The Filipino way


“In most RTW bridal stores and some Vera Wang shops, those aren’t included in the price, which could easily run up to 30 percent of the cost of the gown,” says Valerie Villar-Zayco, managing director of Vera Wang Manila. “We provide everything in-house, so we’re doing it the Filipino way.”


Villar-Zayco is the same woman who introduced the concept of bridal RTW in the Philippines when she opened Rosa Clara, the Spanish bridal label, exactly five years ago here.


Emboldened by the venture’s success, she sought to bring in Vera Wang, the penultimate bridal wear designer, go-to of A-list Hollywood brides and celebrities, and dream wedding dress designer of many Filipino women. (It has already sold one dress, even before the store opened.)


“There’s an appetite for bridal RTW. Filipinos have seen the practicality of buying a wedding dress off the rack,” she adds. Vera Wang is a more upscale concept, since Rosa Clara dresses range from P60,000 to P170,000.


“Our clients have seen that it’s achievable, price-wise. And we have a proven track record, so convincing Vera Wang happened seamlessly.” (In January, a second Rosa Clara boutique will open in S Maison in Pasay.)


At the 170-square meter boutique in 8 Rockwell, designed with the signature contemporary and sleek feel of every Vera Wang shop—graphite concrete floors, charcoal gray walls, blackened steel—is a fine mix of classic or iconic dresses, as well as a few pieces from the season’s collection. Bouffant styles are aplenty, since it’s the preferred look of most Asian brides.


Out front is a black silk crepe bustier dress for the “anti-bride.” It has about 700 hand-sewn ostrich plumes, and costs P1.6 million. A handful of evening dresses is also available, including a red dress for Chinese brides.


Valerie Villar-Zayco, managing director of VeraWang Manila
Valerie Villar-Zayco, managing director of VeraWang Manila


Wide spectrum


“There’s no particular mold for the Vera Wang bride,” says Villar-Zayco. “If you see her celebrity clients, it’s a very wide spectrum. If you see them in their everyday wear, they don’t dress the same. But they’re all modern and have a sense of fearlessness and a bit of playfulness.”


The Manila shop dressed actress Isabelle Daza for her recent wedding, while another actress, Toni Gonzaga, also wed in a Vera Wang dress.


A bride usually comes in to try on the dresses at one of the two private salons in the shop, playing dress-up in front of family and friends, sipping champagne. She can also pick from the catalog when a sample isn’t available. When she decides on a dress, it’s ordered from the United States, where all dresses are made, and is delivered after six months. Last-minute alterations are done in-shop by in-house tailors.


The rule is to always give the bride a new dress. But if it’s a rush wedding and the client wants to buy the one on display, that can be accommodated. The store can also help find one in other Asian locations of Vera Wang, like Hong Kong.


The shop encourages women to try on the clothes, since some don’t have hanger appeal, but are quite flattering on the body. Feedback from women says the dresses are cut so exquisitely, are constructed so well, and the bodice feels secure and light when worn—even the heavier frothy styles. Dresses  come in sizes 0 to 20.


Vera Wang’s style is stark and usually has no or minimal beadwork. “But the workmanship speaks for itself,” says Villar-Zayco. “You don’t need embellishments. The dresses move a certain way.”


All store staff are trained to advise brides on what works for them. Since Vera Wang is, first and foremost, a fashion brand, its staffers are hired based on their style and fashion sense.


As for the Trump versus Clinton dress duel, neither comes out on top among Asian brides, according to the brand: Kate Hudson’s “Bride Wars” dress—strapless sweetheart neckline, tulle ball skirt with velvet sash—is always the runaway winner.


And it’s also available in Manila.


Vera Wang is at 8 Rockwell, Makati. E-mail, call 8045071.


Chelsea Clintonwore VeraWang for her wedding to Marc Mezvinsky.
Chelsea Clintonwore VeraWang for her wedding to Marc Mezvinsky.


Obee Ham, head of business development of TriMark, franchise owner of Vera Wang, and Alex Chase Souza, global sales executive of Vera Wang
Obee Ham, head of business development of Tri Mark, franchise owner of Vera Wang, and Alex Chase Souza, global sales executive of Vera Wang


Red “Gemma” dress for Chinese brides
Red “Gemma” dress for Chinese brides


Trump’s “Esther” dress
Trump’s “Esther” dress
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