Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Journey Through Jorge Manuel's First Collection - Etelvina Collection

The one thing Jorge Manuel knew for sure when he decided to launch his bridal gown designs line was that it was time. This first collection, the Etelvina Collection 2008, became a four-year-in-the-making effort. It started with hundreds of sketches narrowed down to eight carefully selected designs. The process of finding the right group of seamstresses, pattern makers and a studio to work in was perhaps the most challenging part for the designer.  With all this in place, the workroom was ready for new ideas, challenges and production! Years of sketching, research, and training allowed this collection to come to fruition.

Jorge Manuel drew inspiration for his gowns from the women that most influenced his life, starting with his grandmother, Etelvina Garcia, whom he named the collection after ( The Etelvina collection followed no rules and no guidelines.  Jorge Manuel decided to be true to his design instincts, regardless of the "norm" in bridal wear. The gowns in the collection covered a wide range of design elements including: beautiful pleats, precise ribbon encrusting and meticulous patterns with very low or exposed backs. The "sweep-side train" is by far the most noticeable of all the elements seen in the collection, which made its debut in the Tamara gown.

This collection filled with one-of-a-kind fashion ideas and peculiar attention to detail showed signs of a designer exploring fabrics, textures, and colors. The designer brought to life an incredible visual form of art. It became obvious that Jorge Manuel had designed the dresses for the highly sophisticated, feminine and chic bride. He had heard it before, over and over, that brides wanted something different. The bridal industry, saturated with similar designs overlapping designers, offered no true "difference" for those brides seeking different in their wedding dresses.

Interestingly, the campaign idea the designer chose for his first collection circled around the time of the revolution during the Newsboys Strike of 1899. Jorge Manuel introduce his own version of a “revolution” into the bridal industry with the Etelvina Collection. The following questions and answer interview explains Jorge Manuel's journey through the Etelvina collection 2008:

How did you make the jump from designing weddings to designing wedding gowns?

It wasn't a jump. Honestly, I always loved designing dresses! I grew up watching my grandmother sew. It was intoxicating to see her passion for it. She would get lost sewing for hours and hours on end. I guess it inevitably brushed off on me.

How difficult was it for you to do bridal when the only training you've had in fashion is that of observing your grandmother sew?

Well it was difficult, but not impossible. I was convinced that I could do it because I had a tremendous passion for it. That's all I really needed. Oh! and Im also a fast learner!

How did you learn how to sketch and draw?

I took many classes of design and graphics at school for architecture. On one hand, the basics transfer when applying it to fashion. On the other hand, I learned structure and form from my design and graphics classes' a dress is not a dress without these elements. Sketching wasn't difficult; I already had a natural disposition for drawing. Either way I spent about 2 days in a book store looking at how-to-sketch books. You can say I pretty much learned to sketch in a 48 hour period!

When did you design, sketch, and confect your first wedding dress?

I was 17. It was a truly spectacular dress. My client trusted me with the most important element of her wedding and to this day I will always be grateful. It was the stepping stone I needed to confirm that my passion for bridal was only a little hard work away.
What can you tell us about your first collection, the Etelvinca Collection 2008?

The Etelvina collection is a collection four years in the making. I began sketching and designing because of women I had come across. Each woman kept hinting design ideas based on their personalities, physical beauty, life changing situations, adversities or even recently born into this world. Because it did so I carried around a sketch book and began designing dress putting their names respectively to each finished sketched gown. Once I compiled them I decided to make my first collection and launch my label. I have dedicated the collection to my grandmother Etelvina because of her inspiration; and titled the collection "Celebrating Women."

Jorge Manuel looks back and remembers his favorites from his first collection which are still in production today: The Annette, The Danielle, The Sophia, and The Tamara. Visit to see more of the dress, the collection and the women behind the collection.

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