Put best foot forward
Every bride on her wedding day wants to look her best, from her head to her toes.
So, to find the perfect shoe, many brides are slipping into bespoke bridal shoes.
Bridal shoe specialists Winnie Fong and Pandora Cheng offer some insights on the latest trends.
'I think it's quite difficult to find the right bridal shoe from a shop or department store,' says Fong, founder of Design Your Own Shoes (www.dyos.hk) in Causeway Bay.
'They might have a bridal collection, but may be only around 10 styles. The supply is very limited on the market.
'Often brides want their shoes to be special, so they want a custom design, and to make a pair you can't find elsewhere.'
According to Fong, many brides also choose a sole with a platform to give them added height.
With custom bridal shoes priced from HK$700 to HK$1,200 a pair, other popular elements include shoes with silk satin in ivory or white, and Swarovski crystals.
From start to finish, Fong says, creating custom-designed shoes takes six to eight weeks.
For brides who want to use their gown's fabric in the construction of the shoes, Fong advises against it.
'The material for a shoe is slightly different to [regular] fabric. If you bring in your own satin material, it will get heated when we're making the shoe, so the shiny finish will become matte,' she explains.
To match the shoe's colour to the dress, Fong says a large range of hues is available from specially sourced 'shoe' fabric.
If you want to show off perfectly manicured toes, Fong says it's no longer taboo.
'In the old days, there was a Chinese saying that a bride's shoe mustn't be open in the front or back, so that the marriage can have a good beginning and good end,' she says.
'But now it's not so important. It's more about having beautiful shoes, which could be peep toe or sandals.'
At Something Thine (www.somethingthine.com) in Wan Chai, director Cheng says every bride has different needs and tastes.
Therefore, a bridal shoe reflects her uniqueness.
'Most women like lace, but we also use crystal, pearls, feathers and ruffles to make the shoe look fancy,' Cheng says.
To complete a total bridal look, Something Thine also creates bridal accessories such as headpieces and bags.
Cheng also agrees lace wedding shoes are on the rise.
'I can see a difference from last year in that many more women are ordering lace shoes to match their dress, partly because of the royal wedding and Kate [Middleton's lace] dress,' she says.
Opened at the beginning of this year, Something Thine provides custom shoes designed to a bride's specific size, height, colour, material and extra detailing, with prices starting about HK$899.
The shoemaker also designs wedding shoes with a sporty look.
Cheng says: 'Before, brides wouldn't accept a sporty style look, but now they are much more into something that is comfortable and trendy.'