When fashion designer Vivian Luk returned to Hong Kong in 2009 from New York, she didn't just leave behind her coveted position with 'Queen of Bridal Couture' Vera Wang, but also a serious relationship. Today, she's not only become the go-to designer for socialites and astute brides, she's also found her other half.
Vivian and Jason Lee, a tax specialist with an international bank, registered their marriage on February 12. The couple celebrated with about 100 friends and relatives in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens on April 6.
Vivian and Jason were introduced by her cousin in February last year, and were married exactly a year later.
'When I came back to Hong Kong to start my own business, I was working in the studio every single day and often at odd times to accommodate my clients. If it were not for my cousin, I wouldn't have even got out of the office,' she said.
Her cousin encouraged her to go out and meet people, and even set up a few dates for her. None worked out. Then Jason's former boss invited her to meet Jason at a casual brunch over the Lunar New Year.
The brunch turned out to be a bit awkward, as the whole crowd knew Vivian and Jason were there to be introduced. Relieved when the brunch was over, Jason drove Vivian home. On the ride back, however, another awkward moment occurred. 'He kept asking me questions, to the point where I jokingly asked if he was giving me a job interview, and after that he didn't say a word. I thought we weren't going to meet again.'
The next day, they ran into each other in a lounge in SoHo, and started to warm to each other.
Then, on Valentine's Day, Vivian received flowers with a card supposedly from Jason. She later found out that the flowers had been sent by his former boss. What she didn't know was that Jason himself was too busy, preparing for a marathon, which is why he didn't call her until a week later. 'It all makes sense now that we are a couple, but back then it was pretty stressful, as my cousin kept asking me if he'd called,' she said, laughing.
The couple clicked after their first date as they got to know each other better.
'When we started dating, we talked about our dreams and plans for the future. It just felt natural for us because we were both at the stage where we were content with what we had in life,' she said.
They might have known each other for just a year before tying the knot, but Vivian said time was not what mattered. 'It was the whole journey, steps in life that we went through together and it just naturally happened. I can be very passionate, perhaps too much, and Jason is definitely someone who's there to calm me down and handles me well. Also he has, like, a zillion good friends. It's incredible.'
The challenge for Vivian after they got engaged was naturally the dresses. The designer made 17 dresses - three for herself and the rest for her mother-in-law and bridesmaids.
'I know how to put a collection together, so why not a collection of 17 dresses for my own wedding? But it was definitely a whole different experience,' she said.
Vivian finished the collection a month before her wedding day. The dresses were made around the theme of 'colours of the sky' - including a burgundy number in her signature sculptural silhouette for her mother and cute violet dresses for her flower girls. For her own white gown, she opted for a simple and clean cut in taffeta and satin.
Making the dresses was an exciting experience, she said. 'It was definitely a lot harder than making dresses for clients. It was emotional. It was about me realising what I wanted to be as a bride, and how I interpreted what my husband wanted. What we wore was a reflection of who we are as a couple, but I also had to make sure my mum and bridesmaids had dresses that were true to them.'