Bella Bleu Bridal selects our designers very carefully. One of our favorites is Theia. You have probably seen the evening wear is stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc. These gowns are the first recommendation I give mothers of the bride as they are exquisite! The White Collection created for bridal is no exception. The bridal industry is in awe of how Theia boasts these luxe fabrics and intricate beading in a moderate price point. We don’t know how he does it, but we sure are glad he does! We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Don O’Neill of Theia.
BBB: Where are you from originally?
BBB: What do you love most about designing and creating your own pieces?
DO: I love draping with beautiful fabrics and letting the fabric tell me what it wants to become… I follow its natural drape and am always fascinated by what each dress becomes.
BBB: What are some of your favorite materials/fabrics to work with and create with?
DO: I love to work with embroideries and beading , which give me unique opportunity to create my own artworks, designs and patterns on the body.
BBB: Where do you get your inspiration for new collections?
DO: Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime… and its never the obvious choice. For example, I just got back from a vacation in Bora Bora.. its seeing something that ignites a light and opens a door way to endless new possibilities. The last bridal collection was inspired when I was searching thru books for Art Nouveau embroideries and I saw a drawing by Kay Nielsen (his art nouveau Victorian illustration’s for Hans Christian Andersen.).Boom, flash of light and the seed was planted for the new bridal collection ..months before I needed to started working on it.
BBB: What bridal trends are you seeing for 2015?
DO: Soft flowing dresses, with open backs , easy to wear, easy to move in with a little bohemian flare to them
BBB: How did you get your start in designing and what have you learned over the course of being a designer?
DO: I won a competition in an Irish National Newspaper that offered paid tuition to a fashion College in Dublin. I have learned that I have been blessed with a gift that I should never take for granted…that one never knows it all and that it takes a talented team to make a designer shine, without whom our sketches would never come to life or make it in to the stores. I learned that the most important thing is kindness and sincerity.
BBB: If you could sum up your look and aesthetic in three words, what would they be?
DO: Elegant, timeless, feminine.
BBB: What is your all-time favorite piece from your collection and why?
DO: The Celtic fairy bride that closed the Spring 2016 show. Her shimmering sequin gown was named for the moon goddess Celene, over which she wore a tulle coat embroidered with spirals of sparkling dew drops. On her head a crown of twisted sterling silver wire woven with pearls and quartz crystals
BBB: Was there a surprise hit design…something that became very popular and you didn’t expect it?
DO: The THEIA petal gown. A simple tulle gown hand embroidered with thousands of laser cut petals each secured with a tiny glass seed bead. A really pretty gown but so not a traditional dress that has since its inception become a classic and a huge favorite to brides around the world.
BBB: What other designers do you admire?
DO: I admire so many designers; Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Carolina Herrera , Prabal Gurung, Christopher Kane, Miuccia Prada, Mary Katranzou , Albery Elbaz at Lanvin and the list goes on..
BBB: What do you do on your days off from work?
DO: Days off ? What are those ? I like to unwind with friends over good food, go to the theatre or the movies, visit museums or lay on the beach or by a pool. I like to cook and I love to bake Blueberry pies in the summer!
BBB: What is your favorite place to travel?
DO: Home to Ireland.
BBB: How would you describe your personal style?
DO: Eclectic. One day I am a head to toe ninja warrior in all black. The next all in white with a swimming pool printed on my chest. One day classic in a navy blue suit with a hand beaded t-shirt, the next a mad jacket printed with a blazing sunset.
BBB: What’s been the most exciting time in your career thus far?
DO: Receiving My Honorary Doctorate in Ireland this summer from University College Cork in Ireland.
A “Doctor of Art”, in recognition of my contribution to fashion as an Irish designer on the international stage , being an inspiration to young people all over Ireland, … it was the most humbling , exhilarating , exciting day of my life that I shared with my Fiancé Pascal , my family and dear friends.
BBB: What is the most valuable bit of advice you would give a bride-to-be?
DO: Relax and enjoy your day. Go with the flow. Its too late to fix or change everything so be flexible, let go and enjoy your day.
BBB: What’s on your “bucket list”?
DO: Machu Pichu, The Maldives, The Blue Grotto, The Amalfi Coastline, Mykonos.
BBB: Do you have an all-time “favorite song”?]
DO: “The Time of our Lives”
BBB: How many colors has your hair been and what is your favorite?
DO: Bright shocking orange red as a little boy, bright red with a blonde stripe as a teenager and now just red.
Check out the complete Theia collection of best sellers and 2016 designs at our trunk show on October 23-24, 2015. Make your appointment here.