Sara Melki: The Vision of An Artist


Running an international bridal magazine is definitely my first priority.  My first instinct is to find something that will relate to the woman who is planning her nuptials. The groom that has no idea what he is supposed to do outside of his wedding day but shows up and has a “Hangover”  bachelor party.

So it is no wonder that whenever I attend New York Fashion Week, or any fashion trade show like the one for Tranoi I recently attended, that I look for ways in which I can bring back to my readers and viewers something that can be inspirational to them on their wedding day and beyond.
Oftentimes, the main focus is on the bride from the moment she gets engaged to the wedding day. I choose to look beyond that one day.  I think of who that woman was before that day.  What was her sense of style prior to that day. What does she do for a living? Where does she live? What is her home decor? Is she an entertainer?  Where does she dine? What sort of parties would she throw for her family and her friends? What sort of books does she read? Where has she traveled to?  All these questions go through my head because life for a woman can’t begin with her being someone’s daughter and now going to be someone’s wife, and in the future maybe someone’s mother. She has to have her own identity. Her own definition of self.
Since we are visual creatures, when we first see someone, we pass judgment based on their appearance. Sometimes it is positive, sometimes it is negative. That’s why first impression is everything. For obvious reasons, the garments she wears is the most important.
Why did I choose that first? Because interestingly enough, I met a young woman at a luxury market show by the name of Tranoi. Her garments spoke to me in a way that was interesting. The racks were filled with different colored clothing items. But the white, of course, captured my eyes, because we are conditioned in American society to think white to be bridal. But her garments were full of color and as I looked closely, I saw that they had paintings on them.  Painting of brown people. They were images of African people!  I automatically thought of Lebanese designer, creator and artist Sara Melki of Sara Melki Collection. Check out her work here:
I want to say I try to think outside of the box. So I looked at the clothing and asked myself, ” Would I get married in this?  What sort of wedding would I have wearing something like that? Would it be in city hall, in a garden wedding, or would it be an intimate wedding in a cafe/restaurant like Madiba in Brooklyn?”  The answer is yes. I would get married in this piece. I would, of course, ask her to tweak it a little to make it more ethereal, to make it my own.
I had the brilliant idea, if I say so myself, to ask the designer on the spot if she would allow me to interview her and engage with me about what inspired her designs. You wouldn’t believe what I found out.  Sara Melki has no bridal collection, but she makes wedding dresses. I said how is that possible?  How do you show a bride what you can do if you have nothing to show?  Her response: “I don’t have a bridal collection, I work with the customers directly, they make an appointment and we discuss everything concerning her dreamy wedding dress; I take in consideration her style.  But most of the clients come to me because they like the mix I do in every piece I create.”
I was moved. Sara Melki spoke to me. She was my designer of choice at that exact moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love Monique L’huillier, Vera Wang, Ramona Keveza, Reem Acra, Pnina Tornai, Dany Mizrachi and Temraza. I love what they have done to the wedding industry.
But something about being able to move away from the crowd, the sea of amazing designers and create something magical for a woman, based on her own spirit, while still not losing your own identity as a designers speaks volumes. Why not create one of a kind for every woman that comes your way? Is this the renaissance of couture?

Here are a few highlights from our discussion:

What sort of fabrics do you work with when creating your bridal pieces?
The Indian embroideries are a big inspiration to me, the weaving fabrics, the leather, all of them mixed together, and I love to add on them handmade accessories. Taffeta, organza, neoprene, tweed, Indian embroidery, leather, gazar and dentelle are the fabrics I use for most of the wedding dresses.
Who is the bride you are designing for?
I have met different styles of brides. The bride who wants to be unique with a statement dress. The bride who is simple, elegant and wants to feel light. Or it can be the dreamy princess bride.
How do you manage to keep your signature if you don’t have a collection that one can see?
They call me a “psychologue” because I can work with different styles while keeping my own signature in every gown.
How long does it take to make one piece?
It takes between a month and three months to do a wedding dress.
So there you have it. The method and vision of an artist, Sara Melki. She represents the old world for the modern woman on her wedding day while creating a master piece one bride at a time.
Sara Melki
Special thank-you to the people at Tranoi for allowing us the opportunity to interview such great vendors.  Until the next show.

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