Jorge Manuel ~ Miami, FL

Jorge Manuel's exquisite wedding gowns have appeared numerous times in the pages of Weddings Unveiled. The designer's work continues to attract the attention of brides and editors alike and in fact, the Cygnus dress from the Nebula collection can be seen in our current Winter 2011 issue, headlining our 20-page fashion editorial. With a background in architecture, Jorge Manuel's gowns have a sophisticated, modern appeal, mixing classic silhouettes with extaordinary detailing and structure. He has an eye for shape and women look and feel amazing in his dresses. Read on to learn more about Jorge Manuel and what inspires his collections. Don't miss the opportunity to meet the talented designer in person at Maddison Row in Charleston, SC on February 10th and 11th during the trunk show for his spectacular Nebula collection. In addition, Jorge Manuel and Maddison Row have partnered for "Upon a Star," a contest for one lucky bride to win a one-of-a-kind custom gown by Jorge Manuel, which will officially launch on February 10th at the trunk show.

Jorge Manuel is based in Miami, Florida. To view the designer's complete collections and to find a retailer near you, visit the Jorge Manuel website.

Weddings Unveiled: How did you become a designer?

Jorge Manuel: Ever since high school I worked as a wedding coordinator, but my love of weddings began when I was a child. Weddings were a central part in my life growing up. I come from a religious background and assisting with 4 to 5 weddings a year was average for my family and me. With this exposure I decided to make a career out of it. After all, I had built enough training! I designed my first wedding gown at age 17 and later, I was introduced to a more precise and beautiful style of design in my architecture classes in college. With a trained eye, I was able to see design in a more linear, cohesive and harmonious way. Eventually, while planning a friend's wedding, she asked me to design and make her a dress. Then her friend, friend's friend, cousin and so on asked me to create their wedding gowns. After college, I decided to design my first collection. I knew I was ready to launch myself officially as a bridal designer. I must admit, not having gone through fashion school presented challenges in the beginning, but it was life that took care of teaching me what I needed. After 8 years of working in the field of bridal, fashion school seems to be a field trip if I had to do it now.

WU: How would you describe your style?

DIFFERENT! Not sure if I can label my work into one category. Just as personalities all have different colors and shades, so does the bridal label of Jorge Manuel. You will find gowns inspired by past eras, such as the 1920s or 1950s, as well as a more modern architecturally inspired dress.

WU: Who is the woman you're designing for?

The discriminating bride who knows what she wants! Often my clients are fashion forward and have a strong appreciation for detail - The simple detail that has the greatest impact on the groom and all her guests as she walks down the aisle. She understands that this one gown, which will be documented for the rest of her life in photographs her children and grandchildren will one day see, is made to reflect who she really is, what she stands for and what she believes in.

WU: Where do you find inspiration?

JM: Inspiration can come from dropping a pebble in a river, hence the ERIDANUS gown in the NEBULA Collection 2011, or from the women that influence my every day life (ETELVINA collection 2008). It can also come from the magic in a child's story book, like the 2010 DEMETRIUS collection inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Finding inspiration for my gowns comes naturally and quite easily.

WU: What is your creative process?

JM: Never ending. I am always in the process! My creative process has no beginning and no end. It is ever evolving and ever working. The smallest detail leads to an idea. It begins from my abstract creativity, to the inspired sketch, to the wonderful ladies that help to make the sketch come to life.

WU: What are your favorite materials to work with?

JM: Anything in silk! I love silk sometimes because of its raw qualities and other times because of its versatility. I use a lot of Silk Shantung and Silk Taffeta for these reasons. But, I believe that experimenting with fabrics to create other fabrics grants you a spot in the originality contest! The greatest reason for using these fabrics comes down a technical one...STRUCTURE! A dress can be quite beautiful, but if it doesn't hold on a form, then the design falters.

WU: What advice would you offer brides searching for the perfect dress?

JM: My advice to brides would be to jot down in a piece of paper how she wishes to see herself. For example: strong, beautiful, modern, classic, traditional, glamorous, timeless and so on. She should bring it with her to the bridal store and ask friends to read the list back to her once she feels she has tried on the perfect gown. If she can answer yes to how she pictured feeling, then the gown is perfect! The twist in all this is that there is no PERFECT gown! How she feels in it is what makes the gown PERFECT. So, keep an open mind because the perfect gown might not look so perfect in the hanger until she puts it on!

WU: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

JM: Everything arrives! To know that everything you wait for does arrive makes savoring and appreciating the journey there possible. It is a known fact that with hard work, nothing is impossible. Take time to be patient, understanding and hopeful. With a little of all three you can build a world of possibilities you never thought imaginable. No matter how long you wait for that opportunity, that thing you always wanted or that special day....everything sooner or later arrives. Be patient and enjoy the journey!

WU: Tell us three things you can't live without.

JM: My sketch book, my cell phone and chocolate milk!

WU: What is next for Jorge Manuel?

JM: We are traveling and visiting brides all over the U.S. during our trunk shows. Currently, I am working on my 6th collection due out in the fall of 2012. In the meantime, we are in the process of photographing our 5th collection's campaign pictures. The IRIS collection will be unveiled in March, 2012. Jorge Manuel is venturing out designing for bridesmaids in 2012, as well as a ready-to-wear line in 2012.

WU: We hear you'll be appearing at Maddison Row in Charleston, SC for a trunk show on February 10th. Can you tell us a bit about the collection you're showing?

JM: We are so excited to be showing the2011 NEBULA collection at Maddison Row this February. Thankfully, I have had my gowns featured in the beautiful editorials in Weddings Unveiled. This platform has resulted in a year of inquiries from brides in the South and I am delighted to finally get to meet them.

The Nebula Collection is a collection inspired in the stars. I researched the stories behind each constellation and was inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. You can visit Jorge Manuel Weddings to see the gowns and the story behind each dress.

This collection features beautiful structured silhouettes, striking attention to detail and gorgeous designs fit for any body type. Come check it out if you are in the South Carolina area!

Jorge Manuel and Maddison Row will be revealing the gown for the "Upon A Wedding" contest on the night of February 10th to officially launch the contest for a one-of-a-kind wedding couture bridal gown in the theme of the Nebula Collection designed by Jorge Manuel. For contest details and to learn how to enter, visit the Jorge Manuel Weddings website.


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