Our bridal buyer Sharon sums up our feelings for designer Olia Zavozina perfectly: “We are really proud to carry Olia’s designs in our suites. They offer brides a twist on traditional dresses, with unique fabrics and customization options. Plus, Olia is incredibly sweet—we love her!”
And you will, too. We asked Olia to share everything, from her early-age designs to her own wedding to her favorite Saturday activity. Read on to get to know this designer and see her gorgeous gowns!
The Wedding Suite: Hi, Olia! Take us back to when you first started designing wedding gowns.
Olia Zavozina: The first wedding gown I ever designed was for a Barbie doll when I was a little girl. I always liked love stories and fairy tales. In 2008, when I was getting married, I realized that there were not that many options out there, so that was the start of my line.
You recently celebrated your 5th wedding anniversary—congrats! Tell us about your wedding.
Olia: I was busy attending MBA classes at the time, and my parents told me in April that they could only come to my wedding if it was in June—so I had two months to plan a wedding!
When Robbie, my husband, told me that he was going to have 14 groomsmen, I almost had a heart attack. This is when I had to come up with the ladies on my side. I came up with eight bridesmaids and had him cut it down to the same amount!
We got married on June 7, 2008. It was an outdoor wedding on a lakeside. I had my friend Ochi do my flowers, and they were wonderful.
One of the unique things about your gowns is that they are customizable. What does that mean exactly?
Olia: The choice is yours! That is the beauty of it. We can do any length, neckline or fabric you would like, from any gown in our line. Brides often want to take a gown we already have and put their own twist on it.
For example, we had a bride who used the ‘Treasure’ fit model; however, she wanted to add in pieces of her great grandmother’s gown from nearly 100 years ago. So I took her grandmother’s gown apart by hand and pieced it together to lay it over a silk duchess. It turned out beautifully, and the bride was really happy with it. It is one of my favorite gowns we have done.
My goal is to make sure the bride feels beautiful in her gown and that it is everything she dreamed it could be. If I can help make that dream come true, I have done my job.
‘Treasure’ gown, double-tiered Alençon lace with silk charmeuse underlay & chapel-length train
Speaking of fabric, you have some of the most interesting fabric we’ve seen! At what point in the design process do you choose fabric?
Olia: Fabrics are very important in a design of the gown. Most of the time, before I start designing, I have to see, touch and feel the fabric.
‘Britt’ gown, embroidered lace overlay with blush-colored silk charmeuse underlay & peplum accent
‘Ann’ gown, fit & flare floral lace with sweetheart neckline & keyhole back
Do you have any tips for brides who are shopping for their gowns?
Olia: Be open-minded and trust your wedding stylist. Be honest and let your stylist know what your concerns are. What is important on your wedding day? Do you want to be comfortable? Do you want to be different or traditional? Try on dresses for fun, preferably by yourself first, before you invite your friends.
Now a tell us a few fun things about yourself! What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
Olia: Take my two dogs to the park! It’s great exercise, and the dogs love to swim in the creeks.
What’s your favorite city?
Nashville is my American home, but New York has become a second home to me. I like the city because you can feel like you are part of the world: everything is close, all of the nations within in a couple of blocks.
What was your last vacation, and what’s your next?
Olia: Cabo, Mexico, was fantastic! My brother-in-law was getting married and we all got a chance to have a mini mandatory vacation; how can you not love it?
My parents have a beach house on the Black Sea in the south part of Russia. In preparation for the Sochi Olympics, we’re all thinking about going to visit and stay in the mountains by the Black Sea.
How many weddings do you attend a year?
Olia: Traveling over 100 days a year, I attend fewer and fewer weddings, but I would say I attend four to six weddings a year. I love weddings! Usually, I sit in the back and cry at how beautiful everything is. The thought of something beautiful like two people getting married makes me so happy, especially when I become a part of the big day.
Photos courtesy of Olia Zavozina