EXCLUSIVE: This Filipino-Japanese Bride Asked Vania Romoff To Turn Her Mother's Kimono Into A Wedding Gown!
For Filipino-Japanese bride Arisa Onozawa-Jarque, it was only necessary to marry two of her cultures on the most important day of her life. "My dad is from Yokohama, Japan, but since my husband and I chose to get married in the Philippines, I wanted to incorporate something Japanese to my wedding dress," the blushing bride shares with Metro.Style.
And without looking elsewhere, Arisa went straight to her dream wedding designer: fellow Cebuana and this year's Metrowear designer Vania Romoff. The result? The dress of her dreams, realized: A stunning ivory gown with a unique, cultural touch. "Everyone loved how I tied both of my nationalities," quips Arisa. "Somehow, the colorful trimmings gave the dress a bit of a Filipino touch, too—even though they were cut out from kimono's fan design."
According to the Vania, the designer-of-the-moment, Arisa's dress was "one of the most special wedding gowns" they've created to date. The Metrowear icon even adds that repurposing the wedding kimono of her client's mom was "such a wonderful homage to the tradition of 'something old'".
To know more about the bride's unforgettable style moment, scroll ahead!
Metro.Style: Can you tell us something about yourself?
Arisa Onozawa-Jarque: I'm a full-time architect based in Manila, but I was born and raised in Cebu. I'm also a part time foodie. Before my husband I tied the knot, we were together for 10 years—so you can just imagine how many date nights we've been on, and meals we've cooked together through the decade!
MS: Congratulations on a beautiful wedding! What was the theme of your big day?
AOJ: We honestly didn't have a theme while planning our wedding, because we knew we wanted to keep things very simple. We got married in El Nido—that alone is the most beautiful island ever, and complementing the beauty of the place with simplicity only seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe now I can say that our wedding theme turned out to be Tropical Minimalism!
MS: Your wedding gown is gorgeous! Tell us more about the kimono used to create it.
AOJ: When I told my mom that I needed an old kimono to incorporate into my dress, she immediately took out two beautiful kimonos—both were gifted to her by my grandfather when she married my dad. I chose the ivory one as it was elegant and not too floral. More importantly, my mom wore it 30 years ago when she married my dad in Japan.
MS: How did you come up with the idea of using your mother’s kimono on your wedding day?
AOJ: I was a little hesitant at first because I knew that incorporating my mother's kimono into my gown meant cutting it up. By doing that, she wouldn't be able to wear it anymore! But thankfully, my mom was very open to the idea. She said that since I was her only daughter, it would bring her so much joy to see me walk the aisle in it—rather than just keeping it in storage.
A photo of the kimono Vania Romoff used in creating Arisa Jarque's wedding gown. It was once worn by the bride's mother at her wedding in Japan 30 years ago.
MS: Why did you choose Vania Romoff to create your wedding gown, and how was it like working with her?
AOJ: I've always loved Vania's designs—they are simple, beautiful, and true. I knew from the very start that I wanted Vania to do my gown—I didn't even bother asking any other designer! Another thing I like about her is that she's also a Cebuana. It's always comforting to speak with someone else in Bisaya—it's like becoming friends. Everything about working with her was such a breeze. I was never worried about anything the entire time!
MS: How long did it take to have the dress made, and how many fittings did you have?
AOJ: I went to see Vania about six months before the wedding, and we were supposed to have only three fittings. But because the dress had so many components to it, we had 4 fittings! Fun fact: my husband loves it when I wear off-shoulder tops, so Vania took that into consideration and made a detachable off-shoulder for the ceremony look.
MS: What was your reaction when you first saw the dress?
AOJ: I was in awe! Not only did Vania and her team apply the kimono details to the dress, they went further and beyond! They decorated our ring and coin pillows, the cord, and the secondary veil with little embroidered details from the kimono, too. Everything was beautiful. Walking down the aisle, I was so comfortable and happy with the dress and everything else around me. I was literally half crying and giggling at the same time. It was the happiest day of my life indeed.
MS: Would you say this is the dream wedding gown you’ve always wanted?
AOJ: Yes, definitely! It was elegant in every way, and it was so comfortable that I lasted the entire night dancing in it. Oh, and it also had pockets!
Congratulations and best wishes on your marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Jarque!
All photos courtesy of Arisa Onozawa-Jarque