Tony Ward’s dresses are sought after by fashionistas across the world, but the stunning creations emanate from his headquarters in Ashrafieh. The designer invites us behind the walls of his atelier, to discover the place where imagination turns to wardrobe.
Dozens of hands are at work to create the dreamy dresses for Tony Ward’s collections. First designers and patternmakers brainstorm ideas that they test, and alter on mannequins. Motifs are illustrated on paper to represent the elaborate designs that will come to shape on the fine fabric. Then tailors create unique cuts and shapes, and embroiderers apply crystals, sequins or silk flowers that will give the magical touch to the tulle, lace and macramé outfits. The house of Ward is a family business. His father Elie who has started the business in the early 1950s participates in training of the teams, while his mother coordinates planning and human resources.
Photos by Carl Halal – Courtesy of Tony Ward
The atelier is divided in three floors; couture, ready-to-wear and bridal. A step inside the couture quarters reveals talented artisans working on delicate details. Precious fabric is reversed and then beads or glossy silk thread are meticulously applied along complex motifs to give way to patterns of flowers or leaves with inserts of feathers. The couture creations will be worn on red carpets or to glamorous soirées from Los Angeles, to Moscow, Rome or Beijing. In ready-to-wear, clients also have their mannequin effigies to ensure a perfect fit. Pieces are put together with expertise and care, with delicate finishing touches of embroideries or hand painting. The most coveted room is the immaculate bridal atelier, where dresses made of elaborate lace, gazar or tulle with silk petals are gracefully prepared in time for romance.