Mothering is hard. A baptism of fire, really. The rest of your life you spend protecting, worrying, scheduling…but you also spend a lot of time in wonder, bliss, and you marvel and find so much beauty in the small things. Kids learn how to grow up. Mothers learn along the way too. Awhile back, we spoke to another mom who is trying to do the balancing act while running a bridal atelier as well as tending to her other loves, including little Ryan (who was a lot younger at the time of the photoshoot but is now 16-months-old).
David Fielden, Amanda Wakeley, Junko Yoshioka, Monique Lhuillier—if you’ve ever had to hunt for a wedding gown before you would have swooned at these names. They’re gowns that (bridal) dreams are made of. Tasteful, artisanal, well-detailed and classic are words that describe the dresses that Loh Tann-Ling brings into her shop.
You were a lawyer before opening The Prelude Bridal? Was fashion always a passion? Tell me about your journey with fashion since young till now.
I was a lawyer for five years before joining the bridal industry. To be honest, I wouldn’t say fashion was my passion. Shopping was a weakness but I wouldn’t consider myself a trend setter. In fact, comfort and classic styles suit me better. However, while shopping for my own wedding gown, I spotted a gap in the Singapore bridal industry for mid-priced international designer wedding gowns—if you want to buy your wedding gown in Singapore, it was either The Link Weddings, which carried Vera Wang, or local wedding designers well known for their made-to-measure designs. Yet, there are many established designers in the US and UK with amazing styles and are well priced. There are several multi-label wedding boutiques in Hong Kong that carry these labels but other than The Link, there weren’t any others set up in Singapore yet then.
The Prelude Bridal is a relatively young brand. What are the biggest challenges you’ve had working with bridal fashion and what tips do you have for fashion-savvy brides looking for the perfect gown?
One of the biggest challenges is finding the right balance between current trends and classic styles. You can’t be in the fashion industry and ignore trends. But bridal is a little unique as brides also want to look back at their wedding pictures 30 years later and not regret their choice of gowns. Thus, we cannot only pick gowns that are trend setters. We try to combine the two by selecting gowns that have classic silhouettes but have interesting details.
How do you curate the brands for The Prelude Bridal?
The Prelude is known for gowns that are understated, modern and romantic. More is not always better. We always select brands that will complement The Prelude’s aesthetics. Quality and workmanship are also important to us. Our brands are known for using luxurious high-quality fabrics and have flawless constrution to create flattering silhouettes.
What are your aspirations for The Prelude Bridal and is there anything new we can look forward to in the near future from it?
We look forward to building up our brands in Singapore. While they are well established in the US, not all brides are familiar with our brands in Singapore. We are holding a bridal pop-up at Isetan Shaw in June. We are really excited about this and will also be introducing our new collections then.
You’re also a mom to little Ryan. What’s the most precious thing about being a mother to you?
Watching your child grow and develop everyday.
What are the biggest challenge in balancing motherhood, work life, being a wife and getting time to yourself?
It’s easy to forget that you are not just a mother. Initially, being a mother was all consuming. I was obsessed with trying to be the ‘best’ mother possible and ended up neglecting my other duties. Thankfully, I had amazing staff who were able to hold the fort at work, and a supportive husband. It takes effort to remember that you deserve some pampering too. I try to carve out some alone time during the week to simply chill out.
What’s a typical day for you like, from morning to night?
My day (well, a good day!) starts around 7.30am. I scroll through my emails quickly after which I fix Ryan his breakfast and get him ready for school. After I drop him off, I either run errands, exercise, or grab a coffee nearby and reply to emails. I’ll pick Ryan up from school at 12pm and then head home to feed him lunch and put him down for a nap. Sometimes, I’ll have appointments at the boutique so I’ll head there while he naps. Since Ryan started school, afternoons are precious as that is when I get to spend some quality time with him—bouncing around in gym class, running around in the pool or just strolling through the supermarket. Sleep time for Ryan is at 7.30pm. After that, it’s back to the laptop before having supper wtih my husband Daryl when he’s back from work.
Fashion is a big part of your life. What are your favourite brands/designers and how did you stay fashionable when you were pregnant?
Calvin Klein, Velvet, Rag & Bone, Balenciaga and Hermès . I tried to stay away from maternity wear while I was pregnant so I looked for clothes that could be worn even after I popped. The Club21 Bazaar Sale was a life saver!
What are your passions and how do you wish to share them with Ryan?
I horse ride and look forward to Ryan being able to ride as he grows older. Caring for such a big animal teaches children a sense of responsiblity and builds their confidence as they learn how to control and interact with the horse.
Please continue this sentence: Play to me is: hearing Ryan’s laughter.
The Prelude Bridal now has a new address, shared together with fellow bridal atelier and decor retail shop Lunapompom, at #10-01 Tan Boon Liat Building.