Hristo Chuchev is one of the biggest names in Bulgarian Fashion. His bridal dresses are famous for their elegant yet modern take on Bridal Couture, and his evening gowns are worn by models, politicians, and film stars. His latest collection was a big success at Sofia Fashion Week. Hristo Chuchev found his eponymous label 10 years ago in Asenovgrad, a city next to Plovdiv, where he still lives and works. He took the time to answer a few questions for us about his work, the Bulgarian Fashion Industry, and himself.
Dear Mr Chuchev, thank you very much for taking time for us. You are one of the biggest names in the Bulgarian Fashion Scene and your creations are worn at gala events and Miss competitions. How does it feel for you to see your work out in the world?
Thank you very much. It is a pleasure for me to answer your questions. When I see my dresses at such events, it is like “dreams come true”… I really love and enjoy my work!
The cultural scene in Bulgaria is growing, especially in Sofia and Plovdiv. One can find a very diverse cultural scene – how is it with the Bulgarian Fashion Industry?
The Bulgarian fashion industry is growing and you will hear more about it in the future. There are many talented Bulgarian designers with interesting ideas. I think we have a lot to show.
Plovdiv will be the European City of Culture in 2019. Will we see examples of Bulgarian Fashion within the exhibitions?
Yes, Plovdiv will be the European City of Culture in 2019 – the city is preparing for this and it is visible for the ordinary citizen. Plovdiv becomes more beautiful every day. We are very proud.
I hope that we, the designers, will have the possibility to show our work during the exhibitions. There is not enough information about the program yet.
How did the Bulgarian Fashion Industry develop and change after the country’s independence?
The Bulgarian Fashion Industry began to develop after the country’s independence. The number of workers in the Fashion industry increased. Bulgarian Fashion is more brave and remarkable today. The World and European fashion trends influenced positively and gave new life to our Fashion Industry.
You started your Atelier 10 years ago. How did you manage to grow in such a short amount of time?
Yes, that is right. When I started almost ten years ago, first I learned how to work and combine different materials, how to create the perfect cut, to realize my idea on fabric and turn it into a beautiful dress. I needed time to experiment and to become more confident. I begin to participate in fashion events and advertise only one year ago. I am thankful for the success and positive feedback in such a short time.
What is important to you when you create a dress?
It is important to be comfortable, to complete the women, to make her shine when wearing it. The beautiful dress for me is not only the perfect cut, quality materials and good idea- it is more than that. I create it with love!
You focus on bridal couture and evening dresses, what made you decide to go in this direction?
To create bridal and evening dresses…it was like love at first sight. It just happens. The Bridal Couture is my big love and passion. I am trying to make dresses which will change a women’s point of view about the wedding. Dresses which will make you dream about this important event. Dresses which will make you feel and look fabulous.
Bulgaria has been influenced by different countries and cultures over the centuries, can one see that also in Bulgarian Fashion?
The ethical details are up to date and we may notice parts of different cultures on the clothes. We may talk about such a trend. Although nowadays the designers are inspired by everything. It depends on the individual. I personally inspire myself when I travel and visit beautiful places.
The Slavic countries are a growing market in the last years. Where do you see Bulgarian Fashion globally?
Bulgaria is producing quality goods and has its place in the fashion market. If we continue working hard, we may go further in this sphere. And why not have successful Bulgarian designers and brands on a world-class level?
What was your path to becoming a designer?
Since I was a child I was good at painting, but I had no idea that my job would be to design bridal and evening dresses… and that I would love it! I have always been respected for fashion and attracted by the quality fabrics and garments. So one day I decided to try to engage in bridal fashion. In the beginning, I was timid. I was not sure if it would be successful or not. Now, I am very happy that it works.
You said your biggest inspiration when designing your creations are women themselves. What makes a woman inspiring to you?
The woman’s figure itself, the beauty of its curves and perfection inspires me to create. No matter if a lady has a perfect body, there is the right type of dress for every woman.
I have customers who say: “Oh, I need to lose weight for the wedding!” But ladies, you do not need to do it. I will create the most suitable dress for you and you will look fantastic on the big day.
Remember ladies, you are beautiful just the way you are!
You have been described as the “Bulgarian Elie Saab”. How does this make you feel?
It is a big honour for me to be described as one of the most talented designers in the world. I deeply admire Elie Saab’s work. I am grateful to be the Bulgarian One according to the media.
Bridal Fashion has had the image of being tacky and outdated. In the last years, this has changed to a more positive image. What advice would you give women when choosing a wedding dress?
Bridal Fashion is not boring at all, lately. There were some outdated periods, but not now. Thanks to the big variety of fabrics, materials, details, decoration, and of course designer’s creativity, bridal fashion is exciting. The future bride has a really great choice.
I always advise women to first choose a suitable model for the type of wedding they will have, (beach, garden, hall, etc.), to choose the appropriate model for her figure, and at last, to feel that this is THE DRESS. You know how every little girl has a picture in her head about the dress when growing up and meeting the right person. A woman must feel that this is her dress.
While your dresses often have classic silhouettes, you often choose modern elements. What is it for you that makes a modern bridal dress?
I like the classic silhouettes but always add something of my own design. I like to use a mixture of fabrics and elements, to underline the neckline, the back, the hips, the waist…. In my Autumn/Winter Bridal Haute Couture collection, I have several models with interesting long and midi sleeves. Some ended with a beautiful lace edge, while others are beaded, embroidered, or hand decorated. I like to combine different cuts and match them into one, as well. For me, this makes a bridal dress look different, look modern.
Your works often include lace. What makes this fabric so special for you?
Lace is classic and eternal. The market offers many various types of lace. I enjoy mixing different styles of lace, to construct the dress while playing with them, to create my own design lace and to decorate it with my own vision. The lace requires lots of hand work and gives no limits to imagination. It is my favourite.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to continue developing in this sphere, to concentrate on Bridal Couture, to show more and more of my work. When I feel that the moment has come, I will show my work on the world scene.
We wish him all the best and are looking forward to seeing more from him at the next Sofia Fashion Week!