The designs of Márta Makány, who has been one of the most famous Hungarian designers for more than 20 years, represent pure joy of life and creativity. There is not a single dress she designed that does not have any loving details. Sometimes little flowers and sequins made of the fabric decorate the half-transparent wedding dress, sometimes the designer sews colourful pearls and glass balls on a corset by her own hands “just to keep her hands busy during a trip”.

The playfulness of her style is represented by the different materials used, because the designer likes to experiment and combine these fabrics in an unusual way. Márta Makány blurs the line between traditional and modern, and every single piece of her clothing is an individual small artwork.

We visited Makány in her own terrain, at her workshop in District V. Here where the first drafts are transformed into ready-made tailored dresses, she introduced us into the world of her fashion. The charismatic designer, who has built a reputation particularly in the area of bridal and evening dresses, made us find out two things. First, she has nothing in common with her unapproachable designer colleagues. Second, she knows exactly what women, who come to her, are looking for.

Mrs. Makány, your collections always have a special motto and they radiate a joy of life. Where do you find inspiration for creating them?

I am always looking for inspiration. Sometimes it happens that I find the topic first, and sometimes the dress is created first and then we think about a matching topic for it. It can also happen that I think about what the dress reminds me of. Often there are just some thoughts popping up in my mind and I design a dress based on these thoughts. This process does not follow a pattern, however, it just happens. A thought precedes the creation or the other way around.

Are you also inspired by the fashion on the streets of Budapest, for example?

The topic of fashion interests me very much of course, and even the way normal people dress and how they behave. Observing people, while sitting at a street café, for example, has a very strong influence on me. You see something and then you notice, oh yes, this is what everyone is wearing nowadays. Fashion is very dynamic.

What would you say is the must-wear clothing piece right now?

I would say denim; denim is very much in fashion today. Jeans have always been fashionable of course and never really went out of fashion, but now you see denim everywhere and in every shape. Or lace as well, it used to be saved for special occasions, however now you can combine lace with all kinds of clothes and wear them every day. This summer the pastel shades and soft colours are preferred, which suit women very well, by the way. Pastel tones caress the natural skin colour. However, it’s not like it used to be 20 years ago anymore, when everyone was supposed to wear bell bottoms only. Fashion became very versatile, so everyone can find the pieces that suit him or her the best.

This is represented very well in your “Mix & Match” series, for example. The clothing pieces can be combined with each other in many ways, such as the combination of a sporty blouse with a pleated skirt.

Yes, nowadays you can combine anything with everything. Wearing jeans with a corset is just as fashionable as wearing a chic dress. The borders in fashion are blurred, it’s not true anymore that you can only wear a certain piece combined with another specific thing. A pair of sporty velvet trousers from the “Mix & Match” series can be worn casually now, because fashion became much more comfortable by today. Women are working much more than before, this is why fashion became a lot more pragmatic. I personally prefer comfort too, and I don’t wear anything in which I don’t feel comfortable. I believe that a clothing piece should not be the source of suffering.

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So can we say that the message is that comfort and fashion-consciousness are not ruling each other out?

Yes, a woman is always beautiful, even when dressed comfortably. This is what I think about German fashion by the way; women are informal and casual and they dress very well. Dressing in a very elegant way is not that widespread in Germany either. Fashion is much more practical and casual there. I visited Berlin a short time ago, where the whole course of life flows in a much more practical way.

Let’s talk about an occasion that is following much less practical motives: the wedding. You have specialised during your career primarily on wedding dresses. For a woman a wedding dress is something about which she often dreamt ever since her childhood. But are the men having an influence in the decision about the dress, and how?

In my opinion, it’s not so good when men are playing a too active role in there. They are thinking in a different way about fashion than women do. I have met men who were able to help women by choosing the dress in a positive way, but I still think that this is the women’s business. It can even lead to tensions, when the man is urging a fast decision. Choosing the right wedding dress is a process that could be compared to choosing the right car for the man. Things that men are often not able to understand can simply be of utmost importance to the women. Everyone should try to be happy in their own place.

Did you ever manage to find the matching dress for a woman in only five minutes?

Of course, it can happen that she spots something at the first glance, which she has always been looking for and she likes what she sees in the mirror too. In this case she does not need to be convinced. These things mainly depend on the character of the woman, how confident she is and how much she believes in herself. There are women who need to put on a dress several times and need more time to make up their mind. And there are ones who put on something and if they like the dress they can decide right away.

Your designs are very colourful and extravagant, it takes a certain courage to wear them. What do you think, are women today brave about fashion?

Of course, it can happen that a woman decides on something more reserved but she still looks around among the more unusual dresses. Especially in terms of bridal fashion, there are clear trends that are not so traditional anymore. Of course, every woman is interested what else there is besides the traditional dresses, and it reassures them to be able to pick from a larger selection.

I have seen a piece in your newest bridal mode collection where you have integrated a pair of jeans in a wedding dress. What kind of woman would like to wear such an extravagant piece on her wedding day?

This creation must not be necessarily interpreted as a wedding dress. I have some American customers who own such a jeans creation and they combine them with something chic for special occasions. This piece has a certain special something that attracts women’s eyes to it. For me it’s important that such special pieces are not only right for a single occasion but are well combined and versatile. I really like this combination of jeans and laces. The good thing about these pieces is that they have an “afterlife” after the big occasion. Furthermore, I often prefer to design creations composed of several pieces, since no woman would like to wear her wedding dress twice. However, when the upper part can be separated from the skirt, chances are better that the parts can be combined with something else another time.

Your collections all have very creative names, some of which are inspired by literature, for example “Midsummer Night´s Dream” or “Anna Karenina“, but even “Pirouette“ or “Muse“. Is there something you can tell us about your newest collection?

The newest collection is named “Ubride“ and this is where I combine the jeans elements with the bridal fashion. Ubride is meant for the urban woman, since the pieces are very modern and urban. In addition to that there is another line called “Pharuno Printemps“, which contains very colourful and very lively clothes. In this collection many kinds of different materials are used, for example skirts out of pleating, which is really in today. The material is shaped with handwork, resulting in a really amazing final product. I really like these pleated skirts.

And how can you combine such a skirt for example?

Everything is possible: it can be combined either with a white shirt or a denim jacket. I have designed these skirts in a way that they can be worn both as a dress and as a skirt. They are one of the pieces that are very versatile and easy to combine.

However, your evening dress collection follows a much more classical, very feminine and splendid clothing line.

Yes, since luckily there are more and more occasions to wear such dresses. For example balls or larger celebrations, but even being invited as a guest to a wedding. There are many events for which we have to dress elegantly. I also have customers from abroad who buy a dress here and take it away with them to wear at an event abroad, for example.

#How do the foreign customers find you?

Normally because they have some kind of connection with Hungary. You can find my brand in some selected shops abroad, for example in America but also in Ireland and England.

I have heard that the Hollywood star Sharon Stone owns one of your denim jackets from the new collection.

Yes, she did buy one of the jackets and a pair of jeans as well. She liked both pieces really very much, as it often happens in life. However, there are many other famous ladies who own some of my clothes. One of them is the daughter of Harry Belafonte, who has worn one of my evening dresses on an occasion, for example.

So you have stores in three countries – in the USA, Ireland and England. Do you plan any others?

I don’t have a shop in Germany but I would be very happy to have one. We visited the latest Berlin Fashion Week and saw what is going on there. The fashion industry has been growing in Germany for a couple of years and it is getting more and more important. Its development has a very interesting history and we would like to find our place there as well. In my opinion the German fashion industry is very well supported by the country itself. We have already visited other international fashion shows of course, such as the Bridal Mass in Milano. However, we got the impression there that mainly American or Chinese companies were interested in our products. Asia seemed to be too far away up until now; we have not started a co-operation there as of yet. However, in America they have been very passionate about our fashion. We were able to understand each other better there. However, we can only enter a new market once we have found the right partner, from the fashion industry and who supports our work. The Irish partner for example backed us up in America as well. Such things are very dependent on personal connections and encounters.

If one of our readers is interested in bridal fashion right now, what would be the first step before she comes to your workshop?

First of all she has to decide about the topic of her wedding, since the topic of course is also represented in the bridal dress. Then it also depends on the personality of the bride, whether she is a more traditional or extravagant type. She needs to clarify before the first meeting where her wedding will take place and how. She can then select something from my collection, which I will fit on for her. Or I can even design a new dress, especially tailored to her. It does not matter which of these options the future bride chooses, I will help her to realise her ideas. After that we organise another fitting, but to tell the truth, fittings are rather important to the customer than to us. With a maximum of three fittings every dress, no matter what kind of special extras it will have, can be fitted to the customer perfectly. In addition I suggest that the client think about her companion beforehand and not change that person later on during the fittings. So if you bring one friend for the first fitting, you should bring the same one to the next.

You can contact Márta Makány at her homepage (makanymarta.com/en) or on Facebook (facebook.com/Makany.Marta/).

The designer has a very special offer for our readers: refer to this article when making the first appointment and receive a discount of 20% on every clothing piece.

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