There are few moments in our lives when we grant ourselves permission to fully indulge in our fantasies, stepping out of our habitual livelihoods and into a world of imagination and grandeur. Holidays, birthdays, and more famously, the wedding day— some use these celebrations as a means for painting their own utopia. Notable milestones tend to be commemorated through a playbill of tradition, and while HONOR respects tradition, it is bound not by the reins of custom, but by the principles of femininity and individuality, inspiring a looseness to the routine of the way things go.
Founded by Giovanna Randall, who doubles as the brand’s creative director, HONOR is a luxury designer creating and producing bespoke bridal and eveningwear made exclusively in New York City. HONOR distinguishes itself through its diligence in creating unique garments of the highest quality, all the while operating out of Manhattan’s Garment District, a historic area of the city that has acted as the center of the fashion-driven metropolis since the mid-19th century. HONOR’s stand-out pieces are made possible through their respect and dedication to the skilled artisans who create them, and their mission extends past clothes design and seeps into the value of bringing highly specialized garment production back to the heart of this unequivocal neighborhood in New York City.
Detail, remarkable fabrics, and feminine silhouettes make up the ethos of Randall’s creations. Her pieces range from playful and fun to sexy and chic, and no matter what particular taste the woman who wears her designs has, it’s certain that she will stand out in any room she walks into.
See here, FLAUNT connecting with Randall on HONOR, what drives her to design, and the state of modern bridal fashion.
Do you recall the first time you fell in love with the beauty of garments and clothing design?
The first memory I ever had of wanting to make something was when I saw this piece of a pink balloon left over from a birthday party I had when I was five. I brought it to my dad, and said, ‘I want to make this into a dress for a fairy.’ Ever since, when I see materials, I am compelled to turn them into clothing.
But it’s never been about the clothes alone, it’s about what happens when a beautiful soul inhabits them and brings them to life. My paternal grandmother was a painter and an artist, and she had this painting outfit, which was this denim, faded, Ros- ie-the-Riveter-like jumpsuit. It wasn’t particularly fancy, but she made it priceless. And it was just...it was her, you know? That’s beauty.
How would you define the modern-day bride?
It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I got married myself. I think that today’s bride is much more open to different things and less tied to the idea of what a wedding is supposed to be.
I think they’re more focused on what’s important to them, and less swayed by cultural expectations. The modern bride often has more than one dress and their wedding lasts for more than a day. They might not even wear white.
What does the process look like for a bride coming in and trying your gowns? When you’re meeting the person who’s ordering a gown from you, how do you feel their personality is imbued in the garment?
I may change the design for a bride if I feel like it would complement her unique shape and personality, but usually, I dream up the designs and I imagine the people wearing them as they were intended. The bride and the gown (or gowns) sort of find each other.
What goes into consideration when you’re creating? What are the boxes you check to ensure a garment feels ready?
I start by asking myself: Who is wearing this? Why do we love this? What is the story behind this piece? I really try to create a world when I design, and the story this piece is telling must be within that world. When I’m conceiving a design, I know that it’s going to work when I can picture it moving and I can imagine someone in it. If I can only see the drawing in front of me or just a piece of it, I know it’s not really ready.
Since founding HONOR, what has changed and what has remained the same about your approach to running a business, as well as your creative design?
Much of my approach has stayed the same. I’m always designing for the same person in mind, someone who is unique and independent. She’s not looking for what one would call “classic.” I don’t like that word, and I don’t like the word timeless either. I don’t think timeless is a thing. It should be about the moment, and the moment is now. It’s what makes you feel the most you, or whoever you want to be on your wedding day.
The process and the pace is different, going from making ready-to-wear to doing custom and bespoke bridal. It’s a bit less about the next thing, ideas are not discarded or left behind in the same way.
When you say discarded in reference to ready-to-wear, do you mean the ways in which things “go out of style?”
Yes, exactly. HONOR has never been trend-driven. I try to do what inspires me in the moment and trust my intuition when I’m designing, but I just love that bridal can be produced at any time. That “last season” thing doesn’t really exist in Bridal.
In your Spring/Summer 2024 collection, you play with light, luminosity, and electricity. How did those concepts come to mind?
That’s hard to answer because I’m so deep into the next collection right now, which is completely different. I think it was images of colors I love together, and of lightning. I love the way certain hues can look illuminated from within, just by being next to their compliments. I wanted to recreate the luminosity you see in the colors of clouds clearing in a sunset after a storm, or how sprays of wildflowers seem to float in a field.
And what about your next collection?
It started with terrariums and trapped pretty things and it evolved from there
What does the future of the bridal industry look like?
I hope that it continues on this trajectory, which is more individualistic and less tied to tradition. I think that there’s something innately boring about a wedding dress by itself. The wedding is such a wonderful celebration, and the gown should be an amazing fixture in that celebration, but it also doesn’t have to look like every other dress.
What inspires you, and how do you tap into your creative potential?
I feel most creative when I’m in my body and happy. I really love getting in the ocean. Nothing makes me smile more than surfing. Also, I love movies and art, especially those directed by women, like Greta Gerwig or the work of the legendary Hilma af Klint. I love seeing what other artists are doing, as well as going out and just experiencing places or reading a great book. It inspires me to see other women who are passionate about their work, putting it out there, creating things.
Photographed by Daniel Matallana
Styled by John Tan
Written by Franchesca Baratta
Casting Director: Alexander Torres
Photo Assistant: Andres Cevallos