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Young alumni stories: Couture career for Curtin grad

Alumni News

Lace, silk, sequins, satin and pearls – welcome to the ethereal world of wedding dress designer, Madeleine Tucker.

Madeleine Ruth's Peggy wedding dress.
Madeleine Ruth's Peggy dress. Photo credit: Amanda Afton.

While studying fashion design at Curtin, Tucker thought she would design men and women’s streetwear once she graduated, but a request from a friend saw her pursue a somewhat different career path.

“I developed a passion for bridal couture after a close friend pleaded for me to create a collection of gowns for a photoshoot. I developed and created the Madeleine Ruth label during 2016, and it was officially launched on 11 November the same year.”

Wedding dresses by their nature are pieces of sartorial splendour, but Tucker’s designs are something to behold.

“Every detail is original, starting from the selection of the finest fabrics and laces, the gown’s silhouette, down to the careful placement of the hand embellishments. Styles range from vintage to whimsical and romantic for the modern bride,” Tucker says of her creations.

“Some pieces, because of their hand-sewn details, can take up to three weeks to create.”

What is especially unique about Tucker’s label is that the bride is involved in the design and creation process of their dress, ensuring each piece is truly bespoke.

“A personalised experience is important to me because so many brides have shared stories of their dream day being spoiled by a dress that didn’t live up to their expectations.

“I believe the bride should always have creative input into the design of their wedding gown. The process begins at the initial interview during the design stage, and continues through to the selection of the fabrics, embellishment details and final touches.

Woman wearing detailed lace wedding top with long satin skirt.

Many of Tucker’s dresses feature delicate, hand sewn details. Photo credit: Peggy Saas.

“I love seeing the bride’s reaction when they put on their wedding gown and see themselves transformed.”

Tucker’s discerning approach to her craft has caught the attention of the wedding industry in Australia and overseas. Her designs have featured in multiple wedding magazines, blogs and photoshoots, including a cover photo and nine-page double spread in US-based fashion magazine, PUMP.

“Getting the PUMP magazine feature was a massive personal and professional achievement for me. It also gave my work a kind of validation.”

While Tucker’s label is garnering global attention, she says support from local industry gave her the foundations to flourish.

“The wedding industry in WA is competitive, yet at the same time it is collegial. Most people in the industry are small business operators, which means that while the community is small, it’s also very supportive of those who are dedicated and passionate in all creative aspects related to the wedding sector.”

Bride wears a lace bodice and tulle gown on a dark leather couch.

Tucker’s bespoke designs are at once whimsical and striking. Photo credit: Peggy Saas

It’s perhaps not surprising that Ruth has found her feet so soon in the fashion industry, given the high calibre of students shaped through Curtin’s fashion design course.

“My Curtin degree gave me the confidence to explore and achieve my own potential. I learned practical skills such as pattern making and design development, and had the opportunity to develop my creativity and explore all elements of fashion design,” she says.

“The ultimate experience was the graduation show, where each student showcased their graduate collection at a fashion show run at a professional level.”

The young designer advises current fashion design students to ‘own’ their abilities.

“Be unafraid of your personal achievements and successes,” she says.

Tucker also advises students to take their time to determine which part of the industry they’re interested in and then dedicate themselves to it ­– although a chance request from a friend might also just lead on to something splendid.

Wedding whimsies

  • The white wedding dress became seminal in the mid 19th century following the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert. The Queen wore an opulent ivory-coloured gown and a wreath of orange blossoms, and her style inspired a trend that stands today.
  • A survey of more than 500 Australian brides conducted between 2016-18 found the average cost of a wedding was $51,245.
  • The tradition of the wedding cake originated in ancient Rome, where guests broke a loaf of bread over the bride’s head to encourage fertility.

Alumni Innovator series

This story is part of our Alumni Innovator series, which recognises Curtin and WAIT alumni who’ve thought outside the box and excelled in their field.

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