The run-up to a wedding is a magical whirlwind of love and luxe that many of us only experience once, but for couture evening and bridal gown designer Trish Peng, it’s her livelihood. Ella James caught up with the Auckland-born-and-raised designer to find out exactly what it is that makes her life a little less than ordinary.
Whilst Trish Peng spends around sixty per cent of her time in New Zealand at her Auckland showroom, her incredibly luxe, custom designs and the sheer demand for them worldwide warrants the designer to spend the remaining months of the year in the ever-glamorous, Los Angeles where her second showroom is located.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Los Angeles without a sprinkling of celebrities. Of which Peng has a handful on her impressive list of clientele. Television personality Kristin Cavallari and actress Brittany Daniel have both called upon Peng to create the dress of their dreams. Peng and Brittany Daniel formed a special friendship during the process of creating the exquisite custom wedding dress, with the designer invited to the incredibly opulent wedding. In fact, Peng’s also the recipient of a unique gift as a token of thanks from over-the-moon brides. One bride even made Peng a custom 3D model bobble head of herself, which still takes pride of place on her bedroom table. No two working days are the same for this wedding dress designer to the stars.
The star-studded experiences aren’t strictly work-related. The designer has a close group of foodie friends in Los Angeles, and whenever they dine out, they’re always in fantastic company. Peng’s favourite West Hollywood bar E.P. & L.P. is a hot bed of celebrity talent. British supermodel Jourdan Dunn is often spotted there enjoying a drink with friends. No big deal. And when it’s time to eat? Peng’s preference is a Caesar salad at her local restaurant and wine bar, Marvin. What celebrities dine here I hear you ask? Oh, just Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow. Across the globe, when Peng resides in New Zealand, her top picks of restaurant and bars are just as enviable. Date night favourites include Auckland’s Depot as well as the Viaduct’s most happening new jaunts, Hello Beasty and the sun-soaked Saint Alice.
Peng is the definition of work hard, play hard. When the designer isn’t sipping cocktails and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, she’s working in her bridal showroom, often six days a week. Her Los Angeles showroom is shared with the famous Panache Bridal Beverly Hills, ensuring a steady flow of brides-to-be in search for the most exquisite dress for their big day. For these customers, nothing less than perfect will suffice.
Naturally, we couldn’t write a piece on a fashion designer without delving into their predictably sensational wardrobe. Inside Trish Peng’s wardrobe you’ll find a plethora of high-end brands peppered with the likes of Trelise Cooper and Gucci. Peng appreciates Cooper’s knowledge of a woman’s shape, which enables her to master the cut. Where Gucci is concerned, it’s the accessories that have worked their way into both the work wear and casual wear of this seemingly effortlessly stylish bridal designer. The classic Gucci belt and velvet handbag are two of pieces of which she’s extremely fond. Her prized possession was always going to be one of most sublime nature, and it comes in the form of a new, custom signet ring from Naveya and Sloane that she received from her boyfriend for Christmas. The ring, from the Auckland-based jeweller, has the official Trish Peng symbol engraved on it, making it just as unique as both Peng’s brand and lifestyle.
When taking well-earned vacations, Peng remains business-conscious – after all, a star-studded lifestyle doesn’t pay for itself. Even during a New Year’s Eve trip to Sydney, the designer met with a few future brides. However, there’s always time for some fun and adrenaline in this most fanciful lifestyle. Peng can frequently be found hopping onto a jet ski when beachside. In fact, she pleads guilty to spending a wedge of her paycheque on designer sunglasses , which all too often disappear into the deep blue when she participates in jet skiing. Though she’s always prompt to replace them from Gentle Monster, her favourite brand.
Despite the seemingly endless travel to Los Angeles, Sydney or elsewhere, Peng’s heart will always belong in New Zealand. Spending such a large percentage of the year in Los Angeles and abroad only makes her appreciate the sheer beauty of New Zealand whenever she returns. Peng’s life is certainly a very special one.