MojganNoorian’s story is that of violence, courage and ardour, juxtaposed against a backdrop of ivory satin, delicate lace and dreamy waterfalls of tulle.
The Iranian born fashion designer – who recently designed the wedding dress for Olympic skier Chemmy Allcott and created the outfit for Pippa Middleton's godmother Helen Haskin for the Royal Wedding - came to the UK as a refugee after fleeing religious persecution in her homeland, leaving her entire family behind.
At the time, Mojgan was just fourteen years old, but she studied hard; prestigious internships with Jasper Conran and Dianne Le Borgne followed and a career in bridal couture evolved. Today Mojgan – with her terrifying ordeal behind her - not only designs and creates beautiful dresses which realise ‘princess moments’ for so many brides, but is also an ambassador for women in business and The Prince’s Trust.
WSI: Mojgan, it’s a pleasure to interview you. You story is hugely inspirational and you must be very proud of what you have achieved. Do you still think of Iran as your home?
MN: Unfortunately because I came to England at such a young age, and have been living here for much longer than I ever lived in Iran, England is where I feel most at home, although saying that, I am very Persian indeed and my Iranian culture is always going to be a part of me.
WSI: Following your evacuation from Iran, leaving behind your parents and sister, how did it feel to be reunited as a family again after eleven years?
MN: Quite emotional – I didn't know whether to cry or laugh, it was an amazingly strange feeling. I was full of happiness, yet bitterness that I wasn't able to see them sooner. But nevertheless it was an unforgettable moment and it’s made me who I am today.
WSI: What inspired you to become a designer?
MN: I've always loved fashion but my qualifications were more business and mathematical, and they didn't reflect the creative side of me. I felt a gap within my life, realising I was just doing the same thing every day that I didn't really enjoy. I needed more adventure – every time I looked in Vogue magazine the celebrities’ dresses took my breath away…
WSI: You interned with such illustrious names as Jasper Conran and Dianne Le Borgne….what did you learn from them?
MN: The experience I gained from such prominent designers was essential and made me realise my dream could become a reality. From a young age I’ve always wanted my own studio and to design wedding dresses. Learning from these two great designers gave me the confidence to go ahead and pursue my dream.
WSI: Who are your design icons?
MN: Gianfranco Ferre has always inspired me. He has a unique way of dressing the rich and famous, just by using luxurious fabrics and embroidery mixed with flamboyant design.
WSI: You received a £3000 grant from The Prince’s Trust, which does not stretch very far for a start-up business… How did you spend it?
MN: It doesn’t, you’re right! When they gave me £3000 I didn’t know what to do with it, as there was so much that needed to be done. I am by nature a very positive person, so I took it as a blessing and started from a small shop in an arcade with a few of my gowns. Looking where I am now, I am very proud to be able to get to the level I am now with the minimum money behind me. It’s very easy to make it as a designer when you are backed by multi-millionaire investors, but for me it was the other way around. I am very appreciative to The Princes Trust as without it, it would have been impossible.
WSI: Your range of wedding gowns are like something from a fairy tale…Are you a romantic?
MN: Absolutely! I love romance and romantic films and books are always a winner for me. I like all the fireworks when it comes to a relationship!
WSI: What advice would you give a bride-to-be on choosing a dress?
MN: If they have a strong idea they want for their dress, to stick with it as your gut instinct is often right. Also I would tell them not to set limits – I can help to create whatever they can imagine.
WSI: Do you witness a lot of wedding jitters/bridal meltdowns?
MN: Oh yes! So many I could write a book about it. It’s very common – I call it ‘Brides Syndrome’, somehow it affects 99% of brides! Everyone has a meltdown at some point during the process!
WSI: You recently created a dress for ChemmyAllcot, did you feel under pressure knowing that the dress would be so extensively photographed?
MN: The minute we met we connected. She loved my collections and I love designing for her. The journey was beautiful with her – she is an amazingly inspirational woman, and she looked absolutely breath-taking on her wedding day. I must admit I was a bit nervous but I believed in myself and my team. We were all very proud when we saw her dress in Hello magazine.
WSI: Who would you most love to dress?
MN: I would love to dress the Duchess of Cambridge – she is such a style icon. I also greatly admire Angelina Jolie both for her humanitarian work and her sense of style - she always manages to look fabulous despite the demands of six children!
View the Bridal Collection at www.mojgan.co.uk