Designer Alon Livné has quietly become the go-to designer for A-list stars both off and on the red carpet. The Tel Aviv native counts Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell among his celebrity clientele and he still has room on his wish list for a few more superstar names.
“Nicole Kidman has beautiful style. I’d love to work with Cate Blanchett and Rihanna. Oh my god, I’d love to work with Rihanna,” Livné said during a Houston interview.
It makes sense Livné’s lust list is full of fashion-forward risk takers. His pedigree includes training at Alexander McQueen in London and Roberto Cavalli in Florence — two design houses known for bold, beautiful, and never boring collections.
That envelope-pushing attitude extends to his bridal line as well. At 29, Livné has made a name for himself in the bridal market, with a career he began in 2007. He bought his first sewing machine at 14 and went to the Shenker School of Engineering and Fashion at 17, but it was the beauty and romanticism of bridal gowns that really appealed to him.
Livné brought his collection to Mia Bridal Couture on River Oak Boulevard for a two-day trunk show, mixing traditional intricately-beaded designs and modern pieces that look just as good on the red carpet as marching down the wedding aisle.
“I want my bride to look at her wedding pictures 30 years later and say, 'I was so beautiful,' not, 'what was I thinking?' ” Livné said. “I imagine my brides romantic and sexy, but not too sexy. Classic with a twist.”
His bridal gowns take up to five months to construct, and from the sleeve length to waist detail, every element of a gown is made-to-measure, right down to the 25 measurements taken for each dress. Livné’s earlier collections were fantastical displays of intensely detailed hand work and luxurious French lace for styles he deems, “sexy, but not too sexy.”
Recent collections are pushing the bridal boundaries with very chic jumpsuits and sleekly draped gowns.
“It’s a new direction and it’s very different for the bridal world. It’s a little Victorian, but it’s not a costume. It’s Old Hollywood and not just another beaded dress,” Livné said.
Its easy to imagine Cate Blanchett in a straightforward jumpsuit with Victorian-inspired ruffles on the bodice. An elegant low-back white gown would make the transition to a Hollywood awards show with ease. He likes to play with the idea of sexy without the scandal, so if a gown has a deep open back, Livné will add long sleeves as balance.
“He saw my collection and said how much B would love it,” Livné said. “I’m a big fan and she’s super nice and down to earth.”
The original red chiffon gown Hunter saw in Livné’s atelier was a bit revealing for Queen Bey, so the designer found himself in the New Jersey studio with the mega-star and her mother, Tina Lawson. They came up with solutions to make the gown more user friendly for her concerts, and Beyoncé requested only Livné make the alterations while she was in the gown. She also drafted him to create dresses for her back-up dancers as well.
“It was an amazing experience,” Livné said.
Livné is poised for even more new experiences. He recently moved to New York to further his career, but his heart and his factory are in Tel Aviv. He won the Israeli version of the American reality show Project Runway in 2009 and breaks out in a smile talking about the city. New York, however, may just give Tel Aviv a bit of competition.
“I’m so blessed,” Livné said. “Everything is super fresh for me and I have so many cultural options around me. Art, fashion, food—there’s a chance to see everything.”
Dressed casually in jeans, a black graphic T-shirt and an oversized denim button-down he purchased at a resale shop, Livné confesses a personal sense of high fashion isn’t his top priority. He somewhat famously always wears New Balance sneakers and prefers vintage over current clothing, although he is a fan of Givenchy when he needs “proper clothes.’
“People think designers are very glamorous, and some designers like Karl Lagerfeld like to be super dressy, but McQueen would just wear an old T-shirt and jeans,” Livné said. “I’d really like to do a men’s capsule collection in the future that has a vintage feel.”
Between his ready-to-wear line, bridal collection and custom gowns, it’s hard to imagine when he would add another concept to his growing company, but Livné has accomplished quite a bit in a decade, with sights on the future.
Who knows? We just might see RiRi in an Alon Livné creation next.