Written by Meredith Corning
Public relations: Meredith Corning PR
Photographer: John Diep Photography www.johndiepphotography.ca
Creative Director: Tess Mann
Meet Tess Mann, the visionary fashion designer behind the renowned labels Tess Mann Haute Couture and Couture by Tess. With a background in psychology and criminology, Mann's journey towards becoming a celebrated designer took an unexpected turn. After spending over two decades as a federal law enforcement officer with the FBI, her unyielding passion for fashion led her to forge a new path.
Mann's fascination with fashion began at an early age when she participated in the Miss America preliminary scholarship competitions. Realizing the need for a formal evening gown, she and her mother began designing and sewing their own creations. This spark ignited a lifelong love affair with fashion, as Mann continued to sketch designs throughout college and dabbled in designing for fun throughout her life.
Entering a new chapter, Mann decided to embark on a second career within the world of bridal fashion, following in the footsteps of esteemed designers who also started fashion careers later in life such as Vera Wang and Christian Dior. In 2013, she established an appointment-only bridal boutique on the top floor of her home in Collierville, Tennessee. After retiring from the Bureau, Mann relocated her business to Cookeville, Tennessee, where she now dedicates herself full-time to her atelier.
Mann's determination and unwavering passion for creating glamorous bridal couture have earned her accolades within the industry. In 2018, the United States Patent Office recognized her as a legitimate designer and awarded her label's trademark, Couture by Tess. Under this brand, she also designs a label called Tess Mann Haute Couture.
Brides from across the country flock to Mann's studio in Cookeville, seeking her impeccable taste and white-glove service. She has put this small town on the map as the bridal fashion hub of Tennessee, cementing her place among the most sought-after designers in the region.
Using opulent silk, Duchess satin, jacquard, and exquisite beading, Mann creates breathtaking designs that exude luxury and elegance. As a true designer, she custom draws ornamental embroidery and laces for her creations. Her fashion illustrations are meticulously hand-drawn and then sent to manufacturing in New Delhi, India, renowned for its impeccable textiles.
Mann's design inspiration draws heavily from previous decades and eras, particularly the late Middle Ages through the Roaring '20s. Alongside her love for fashion, she also finds joy in the entire design process, from the initial sketch to the final product worn by a beautiful bride on her special day. Each step of the journey, from selecting the finest textiles to creating her custom lace fabrics, brings her immense joy.
For Mann, this career transition represents a renewal and rebirth. Her story serves as a reminder to never give up on oneself or their dreams, igniting hope and inspiration in others. With her unwavering dedication, talent, and love for fashion, Tess Mann continues to redefine bridal couture, creating extraordinary pieces that make every bride feel glamorous and unforgettable on their wedding day.