Mark Zunino and Breanna Rae Murillo – Ep 2

Designer Mark Zunino comes on with his Bridal Account executive, Breanna Rae Murillo to discuss his life as a designer, building his brand, and what goes into all his beautiful pieces.

Imani 00:38
Hey everybody, and welcome back to The Tea with Mon Amie. In today’s episode, I got to chat with Mark Zunino and Breanna Rae Murillo. If you are a pop culture junkie like me, you will surely recognize Mark Zunino name due to his star studded client list. I absolutely loved learning more about their exciting and always beautiful world in fashion and I just know you will too. So let’s get to it. Welcome Mark and Breanna. Thanks for joining us today.

Breanna Rae Murillo 01:06
Thank you for having. Yes, we are excited.

Imani 01:07
Yeah. So tell me a little bit about yourself.

Mark Zunino 01:11
Go ahead Breanna.

Breanna Rae Murillo 01:12
Well, my name is Breanna and I am Mark Zunino Bridal account executive. I’ve been working for you for about three and a half years now and he’s the best.

Mark Zunino 01:32
And my name is Mark Zunino and I am a fashion designer and I’ve been a fashion designer for many, many years — All over the place from bridal to Hollywood red carpet, to music industry people, to everything. So I’ve do it all from A to Z.

Imani 01:53
Yes, definitely. So tell us how you came to be Mark Zunino.

Mark Zunino 01:59
Well, I was studying architecture. So I was wanting to be an architect. That all started. I went to school at Pepperdine and Malibu. So that’s what pulled me to Southern California and big long story short, through my series of classes, one had to be– I had a series of illustration courses, one had to be fashion, I took one course. The year later, that instructor said somebody wants — is looking for an assistant, I want to recommend you and it happened to be for Nolan Miller, who was a big Hollywood designer and Aaron Spelling was a producer and on hit all these hit television shows. I ended up getting the job. So I thought I’ll do this for a year and literally took my life away. I ended up partnering with Nolan and then taking over the company and just growing it, so I went from architecture to fashion and I’ve never looked back.

Imani 02:50
So that was your start — was how you got initially into the fashion industry was through Nolan you said [crosstalk]

Mark Zunino 02:57
What happened for me that now I am grateful at the time I never knew was that — at that time we were working for like Elizabeth Taylor, Sofia Loren like all these iconic people, which allowed me to enter at that ‘A’ list level had I set out to do this on my own and never would have happened. Because by being at that level over time as I partnered to go with the company, then you get Julia Roberts, you get Beyonce, you get Angelina Jolie, like everybody kept coming. Because I was already at that level, which I never realized that at the time, I really took that for granted and that is the single key that sustained our company and at the level that we continue to work at. It was by the grace of Gods

Imani 03:44
Yes, that’s amazing. Because I know when you Google you Google Mark Zunino and you see all of these celebrities and…

Mark Zunino 03:54
Yes, it’s been amazing to and I’ve learned a lot from Nolan about the good and the bad about it. So that’s why periodically I pump the brakes. So I will like be doing film or television actresses, but then I stopped doing music performers because once you get labeled a costumer it’s really hard to wash that off. Even in bridal then everybody’s always like, “Oh, it’s too flashy. It’s to this”, even if it’s not. It is affiliated with…

So, you know, over time I jump in doing like, Jennifer Lopez and Mariah and Brittany, and then I jump out. I do it sparingly enough to have the opportunity to do it but I’m not get labeled that but that’s also what’s I think helped us work with brides because to me, working with brides is so similar to working with the actresses… I mean, it’s practically identical because it’s their big day, they need to look the best from every angle. I mean, the world stops when they hit, going down aisle or they hit that red carpet. So it’s pretty similar. So it’s been an easy transition, stay in the bridle.

Imani 05:18
Wow. Okay. So where are you from originally? Are you from California originally?

Mark Zunino 05:23
Yes, I am originally from San Francisco?

Imani 05:25
Oh, from the Bay… Which is like a whole other state. It’s very conservative, very different.

Mark Zunino 05:33
And that’s where I grew up and so when I came down at Pepperdine, I didn’t want to because my parents pick the school for me. Because your parents pick it. I’m like,

Imani 05:42
Yeah, of course.

Mark Zunino 05:44
It’s in Malibu and like, okay, what’s the catch? You know, and I ended up loving

Breanna Rae Murillo 05:49
it sounds terrible. [crosstalk]

Mark Zunino 05:54
You know, and I ended up loving it. So I went to school there for five years, and then I lived in Malibu for eight years and it’s a very California way of living…

Imani 06:09

Mark Zunino 06:10
So, that is what I really chilled with. So even though our clients are basically global, we work all over the world. But I’m coming home, to California, to LA, to the coastline is the most relaxing thing for me.

Imani 06:27
It is so beautiful, especially in Malibu that’s like it’s so funny to me. Like, mom, dad, I don’t want to go to the beach to go to school. I was trying to go to the Midwest.

Breanna Rae Murillo 06:38
Anything is at Pepperdine — For every student it’s mandatory PE the first two years you

Imani 06:44
Stop [crosstalk].

Mark Zunino 06:47
But PE was like sailing, scuba diving, surfing. Then it was horseback riding, you know Western English and like you have to learn so much and the first time my parents came to visit, they were like, this is more like a country club than a school and I’m like, well, you sent me here but it’s also it’s a small school. It’s very affluent school. Body is very global.

So fashion is everything like the girls literally change three times a day, which initially, I was silly, but then it was a big fashion competition and I was aware of it. So, my mom was really into fashion, and that is why a lot of this first rubbed off and then when I went to Pepperdine, it solidified what I was doing and then also when I started working for Nolan 100 years ago, there was a show called Dynasty, which was a big television show and Pepperdine epitomized in the 80s that show Dynasty. So that’s why I think I ended up getting the job with Nolan and Aaron Spelling because I understood the aesthetic. I understood the luck and that’s where I started.

Imani 08:01
Wow. So that architecture background — how did you finish what the architecture?

Mark Zunino 08:08
I have my degree. But the one thing that I believe for anybody, you know, if you’re creative design is design, it’s all about proportion, and balance and so whether it’s architecture, whether you’re designing furniture, whether it’s fashion, painting, whatever it’s is all the same concept.

So that’s why I think, for anybody, do not limit yourself by a description, because you can blur those lines and it works. Because the one thing for me was, when I was switching gears, my dad said, “No”, he said, “We just paid for this education and architecture, and you’re not going to throw it away” and I had to explain, I’m not throwing it away. I’m just reformulating what it is that I’ve learned and it actually made me so much more well-rounded and then as I got into it, I realized iconic designers like Giorgio Armani, all of them started in architecture, they were all architects, and it gives you a different eye. So that’s why with our clothes, and especially with bridal, it’s all about the construction working from [crosstalk 09:14]

Imani 09:13

Mark Zunino 09:15
That’s where I learned that because I mean, I get bigger girls that are like, I can’t wear strapless. I want to, but I can’t. I am like yes you can and it’s all about the inner structure and that’s usually where a lot of designers don’t start because they don’t really think it’s necessary. They don’t understand. I mean, any girl if you can reshape her body a little bit, the outside can be the simplest sheath and when her body looks better, that’s where she wants to go that direction and so that’s why I’m like you can really achieve a more simplistic look, that is really, wow. That’s very understated by just reshaping the body a little bit and that’s the key to what we do, and going back to the Hollywood thing, we really are very, somewhat subdued and toned down, compared to what people think our collection was going to be much more understated.

Imani 10:13
Yes, and it’s really beautiful. I think that’s always one note that brides take away from is, they’re like, Oh my gosh, this is the way that, this is fitting the structure of this.

Mark Zunino 10:23
Yes, that’s where the majority of what I’m known for, because it gets all the attention is to dressing celebrities on carpet. But literally, they have the competence of knowing they’re going to look good from every angle. Because if a photographer takes that one bad shot — that’s the bad shot and the actress wants to kill me. So we have to make sure you will look good from every angle all the way around and the same thing with a bride, you walk down that aisle, the eyes are on you front back side. Continually, photographs are being taken nonstop. So you have to know you look good.

Imani 11:03
Yes, and I feel it can also threaten the integrity of your design as well. Because it’s like, if you see somebody at the wrong angle, then you can be like, that’s a terrible dress. But it’s not even that. It’s just that you missed the angle. But if you’re making sure that you’re perfecting that look from all those angles…

Mark Zunino 11:18
–And then it works out and there’s always — I mean when a girl puts on the right dress, it clicks. She knows… She reacts differently, acts differently moves differently. She knows I’m in the zone now.

Imani 11:35
Yes, of course. Yeah. Well, great. Okay. So what about you, Breanna? How did you get your start?

Breanna Rae Murillo 11:42
Well, I actually started as a bridal consultant for Nordstrom a million years ago and one day I decided to move to New York City without a job, without an apartment, my parents thought I was nuts and within a week, I got a job at a bridal salon and was on a little television show called “Say Yes to the Dress”, where I met Mark Zunino and I feel like the rest is history. You know, he whisks me away back to California.

Mark Zunino 12:10
When I would be doing trunk shows, and I was exclusive a client though [phonetic 12:14] for a while and I saw Breanna like oh my God, you are perfect to work for us because she was different as a consultant, wasn’t a typical consultant. She listened more, she was in tune with the bride. She understood what she winning, what the bride wanted and I’m like, yes, so we snatched her and drag her back.

Imani 12:33
Once again, darn it, you had to come back here to the Beach [inaudible 12:37] So what do you think in your opinion sets Mark apart from other designers after you’ve been working for him for a while?

Breanna Rae Murillo 12:49
I know, I have to be careful not to say anything that make him very upset with me after this. For me, I think what sets him apart is that he has this incredible ability to evolve with whatever comes his way. So whether it’s an exciting opportunity with a client, or a crazy, terrible obstacle, like this pandemic, that we’re all going through, you know, just to work alongside someone who has achieved so much success and has the amazing reputation that he does have, he comes into work every day, with no ego, most days. No ego, and an eagerness to collaborate with everybody, and just a fearlessness to try something new and I think it’s pretty inspiring to be next to you, and always see how much you’re working on yourself professionally, and personally,

Mark Zunino 13:44
Oh thanks. We have a good group of people that work together. And, and the one thing that I’ve learned, how I became a designer, it’s never about me, it’s about the person I’m working with, it’s about the celebrity, the bride, the whoever, it’s about them. So you always need to remove your ego, your everything, because even if we design a dress that we think is amazing, client doesn’t — then the client doesn’t, you have to change it, you rip it apart, you do whatever you need to make the client happy. So you have to be able to check your ego at the door, and then I also just learned that, “The progression of fashion never changes. It’s always in motion, always and you have to be fluid and roll with it”, and it’s a collaboration.

So it’s a collaboration with the client that we’re working with. It’s a collaboration with the team members that we’re working with. Everybody’s involved and so the first it’s funny, because initially when someone’s new, and I’ll say, tell me your opinion, if you think something’s ugly, tell me who that’s ugly but initially, everyone’s afraid to say that because they don’t want to get me upset, and then like, it would Breanna, I’d be like, dude, Isn’t this beautiful? Do you like this? Ah, but she didn’t say anything. No. Do you like and she’s just smiles, and I’m like, what’s wrong? She’s like, I do not like that at all. So I’m like, Ok. What are we going to do to change it?

Breanna Rae Murillo 15:09
I feel like I’m never afraid to tell him how I’m feeling?

Mark Zunino 15:14
You’ve got to be able to check yourself but the things that turn out best are the things that evolve. From the initial sketch, it may have an evolution where it turns into something completely else, but it’s an amazing dress gown and those are the things that are the most fun and it makes everybody in the team, a part of the finished product. Everybody has the satisfaction of knowing they handed fingers in it.

Imani 15:42
Yeah, which is definitely rewarding. I think that’s the best part about working and I can say to here, it’s a very similar feeling. It’s not obviously, it’s not designer, but just the environment of feeling like you get to be a part of it,

Mark Zunino 15:58
[crosstalk] they’re asking your opinion.

Imani 16:00
It makes you feel valued, and when you have a team that feels valued, I feel that only just boosts your success, because they want to go just as hard for you, if you’re going for them.

Mark Zunino 16:09
You know, for any career for anybody, the biggest gift talent you can have is to listen, which so many people can’t. They don’t listen, they don’t hear — You don’t hear what the client just said, Listen, you know, they’re giving you all the cues of what you need to do, and so that’s why I think we have a really good team together. It’s also why we love you guys here.

Imani 16:34
Thank you so much.

Mark Zunino 16:36
It immediately felt like family.

Breanna Rae Murillo 16:38
I mean, everyone’s just so relaxed and just willing to do good work together to make make the best result for everyone.

Imani 16:45
Exactly. Sounds great. Ok, so what is your typical day look like? What are you doing day to day?

Mark Zunino 16:52
Lately, since this whole virus, we’ve really learned to be really flexible, we always were flexible. But we can get a call from — Brianna will text me in the morning, I just got a call from bride in Scotland needs a dress immediately. This is what she wants and so we immediately send a measurement chart, have a fitter, take measurements there. She won’t be able to come here, she’s only going to come here once for a fitting, all the way through like — I mean, recently, it was dealing with the Emmys that just were virtual. Everybody stumbled through that, but it was like, sending dresses out for that. But it’s a new form of production.

So nobody really knows how it’s going to turn out. So no two days are ever alike, and just knowing, to be flexible. We’ve had some people in our business teammates that can’t switch gears like that, they’re very checklist oriented, don’t disrupt my day and we’re like, it’s not going to work here. Because halfway through the day, something can turn your day upside down, and you have to be able to roll with it.

Imani 18:15
Yeah, of course, it’s such an uncertain time right now and you don’t know how things are going to go — the virtual Emmys were crazy to me. I was like, what is happening?

Mark Zunino 18:26
I’m still like, not sure how I feel about it all, and I was like, OK, and I give them kudos for trying it in a completely unusual different format. However, with everything going on, I do think everyone is going to land in a better place, I think that we are learning to be the best that we can be. We’re learning how to forge new paths and think outside the box and the whole survival of the fittest is exciting. If you need to make a change, now’s the time to do it. You really have to get on the train or just wave goodbye.

Imani 19:04
It gives people a chance to reset, I think, too, it gives people a chance to realign themselves with what they want to do with their goals…

Mark Zunino 19:10
And I think it’s starting to make people more compassionate. I think it’s really pulled families together more. I see there’s a really good side to all of this. We’re starting to appreciate their friendships more. I mean, our team that works together, it really pulls the core group together and we’re in this with each other no matter what. Yes, and that was our first strength of like, okay, let’s keep going. Let’s change what we need to change and move forward.

Imani 19:44
OK. So what would you say are some of your biggest creative influences?

Mark Zunino 19:51
It sounds so cliché, but I get influenced by everything so it can be fabric, we look at fabric collections from around the world constantly. So that can inspire me. Colors like we brand I travel or we can be in the airport and just watching people go back and forth — Oh my god, that’s a good neckline on her for that type of body, this is a great look and how to incorporate that into whatever kind of design we are thinking of. In our team, I mean, we have little brainstorming periods, everybody will kick around ideas, or everyone’s always tearing tear sheets out of magazines, you know, I love this top, that bottom, or this dress was almost there, the designer missed the mark — like, whatever and we discuss and come up with concepts all the time and as a designer to that, one of the things I’ve learned most was not to live inside my head, to be a sponge and absorb everybody around me, because I think it’s a kiss of death, when, in my head, I only see how I think fashion should be and I think it’s a really isolated scary place to work from, I think you have to really keep an open mind and in order to stay truly creative, so I have a good group of people that keep me in check.

Breanna Rae Murillo 21:15
Happy to be there.

Imani 21:19
Now I’m interested because hearing you say that about, how you’re kind of your eyes there all the time, I have this this like theory kind of with creatives, where I feel like they’re honestly just a whole different kind of people. But I feel, when you’re creative, your mind is always running, running, running and I don’t feel like you can train your mind to be like that. I feel like it’s just something you have.

Mark Zunino 21:42
I do agree because I have friends that are not creative. We are like oil and water. I love him to death. But I mean, literally, I do not understand the way they [crosstalk 21:54] understand the way [crosstalk 21:54] and it can get frustrating, but it is just the way it is and so that’s where to like, I can see it because we have an amazing internship program. So we have interns of all ages, and you’ll find someone that is creative, that is trying not to be wants to be or their family, their parents are pushing them to be more number crunching or whatever. They’re just not they’re creative and vice versa you see people that so desperately want to be creative. [crosstalk 22:28] and you just want to– you feel so bad. It’s like me trying to play the piano, isn’t ever going to happen. I took lessons, my sister was amazing. My instructor told my mom, “You are wasting your money on him. Tell him to stop”. So you just have to be able to call it

Imani 22:45
Yes, and I think that’s where it differs is — it’s not — I think people get this idea that if you’re not creative for some reason, you’re less than — like you’re not and I don’t think that is how it is at all. But I think that you can’t force the creativity. I feel like, if you’re going to be in a creative field, you truly have to just your mind has to think that way, you have to be able to look at something and imagine how you would create something else out of it.

Mark Zunino 23:12
Or you have to understand that and be able to which is hard, but I believe it can happen is you know, you train yourself to be creative in your way. So and that’s like because I’ve talked to people that are accountants, bookkeepers, and stuff like oh my god, I’m just so the most uncreated person, but then I start talking with it on like, you know, you’re not because you can find a way how to get to Z, that 90% of the other accountants couldn’t see how to get there. It is creative and they will say, I really am creative, the way my approach to numbers and accounting or whatever, so to creative, you don’t end up in jail, but [laughter] it can be like, even if you are a mechanic working on engines or whatever, like there is creativity to so many things, it just depends on your approach.

Imani 24:11
Definitely. So what is your process in creating your pieces? What is start to finish? How does that go?

Mark Zunino 24:17
— However, I get influenced, most of it starts with sketching, I sketch nonstop, and for me — because not every designer sketches, but I would die if I couldn’t sketch. That’s the easiest way to express what’s in my head on paper and then from there, it’s a visual that everybody gets on the same page, they see it, so then we can start talking about it, change this, whatever, drop that neckline lower raise the color, whatever and we start doing things to it. But we’re all working from visual because describing something everyone’s visual is different in their head and so that’s where it’s trying to pull everybody on to same page is my number one priority working on anything. Even a collection — Every piece in a collection, but then when we merchandise and streamline the collection is really when — everybody like we’ll start throw me dresses that I love half of everybody hates, [laughter] and then the dressing things out and everybody loves it.

Imani 25:24

Mark Zunino 25:24
And that’s where I’m like, OK, let’s try it. Let’s see. But Breanna knows this happens all the time.

Breanna Rae Murillo 25:30
That’s true. I mean, I have to make sure that your collections also very sellable. So…

Mark Zunino 25:35
I mean, I love one of a kind. [laughter] I don’t care. Nobody ever buys it, I’m just like, Ooh, it’s pretty

Imani 25:41
Just to look at.

Mark Zunino 25:43
[crosstalk] It needs to sell.

Imani 25:48
So how long does it typically take you to create a collection?

Mark Zunino 25:53
I mean, as long as we have – So if we have four days, we can create a collection and four days, if we have four months, we’ll create it in four months. I mean, basically, the pieces never stop. We never stop creating a collection and so all we do is have a stopping point where we accumulate everything and put it into, you know, its title of whatever that collection is. But it’s an evolution that never stops and there’s some things that we may slow down and say, you know what, we’re not going to — we’re working on these eight gowns. We’re not going to put those into this collection. We’ll keep working on him for the next collection. So it’s really more of an inspiration, the things that we start connecting with and feeling passionate about.

Imani 26:40
That’s crazy. You can put things together that fast. I saw I was looking online. I was doing my research about Mark Zunino. But I saw online. Whose dress you did who Denise Richards? Was it hers you did in 24 hours?

Mark Zunino 26:56
Yes, and what was wonderful with that is She’s so nice and easy going and I’ve known her forever, and then I know her husband and they’re so chill. Such Malibu people, and they just are so relaxed that I’m like, we got this. Oh, because she is not a diva. No matter what — even had I done it, I think had she not even really liked it, she really be like, OK, I’m wearing it. We’re good. She’s just super, super easy. So that’s what made it fun. What got me defensive about it was after we did it up because she wanted to get on the back of his motorcycle, and that’s how she was leaving, after the ceremony and all that. So that’s why we did a romper and the overskirt, whatever… Well, some people you know, everybody has an opinion. So they wanted to chime in, because of her age. How old is she?

Imani 26:56
That’s, oh my god.

Breanna Rae Murillo 27:45
I think she’s in her 40s.

Mark Zunino 27:46
So they’re like, well, Isn’t she a little, you know, old to be having such a short skirt? Well, it was shorts. It was a romper and it’s what she wanted.

Breanna Rae Murillo 27:56
She looked amazing.

Imani 27:57
Yes, I saw that too. I saw online that you were — that they were like well Mark Zunino snapping back [inaudible 28:05] good for him.

Mark Zunino 28:07
It’s not your dress.

Imani 28:08

Mark Zunino 28:10
You know, buy one that looks like [crosstalk 28:14], but it’s hers because that’s one of my idiosyncrasies with brides, “Get what you want”. Listen to your mom, or she may be paying for it or whatever but it’s your dress, and this is your body and it’s your vision and I don’t think anybody should rain on that parade.

Imani 28:33
No, not at all. I don’t think that people really have the right to talk if we’re going to — I can see the room with the red carpets more so because that’s a genre of television is critiquing red carpets, you know, but in terms of somebody’s wedding, like who are you to tell somebody what they get married in, and you know…

Mark Zunino 28:50
Who they are like, that’s my thing. When I first meet a bride, I usually don’t know them. So I’m like, you know, what do you see, man? Tell me about yourself. Are you a chilled beach person? Are you super formal Cathedral? What is your dream wedding? Tell me about that, and then we start learning about them. We may take it, you take a left turn and create something that they never even thought of, that ends up being perfect or a lot of the girls I think, have a vision of what they want and usually don’t stray and those are the girls that I think I really like working with too, because they are very headstrong. They’re secure and definitely I think our brides have to be secure because we are a little bit — we’re not so mainstream. We’re more fashion forward. We’re a little more unique and that’s where it takes a bride that’s confident. She knows what she wants. She’s not listening to 18 of her friends. Design her dress by committee. She knows…

Imani 29:56
Exactly. Yes. So what would you say your favorite keys that you’ve done so far in your career. Do you have one? Like all of them?

Mark Zunino 30:05
No, I really don’t. Because it’s always changing for me and there are some brides that we’ve done that I thought match the dresses, okay, whatever, but then I see the photographs of their wedding, and I realized that, we nailed it to what she had the division, she had in her head, and when it comes through their energy and just their happiness, and I mean, photographs leap off the page, then leap off the page when you see it and so there are brides at all, not even remember, I will say to Breanna, oh my god, look at her and she’s like, that’s our bride from whatever, but I’m like, I don’t remember looking like this. She’s like, Well, no, she was all pulled together but look, and I’m like, Oh my god, they’re staggering, don’t you think?

Breanna Rae Murillo 30:53
Oh, yes, I always have to remind you who people are.

Mark Zunino 30:58
I mean, I see so many people but yes, I do recognize, I must know them. [inaudible 31:09]
Imani 31:13
It’s hard. There’s so much you know — I feel honestly, sometimes it’s better if you can see somebody’s face. You’re like, I do know you like I am so sorry. But I do know you, but it is crazy how brides — You see them in the store and you’re like, Oh my gosh, you look so great in this and then you see him on your wedding too. You’re like, Oh my gosh, you look so great in this, it’s a complete flip. It’s really fun to see.

Mark Zunino 31:37
It is. I love that process. It’s really exciting and I’d love to see when their fiancé just like, whatever [inaudible 31:45] they start

Imani 31:46
Oh, I know.

Mark Zunino 31:48
That’s fantastic.

Imani 31:49
That always sends me I love that. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, love. So what was the first piece that you created — Like that you ever — You went through the whole process?

Mark Zunino 32:02
Well, the first notable thing that I think I ever did, it actually had my name on it, I was working with no one else. It’s how my label got created. Things were progressing and I designed a collection that Nolan hated, really hated it and so I’m like but I believe in it, he is like, “No, my name will not go on this” and he said, “You believe in it, you put your name on it”. So I did. So I designed a more conservative collection for him and then I had my collection and Sophia Lauren came in and she flew in, it was for the Oscars and so we had the two racks of clothes and Nolan said, just let her walk in and see what you’re actually goes to and she went over to my new rack and picked out a dress and it was a dress that was just had one sheer layer of chiffon.

So you could see her legs, everything through and it had a lace over nude miniskirt, little strapless mini dress underneath. But it was just the beginning of sheer things being sheer like that, and Nolan was just like Sophia said, “This is what I’m going to wear” and no one said, you can see your legs right through it. It’s like, you didn’t put a slip on and she was like, what’s wrong with my legs, and then also being European, she’s used to pushing the envelope and her body looked amazing.

So she wore that dress and you know, never kept saying who are you wearing and she would say Mark Zunino because Nolan said, “Do not mention my name”. So, I am like, OK, tell him my name and so that’s really what launched my label way back when Sophia was the first one.

Imani 33:36
Wow, that’s so cool that he lets you do that too.

Mark Zunino 33:39
I know looking back on it. But that’s also like, with, you know, everybody, all my young staff have amazing people to like you, there’s room for everybody and as you get older, you need to make sure you’re not stuck and the good thing is I have a lifetime of experience of what’s worked and what’s not. I know where to relax and let things form on their own and then I know also when to pull things back, because I’ve gotten in trouble by letting things go too far too fast and so that’s where I’m at, with the team we have it’s really exciting, especially right now, but with the economy and the virus and everything that’s happening, these are new times that we’re baking all kinds of new ideas and half aren’t going to work half hour. So let’s see, because it is exciting, we’re trying all kinds of new stuff.

Imani 34:34
Yeah. Great. Okay, so in terms of your brides, how do you want them to feel when they’re in your gowns?

Mark Zunino 34:41
I mean, seriously just confident and beautiful and it’s sounds hokey but a girl put on a dress and even if I look okay, but you know, she still has an area on her body that she doesn’t think is accentuated properly or she feels insecure and I think when a girl puts on a dress and actually is like, Oh my god, I look good. I really look good and you see that? That’s the most rewarding thing. [crosstalk 35:15] I think without the competence that’s like, I can put somebody, we can put someone in a dress that we think is amazing and they can get a ton of compliments. But if they don’t feel like them in that dress, it’s going to be awkward. They have to feel this is me. This is who I am.

Imani 35:31
Yes, and I feel you can’t stress that enough. Like, truly, when a bride feels good. They look so good. It doesn’t matter if people don’t like the dress, your happiness really does shine through and it sounds cheesy and corny. It’s so true and you think like day to day in your life, you put on just a regular outfit, you’re going to go to dinner, you put on a regular outfit, and you you’re doing whatever, and you’re getting ready. If you feel like “uh” the whole night you’re like, “Uh” I’m not having a good time.

Mark Zunino 36:03
And you know, like, we joke all the time because I live in T shirt and jeans, whatever, but I have certain t shirts that I feel better. The sleeves a little tighter, it’s hug your chest a little more. It’s a little looser around my belly. It’s you know, whatever. You know, I just feel better in certain pair of jeans and a certain T shirt. So we all have those items or wardrobe that we know we feel good knit, and I think that’s the key to everybody and when you’re creating your wardrobe focus on the pieces that you feel good in. You can build a really nice, tight, good looking wardrobe that way and develop your own sense of style.

Imani 36:47
Yeah, definitely. So on that note, what are some pieces that you guys wear day to day that you have to have?

Breanna Rae Murillo 36:54
I have to wear high heels. I live in my heels and when I drive, I take one shoe off and keep the other one on just so I’m ready to pop out of the car or whatever.

Mark Zunino 37:08
She’ll walk on her toes. [laughter]

Imani 37:13
She’s committed

Mark Zunino 37:16
She loves high heels.

Imani 37:17

Breanna Rae Murillo 37:19
I don’t like high heels.

Imani 37:23
No, not my preferred choice.

Mark Zunino 37:28
I hate like I said I’m in T shirt and jeans and I’m super relaxed always and the funny thing is even like when we have black tie events, whatever, I’ll step it up a little but I’m still, dress down to most because I tell everybody no one’s there to see me. They’re there to see everyone else that we make clothes for and I like that, I don’t think I like a bunch of attention, I’m not looking at me kind of person. I’m a Hey, look at them. We did for them. I actually think too. That is why I’ve done what I’ve done for so long. Because my happiness comes from making other people happy. So [inaudible 38:09]

Breanna Rae Murillo 38:09
That’s where we get along.

Imani 38:11
I mean, that’s how you know you’re in the right spot too, it’s not ever the me show when you’re doing what you love. So…

Mark Zunino 38:20
Yes, time flies by…

Imani 38:22
It does let me tell you. So we’re going to do some fun questions. But before we get into some fun, I mean, all the questions are fun. But we’re going to do like a little round of questions that we ask, we ask all the guests. But before we get into that, I want to talk about career highlights. What are some career highlights for you? Where you were like, this is so cool.

Mark Zunino 38:51
There have been clients or girls that just don’t feel good about themselves and whether it’s their way, whether it’s whatever, and they literally — you know, some girls are like, well, I’m getting married, but I wanted to lose 200 pounds, I just wasn’t able to and I’m like so you reaffirm that they are beautiful, you’re going to be beautiful and so there are three clients that we completely turned around which we created a happiness in them that is the most intoxicating feeling ever because here’s somebody that basically almost had a crush spirit and you made them to soar and feel amazing.

So that’s wonderful. Celebrity wise, I’m always amazed where like we just moved into a new affiliate and the doorbell rang the day that we had movers moving and it was Julia Roberts and I hadn’t [inaudible 39:43] I’m like, “Hey”, and she’s like, “Hey”, and she’s like, “I need to dress made because she was shooting the L’Oréal commercial and it had to be couture and she hated with the dresses they had made. She said, “We are shooting”. So, I would like you need to make me some dresses by tomorrow and I’m like, “Ok”, and it just happened and she was so sweet.

So those spontaneous things like that always throw me and we had one day — I had all mannequins in the windows, we probably primarily do women’s clothing and I saw all these huge guys come into the back door, because usually we never have a front entrance, we always private entrance and back and there are all these big guys. I thought, Oh my gosh, I worked a lot with Mindy Weiss, who’s an event planner. Maybe I do a lot of NBA, NFL people through her.

So I thought this must be one of Mindy’s group because there’s all these basketball players or something. Well, it was all security and I looked down it was for Prince. Prince is like, hey, there’s a suit in the window and I’m like, okay, but these are all women’s clothes and he looked at me and he’s like, I don’t care. We’re running around, bumping into each other, princess here, princess here, and there’s a Beyoncé story to how Beyoncé came to me, it was a fluke and I didn’t believe everybody. So, I did not go to work in the morning and I left her sitting there by yourself for two hours and I came back.

Imani 41:15
She waited?

Mark Zunino 41:18
They’re lying to me, because I had just lives in New York and I did an interview and they said, who haven’t you dress that you want to? I’m like, oh, Beyoncé and the next day, I’m back in LA. They’re like Beyoncé is here and I’m like, shut up, you know, everyone’s going to tease me now forever. I didn’t get as I pulled into the parking lot. Again, I saw the big guys in the parking lot and I go in side of [inaudible 41:38] And I see more big guys and I look over and Beyoncé’s like I’ve been waiting for you and I’m like, Oh, my God. I know. I apologize and she was amazing and she stayed like another two hours and we ordered a bunch of clothes and I’m like, oh my god. Wow, amazing. So that was the introduction to her. That was fabulous. So those things are always like, blew my mind.

Imani 42:03
I cannot believe you made Beyoncé wait. Oh my gosh, I mean, but that’s amazing that pulling into [laughter] another day.

Mark Zunino 42:18
When you’re saying like, there are no two days are ever like for us and

Imani 42:21

Mark Zunino 42:23
So again, just be flexible roll with it. But Breanna’s been amazing at being flexible, continually, and basically she literally works 24/7. I call and I know she must be like, what the hell is he calling me.

Breanna Rae Murillo 42:39
He’s like I had a thought and I am like okay.

Imani 42:45
That’s awesome. Yay. Okay, cool. So let’s get into these little questions. So both of you, I’m curious to hear your answers to these. So the first one is if you had an autobiography, what would you title it and why?

Breanna Rae Murillo 43:04
If I had an autobiography, it would be called “How to be practical and fabulous at the same time”? I emphasized fabulous but I always learn to think logically with everything that I do.

Mark Zunino 43:21
Yes, that is totally true.

Imani 43:22
Love that.

Mark Zunino 43:24
She’s the part of my brain that I don’t have.

Imani 43:27
Well, we know she’s always doing fabulous. She’s always in heels.

Mark Zunino 43:33
For me, it’d probably be crapshoot because [laughter] and if somebody tells me No, like, you can’t do that, or it’s never been done, and I will do it that way. I will make sure that it works.

Imani 43:51
That’s funny. OK, so this one, what are three things you can’t live without?

Breanna Rae Murillo 43:59
Oh, my goodness. Yes, you go first…

Mark Zunino 44:03
Well, I already know two of your things.

Breanna Rae Murillo 44:05
You tell me what you observed about

Mark Zunino 44:07
Your high heels, your eyelashes, and….

Imani 44:11

Mark Zunino 44:15
She’s good — After that she’s good.

Breanna Rae Murillo 44:17
I’m ready for the day.

Imani 44:18

Mark Zunino 44:19
Take an outfit out of a pillowcase. You know, piece of rope belts it, whatever…

Breanna Rae Murillo 44:24
Yes, but as long as my hair looks good, we’re fine.

Imani 44:28
So we’re finding Breanna on an island with high heels, hairspray and eyelashes. She’ll be sad. Three things you can’t live without.

Mark Zunino 44:39
This is really corny but Truman [phonetic 44:42] my dog, my entire life, and being at the convertible being in the car, with the top down, with my dog driving fixes anything. [laughter] [inaudible 44:58]

Imani 45:04
Breanna, Truman and your convertible. Oh my gosh, what a cute answer

Breanna Rae Murillo 45:09
Thank you for saying that even though I said you that answer

Mark Zunino 45:15
Even with her false eyelashes and her hairspray, she always insist on the topic.

Breanna Rae Murillo 45:19
Yes, I love it

Mark Zunino 45:21
When he gets in the car, the first thing he does is paw to take the top down.

Imani 45:28
Oh my gosh, how cute…

Mark Zunino 45:31
We’ll be driving up in the mountains? It’ll start snowing, that tops got to be up, down.

Imani 45:36
Wow, that’s so cute. OK. So this one is what is your advice to current and future brides?

Breanna Rae Murillo 45:47
Try everything on, and just be patient during this crazy time we have because sooner or later, it will all be a new normal, and we can all go on living in a beautiful way.

Mark Zunino 46:01
That’s good. I mean, I think, just enter whatever with an open mind and it’s when Breanna saying about try everything on — many times — Again, people telling me, No, when a bride says, “Oh, I can’t wear that”. You can’t you just have not… So, no one has shown you how to do it the right way. So that’s where — I always try everything on it. Some people say, Oh, I have to wear a ball gown, I have a big hip child, whatever. No, you don’t and when you can convince those girls that you can be all snug in a nice little, you know, fitted gown. They’re like, Oh, my God, look at my body. So yeah, I think the most important thing for every bride is to try everything on every silhouette, every different style.

Imani 46:51
Yes. OK. Great answers, guys. So before we wrap up, is there anything that you would like to tell all of our brides about anything you have going on?

Breanna Rae Murillo 47:03
Yes. Well, we just launched an online shop. We have our fabulous designer and luxury masks going on. But mark recently designed a fabulous loungewear collection. So we’ll be rolling out some fabulously affordable robes in the next month or so and we’re very excited to bring Mark Zunino to the everyday consumer.

Mark Zunino 47:28
Yes, we’re going to be affordable and the amazing thing is that we’re doing for a little inside that will probably get kicked by Breanna but amazing things a lot of these we have such vast inventory of fabric that we’re like these kimonos, we’re making, they’re going to retail for what?

Breanna Rae Murillo 47:44
Approximately between $100 and $300.

Mark Zunino 47:47
And then some of them. The fabrics that we’re using are like $800 a yard. So at that price, you’re getting something phenomenal. We have so much inventory. So, I said like, let’s just get rid of it, and let everybody have a little bit of luxury that they normally could. I’m really excited about this and these are clothes that you could either, you know, wear in the morning when you’re having coffee, or you could wear to yoga class or you could wear it with jeans and a tank or dress it up, dress it down [phonetic 48:19] just have fun. The fabrics are amazing and that’s what we got the actually we actually had the inspiration from the mask because we were using all our high end luxury fabrics for the masks and everybody was like, Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. So now we’re able to put it into something that they can actually wear on their body.

Imani 47:50
That was so exciting. So you said that’s in a month?

Mark Zunino 48:40

Imani 48:40
In about a month. Oh, okay.

Breanna Rae Murillo 48:43
That’s in time for the holiday season.

Imani 48:44
Yes. Wink-wink so everybody can put that on their wish list and then of course you will be here. This is airing on Friday the 23rd, 24th, 25th I know dates. So you will be here that this weekend with your collection.

Mark Zunino 49:08

Imani 49:09

Mark Zunino 49:11
Because we love everybody here.

Imani 49:12

Mark Zunino 49:13
Everyone just has a good time. So come on down. Try some dresses on, that’s all have a good little party.

Imani 49:19
Yes. We’re super excited. The dresses are beautiful and really about the construction, especially any bride that’s looking for good construction and a dress you have to just put on a Mark Zunino.

Mark Zunino 49:30
I mean fit is everything. That’s the thing truly, things have to fit properly and we’re here to help you with it.

Imani 49:36
Yes. OK, well, thank you guys so much. It was super fun chatting with you guys.

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