GOWS: What became the inspiration for your collection?
A: I spent many years in the couture/designer r-t-w world and entered bridal upon request of clients. Simply stated, the inspiration has always been my client.
She has an acute sense of fashion and fully understands and appreciates quality. It was such a natural extension to expand into bridal, and a pleasure to create gowns for these women. Unfortunately, they had no real options when it came to veils as the market was fairly limited. In support, I developed the accessory collections with an emphasis on bespoke technique grounded in the idea of heirloom. To this day, all our veils are named after women - many of whom were the original inspiration.
I would say now, it is my focus that is inspired. That of delivering real couture qualities and manufacturing to fashionable brides around the world. Currently, we are doing a trunk show with Moda Operandi – again, we were born out of the fashion world and they clearly understand that.
GOWS: How many hours can it take to make an haute couture veil (more complicated veil)?
A: The process can be painstakingly long, as the lace is hand cut, pieced and basted to our proprietary tulle before being permanently secured with a very fine stitch. Nothing is appliquéd on top of the tulle, but rather joined at the seams, resulting one piece of fabrication. It allows for a more diaphanous product – every detail calibrated to enrich the piece within one continuous plane. The result is extraordinary… silken in feeling and gossamer-thin in appearance. This does require a completely different approach, one premised with time and dedication. Depending on the veil, the artisans that do this heritage/couture work can take up to a month to produce one piece. Veils that utilize our intarsia technique (where two or more laces are combined with the intricate design working its way throughout the majority of the veil) can take upwards of six weeks once we receive our custom laces from France.
GOWS: How long does it usually take for a bride to pick out a veil?
A: This of course, truly depends on the client. I always allow for at least an hour as our collection is varied and the possibilities are endless. Overall, I would say at the end of an hour most brides have a good sense of what they prefer.
GOWS: How many hands touch the veil from the beginning to end of its creation?
A: Since the couture traditions extend from both France and Italy, upwards of thirty individuals could be involved in the creation of each veil.
GOWS: When a bride visits the Monvieve showroom, what type of experience can she expect?
A: A truly personalized experience. The showroom is intimate and brides have the space to themselves and their guests. I always have a pot of tea on hand - either a jasmine silver needle or a special bergamotto from Florence. The idea is to slow down… a real moment of repose. They can relax and try on as many veils as they like. I feel that a veil is the biggest unknown, as it is truly a new experience for most women. I like to make sure they have as much time as they need to discover… try on what they think they want, what they never had imagined and everything in between.
GOWS: Do you have any preparation advice for a bride when choosing a veil?
A: Just be open and prepared to welcome the possibilities. Practically speaking, if you have your shoes (or a similar height) bring them along. It’s always helpful to envision precisely how the veil will fall.
If you are coming here before you have your gown (we do get many brides that drive their look based on their veil) then the possibilities are endless. Your only defining factor is your locale, but even those sensibilities are considerably more relaxed than years ago as brides today are more independent and personal in their approach.
If you have your gown, then finding a veil that fits your vision while elevating and respecting the direction of your gown is the general approach. As we don’t stock anything and our veils are custom made, color and length will be adjusted for you. It’s all about real style. Again, be open minded and try on many different pieces. Sometimes real style is found in the unexpected.
In the end, the right veil will transform your gown.
GOWS: Can you give us some tips on how to buy a veil?
A: I think the standard tips concerning length with regard to your dress, ideas of color matching, and deferring to the silhouette of your dress are fairly well known.
1. A cathedral doesn’t necessarily equal traditional.
I’ve had some very high fashion brides who paired the most unexpected things with a cathedral veil with stunning results. Modern style is equal parts you and equal parts discovery. Real fashion moments aren’t contrived- they’re felt deeply and when something is right you just know. Be open to the possibilities.
2. Consider color.
We have five shades of ivory tulle, a pale gold and an exquisite blush. A refined ivory Chantilly on an ivory tulle is beautiful - but put that same lace on a couture blushed tulle and it becomes something else altogether. And our custom laces run the gamut ivories to pale golds, gilded champagnes and pewters, and hushed tones of blues and rose. We even have the most sophisticated shade of navy woven with a soft gold thread. And then of course, black. Can’t not have a great black lace veil option!
3. Venue doesn’t dictate style.
This is becoming an outdated concept. Destination weddings dominate and brides are expressing themselves in a truly personal fashion. If they have always wanted to wear a chic silk crepe shift with a fingertip veil and be married in a Tuscan castle, then so be it. It will be perfect. Wear that cathedral veil on the beach or in the garden - it’s beyond beautiful. Real style is singular. Edit, strive for quality and be true to oneself.
4. Perspective = drama.
Never underestimate how much you will be seen from behind. You can curate the most stunning style with a veil cascading down your back and beyond. And as you walk with a veil you leave behind this gorgeous wake of elegance and drama. It’s all about what happens from the comb on back.
5. A good veil will work with any hairstyle.
Couture fabrications will fall beautifully no matter what you do with your stylist. Our veils are so fine and light they lay flawlessly on top of the head. It is a much more of a European look- as it is a European product. Having tulle ruched into the comb - creating all that height is a look that can overpower a more petite woman - not a part of our aesthetic at all. So, approach hair and makeup with confidence - anything you do will be elevated by a bespoke, diaphanous veil that seamlessly flows over any hairstyle and adapts to any look.
6. Fabrication is the name of the game.
I can’t overstate quality. Better to have a raw cut veil in the finest tulle than an embellished veil that uses a lesser quality.
7. Drive your look from your veil.
Don’t leave your veil until the last moment. Some of the most exquisite looks have actually started with the veil! We have many brides that select their veil first and then look for their dress. As I like to say, the dress makes the wedding, but it is the veil that makes the bride!
8. Blushers are everything.
We love mantillas, but we sell 1 for every 20 veils with blushers. Blushers are simply gorgeous. Ask any photographer. (Just ensure you measure for them properly. Many veils have blushers that are cut too short.) Also, when the blusher is back it becomes a mantilla in effect, so you get two looks as opposed to one. And with tulle as fine as ours, a blusher will delicately frame your face unlike anything else. Most importantly, with the lifting of your blusher is the realization of a truly profound moment. Beyond your immediate experience, everyone in attendance partakes in this defining juncture of the ceremony. So significantly emotive and breathtaking. Again, the power of beauty and meaning trumps everything here.
9. Couture qualities don’t need anything else.
We use the finest Chantilly out of France - it’s exquisite. Beading and embroidery aren’t necessarily the hallmarks of high quality pieces - that is reserved for laces of lesser qualities. Let the fine silk organza, custom blended tulle and extraordinary laces stand on their own and be that statement of timeless, refined elegance grounded in quality and heritage.
10. Be a style arbiter.
This is your fashion moment… don’t worry about the veil wearing you. A very fine veil shouldn’t overpower. Height affects the length of the blusher, but not the length of the veil. A petite woman can easily wear a cathedral and a very tall woman can wear a fingertip. Choose a veil that completes your statement. Be bold and covet real style. It’s a rarified opportunity to express yourself in the most meaningful of ways.
GOWS: Veils and other headpieces are an expression of one's style. How does a bride know which one is right for her?
A: I’ve attended many ceremonies of brides that have worn my pieces. That ‘collective gasp’ is always present when she enters. Her guests savor that walk down the aisle… this is the power of a beautiful veil. It is an inspiring vision: we are all witness to the best part of being human - what family and love truly mean.
We actually have quite a few brides who wear a veil for their ceremony and a headpiece at their reception. And I even had a very high fashion bride who wore both at the same time- a small, refined mask under her veil. Her sheath gown had a high jewel neckline… very covered - sleeves and all. Yet she was agreed to be the sexiest bride we had ever seen.
Both are fashion statements and celebrate women of individual style. Both collections stir the imagination as they are the very definition of refinement and style, and represent the highest levels of what we can offer in the industry in terms of Made in Italy and Made in France. Both can be worn for all types of ceremonies - there are no rules anymore. The right approach is securing real style in your bridal look while being true to oneself. I always give my thoughts - but wish for each woman to come to her own decision. In the end, she’s always right.
GOWS: From a personal standpoint, what do you hope a bride feels when she puts on a Monvieve veil?
A: Stated simply, I would argue that a couture bridal veil is one of the most powerful and transformative accessories that we have in fashion. We all know how it feels to put on designer stilettos, or carry that chic designer ‘it bag’ you have been coveting. You are empowered. You stand up a straighter and you feel stronger with every step. Yet, I’ve never seen anything like the magical moment when a woman first puts on a Monvieve.
An accessory born a millennium ago in ancient Rome, that is the most widely recognized symbol of marriage we have today, can directly and deeply touch, move and inspire you. It’s a real continuum of the human experience- universally iconic… yet so profoundly personal. This is one of the most rewarding moments for me as a designer and what I hope all women feel when they try on a Monvieve. To be a part of that moment, and more importantly, to be a part of one of the most important days of her life is what drives what I do.