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Thursday 18 September 2014

Something borrowed.. rented couture bridal gowns are in vogue

Published 18/07/2014 | 02:30

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Model Karen Fitzpatrick showcases a designer wedding dress. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Model Karen Fitzpatrick showcases a designer wedding dress. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Wedding dress from Cari's Closet.

How many brides get a business idea walking up the aisle?

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This weekend, on the first anniversary of her marriage, Lisa Duffy Kavanagh is celebrating on the double. She has just opened Ireland's first rental couture wedding dress shop on Strand Street, Malahide, Co Dublin, and the response from Ireland, the UK, Scotland and Spain has been "phenomenal".

"I got the idea after spending €7,500 on my own wedding dress and I said to my husband at the time that I felt there was a niche in the wedding market to rent out designer dresses that girls might not otherwise be able to afford," said Lisa.

Two years ago, she opened Cari's Closet in Malahide, renting out evening-wear and red carpet frocks and the experience of buying her own wedding dress convinced her to open up a specialist bridal couture store.

"I tracked down my wedding dress, which was by an Israeli designer called Inbal Dror. I booked flights to go to Israel for the dress, but then I found a store in London and bought it there."

Buoyed on by the reaction to her dress on Facebook, Lisa sold her dress last January for €5,500 and ploughed the money into building up a war chest of couture gowns which you can either buy or rent. "The way I see it, if a girl loves a dress for €8,000 but can rent it for €2,900, then she's getting her dream dress for less than half the price," said Lisa who named her rental business after her two-year-old daughter, Cari.

Over the last few months, Lisa developed her wedding business concept and now has 50 dresses. She has also gone into wedding dress design, launching her own label, LDK.

There is a deposit to cover insurance in case a bride damages her rental dress or puts her heel through the hemline. And speaking of shoes, the new trend, Lisa says, is to wear a white or ivory dress with shoes in pink, red or blue.

Irish Independent

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