Tuesday 20 February 2018

Bridal Wear: To have and to hold

gown, with
pleated bustle,
boat-neck and lace
back, €1,550.
Shoes, stylist’s
Duchesse-silksatin gown, with pleated bustle, boat-neck and lace back, €1,550. Shoes, stylist’s own
Silk-satin gown with front cowl, low back and French-lace drape, €2,950
Textured French-lace and silk-organza corseted gown, €3,750; matching lace and flower shrug, €350
French-lace and crepe flapper dress, €1,350. Shoes, stylist’s own

In the past, women married to achieve social status and financial support. But today women are self-made and have their own status and money.

So, choosing to get married is an affirmation of a woman’s single-mindedness and confidence that she is able to live with another human being and make it work. These changes in women’s status are reflected in what is demanded of her wedding dress. No longer a simple reflection of chastity — and wealth — a woman’s wedding dress is the biggest clue as to what matters the most to her, about her.

Delphine Grandjouan, of the House of Delphine, is a unique bridal designer, as you can tell from the pictures on our pages today. Her approach is an entirely intuitive one.

“I have a collection for people to view. But then I will mix and match aspects to compliment each person’s figure and personality.

“Brides who have trusted me to create for them have often been amazed and happy by the way I moved away from the prototype to make something unique for them. There is an alchemy about the process,” Delphine tells me in her delightful French accent.

“I come to Dublin once a month to meet people. I get a lot of referrals. I have a great rapport with the brides and so they tend to recommend me.”

From Nantes, Delphine has been in Ireland since 1993. Winner of the last two Irish Bridal Designer of the Year awards and winner in 2009 of the Kerry Designer of the Year award, Delphine Grandjouan is a petites mains — the name the genius artisans used by Parisian haute couture houses are known by— of Ireland. Every garment is designed by Delphine and hand-worked by her and her mother, Christine Margat, in Kerry, just outside of Tralee.

“We put intention into everything. You are thinking of your bride when you sew every stitch. It is funny, but after a few hours the dress begins to look like the person,” she told me.

Delphine works entirely with European fabrics — Italian silks, French laces. She has a collection of about 40 dresses, from classic to flowy chiffons “very influenced by dance — Isadora Duncan and by Madame Vionnet”, to corseted pieces and the structured beauty of duchesse satin.

This season, she is excited by her shorter dresses, designed specially for register office weddings and day-after-the-wedding events.

“If a person trusts, they trust you to be the best you can,” says Delphine. “Then they get the best from me because I feel trusted. In the end, the big difference, our big difference, is the caring, what we give to it. It is entirely personal.”

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