Vogue Paris

Delphine Manivet answers 10 questions for Vogue

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After working as a designer at Haute Couture brand Rochas, Delphine Manivet struck out alone in 2005 with her own wedding dress brand. A fashion fan with a soft spot for Céline and Proenza Schouler, her creations make use of timeless silhouettes with an eye to traditional wedding dress motifs. For her 2014 collection, the French designer has moved away from her signature bohemian style to play with proportions, with Thirties-style drop waists and highly structured shapes. Exclusively for Vogue Paris, the designer explains her work, in 10 questions.

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1) What inspired you to design wedding dresses?

 It was when I was looking for my own wedding dress. I found that there was nothing corresponding to what I had in mind at the time, everything either looked like a meringue, or used fabrics I didn’t like. As I was already a designer and worked for a haute couture brand, Rochas, I was used to expecting a certain level of quality. Then I realized that there must be other girls in the same position as me, so I launched my own brand.

2) What will the 2014 bride look like?

 There will be lots of different styles and faces, but fundamentally she will be confident and comfortable in her own skin. It’s a different generation getting married now, we’re seeing much fewer 24 year-old brides and plenty more between the ages of 27 and 38, who sometimes already have children. This means she already knows herself and what she wants, she knows what she’s worth, and she is free and honest.

3) How do you go about designing a wedding dress?

 When a customer walks into one of my boutiques in America or Japan, the whole process from the first meeting to the completion of the dress takes about two months. People get married quicker and quicker these days, so it’s important to adapt to their time restraints. If a bride-to-be comes to see me in the showroom at Boissy d’Anglas, it takes a while longer. I start by imagining the dress, then I prepare a sketch and then a mock-up. The whole process takes from six to eight months, but I am  lucky enough to have a clientèle who have faith in me.

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4) What was the inspiration behind your last collection?

 For my 2014 collection, the starting point was an embroidered veil I found in Los Angeles a year ago. It’s a sort of very large tulle, with a strange, ethereal air about it. I’ve moved slightly away from classic lace to try out different embroidery techniques, so the designs are more structured and there are lots of pieces with sleeves.

5) What are next season’s trends?

 It’s difficult to know what brides will want in the future, when they probably haven’t even decided themselves yet!  I think that there will be fewer barefoot weddings on the beach, and that we’ll see more winter weddings with different fabrics. For example, I’m working on a faux fur dress at the moment, it’s made out of cotton and silk but it looks like mink. Other than that, I think we’ll see a return to shorter, smaller veils.

6) Who would you like to make a wedding dress for?

 I would have loved to make a dress for Marilyn Monroe. She had this certain kind of crazy grace, a little something more than intelligence or beauty which lit up everything in her path.  It was definitely very polished and probably not innate, but it’s what I’m looking for and what interests me. Otherwise, Vanessa Paradis.

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7) Do you have a favourite cut or shape?

 I don’t have a favourite cut exactly, but I do have a favourite fabric. I love lace, and I try to revive and modernize vintage lace as much as possible. I’m particularly fond of lace from CaudryCalais and Valenciennes.

8) You recently launched a red carpet collection, what more can you tell us about it?

 As I was being asked more and more to design dresses for film events, the natural next step was to create a collection of evening gowns. For the moment, it’s quite confidential because it’s only sold in the States. But I’ve also collaborated with La Redoute in Paris on a collection of fresh, pretty pieces, but they remain special occasion dresses. I’m not very casual, I like to work on fleeting moments, whether it’s a wedding or a red carpet. These occasions are very short-lived, but they are milestones in our lives.

9) What would you say is the ultimate crime of taste?

 If somebody asked me to create a shot silk dress with burgundy flowers, I would refuse to do it because it does nobody any favours. Otherwise, I advise larger ladies to wear a corset to streamline their silhouette and enhance their cleavage, there’s nothing more flattering.

10) What advice would you give to a bride-to-be?

 Spend more time thinking than researching. Whiling away hours on the internet or on blogs looking at what others have done is great, but I think you end up losing sight of what you want and it stops being about you. It’s a shame to want to imitate someone who might not even have the same hair colour or skin tone, it’s much more worthwhile to try and connect with yourself – I suggest trying some yoga or pilates to think clearly.

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