Daphne Newman fell in love with the couture world of bridal fabric while working in a speciality European textile store. After marrying the owner’s son (it was fate!) she started her own bridal accessories brand, taking a break to raise her daughter, who now runs her bridal accessories business alongside her. We talk to the mother-daughter duo about why the veil is making a comeback and find out what brides should consider when choosing theirs. Handmade in their studio in Canada, with exquisite fabrics and finishes sourced from all over the world, a Daphne Newman bridal piece is an heirloom in the making.
How did you end up working in bridal?
I really loved the couture technique portion of my schooling: the delicate fabrics; intricate beading; and how specialized working with these materials was. After I graduated, I worked at my mother’s specialty European fabric store where I was introduced to the couture world of bridal fabric. I had already been doing my own custom evening wear gowns for clients and it very organically transitioned into bridalwear.
What inspired you to launch a veil / robes business for bridal?
This is the second life of this business for me. I had my own bridal accessories line for about 15 years throughout the late 80’s and 90’s. I took a break to focus on my family and it wasn’t until my daughter’s (Raquelle) friends started getting married that I began exploring the world of bridal fashion again. She really pushed me to get back into it with her help in marketing, here we are today! Being part of such a special time in a girls life is something I don’t take lightly. I am constantly working to exceed their expectations ensure everything is absolutely perfect.
You’re a mother daughter team which we love. How does that contribute to the Daphne Newman brand?
I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that the little girl who used to watch me sew from her playpen would be my business partner 30 years later, and helping me take this brand to levels I could only have dreamed of. She grew up visiting me at work (her grandmother’s specialty fabric store which is still in business to this day!) so it’s pretty cool how her childhood and my business have come full circle. While I may have all the technical knowledge and am the designer and head creative, her perspective is invaluable as she has an intimate understanding of the modern bride. She has a degree in international business so she handles all the marketing, PR, digital, sales, etc. which lends perfectly to her skill set, and compliments mine. I think our blended skill is a force to be reckoned with. She has truly believed in my passion and my work from day one and there are no words to explain what that means to me as a business partner and mother.
“For me, the veil is the iconic and identifying accessory of the bride. Anyone can put on a white dress, but as soon as the veil goes on you know she is a bride.”
What is it about veils and robes that you love?
For me, the veil is the iconic and identifying accessory of the bride. Anyone can put on a white dress, but as soon as the veil goes on you know she is a bride (and typically tears will follow). I feel as though a lot of tradition has been lost in the last 20 years as fast fashion dominates our society. I do believe that the wedding veil is a timeless piece that brides can keep as a modern heirloom to pass on. The robes were almost an accident as we started experimenting with leftover lace. These too have also become a really special piece for the bride to keep, and wear beyond her wedding day.
What separates one veil from another veil?
The quality of the materials. Veils can be found in so many different types of tulle, from bridal illusion (polyester), English net, to silk the tulle. The fabric really makes all the difference on how the veil is going to trail behind and drape the body. The number one response we get from our brides when they try one of our veils on is how soft the tulle is to touch, it’s almost weightless. They instantly feel more comfortable wearing it because it’s so ethereal and pulls away as they walk to show all the beautiful details on the gown.
So if fabrication / finishes are what makes a veil, where do you source yours?
I source all my materials in Europe and the Middle East. I travel bi-annually to source fabrics because I have to touch and feel every piece to ensure the quality before it makes its way into the collection. I am incredibly inspired by traveling, meeting my suppliers and seeing the fabrics themselves. It is such a big part of my process, as each locale has something special about them and the materials they are known for.
Why do you think the veil is having a moment again?
I am not sure if they went out of fashion, but they certainly got a bad rep thanks to the high volume polyester tulle styles of the 80’s. I think brides saw their mum’s wedding photos and thought: “No way, not for me.” This coupled with outdated salons putting any crunchy tulle veil on to complete the look has also made brides a bit fearful. I think we are seeing a trend in timeless, classic style. The veil really fits in to this as it is a very traditional piece, but lends itself to that timeless bridal look.
Do you see yourself modernising the existing connotations the bridal industry has?
Absolutely. Our mission has always been that you can incorporate tradition without compromising personal style. We also strongly believe that the veil is a very important part of the bridal look, and should be given thought when styling. It should reflect the brides style, highlight and enhance her gown, and be a meaningful accessory and not an afterthought.
What advice would you give to brides when they start to look for their wedding look?
First of all, it’s okay to ask questions- lots and lots of questions because you have never done this before! We suggest brides do their research, and come in with a good idea of the overall look they are going for, and also what styles work and don’t work for them. Also, there is such a thing as too much shopping. We would suggest narrowing your salon visits down to the designers you want to see and the styles that work on your body. We are also all about options! Veils, overskirts, headpieces- there are so many ways to work a couple different looks into your day. We absolutely love working with an A La Robe silk dress for example because the bride can have a more traditional look for the ceremony with an overskirt and veil, and then put on some red lipstick for the reception and have an amazing cocktail look. The gown is important, but don’t be afraid to accessorize and give yourself styling options for different points of the day!
How should a bride decide if they want to wear a veil or not?
Well, we would say its the only time in your life you’re going to wear a veil so you might as well go for it- it makes you a bride! With that being said, you don’t have to go for an over the top lace embellished veil. Our Classic Silk Tulle veil is an amazing piece that effortlessly completes the look- it is so ethereal, feminine and not overdone ( and it looks dreamy in photos.)
What’s important to think about when choosing a veil?
A bride needs to consider her own personal style, as well as the entire bridal look she’s creating. The goal is always to enhance and complete the look, never to distract or take away from it. I think one thing that sets our brand apart is that what you see is not necessarily what you get. Each piece is made to measure/order and everything is customizable so for example if you love lace but you have an embellished bodice, we can do it around the bottom edge only, asymmetrically place the lace etc. for you.
Do brides buy veils online having not tried them?
They sure do! It’s almost always with a consultation from us, but yes we have lots of online brides. They will typically reach out to us with photos of their gown to get our style advice and often we send them swatches of lace and tulle. In some cases they will send us a swatch of their gown so we can color match it exactly. We are really lucky to get to work with brides from around the world regardless if we are stocked there. That’s thanks to modern technology!
How do you balance creativity with commerce with your bridal line?
I am really grateful that about 50% of the business is custom work so I get a lot of creative freedom to create one of a kind pieces. For example, I am just finishing a piece right now that incorporates dried flowers on the veil. It is so incredible to do this kind of work.
Can you explain how the custom process works?
The custom process is very, very involved. We spend weeks, and often months working one on one with our brides on every detail of their design. Often, we don’t get to meet them in person so this translates into many FaceTime/Skype calls at all hours of the day/night due to varying international time zones. We just recently had a FaceTime call with a bride after she received her veil to walk her through the best way to wear it in her hair. We truly believe this attention to detail and service is imperative, not only when working from a distance or at this price point, but also when the bride is investing so much time to make it so special. It truly is a bespoke, highly tailored one on one experience. We also try to coordinate our travel schedule to meet our bespoke brides if possible, for either a final fitting in NYC, or delivery of their piece- we love it when it works out.
Which pieces have been most popular so far?
Anything with floral detailing for sure. Rosalia and Fiorella we cannot keep in stock. They are so unique! Brides love the feminine detailing and being able to include that in their look without committing to a floral/feminine gown. I love challenging traditional opinions and assumptions of what the veil ‘should’ be.
Who are your favourite brands for bridal?
Naeem Khan, Paolo Sebastian, Toni Maticevski, and Zimmerman (for making all our rehearsal dinner dreams come true!)
Who is your all time favourite bridal style icon?
Princess Diana. She has had a huge influence on my designs and I draw a lot of inspiration from her still to this day.
Do you have a favourite bridal moment from a movie?
Carrie Bradshaw was pretty incredible, it was such a high fashion moment for bridal and I think that really kick started the modern bride movement.
What can we expect next from Daphne Newman?
We have plans to expand the product line so offering a more diverse selection of accessories on both the actual bridal look, as well as pre/post wedding. Think birdcages; pearl hair pieces; silk slips etc. We want to appeal to a larger market while still offering the same attention to detail and quality we have become known for.