Vanessa Cocchiaro, the Australian-born, Paris based fashion stylist behind Les Héroïnes, decided to launch her own bridesmaid line after being forced to wear a dress that just wasn’t her one too many times!
Made up of easy to wear separates and dresses that have a fashion edge but come in elegant shades, Vanessa wanted to create pieces bridesmaids will want to wear long after their best friend says “I do”. Brides should take note too, Vanessa’s collection also comes in Ivory for any pre or post wedding looks you may be putting together.
What inspired you to launch Les Héroïnes?
The nightmare scenario for a stylist is having no choice and being a carbon copy. When you are a bridesmaid, you are confronted with this very dilemma. It was a series of events that led me to the idea of starting a bridesmaid brand but the final push was when a good friend asked me to be her bridesmaid and I suggested that I wear a suit. She quickly shut that idea down and after that the ideas for Les Héroïnes started flowing and wouldn’t stop. I decided there and then I wanted to redefine the ideas around the bridal party and what bridesmaids can wear.
What is your brand’s ethos?
My aim, and it isn’t a small one, is to change women’s mentalities of how they believe bridesmaids should dress. I have never been one that likes to follow rules and I never understood why bridesmaids had to wear the same dress. Also, why do bridesmaids have to wear a dress? Not everyone likes to wear dresses, so why force them to do so? Statistics show that women are getting married later. Bridesmaids are now women in their late 20’s and 30’s who understand their body shapes and what suits them. I believe one of the key things to having a wonderful wedding and beautiful photos is for everyone in the bridal party to feel comfortable and that includes the bridesmaids.
How would you describe your debut bridesmaid collection?
Effortless elegance and versatility. My mantra is to create bridesmaid dressing that is chic, subtle and modern – giving bridesmaids pieces that they will want to wear again. I want to enhance the bride by bringing out the best in her friends through celebrating differences, personalities and body shapes.
“I want the brand to have a fashion edge because the whole idea of Les Héroïnes is for bridesmaids to wear their outfit again.”
You’re an Australian living in Paris. Has this informed your brand?
The Parisian style is very simple and elegant and I think you can see this throughout the collection. As a stylist, I started out 11 years ago in London, and have since lived and worked in Sydney, Milan and Paris, which is where I am currently based. The styles of these big cities and working for labels and magazines has of course been influential but the biggest influence has been all the close friendships I’ve made in these cities. How my friends with different backgrounds, cultures, languages, like to dress. Finding out what works for them and why. My aim for Les Héroïnes is to celebrate female friendship and women as they are, with their different personalities and body shapes.
What’s the inspiration behind your brand’s name?
The name Les Héroïnes is French for ‘The Heroines’. When creating the brand I wanted to do something that celebrates women and their friendships. Each piece is named after an influential woman, who has changed history. Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, Simone De Beauvoir and Maya Angelou to name a few. Quite often when people think of heroines they automatically think of a fictional character, I want to celebrate real women, heroines past and present.
Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
I have a soft spot for the suit, and the jacket is named after my mother (The Antonietta). The Betty jumpsuit (named after Betty Friedan) and the Josephine dress (named after Josephine Baker) are my two other favorites.
Which pieces have been most popular so far?
The Betty jumpsuit has definitely been a standout, as well as the wrap skirts and the Murasaki wrap bell sleeve blouse. I have also had great feedback with the Ivory colour from soon to be brides. I think that is great! A good friend of mine will wear the Betty jumpsuit to her reception after the ceremony. It makes be so incredibly happy that she will be wearing Les Héroïnes on her wedding day.
Who do you see as the Les Héroïnes woman?
A Lés Heroïnes woman is someone that appreciates fashion and is not afraid to try something new. All of the designs at Les Héroïnes are in line with our ethos, not only are they wearable and re-wearable, they are a mixture of contemporary, classic, timeless and enduring, a reflection of the friendships a bride has with her bridal party.
What can we expect from the next collection?
It’s inspired by fashionable women in the 60’s and 70’s – Bianca Jagger, Lauren Hutton and Diana Ross to name a few. I want the brand to have a fashion edge because the whole idea of Les Héroïnes is for bridesmaids to wear their outfit again. We started with a very simple colour pallete for our first collection and as the brand grows so will the choice of colours. We will try to offer every piece in every colour and fabric, so one bridesmaid can wear a dress, another a top and skirt and someone else a jumpsuit giving options for everyone and their body shapes but always staying in the same theme.
What ready to wear designers do you like for bridal?
Simone Rocha, Proenza Schouler, Magda Butrym, Emilia Wickstead
Who are your favourite bridal designers?
I’m in love with Danielle Frankel, she is definitely my favourite at the moment.
What advice would you give to brides looking for outfits for their bridesmaids?
Remember that they are your friends.
What’s the best part of being a bridesmaid?
Celebrating with your loved ones.
Who is your all time favourite bridal style icon?
Do you have a favourite bridesmaid moment from a movie?
Yes! In Sixteen Candles when Molly Ringwald walks out of the church in her horrible pink chiffon dress looking like a cake and she sees Jake standing there waiting for her to the soundtrack “If You Were Here”.