Danielle Frankel (ex Marchesa and Vera Wang) launched her eponymous bridal brand to much applaud at New York Bridal Week. Her debut AW18 collection is made up of refreshingly chic separates that will appeal to brides who up until now, could never quite picture themselves as “the” bride! Ahead of the designer’s first ever London Trunk Show at The Wedding Gallery, we talk to the designer about her desire to create a bridal brand with a sophisticated, but laid-back sensibility that speaks to the woman she is and knows.
You studied fashion at Parsons School of Design, how did you end up working in bridal?
I ended up wanting to work in bridal as I found the business of bridal to be quite interesting. It is the one time in a woman’s life where she may wear something she has invested in emotionally. She may look for a look that came out seasons ago, yet is still relevant. When I studied at Parsons, I considered myself experimental more than functional. I didn’t have to sell anything to anyone so there was a lot of freedom to design whatever.
Do you design as if designing a bridal collection, or a mainline ready-to-wear collection?
I approached this as if designing a bridal collection, with characteristics of a ready-to-wear collection. It’s important that the collection still celebrates the bride and the importance of the event, but with a less serious tone. Weddings are fun and energetic, so too should the look of the bride be happy.
Were you surprised by what press and buyers loved most from your debut bridal collection?
I was shocked as to which looks in my current collection ended up being the more commercial pieces. Going back to discovering the business of bridal is always what hones me in. I think of the volume, the price-tag and always ask myself, would I purchase this to admire it, or would I purchase to wear it? Admiration for a look versus wanting to wear it yourself is two different conversations and finding the balance is where the gold is.
“Admiration for a look versus wanting to wear it yourself is two different conversations and finding the balance is where the gold is.”
Who is your all-time favorite bridal style icon?
Carolyn Bessette was iconic in Narciso Rodriguez. That wedding photo of the couple will always be a reference point of mine.
Your Instagram is full of beautiful cultural references. How does art inform your design process?
I look at everything from objects to interiors to inspire the mood. It’s funny, a lot of people ask what my inspiration is, however I don’t have one point that I am referencing. I look at an image of a room that I love and think, who is the woman who will be sitting in this room? What does she look like? I find that helps me create a story – asking a question from an existing image and going from there.
How do you balance creativity with wear-ability when designing?
This is a balance that is hard to find. Sometimes, I want to create things that I know won’t sell. That can be fine, and they can work editorially in a magazine. Every collection needs a couple off the rocker looks to help with the overall appeal towards the collection. However, you also need real-woman looks as well if you want to see the brand actually sold in stores.
What can we expect next? Do you plan on launching evening wear?
I am focusing on bridal right now as I think there is still more to discover within what we want to do as a brand for bridal. However, I would love to consider the other elements of the wedding in a lifestyle brand sometime in the future. I think, what is the bridal party wearing? The décor? Venue? What is the bride’s fragrance?
How would you describe your aesthetic/ personal style?
I am straight to the point with my way of dressing- jeans and a t-shirt with sneakers or flats. I think as a designer, I look at things from the outside in my comfortable world. It allows me to imagine what I would like to see on other people.