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WeddingsFairy Tale Reinvented: Wedding Dress Designer Danielle Frankel

Fairy Tale Reinvented: Wedding Dress Designer Danielle Frankel

Fairy Tale Reinvented: Wedding Dress Designer Danielle Frankel
Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel
By Rosana Lai
February 21, 2019
Danielle Frankel is revolutionising weddings with her casual-couture gowns for the modern bride

We first discovered Danielle Frankel’s creations when surfing the internet. An image of a model wearing a stunning cream empire waist gown paired with a single pearl drop earring standing in a deserted swimming pool strewn with flowers made us do a double-take. It was so dramatic yet pieced together so casually, like a vintage wedding gown reinvented with a millennial take.

Was it by Johanna Ortiz, the Colombian designer known for her romantic silhouettes? Or was Vera Wang dabbling in some casual-couture designs? No—this was by Danielle Frankel, a designer we didn’t know at the time but instantly wanted to meet. And so we did just that.

Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel
Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

Standing in her studio, a tiny, cosy room in Midtown, New York that’s crammed with satin jackets, lace trains and pearl-buttoned gowns in every shade of ivory, Frankel, originally from LA, beams in her loose sweater and jeans. She’s wide-eyed and unassuming, with a self-effacing sense of humour and bags of energy.

The new mother—she gave birth just a few months ago—is about to jet off to London for 48 hours for a private fitting but she’s sprightly and upbeat. Like her designs, she has no use for pretence. She’s a modern girl of the 21st century and, as a result, she knows just what the modern bride needs.

See also: Edgy Wedding Dress Designers For The Unconventional Bride

Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel
Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

On working at Marchesa and Vera Wang before starting her own label…

Marchesa was great as a first job to learn about the industry and design. But at Vera Wang I was a designer and was able to have a hand in the progress of the collection and got the chance to understand what the bride wanted. I learned the importance of having a point of view at Vera Wang. When I had a vision and a different voice I wanted to share, I started doing made-to-order gowns for clients before doing a first collection based on their feedback.

On her inspirations…

We’re always inspired by sculpture, art and even streetwear. Current fashion has a huge influence on my designs. I like some pieces to be more of the moment, like with the big sleeves, but I also want to make pieces that in 10 years you’re still happy you wore.

Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel
Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

On buying one dress or three…

If you have a serious ceremony and then a party, you’ll want to dance and be comfortable so [you’ll] definitely [need to]change. Whether it’s one dress or three, do whatever makes you happy. When I make dresses, I think of which ones would be good for the dancefloor and what price points I’d be willing to pay, then scale back or add on.

That’s definitely a missing element in the market, that designer-level after-party or rehearsal dress. I’m also a firm believer in being able to wear your wedding dresses even after your wedding day.

See also: 10 Wedding Dresses To Take You From the Ceremony To The Dance Floor

Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel
Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Frankel

On choosing the right gown…

Try on as many gowns as you can. Girls tear out wedding pages in magazines all the time but then they try a dress on and it’s nothing like they had imagined. You learn as you try on what you like and what you don’t and you take the pieces of all of them to find the dress that has those elements.

On custom-made dresses…

If you’re not a designer, I’d say don’t draw up something and get it made by a dressmaker because if you don’t know how to direct him or her, you may not be able to visualise what the end product will look like. Try to go to a designer you love and have them make it.

Photo: Cait Kelly
Photo: Cait Kelly

On her own dress and wedding…

I had a wedding in Los Angeles. It was huge because I come from a big Jewish family. I wore a shirtdress styled with a jacket that became the starting point for the long coats I make. I bought it at a flea market—it was vintage from the '90s. I totally believe in showing your fiancé what you’re going to wear, so I showed my husband the dress and said to him: “I don’t care if you like it or not; it is what it is.” And he was happy as long as I was happy. 

On bridal going casual…

When it comes to the modern bride, there are no rules. Anything goes and it’s all about what you feel best in and what you’re going to feel comfortable in that day. That’s the beauty of this line—no one is telling you how you should look.

See also: Bohemian Rhapsody: Inside Laura Cheung And James Wolf's Wedding


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