French-born, Ireland-based designer, Delphine Grandjouan, is the founder of the award-winning bridal couture destination, House of Delphine whose elegant and sophisticated designs celebrate modern femininity.
Were you always interested in pursuing a career in design?
No, I wanted to be a dancer. I also loved drawing, so painting on silk was what made the link between art and movement. Designing, and especially working in moulage, is like sculpting with a fluid medium where the fabric is draped on the mannequin. Even though it is a much slower process, designing and making clothes is part of working with movement and the best clothes are the ones that combine fit with ease and flow – this is where a made to measure garment comes into its own! And especially in a wedding dress, where brides look for a perfectly sculpted fit that will allow them to dance the night away.
What’s your favourite dress and accessory from your latest collection?
This is a difficult question as I like them all! Although, I would say that I have 3 that I love even more, and directly illustrate the “Heart of Gold” theme of the collection. The first is called Galatea, which is a bias-cut, ivory silk crepe sheath with a fishtail back. The top is draped asymmetrically and it has a few leaves of gold lace discreetly scattered on it. For me, it’s the image of sober perfection. The second is a flaming gold full lace panelled dress and the third a romantic silk tulle tutu with a top of interwoven laces in shades of silver, gold and ivory. This dress, (called Silvana) with its wood-nymph spirit, is my direct interpretation of the main inspiration for the collection, the WB Yeats poem: The Song of Wandering Aengus, as the interwoven lace patterns echo each other like the lines of the poem.
What advice would you give women on how to choose a dress for their big day?
Trust yourself and your own instinct and intuition when it comes to choosing your dress. Lectures about shapes and trends or even well meaning advice is all very good, but what makes you feel happy and comfortable is usually what is right… for you!
How important is fabric choice?
Fabric is paramount – quality doesn’t lie!
How important is colour when it comes to accessorising?
I tend to like rather muted and sober accessories and entourage… you can never go wrong with a pretty blush shade, either in shoes, bouquets or bridesmaid dresses. Ivory is also a great option. Some of my brides have tried stronger shades and made it work. For example, one of them this year wore blue suede shoes and a brightly coloured bouquet and it was gorgeous!
Are there any current trends emerging from the wedding industry at present?
There seems to be a bit of everything at the moment, from classic to alternative, long to short… I would have thought lace dresses and boho styles would have run their course by now but they are still going strong. Lace sleeves seem to be in, which I love and seem to be asked to do more and more!
Who is your favourite bridal designer?
J. Mendel, a beautiful couture brand based in New York and Paris. I find their designs impeccable from the point of view of style and construction and their taste faultless in its sobriety. Their shapes are sculptural and feminine and their detailing is exquisitely luxurious, but never too much!
What was your favourite collection from bridal fashion week?
Elie Saab’s latest collection was breathtaking in its artistry and extraordinarily fresh… fairies must be sewing those gowns! Here is a man who can pile on lace and still make it look understated and completely to the point… a master of Couture if ever there was one!
How do you feel about Irish design right now?
Being a founding member of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers, CIFD I have been lucky to rub shoulders with many Irish designers. I find people like Heidi Higgins, Niamh O’Neil and Caroline Kilkenny really fit the demands of their market very well, with their witty and feminine designs. I also love Louise Kennedy’s sober classic style and rich detailing and adore Richard Lewis’s work with silk jersey. And even though he retired earlier this year, his rich, bold colourings and faultless sober designs, are still very present in our minds and a lesson to us all.
For more, see House of Delphine.