Monvieve | The INTERVIEW

If you read my previous post about Monvieve’s incredible veil and bridal accessory offerings (no? Panic not: click here) you’ll know that this haute couture bridal accessory label will take your breath away with its incredible array of luxury veils. 

Happily, I’ve recently managed to grab a few minutes with the driving force behind the brand: Creative Director, Alison Miller, to discover the inspiration, skill and processes that are at work behind such a fabulous label. Alison’s passion, dedication to her brides and skill will truly enchant you…

#1 What became the inspiration for your collection?     

“I spent many years in the couture/ designer RTW world and entered bridal upon request of clients. Simply stated, the inspiration has always been my client. 

She has an acute sense of fashion and fully understands and appreciates quality. It was such a natural extension to expand into bridal, and a pleasure to create gowns for these women. Unfortunately, they had no real options when it came to veils as the market was fairly limited. In support, I developed the accessory collections with an emphasis on bespoke technique grounded in the idea of heirloom. To this day, all our veils are named after women – many of whom were the original inspiration. 

I would say now, it is my focus that is inspired. That of delivering real couture qualities and manufacturing to fashionable brides around the world. Currently we are doing a trunk show with Moda Operandi – again we were born out of the fashion world and they clearly understand that.”

#2 How many hours can it take to make an haute couture veil?

“The process can be painstakingly long, as the lace is hand cut, pieced and basted to our proprietary tulle before being permanently secured with a very fine stitch. Nothing is appliquéd on top of the tulle, but rather joined at the seams, resulting one piece of fabrication. It allows for a more diaphanous product – every detail calibrated to enrich the piece within one continuous plane. The result is extraordinary… silken in feeling and gossamer-thin in appearance. This does require a completely different approach, one premised with time and dedication. Depending on the veil, the artisans that do this heritage/couture work can take up to a month to produce one piece. Veils that utilize our intarsia technique (where two or more laces are combined with the intricate design working its way throughout the majority of the veil) can take upwards of six weeks once we receive our custom laces from France.”

#3 How long does it usually take for a bride to pick out a veil?

“This of course, truly depends on the client. I always allow for at least an hour as our collection is varied and the possibilities are endless. Overall, I would say at the end of an hour most brides have a good sense of what they prefer.”

#4 Do you ever collaborate with the wedding dress designers?

“My background is couture and designer RTW, so I speak the vernacular. I’ve done the total look for many brides and still do this work out of Milan. But I have never worked directly with other designers.”

#5 How many hands touch the veil from the beginning to end of its creation?

“Since the couture traditions extend from both France and Italy, upwards of thirty individuals could be involved in the creation of each veil.”

#6 When a bride visits the Monvieve showroom in New York, what type of experience can she expect?

“A truly personalized experience.  The showroom is intimate and brides have the space to themselves and their guests. I always have a pot of tea on hand – either a jasmine silver needle or a special bergamotto from Florence. The idea is to slow down… a real moment of repose.  They can relax and try on as many veils as they like.  I feel that a veil is the biggest unknown, as it is truly a new experience for most women. I like to make sure they have as much time as they need to discover … try on what they think they want, what they never had imagined and everything in between.”

#7 Do you have any preparation advice for a bride when choosing a veil?

“Just be open and prepared to welcome the possibilities. Practically speaking, if you have your shoes (or a similar height) bring them along.  Always helpful to envision precisely how the veil will fall. 

If you are coming here before you have your gown (we do get many brides that drive their look based on their veil) then the possibilities are endless.  Your only defining factor is your locale, but even those sensibilities are considerably more relaxed than years ago as brides today are more independent and personal in their approach.

If you have your gown, then finding a veil that fits your vision while elevating and respecting the direction of your gown is the general approach. As we don’t stock anything and our veils are custom made, colour and length will be adjusted for you. It’s all about real style. Again, be open minded and try on many different pieces. Sometimes real style is found in the unexpected.  ​

In the end, the right veil will transform your gown.”

#8 From a personal standpoint, what do you hope a bride feels when she puts on a Monvieve veil?

“Stated simply, I would argue that a couture bridal veil is one of the most powerful and transformative accessories that we have in fashion. We all know how it feels to put on designer stilettos, or carry that chic designer ‘it bag’ you have been coveting. You are empowered. You stand up a straighter and you feel stronger with every step. Yet, I’ve never seen anything like the magical moment when a woman first puts on a Monvieve.  

When a bride comes to see me, and has first chosen her gown, she’ll say “This is the dress. I knew this was the dress when I saw it.” It’s always about the search forthe dress. Of course, we’ve all worn a dress before – and often a white or ivory one. When she then tries on a veil- she doesn’t say, “oh, this is the veil.” She often doesn’t say anything. She simply looks for some time at the reflection staring back at her in the mirror. This is often followed by ​sheer emotion driving the simple realization of one thing. When she does finally say something, it is always along the same lines….“I am getting married. I am bride.” It is as if in that instant, everything has stopped. She takes inventory and has the powerful realization of what matters most. The frenetic process of putting together a wedding that has been endlessly swirling around her simply dissipates.  And for one very real moment, she understands she is to be married and sees the most beautiful vision staring back at her. A reflection that tells her by allowing her to feel it.  That is the power of a veil – the ability to make you feel differently in every sense. An accessory born a millennium ago in ancient Rome, that is the most widely recognized symbol of marriage we have today, can directly and deeply touch, move and inspire you. It’s a real continuum of the human experience – universally iconic… yet so profoundly personal.  

This is one of the most rewarding moments for me as a designer and what I hope all women feel when they try on a Monvieve. To be a part of that moment, and more importantly, to be a part of one of the most important days of her life is what drives what I do.”

#9 Do you have any great stories of brides buying veils? Anything unusual? Any stories where you went above and beyond?

“I had a bride based in France who was married in Italy and then had another ceremony in Hong Kong. I did both gowns, her veil and other accessories and met her in Milan for the fittings at my atelier. I ended up delivering her gowns to her in Rome and handing them off as I was headed out to NY that day for another appointment. We were like ships passing in the wind, but a hand delivery ensured one last fitting in her hotel suite. She was absolute perfection. You really need to be passionate and dedicated – and sometimes you need go to the bride to deliver the best service possible!”

#10 If you could create a veil for any celebrity (dead or alive) who would it be?

“I would have loved to create a veil (and gown!) for Ava Gardner when she married Frank Sinatra.  Although her look was perfect for her and the period, I could imagine Ava in a couture gown with clean, sophisticated lines and a stunning, singular veil. A great beauty and unique presence, her smoldering eyes as seen through tulle would be iconic.”

#11 What is the longest amount of time a veil has taken to be made?

“We once had a client that requested a veil with a custom lace pattern development that required us to hand dye laces to match historical, heirloom lace pieces from the bride’s family.  It was also the longest veil we have created to date – beyond a royal length. From start to finish we probably spent close to six months, an unusually long time for us.”

#12 Finally, name a celebrity wedding you loved…

“There is nothing that rivals a royal wedding and all the ceremony that goes with it. So, I enjoyed watching the Duchess of Cambridge along with the rest of the world! I also really loved when Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney married, in that Venice was such a glorious backdrop. I actually preferred many of her high fashion bridal weekend looks to her wedding gown, as it seemed more reflective of her style. I’m all about real style and Amal is truly one of today’s women who can wear couture, understands fashion and projects a relevant and chic point of view.”

Want to discover more about Monvieve? Click here. 

All images are sourced from Monvieve


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