“Ten years ago I opened my first store, with ten dresses and some serious nerves. Even though I had previous experience with starting new brands, nothing could have prepared me for the moment I put out into the world a collection that was entirely my voice. Best decision I made and I would do it all over again.” Michele Corty, Founder and Creative Director of Rue De Seine
RUE DE SEINE is a label drenched in cool bohemian spirit; a bridal powerhouse laced with creativity and trailing shards of magic in its wake. It’s a cult bridal fashion brand known for breaking multiple brides’ hearts across the globe with its coveted offering of beautifully crafted, truly mind-blowing designer wedding dresses. And, trust me, a Rue De Seine wedding dress isn’t your average wedding dress. It’s the stuff of dreams.
Rue De Seine was born when founder and designer, Michele Corty (who was living in Paris at the time) became enchanted with, what the label describes as, “the effortless bohemian style of Saint-Germain-des-Près, and its free spirited residents.” Moving back to New Zealand – but not before exchanging vows with the love of her life on Rue de Seine in Paris – she started Rue De Seine, lovingly dreaming up and creating the gowns that we know and love (dearly) today. In the very beginning there were just six people working in a shared studio space and one boutique in Newmarket, now this bridal powerhouse is stocked in over 80 retailers worldwide, with a dedicated team of 90 creatives bringing bridal dreams to life. I managed to catch up with Michele herself, to talk about her business journey for Rue and her version of Taking The Plunge, including the highs, the lows, the first jobs, the worst jobs and the tech she can’t live without…
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?
“Rue De Seine designs, creates and hand-makes wedding gowns for brides wanting a gown to fit their individual personalities. We believe that the best adventures in life come from taking the roads less travelled, so for our brides we bring unique gowns with a point of difference and quality to reflect how special each bride’s individual story is.”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“I have done it all! My first fashion job was out of university for a trend forecasting company in Paris. I did all the fashion illustrations and put together style sheets for French brands. I then went on to design and create ready-to-wear collections for multiple brands over seven years, travelled the globe sourcing and selling, and ended up in my favourite job…RUE.”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“Lol! It has been a while since I had to relive that day and it is never easy!! I loved designing in France but felt it was time to start another adventure. My husband and I decided to move to his country of New Zealand, where we have been ever since and are proud to be called the home of RUE. The nature, people, and lifestyle is unworldly and play a huge part in everything Rue De Seine.”
#4 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“Ten years ago I opened my first store, with ten dresses and some serious nerves. Even though I had previous experience with starting new brands, nothing could have prepared me for the moment I put out into the world a collection that was entirely my voice. Best decision I made and I would do it all over again.”
#5 The highs – what have they been so far?
“My biggest high is when a collection connects with our team, retailers, and of course, brides. Seeing the excitement on their face brings me indescribable happiness. I feel so proud to have a team that loves working on a collection and brides who love wearing our dresses. The highest of the high.”
#6 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“Lows? Sure we have them, but I always try to look forward, reflect and learn for the next challenge that appears.”
#7 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Do not sweat the small stuff.”
No.2 “Trust your gut.”
No.3 “Breaking bridal rules will not break the world, stop stressing and just do it!”
#8 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“I have three very busy kids, a business, and lovely full life. When I sleep, there is no waking up! I suppose if I did on rare occasions, I would listen to the sound of rain or waves. The natural sounds from Mother Nature puts me in the calmest of places.”
#9 Who inspired you? Or inspires you in business?
“My mother was the first person who introduced me to fashion. I remember she used to pick me up from school in heeled boots, ruffled dresses, and giant 70’s glasses. My friends at primary school thought she was a movie star. Those moments inspired me to experiment with my own personal style and then to create. I can’t imagine doing anything else as a business.”
#10 Your first ever job was…
“My first ever job was working in a wig store when I was a young. I learned so much about people and cherished the human connection. Working with cancer patients or helping people through their insecurities taught me so much from a young age. Forever grateful for this experience.”
#11 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
“Our favourite social media tool is definitely Instagram. We love being able to showcase close-up details on Reels, be more playful on stories, and mood board a collection on our brand’s feed. We are a very visual team and rely on campaign imagery and video to connect with the world.”
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS | RUE DE SEINE
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:
“The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway is one of my favourite books. My husband gave it to me when we were dating and the deeper meanings behind the simple story have stuck with me ever since.”
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?
“Skinny flat white double shot.”
#3 Instagram feed crush:
“My IG crush? I am obsessed with Kelly Wearstler’s feed @kellywearstler. I love her mix of architecture, art, and style.”
#4 Your worst job was…
“Loved all my jobs, but would have to say my golf course attendant days were short lived!”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?
“Be dead. I love fashion too much to do anything else!”
#6 Work day pick-me-up:
Discover more from from this cool powerhouse of a bridal label – not to mention the brand’s glorious Instagram feed @ruedeseinebridal
CREDITS | RUE DE SEINE – MOUNTAIN SONG
Hair & Make-up: @makeupbykellymcclain