Wedding dress designer Melissa Sweet is best known for her time as Creative Director and designer of her eponymous line at Priscilla of Boston, which sadly closed its doors in December 2011. Since then, Sweet has kept busy starting a non-profit foundation in Costa Rica, creating her very own bespoke line, Sacred, and last but not least, an exciting collaboration with David's Bridal. We had the opportunity to chat with the designer about what inspired her first David's Bridal collection, which came out this past October (her second is due in stores this July!).
Brides: What was your inspiration for the David's Bridal collection?
Melissa Sweet: This collection, like all Melissa Sweet collections, is vintage-inspired. I love layers and the depth of sheerness, so we worked in tulle and organza and lace, and ways to get more details in the dress, but in a subtle way. The longer you look at the dress, the more you see and find. It's very thoughtful, and I think ethereal and romantic.
Brides: How do you incorporate your vintage aesthetic, while still remaining current and modern?
MS: I shouldn't even really call it being vintage-inspired; for me it's vintage informed. It's really about taking cues from a time when clothes were well-made. It wasn't fast fashion. Embroideries were done by hand, and there was more of an artistic quality to the clothing—there was depth. For me, that's what vintage is all about. It's this nod to something that's been lost, and bringing that feeling back into something that does feel so timeless, like a wedding gown. So it's a modern woman who wants to be of the moment, but feel her place in history, of her own life and in our culture.
Brides: How would you define the modern bride today?
MS: I think girls today are truly individuals. They're not following their mother's cues on what they ought to wear; they're not necessarily following tradition. They like to incorporate bits of tradition, and again, feel a part of their own greater history. But they're not stuck in it. They're wearing blue wedding shoes. They're wearing strapless wedding dresses. They're doing things like having their weddings in a barn—they're making it their own. I think it's super exciting, super fun, and continues to pave the way for more women to do it their way.
Brides: How do you want a bride to feel when she wears one of your designs?
MS: Giggly. I don't want her to stop smiling. A wedding is not about a dress. It's important to remember that. As designers, we like to think that's the only important thing about a wedding—what she's wearing—but it's really not. It's about how she feels. Because if she feels giggly, she won't stop smiling, and she's going to radiate that joy on her wedding day. And then, it's going to get reflected back to her by all of her guests, because giggles are infectious. There you go, day made!
Brides: What's your favorite bridal trend this season?
MS: I really like that girls are finally embracing alternative necklines—the one-shoulder dress or a little cap-sleeve. As designers, we've been trying to do that for many seasons, but finally brides are ready to take the leap and try something else and that's really fun.
Brides: Who would you say is the David's Bridal "bride"?
MS: That's interesting, because I think it used to be that to define the David's Bridal bride wasn't about defining an aesthetic, it was about defining an economic category—that's just the reality. But that's changed. Now a girl goes into a David's Bridal store with an aesthetic in mind, not necessarily with a price range. She's going in looking for a White by Vera Wang dress, for a Melissa Sweet dress, for an Oleg Cassini dress, and that is now changing things on the landscape. This is a bride who knows what she wants, who knows what her style is, and is coming in honed in on it; looking for it. It's super exciting for me as a designer, because in the past I could only access a certain segment of brides, because only certain ones could understand the aesthetic and afford it. That's really the bottom line. And now, being able to do this with David's Bridal, I get to have this amazing team and reach so many brides I couldn't have before. It's so fun!
Brides: Are you excited to continue working with David's Bridal?
MS: Absolutely. This is a beautiful marriage—it's a great partnership and it's such a great company. I think people see how the company has evolved and is now carrying top-tier designers—it's been this beautiful progression. It's a wonderful collaboration—it just feels good.
I've been doing this work since I was five, and I'm not being trite, but really this is all I've ever done and I don't think I'm going to stop.
The winner of Brides Live Wedding, Briana, will wear one of four gorgeous gowns from David's Bridal on her wedding day! Check out the beautiful dress from Melissa Sweet and three more stunning options, and be sure to vote for your favorite on Facebook or on Brides.com.