With so many mainstays and emerging bridal designers, it can be difficult to choose a route for your wedding dress. Are you the type of bride who prizes a well-known label? If so, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Monique Lhuillier, and Naeem Khan are surely on your radar. If you’re one for budding brands, Danielle Frankel, Alex Perry, and Sophie et Voilà might piqué your interest. Then, there are brides who seek that je ne sais quoi—the ones who appreciate Parisian influences with their everyday wardrobe and strive for the impeccably unfussy-chic aesthetic French women inexplicably emanate. If this sounds like you, then a French bridal designer is certainly the way to go.
Choosing a French bridal designer can mean many things. It all depends on the aesthetic you’re going for. If you have your sights set on a dress that feels understated but refined, a simple crepe de chine sheath, short cap-sleeve dress, or relaxed two-piece set would suit you nicely, and perfectly achieve that French nonchalance. If you’re thinking a little more character is right for you, a gown with a tiered tulle skirt with a touch of shimmer is enchanting and will have your guests and fiancé saying oh-la-la! Or, how about a dress with a structured bodice touched with appliqué to cinch a flowing pleated skirt? Fanciful, yet sleek. And for a sexier dressed-up moment, lace is always the answer.
Ahead, we highlight seven French bridal designers to suit a range of tastes from minimal to edgy. To wit, we spoke with each one for a first-hand take on their personal creative philosophies and design inspirations and included dresses from their most recent collections to give you a visual taste of what each one has to offer.
Rime Arodaky is a Parisian wedding dress designer who started her eponymous brand in 2010, and her style can be defined as confident, elegant, and sensual. Demure necklines are met with sexy reveals of skin, by way of unique cutouts and sheer panels. Traditional lace appears edgy when juxtaposed with flowing silk, or as a barely-there overlay. High-low hems, dramatic slits, and voluminous sleeve details are likewise signature elements.
“Brides are women first. And our women are happy, sexy, effortless, stylish, and independent. We want them to be female and stay true to who they are but always with a glam twist," Arodaky tells Brides.
The Rime Arodaky Bride:
Made for the rock ‘n’ roll romantic, the Rime Arodaky bride is somewhat of a renegade. The Parisian label is for the type of bride you imagine with disheveled hair and a fierce attitude. "We try to reveal the inner muse within every woman. They don’t need anyone's approval and they don’t have to play dress-up on the big day. They just want to be true to the babe inside them and feel beautiful for themselves and for their man," says the designer.
In 2011, Laure de Sagazan launched her bridal label at the early age of 25 years old. Since then, the Parisian designer has become internationally recognized, creating bridal looks for women who have an affinity for French style. The gowns within her collections exude a sense of elegance and romanticism—and are always on trend with the current times.
“My designs have always been and continue to be vintage-inspired with a modern feel. I love to create timeless pieces, with elegant materials like Calais lace, delicate silk embroideries, and refined yet surprising details," says the designer.
The Laure de Sagazan Bride:
According to the designer, the Laure de Sagazan bride is feminine and sophisticated. She appreciates classic shapes and prim details which is everything offered by each gown in the brand. "Laure de Sagazan brides want to feel like themselves on their wedding day and not like they are wearing a disguise, they are authentically themselves," de Sagazon tells Brides. The range of ensembles in her collections includes short dresses, both sweet and simple, floor-length gowns in lace and silk, separates, and jumpsuits.
A former fashion editor, Dontatelle Godart launched her bridal line after designing a wedding dress for her own nuptials. According to the designer, her collections are inspired by everyday life: "The life of a true Parisian flanking Paris and finding inspiration everywhere. Walking around, in exhibitions, music, books, and observing all these beautiful girls so elegant that run everywhere through the city," she reveals.
The Donatelle Godart Bride:
“Our brides are fresh, free, and beautiful while maintaining an identity that is dear to them," says Godart. "My only goal is to sublimate the woman so that she feels unique on the day of her marriage."
Though restrained, each Donatelle Godart dress comes with an abiding sense of romance and femininity that feels fresh and undeniably French. Graceful details like embroidery and lace quietly accentuate a range of silhouettes, from a dreamy three-quarter sleeve dress with a slim tiered skirt to a pristine straight silk crêpe dress with a nipped waist and short sleeves. The most notable and unexpected look? A handmade mohair wool sweater and silk crêpe maxi skirt, for the alternative bride with a laissez-faire sensibility. "My dresses are borrowed from this romantic city. My brides are sure of themselves, they know what they like," Godart says.
“I'm obsessed with giving my brides a real character. I love to shake up conventions with a refined elegance. I want modern and glamorous brides. I love to enhance them and highlight their curves," says Tardits. "I choose structure rather than flowing lines because I don't want to hide the body. My figures are defined and waists marked to reveal the femininity of my brides. I want to increase their sex appeal and their charm. I think about free, modern women with a confident sense of femininity."
The Margaux Tardits Bride:
"The bride I design for is brilliant, radiant, and witty. My brides embody today's glamour—that blend of charm and sophistication with a natural air. That very French little 'Je ne sais quoi'," reveals the designer.
Every Margaux Tardits wedding dress comes with a surprise, no detail is left to chance. Clean lines are met with unexpected design elements, and there's somewhat of a trompe-l'œil effect to each piece. Immaculate crêpe appears as if it’s floating over sheer printed lace; a long-sleeve crêpe silk-chiffon gown is just sheer enough to reveal a delicate lace bustier at the waist; a body-skimming heavy crêpe gown is pieced together with guipure long-sleeves and a V-shaped panel for a modern spin on lace. If intriguing design and structure are your taste, this French line is for you.
"Our dresses are exclusively made with noble materials such as silk crepe, chiffon, and Calais lace. Our seamstresses expert hands provide a real savoir-faire—an Haute Couture tailoring with high quality," the designer tells Brides.
Elise Hameau is known for neatly cut silk contrasted dresses with plunging necklines, risqué cut-outs, and eye-catching embroidery on sheer fabrics. Her collections epitomize that bridal fashion can be fun and carefree.
The Elise Hameau Bride:
“Our bride is a free-minded girl, she’s in control of her desires and is decisive in her choices. She dreams of a flowing dress, beautiful sink-worked backs, and getting married barefoot in the sand does not scare her," reveals Hameau.
For the bohemian craving French design, look no further than Elise Hameau. Cut for a sexy, happy-go-lucky bride, this assortment of dresses suits a taste that is playfully elegant. The Elise Hameau bride has a spontaneous spirit, meaning she doesn’t over plan or take her wedding too seriously. She wants a pretty dress that feels special, but she’s not afraid to wear it in nature or to a dive bar for a nightcap after her reception.
Violette Tannenbaum is a French self-taught designer who began designing bridalwear in 2013. Tannenbaum decided to create her eponymous brand after designing a wedding dress for a friend.
The Violette Tannenbaum Bride:
Tannenbaum gathers inspiration from everywhere but mostly from ready to wear fashion. "I have a thing with poetic things and vintage clothes too and it inspires me to designs my dresses. I always took a look to my mother, grandmother and auntie’s pictures when they were young because they were so stylish," Tannenbaum tells Brides. Her designs are popular among brides who are looking for something ultra-unique and cool. "Take some pink, a modern style, one or two hip-hop songs, a cool state of mind, some poetry, a piece of Solange Knowles' creativity, and vintage stuff–this is Violette Tannenbaum aesthetic."
After working with Céline and Christian Dior, 26-year-old Yasmin Hassaïne got her start in bridal when she spontaneously offered to design a friend's wedding gown. The following year, she launched her eponymous line of Haute Couture-inspired bridalwear, merging elevated design, and her ethical philosophy with classic gowns made without the use of synthetic fibers.
The Yasmin Hassaïne Bride:
The brand's website classifies the Yasmin Hassaïne bride as "audacious, sensual, and always elegant." These principles stem from Hassaïne high fashion background. "I have always been much inspired by the world of Haute Couture, so my designs are made for women who look for refined models with unique details," she shares—which extends into the experience that brides receive at her atelier. "I love to personally accompany my brides with attention from the first appointment to the last fitting, in order to create a beautiful piece that will sublimate them."