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. For a sexier dressed up moment, lace is the answer.
Ahead, we highlight five 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.
“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. 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.” —Rime Arodaky, Designer & Founder
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.
Made for the rock ‘n’ roll romantic, the Rime Arodaky bride is somewhat of a renegade. Founded in 2011, the Parisian label is for the type of bride you imagine with disheveled hair and a fierce attitude. 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.
Laure de Sagazan
“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. 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.” —Laure de Sagazan, Designer & Founder
Laure de Sagazan started her line in 2011 and designs for the bride who’s unfussy but elegant. As if it’s a regular day, she doesn’t try too hard—almost as if she can’t be bothered by her wedding—and looks as if she threw on a dress after combing her hair with her fingers and dabbing on a bit of rouge. But she is feminine and sophisticated. She appreciates classic shapes and prim details which is everything that each gown in the Laure de Sagazan collection is. While immaculate, there is a fluidity to each silhouette, running over the body just so. No full-skirts or ball gowns here, the shape du jour is a fluid column or wrap. The range includes short dresses both sweet and simple, floor-length gowns in lace, silk, or a combination of the two, as well as separates if a two-piece set, jumpsuit, or suit feels right.
“I like clean lines and slender silhouettes. Our brides are fresh, free, and beautiful while maintaining an identity that is dear to them. My only goal is to sublimate the woman so that she feels unique on the day of her marriage. My collections are related to my 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. My dresses are borrowed from this romantic city. My brides are sure of themselves, they know what they like.” —Donatelle Godart, Designer & Founder
Though restrained, each Donatelle Godart 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. This line sheds light on the splendor of nuanced simplicity.
“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. 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 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'."—Margaux Tardits, Designer and Founder
Every Margaux Tardits wedding dress comes with a surprise, no detail is left to chance. Clean lines are met with unexpected design elements—Somewhat of a trompe-l'œil effect, 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 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. 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." —Elise Hameau, Designer & Founder
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. Her spontaneous spirit means 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. For this, neatly cut silk is contrasted with plunging necklines, risqué cut-outs, and eye-catching embroidery on sheer fabrics—crop tops with coordinating skivvies with floral appliqué are part of the collection, too. This line is proof that bridal fashion can be fun and carefree.