Tag Archive for 'tête-à-tête'

tête-à-tête with paris wedding shoe designer vouelle

melissa regan de vogele, vouelle paris

melissa regan de vogele, vouelle paris

Everything is falling into place with the “Wedding in Paris” photo shoot with Candice Coppola from Jubilee Events and Robert & Kathleen Photographers later this week.  When they first approached me about pulling together some of the hottest wedding vendors in Paris for this project, I knew that I needed to pay a call on luxury wedding shoe designers, Vouelle.  Created by Bay Area native Melissa Regan de Vogele and Michelle Boor in 2008, Vouelle has quickly become one of the top stops on the Parisian bride’s “must have” list.  I met up with Melissa in her cozy, typiquement Parisian showroom-slash-boudoir to speak with her about the Vouelle bridal collection…

parisian events: You were living in Paris when you got engaged, which is pretty much every American girls dream as far as shopping for her wedding outfit goes. But your experience actually led you to create your company, didn’t it?

melissa de vogele: Yes, I was living in Paris but am from the Bay Area and was organizing my wedding there. I had found my dress here in Paris, but was having trouble finding shoes. I ended up buying a pair that was esthetically beautiful, but incredibly uncomfortable. They cost a fortune, but by the end of the night, I couldn’t walk anymore! That experience led me to approach designer Michelle Boor, who was a really good friend of mine, about launching a collection of bridal shoes here. And it grew from there!

pp: Who is the Vouelle bridal client?

dana, vouelle

dana, vouelle

mdv: We tend to see two types of French bride: We see the very classic, seiziéme bride. She will typically go for a traditional escarpin, something very time-honored, very prim and proper. Our other French bride is very fashionable and tapped into the Paris scene. She’s read about us and wants a shoe that none of her group has seen before. Something very different. The brides that contact us from the US really want something that’s European, they want the sophistication and to have something that can’t be found everywhere else.  Our shoes make the American bride feel really special. Here in the showroom, besides local clients, we receive a lot of UK brides, a lot of Swiss… We also get a lot of referrals from local dress designers- we work quite closely with Max Chaoul, for instance, Ana Quasoar, Suzanne Ehrmann, and collaborate off and on with other Parisian-based designers.

pp: What can a bride expect on a visit to Vouelle?

mdv: We receive clients here in our showroom by rendez-vous. We encourage them to come with a swatch or a photo of their dress, and then we take it from there.  We have what we call our “show stoppers “ like the Dana, which is usually what brings a bride in to us, but one of our best sellers is actually a basic escarpin on a medium height heel- it’s a sophisticated, stylish design which gives you comfort. We’re able to do customization as well, so starting with the basic escarpin, we can build from there. We can add dentelle from the brides dress, for instance, we can add on Swarovski crystals or other treatments that directly match her dress.

pp: Tell me a bit about the 2010 Vouelle bridal collection

gina, vouelle

gina, vouelle

mdv: We’ve introduced 6 new designs for 2010. We’re actually focusing our bridal collection a bit- at one point we were up to 16 styles, which was a bit much. Now we’re concentrating more on our bestsellers and the goal is to have about 10 styles that are really what our brides want. This year we’ve introduced new heal heights. In our 2010 collection we’ve used platforms for the first time. We also love these little Satin thongs with handmade organza fans.  We have a lot of brides who are married in St Tropez and they want something that’s a bit more suitable. So, those are some of the trends for what we’re doing in 2010. We’re keeping the classic base, but adding some more styles that are a bit less traditional.

One trend that we’re seeing overall is that brides are breaking away from tradition. In the past there were set rules- “Never show your toes”, etc.  Now today’s bride asks if she HAS to wear a certain shoe, when what she WANTS is much more forward, more modern. Our Gina, for instance, with the transparent plastic panels,  has done really well. It’s an haute couture shoe that is very un-traditional. So, I think that the trend is that there are no more rules. Today’s brides are breaking the mold.

vouelle, paris

anne-lou, paris

pp: How can fashionable brides outside of Europe shop Vouelle?

mdv: Well, we’re about to launch our e-commerce site this year, which is very exciting. It will be completely integrated into our website, which means brides will be able to shop Vouelle from around the world. Until then, she can see our collections on the site, contact our English-speaking staff, and have her shoes mailed anywhere in the world from here.

You’ll have the chance to see more from Vouelle later this week, when I post some of the “behind-the scenes” action from our “Wedding in Paris” photo shoot. Stay tuned…

167 Boulevard Haussemann
75008, Paris
+33 (0)9 54 89 07 21


tête-à-tête with paris wedding dress designer ana quasoar

ana quasoar

ana quasoar

Walking into Ana Quasoar’s showroom in the 2nd arrondissement is like stepping through Alice’s Looking glass.  All at once, you’re transported from the loud, busy streets of Paris into a magical world full of cherubs and fairies, princesses and queens. Her ethereal designs carry you across lands and through time, with Ana playing Scheherazade, Perrault and the White Rabbit all rolled into one.

parisian party: Where do you find your inspiration?

ana quasoar: My inspirations are diverse. When I was a child, I used to love to read fairy tales and legends,  and so I’m full of tales from all over the world- Japan, South America, Greek Mythology - all of these stories give me hints and inspiration. For instance,  I was thinking about a fairytale about a beautiful princess who goes to a ball, and as she dances, flowers, pearls and precious stones fall from her dress. So I designed this dress like a cornucopia… And when a girl walks in it, she is literally floating… I’m a storyteller, each dress that I create has its’ own story. I never tell the story to clients in words, though, but when they put on one of my dresses, the story comes to life.

pp: Who are your clients? Is there a typical Ana Quasoar client?

aq: I have clients from 21 – 60 years old! Some are choosing dresses for their 2nd wedding, or are mothers of the bride… My clients are very, very different from each other. I have clients that are feminine and sexy, others who are sporty and natural. Far from each other, but they all want the same thing- a high-quality gown that represents who they are.

ana quasoar showroom

ana quasoar showroom, paris

You know, we women are full of contradictions- this is what gives us our charm. That’s what I love about women- they play on so many levels all of the time. In the morning, a woman may take her children to school, then she goes to work, then maybe she goes to a party after work- playing so many roles throughout one day.  For me, a woman in her wedding gown must express at least 2 or three aspects of herself.  We enhance 2 or three of these aspects to make her feel like a star on her wedding day- but a star that looks like herself. I’m not here to change a woman’s image. I’m here to supplement, to enhance who she already is.

I also love creating transformable dresses which compliment these multiple roles. Creating, for instance, a short dress with a big removable skirt. So a bride would have a long dress for the ceremony, and transform it into a shorter dress for the reception and party.  Some dresses have a bustier or a jacket that you can wear again. I like to play with elements that you can mix in different ways. So you have several silhouettes, not just one.

pp: How do you create a collection?  Do you design all year round, or do you set aside a specific amount of time ?

aq: Most of the time, I work on one short theme at a time, never on a complete collection.  I can work at any place and at any time, but always on a small

ana quasoar showroom, paris

ana quasoar showroom, paris

theme- because my work isn’t a seasonal story. Its more like 1001 Nights or Alice in Wonderland.  It’s a story, that suddenly leads into another story, and on and on… Also, my dresses transform themselves while we are working. I don’t make a drawing then give it to my assistant and say, “make that”; I’m creating the dress with them.  Sometimes I’m starting a dress in one way, and then suddenly the dress leads itself into another direction. For me,  each dress is a potential- it’s not something that is formatted that can’t be changed. My dresses are stories that can be continued here or somewhere else…

pp: In America, Vera Wang has been credited with revolutionizing the modern American bride. Who do you think has played a part in influencing current French wedding style?

aq: I think before Max Chaoul, the scene around wedding dresses in France was very boring. But then Max Chaoul arrived and he had such an impact with his crazy scenarios. We have very different styles of designing, but I do recognize that he is someone who really shook up the wedding scene in France. There is also Delphine Manivet. She expresses something that, again, is different from my own universe, but is still very authentic and responding to a need. They are very opposite, but for me, they are shaking it up a bit. Max brings a sense of fun and craziness, Delphine brings a down-to-earth, relaxed style, and I think I’m more baroque and pure- in between the two, I imagine. But we are all passionate about what we do.

ana quasoar finale, paris

ana quasoar finale, paris

pp: All around the world, brides dream of coming to Paris to buy their wedding gown. Can you describe a little bit the experience that a bride would have purchasing an Ana Quasoar gown?

aq: We have clients coming from all over the world. Some come in with a file of photos and notes and they know exactly what they want. Some come with a drawing that they’ve made, and we’ll talk a bit, then I’ll go over and select a gown from my collection and they’ll tell me that its exactly how they imagined their dress! Some girls have no idea at all and are nervous. My role then is to make a shelter for them, and to help them to really discover what part of themselves that they want to put out there on display.

If a client isn’t living in France, we really try to arrange the fittings around the bride’s schedule. Typically we will need 2 or 3 visits. If she comes in, has a coup de coeur with one of my gowns, we’ll take her measurements and can have her toile within a few days.  Then the next visit will be the fitting with the unfinished dress, and if it’s possible for her to stay in Paris for a few days, then we can usually complete the dress after that fitting. This of course depends on how detailed the dress is.  Normally, the entire process takes a few months, but it also depends on the time of year.

Even though we ship worldwide, most brides want to come and pick the finished dress up themselves. One thing that I like to do before she leaves is to council her on the whole story- how she will walk in the dress, what style of bouquet would best suit her in her gown. All the details that will make her feel the most comfortable. All brides have their own personal story that I try to help them to express on their wedding day. It’s not just about selling the gown, it’s like a piece of jewelery or a perfume that has been created sur mesure. It’s not just a dress, but also the image of yourself that I’m creating.

When in Paris, be sure to take a magical trip into Ana Quasoar’s showroom, by appointment, at 7, Rue Banque 75002, +33 1 47 03 37 37 www.anaquasoar.com

ana quasoar couture paris

paris wedding dress

french weddig dress designer

wedding dress from paris ana quasoar

tête-à-tête with yachts de paris

interview with paris wedding plannerAs anyone who has spent time online looking for a dinner cruise in Paris can tell you-  there are a LOT of options out there.  Google “dinner on the Seine” and you’ll be treated to pages and pages of companies offering romantic, enchanting and unforgettable evenings on the river Seine. But if you’re 3000 miles away, how can you tell one from the other? For obvious reasons, my first advice would be to hire a wedding planner in Paris ☺, but my SECOND piece of advice would be to look to Yachts de Paris. In my opinion, Yachts de Paris offers the finest dining experience on water in Paris. They offer a luxe fleet with an impressive menu and impeccable service. I had the opportunity to sit down with Isabelle Guichard, Director of Commercial Operations of Yachts de Paris a few weeks ago, and she filled me in on just what makes Yachts de Paris so special.

wedding on the seine in paris

acajou, yachts de paris

parisian party: Let’s start with a little background information- How many boats are there in the Yachts de Paris fleet?

isabelle guichard:
We have a range of 8 boats starting with the smallest, Cachemire, which can host up to 12 guests maximum,  right up to Paquebot, which can accommodate up to 400 guests.

pp: One of the things that I love about working with Yachts de Paris is that each boat has its’ own style. How do you go about matching a yacht with a client- do you look at their own individual style, or is it just based on the size of their party?

ig: We look at both really- if it’s a wedding proposal, for instance, it makes sense to do it on Cachmire since it’s our most intimate boat.  For a small, sit-down reception, say up to 50 guests-  your clients would have a choice between Acajou and Victoria, which have the same capacity, but have different styles. Acajou is very classic, with a lot of light wooden features, and would be more for a traditional client looking to host a more traditional affair, whereas Victoria is decorated in deep reds, browns and inox touches- which would definitely suit clients with more neo-classical tastes.

pp: Speaking of decoration, another thing that is special about working with Yachts de Paris is the choice of ambiances that are available to choose from…

ig: Yes, we worked with a designer to give each boat it’s own individual style. Each boat has their own standard offering-  for  some boats it’s a crisp classical look, with white china, white linens, very classic. Other boats may have a more modern look- with gray or black tableware and linens. From those standard offerings, clients can modify and choose from anything else that we offer- they may want to change the shape of their stemware, or color of linens, for example. Working with the client or their wedding designer, we can create an individual, customized look just for their event.

mirage, yachts de paris

mirage, yachts de paris

pp: Typically, when I first start working with destination clients, I find that they know that they want to get married in Paris, but don’t really know if they want to get married on the Seine, in a chateau, in a hotel or what…What would you say are some of the benefits of hosting a destination event in Paris on the water?

ig: Well, if you’re comparing getting married on the Seine with a venue like a hotel or other reception site, the biggest benefit of course is the location.  You’re actually moving through the heart and history of Paris – it’s hard to compare other things with that!

pp: So true! But there are so many cruise options in Paris. If you’re trying to plan a wedding from overseas, it really can be hard to compare, especially since they all seem to be offering the same thing.  What do you think sets Yachts de Paris apart from some of the other cruise companies in Paris?

ig: Speaking honestly- We are the best! (laughs) You’re right, though. There are a lot of companies on the river, and people do have to be careful. Some of them are private owners who stopped using the boat for commercial use, like transporting rice and stuff, and then rebuilt the boat out for a restaurant. They have absolutely no experience. This is actually very dangerous for someone who is trying to book on their own instead of with a wedding planner or agency. They see that a certain boat is cheaper than others, and will make their decision based on that.  Those are, of course, extreme situations. You also have companies, like Bateaux Parisian for instance, which are experienced and professional, but offer more standardized services. For a certain price you are offered a certain package and you must take that package. You can’t redecorate with that sort of fleet, for instance. There’s not much room for customization. Also, with some of these other companies, you must have a minimum number of guests before you can privatize a boat, otherwise you must share the boat with other parties. Because our fleet is so varied, we’re able to offer privatization with as little as 2 guests!

Another  major factor that sets us apart is our extraordinary know-how in our service, staff, and food. We work with Lenôtre, one of the most well-known caterers in Paris. Our clients trust us and feel comfortable with us because they know that we know how to do it.  The boats are amazing- they are very well taken care of, and our service is impeccable. In all honesty, we don’t see other cruise companies as our competition, we consider ourselves to be in the same league as other fine dining establishments, like service that you’d find at the George V.

les coulisses du mariage

les coulisses du mariage

pp: I’d like to talk a bit about the Les Coulisses du Mariage, which is coming up…

ig: Yes, we are very proud to be hosting Les Coulisses du Mariage this year. This is really the luxury wedding salon of Paris, and we are very excited to be presenting it. Stylist Cendrine Dominguez  has designed the show this year, and has used the water as her inspiration- playing with transparencies,  blending wood and plant life- with beautiful and inspirational results.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, The Coulisses du Mariage showcases some of the finest wedding vendors in Paris: dress designers, catering, photographers, hairdressers … all that a couple needs to plan a haute gamme wedding in Paris.

The Coulisses du Mariage will take place this Thursday, November 5th from 12:00 – 11:00PM at Yachts de Paris at Port de Javel Haut, Paris 15ème. It really is a fabulous show, and I’m excited to see what new elements Yachts de Paris will bring to it. A grand merci to Isabelle from Yachts de Paris for taking the time to chat with me. See you on the Seine!

excellence, yachts de paris

excellence, yachts de paris

cachemire, yachts de paris

cachemire, yachts de paris