I am so beyond excited to kick off a new series for the blog with a bang! ‘Fab Favorites’ is a new blog series featuring a selection of my favorite vendors, shops, and other amazing people who can make your wedding day nothing short of fabulous! And first up for ‘Fab Favorites’s is Mignonette Bridal, my new official meeting space for clients! Mignonette Bridal is not only the cutest new bridal shop in town (located at 1747 W. Belmont in the West Lakeview neighborhood), where I will now be holding all of my client meetings (Soooo exciting!), it is also the home to custom (not to mention, totally gorgeous) bridal gowns by Mignonette.
So, to kick off ‘Fab Favorites’, I got Mignonette designer and shop owner, Kpoene Kofi-Bruce, in front of my camera and in the blog hot seat to share a little bit about her new shop and custom design process. I spent an afternoon with Kpoene, sipping tea, chatting, and photographing everything in sight! If you have yet to visit the shop, let me tell you, every single detail is styled to perfection. Exposed brick, reclaimed windows, vintage furniture, a fireplace IN the dressing space, and beautiful fresh flowers at every turn. You will quickly see why I have decided to hold all my client meetings there…I mean, I would just live there, if I could!
I asked Kpoene to tell me a little bit about her shop and her ideas behind deciding to open a bridal shop…
My goal is to help every couple have a handmade wedding, and create a hub for Chicago’s independent wedding businesses. When you come to the shop, you can choose from over 30 local artists who will customize jewelry, invitations, veils, headpieces, you name it. We also have a great variety of gifts, and this spring we will be expanding our housewares and registry options. And I have a wonderful group of vendors (planners, photographers, caterers, bakeries, makeup artists, etc.) that I have personally worked with that I can refer to couples. We also recently added a menswear section with vintage designer suits that can be tailored, so anyone wanting to wear a suit or vintage tux for their wedding doesn’t have to resort to wearing an ill-fitting rental. As for the gowns, I wanted to create an old-school atelier kind of environment where a customer could have a cup of tea and be shown fabric swatches and generally relax and feel like they were the center of attention and that someone was actually listening to them.
Click through for tons of bridal eye candy and to find out more about Mignonette Bridal!
Check out this cozy nook where I have been meeting with clients! Totally adorable, right? Add a little wine, a little cheese and some dark chocolate…and I have the perfect meeting space!
Mignonette has so many goodies for brides to be and really any lover of pretty things! From gorgeous necklaces and unique stationary to yummy soy candles and bath salts!
Some of my favorite earrings in the shop! Every time I am there, I am tempted to go home with them in every color!
Such cute cards!
Some of my favorite necklaces are reworked vintage pieces. Vintage and modern, all at once!
And let’s not forget the cabinet full of pearls, frilly garters, and all things girly…
In love with the pink ruffled garter! If only it were acceptable to wear them under your average everyday sun dress!
Due Sorelle jewelry? Yes, please!
Did I mention the styling of everything to perfection? Every detail is thoughtfully and beautifully presented throughout the shop.
And don’t worry, it isn’t all ruffles and lace! Check out the epic vintage menswear section provided by Humble Collective! And I mean epic….we are talking about YSL suits here, people!
And accessories too!
After oohing and aahing over every little thing in the shop, I made sure to ask Kpoene to share a little about her custom gown design process, since that is at the heart of her business.
First I meet with the bride and we talk for an hour about everything to do with her: what she does for a living, what she is passionate about, who she is marrying, what kind of wedding she wants, etc. Once I meet with a bride and learn what her influences are, I’ll go and research those influences. If she has a favorite movie, I’ll watch it to see what inspires her, and look at the fabrics, the attitude, and the general spirit of it to help me get started. I am also on Pinterest, so I ask brides to add me to their wedding boards. Once I have a basic idea, I start working on draping the muslin. If I think it’s right, I send the bride a picture before our meeting and get feedback, and then we go from there. It is a totally interactive process and I ask my clients to be in touch whenever they have a new idea. We have two muslin fittings (muslin is an unbleached cotton that is used to make patterns) to get the fit right, and then we go fabric shopping (my favorite part!) so that the bride can choose her silks and any lace or other fabrics for her gown. Then we have two fittings with the actual dress fabric, and then she has a beautiful gown!
I love helping women look and feel like their best selves. Most of my brides come to me because they want something really unique and cannot find it in an off-the-rack bridal shop. I also love sharing my knowledge of dressmaking – All of my brides are excited to learn about different fabrics and laces, and they are completely fascinated by the draping process.
I love how interesting gowns are now: The runways and blogs are full of sheer sleeves, engineered lace, and lots of draping. It’s all so inspiring and there’s something for everyone.
I am always curious about what inspires other photographers, artists and designers, so I made sure to find out where Kpoene gets her inspiration from….
My inspiration usually starts with a single image, or something I’ll see on the street. For instance, right now I have a couple of brides who want 1930’s-inspired gowns, so I’m working with influences as disparate as the dress John Galliano designed for Kate Moss’ wedding, the movie Gosford Park, and even Upstairs Downstairs. Alternately, sometimes all it takes for me to come up with a design is a single piece of fabric that I really want to work with.
And of course, I made sure to ask who her 3 favorite designers are, which made me love her even more, if that is even possible! I promise you, you will too, within mere minutes of meeting her! She is honestly one of the most amazingly sweet and genuine people you will ever meet. And if you are a little fashion obsessed like me, you can chat designer favorites. Kpoene’s favorites are…
Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, and Olivier Theyskens when he worked for Nina Ricci.
So, if you haven’t been able to find the right dress for you or you just know you want something unique and one of a kind, be sure to pop in to Mignonette and say hello! Or if you are in need of super cute bridesmaids gifts or killer cufflinks for your guy, here is where it’s at! Kpoene will surely light the fireplace, make you some hot tea, and I swear…you will want to stay all day!
Thank you to Kpoene and Mignonette Bridal for letting me play in the shop all day and being my first ‘Fab Favorite’ on the blog! I am so grateful to have met such amazing people in the wedding industry that I am not only elated to get to work with, but also just darn excited to have as friends!