James and ViviAnn Du Fermoir-de-Monsac are redefining the current vision of an “ideal bride,” which is often portrayed in the mainstream as someone thin, white, and able-bodied. The two meet with their clients in full drag as a means of creating a safe atmosphere where everyone can feel accepted for who they are.
“That’s why we chose to open a store in drag, because we wanted to say to everyone that you are welcome, no matter who you are.”
The dresses are designed after a two-hour consultation with the client about their specific needs, and typically start around €1,500 (£1,290). While the couple is inspired by the classic looks of Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, their main goal is always to create the most accurate version of their clients vision as possible.
They typically create dresses that other designers wouldn’t attempt. For example the couple recently designed a dress with a cape for an individual in a wheelchair, and are currently working with a client who was told she couldn’t get married in trainers.
“The marriage industry is still a little bit classical, and there are many people who are forgotten. No matter what your taste is, no matter what shape your body is, we love everybody and we want everybody to love themselves.”
“We want people to be the best version of themselves on their wedding day,” said James.
Du Fermoir-de-Monsac’s first ever client was a four-year-old boy who wanted to wear a dress to a wedding, however, his mother was afraid doing so would attract negative attention. So the couple made him a kilt that the mother says he still wears to school.
James and ViviAnn originally met at a drag competition in 2019; James was a judge and ViviAnn was a contestant. The two bonded over their love of fashion and the fact that they both designed their sisters wedding dresses. James was originally working as a chocolatier and ViviAnn was a hairdresser, however, when the pandemic initially hit in spring 2020, both of their businesses took a major hit, so they decided to take a risk and open a wedding boutique.
Du Fermoir-de-Monsac was the pet name ViviAnn’s father gave to her mother. The boutique officially opened in April this year and in June they launched their first ever collection followed by a runway show. The collection was meant to be a “riot of lace, leather, spikes, and tulle tailored to a variety of body times.”
After the show James and ViviAnn’s drag personas got married in a faux ceremony; although the pair are actually best friends in real life and live together.
“We are close friends in our lives, and we decided, as we were building a bridal dress company, to marry James and ViviAnn. We married in the name of couture.”
The pair are planning to bring their designs to a multitude of bridal shows this year in attempt to reach a wider pool of clients and spread their message of inclusivity and beauty in the bridal sphere.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.