Brides desiring a couture look for their big day are often drawn to the glamorous gowns of Ines Di Santo, who has been making dream wedding dresses for over 30 years. Now she works with her daughter Veronica out of their atelier in Toronto. We sat down with the famed bridal and evening wear designer to learn more about her process and the future of the label.
Inside Weddings: How did you get into the bridal fashion industry?
Ines Di Santo: Raised in Buenos Aires with parents that inspired me, I was encouraged at an early age to explore and use my imagination in many ways. I knew when I was young that I was obsessed with designing gowns and made my first dress at age eight – after that I had all my friends asking me to make dresses for them. I found I loved a variety of art forms and as I grew, it became clear that gown design would be my greatest love.
IW: What is your favorite part about running a bridal fashion label?
IDS: The answer to this question changes frequently. I love so many things that I am able to do in this role. Right now, I am designing the new collection, so my favorite part is watching all of the embroidery, lace, and fabric come in that I have selected to work with this season. Sketching, draping, and fitting until the final gowns are complete is like air in my lungs.
IW: How has your background in South America and Europe affected your design choices?
IDS: The city of Buenos Aires has the aesthetic and feel of a European city with a lively personality that is uniquely theirs. As an Italian, art is very important to me. Italians are very enthusiastic about art, culture, and fashion, and this makes for a very rich experience of life and culture. Some of the finest designers and artists are from Europe, and I think it has very much to do with that rich backdrop that is a part of European life.
IW: What do you consider signature design elements of Ines Di Santo?
IDS: I think my primary signature lives in the fit of my gowns. I understand the female body in all of its forms and am always working to balance the beauty of the body with the beauty of a gown.
IW: Who is the typical Ines Di Santo bride?
IDS: The Ines Di Santo bride is sophisticated and looking for a gown with femininity, marked by superb fit, originality, and inimitable construction. She also enjoys elegance, simplicity, and glamour. We dress brides who want to express their sensual side, ones who want a ball gown with presence, ones who want a glamorous event with a gown that makes a dramatic statement, and ones who dream of a modern, clean look.
IW: Do you have a favorite dress that you’ve designed? Why?
IDS: The gowns I designed for my daughter’s wedding. Her day was so special for all of us. To see her so confident, beautiful, and so full of joy is a memory I cherish.
IW: What do you predict will be the next big trend in bridal and what is on the way out?
IDS: I find myself less and less willing to make broad sweeping statements about trends in any area of design. The confidence I see in women today defies trend and their styles are very individual. It’s important that as designers we recognize that there is no longer a homogenous or standard point of view. It’s a fantastic time to be a designer as I am able to work with more freedom and focus on the women rather than the next big thing.
IW: What’s it like working with your daughter, Veronica?
IDS: When you look at successful design houses, you will often see a husband and wife or a parent and a child working together. I think it is the inherent understanding that flows between these relationships that make them work so well. Trust is significant and knowing my daughter understands my goals and shares many of them is everything. We are building something that will, hopefully, shine well beyond our time. I run our design room and Veronica is a Managing Partner. This shared commitment allows both of us to work to our strengths.
IW: How does your taste and Veronica’s taste in fashion differ, if at all?
IDS: We both select pieces based on our personalities and body types. While our selections are vastly different, they come from the same point of view – what pieces do we feel good putting on in the morning and then simply get on with life for the day. I do find we crossover most often with accessories. She shares my love for items that are timeless and the pieces have become a signature of sorts.
IW: Can you give us any hints of what to expect from the upcoming spring collection?
IDS: I am seeing a romantic point of view in the designs that are coming together for the upcoming spring season. Spring is always lighter and fresh. If I needed to describe it today, I would call it Modern Romance.