ÖOn the third flooring of a typical Alsatian constructing in Strasbourg, a door opens to a brilliant studio suffering from mannequins clad in bridal vogue. That is the place James and ViviAnn Du Fermoir-de-Monsac reside and work and design couture wedding clothes which are guarded by their cheerful mascot – a yellow parakeet named Adam. And so they do it in drag.
The couple say seeing prospects of their drag personas creates an environment the place folks may be accepted for who they’re. They know that the normal expertise of shopping for a wedding costume just isn’t all the time straightforward for everybody in a world the place the imaginative and prescient of the best bride is usually nonetheless a slender, white, and durable girl.
Joaquin Silva fashions a design by Du Fermoir-de-Monsac. Photograph: RedCarmine / Pauline Filipe
“That is why we determined to open in Drag, as a result of we needed to inform everybody that you’re welcome, regardless of who you’re,” says ViviAnn.
Attire begin at € 1,500 (£ 1,290) and are designed after a two-hour session with the client about their wants. ViviAnn’s influences embrace Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior, whereas James is a follower of Coco Chanel and the Flapper period; ViviAnn is “obsessive about shoulders” and takes inspiration from the glowing costumes she wore when she competed in dance competitions, whereas James focuses on fantastic embroidery.
James says the completely different approaches are complementary.
“I calm her down a bit with all of the rhinestones, she urges me to go a bit additional,” he says.
The runway of the Present Du Fermoir-de-Monsac. Photograph: Malcom Le Poupon
However they are saying their main focus is on what their prospects need, whether or not it is a wheelchair-friendly cloak or a method different designers would not attempt – a brand new consumer got here to James and ViviAnn after a wedding store advised them about it could not get married in sneakers.
“The wedding trade continues to be a bit traditional and there are lots of people who’re forgotten,” says ViviAnn. “It doesn’t matter what your style is, it doesn’t matter what form your physique is, we love everybody and we wish everybody to like themselves.”
“We wish folks to be the very best model of themselves on their wedding day,” says James.
Du Fermoir-de-Monsac’s first consumer was a four-year-old boy who needed to put on a costume to a wedding, however his mom feared it will appeal to detrimental consideration. So the 2 of them made him a kilt, which ViviAnn says he now wears to high school. “That is the cutest factor ever,” she says, holding up an image of the little boy in his purple plaid.
Sylviane Nauroy fashions a costume for Du Fermoir-de-Monsac. Photograph: Malcom Le Poupon
James, Pierre Hermé’s chocolatier, and ViviAnn, a hairdresser, met in a drag competitors in 2019 – James was a decide and ViviAnn was a candidate. They bonded over the truth that that they had each made their sisters’ wedding clothes. ViviAnn had studied vogue on the École Duperré in Paris. James is self-taught – he began stitching on his grandmother’s machine when he was 13.
When France was first locked within the spring of 2020 with no work to do, minimize hair or make chocolate, James referred to as ViviAnn and requested her if she needed to open a wedding boutique. ViviAnn mentioned sure so long as they may name it Du Fermoir-de-Monsac (after her father’s nickname for her mom) and so long as she might do it in tow. James determined to hitch her and rapidly set to work on his new persona, named after his favourite childhood film, James and the Large Peach. (They requested to make use of their drag persona names for this piece.)
The Du Fermoir-de-Monsac catwalk present. Photograph: Malcom Le Poupon
The boutique opened in April, and in June it launched the primary Du Fermoir-de-Monsac assortment on a catwalk present – a riot of lace, leather-based, spikes and tulle tailor-made to quite a lot of physique sorts.
After the present, James and ViviAnn’s drag personas have been “married” in a pretend ceremony (though they continue to be associates and roommates in life).
ViviAnn wore a hanging white costume with a ruffled neoprene shoulder piece, James a deep black jumpsuit and a prepare held by a studded leather-based belt.
Morgane Yayaoui fashions a costume for Du Fermoir-de-Monsac Photograph: Pauline Filipe
“We’re shut associates in our lives and we determined to marry James and ViviAnn whereas constructing a bridal firm,” says ViviAnn. “We obtained married within the identify of couture.”
Within the coming 12 months, the 2 of them will current their designs at bridal festivals, are searching for new prospects and hopefully make use of a small group. At a time when the financial outlook is unsure and the way forward for the pandemic unknown, they exude a uncommon optimism.