Valencienne Bridal, Let’s Talk Wedding Dresses.
Welcome to an interview with the incredible Kim Ironmonger. Today, we are discussing her personal journey to creating Valencienne Bridal. We are so excited to announce her ideas for a Liz Moore Destination Wedding dress line! Talk about amazing! Importantly, destination wedding dresses are unique, and she knows the secret to making them fantastic from her adventures and travel. Let’s get to know her and comment below if you have any further questions.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
As a child growing up, I struggled with a learning disability called Dyslexia. I found Math and English tough, but I excelled in art and cooking classes. Drawing became my happy place. I was always behind in school, and I often heard from people that I was going to have a tough time with my career. This statement was very disappointing as I wanted to become a teacher for disabled children. Unable to go to college or university, I started working for my father who was in the fashion accessory business. I loved the fashion business, and I would often go to Europe. These travels are where I discovered my love for wedding gowns. Once I returned home, I decided to open a retail store with imported designer wedding dresses.
After a couple of years, I decided that with my drawing and limited sewing knowledge that I would change Valencienne. I wanted this brand to become a custom design atelier. Becoming a designer and being able to learn freely without being confined to any formal training. This freeness has allowed me to be free to create whatever comes into my mind’s eye.
Where do some of your inspirations for destination wedding dresses come from when you design them?
I have a great appreciation for antiques and beautiful things. There are periods in past time that have been very influential such as the 20’s, 50’s and 60’s. I have a fabulous collection of fashion books that are incredible to look through and that give me inspiration. However, I would say what drives my creative mind would primarily be my travels to exotic destinations. Living in the African jungle for two months, touring Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Along with scuba diving in the Maldives and all the Caribbean and Hula dancing in Hawaii. These cultures and adventures have very much inspired my destination line.
Tell us about your Liz Moore Destination Wedding dress line.
Well, when I thought about creating a destination collection, I thought about all of my worldly travels. That feeling you get from different climates such as dry heat, humidity, and trade winds. I also wanted to consider the environment of sandy beaches. The ability to walk along the crashing waves or climb cliffs. Our Valencienne bridal capsule collection designed for the Liz Moore bride are based on bridal separates. I’ve also designed them to be made of lightweight fabrics that are easily packable. I took into consideration the creasing effect on all the fabrications and used fabrics that are comfortable and easy to wear. I used beautiful embellishments for that reflect light, shadows and the environments.
What makes destination wedding dresses differently to design than a more traditional in city dress design?
I think the city bride is having a different type of wedding with more people, more tradition and it is meant to be very grand and formal. The destination bride is a bit more laid back. Sometimes I feel destination weddings are more about the couple and less about the event planning, decor and guests because it’s much more intimate.
What do you think sets you apart from other bridal fashion designers?
What sets me apart from other bridal designers would be that I am a self-taught designer who did not receive a traditional education. It allows me to create with a free mind and to create outside the box. As far as destination goes, I have traveled the world always looking at fashion and looking for ideas from other countries. I have a vintage Vogue magazine collection that I started buying as early as 18 years old, and it is quite extensive which I still refer to a lot when designing a new collection.
If you had to narrow down your three greatest achievements in fashion design, what would they be?
There have been many accomplishments both big and small in our crazy world of bridal fashion design. The first achievement would be staying in business for 34 years starting at a tender age of 21 and opening a store on Toronto’s most famed fashion corner, Bloor, and Bay. Being a woman in business at that time was very challenging and overwhelming. So, it was imperative to me to run my business with honour and integrity and to build a team that shared my same values.
The second would be to know that thousands of brides have picked Valencienne Bridal to create the most important gown of their life to wear on their wedding day. And to think now these gowns have become heirlooms. It’s such an incredible honour to be a part of their lives and to know my label will live on long after I have gone.
Thirdly, it would have to be the opportunity to design gowns over the years for many distinguished celebrity clients. This list includes celebrities such as Whoopie Goldberg, Elizabeth Hurly, Suzanne Summers, Saudi Princess, Sports figures and political dignitaries. We have been asked to create gowns for music videos, posters, and TV Commercials. Right now an ad is running across Canada for Cashmere bathroom tissue. This project was for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society. We were asked to create two wedding gowns made entirely out of bathroom tissue to spear sales to drive donations for the Canadian Breast Foundation.
Director of Communications for Liz Moore Destination Weddings. She enjoys writing about all things wedding, travel, and fashion. Notably, she has a BA in Communications and currently located in Sydney, Australia.