What happens when a bridal designer finds inspiration at the MET.
Whoever said life is not a fairy tale has not heard of Odylyne The Ceremony. With dresses named after Greek goddesses and Shakespearian heroines, designer Stephanie White has somehow managed to bring the wedding dresses of our girlhood dreams to fruition. Think off-the-shoulder, décolletage-baring cuts, bell sleeves dripping in lace, and long beaded trains. See what we mean?
Martha Stewart Weddings’ Jessica King puts it like this: these dresses are “made for the ultimate cool girl with emotional pieces that embody a free and romantic spirit.” Equal parts boho and magic. We sat down with White in the midst of her Bridal Week presentation to talk about her inspirations and how her actual dreams influence her designs.
How Odylyne The Ceremony was born:
“I had been designing ready-to-wear for several years, but decided to take a break during my second pregnancy to find balance between motherhood and being a businesswoman. I wanted to create designs that felt sincere and long-lasting, and I decided that bridal was where I wanted to do it. During my pregnancy and after the birth of my daughter, I worked on the concept of what would be Odylyne The Ceremony. The transition felt natural.”
Art inspired the brand’s name:
“One day, during my visit to the MET in NYC, I found myself standing in front of a painting and staring at it for a long time. I instantly felt a connection to it and the artist, Odilon Redon. Unfortunately, after some research, we had discovered there was already a designer who named her company Odilon. I knew I wanted to keep the name but switched the letters around. That’s how Odylyne was born! Odylyne was the name of my ready-to-wear line and since we had developed a cult following, we wanted to add ‘The Ceremony’ to signify our new venture into bridal.”
The Odylyne The Ceremony bride is...
“...a visionary bride who knows exactly what her journey is. She is a dreamer and knows the exact details of how the day should go. She wants her wedding to feel magical. She is bit more emotional and believes in touching senses deep within her heart. I think each dress of ours tells a story and when the bride picks a certain one, that story belongs to her. Each bride of ours really takes ownership of her dress—it feels like it was made just for her. I am just blown away by how visionary our brides are. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.”
She literally dreamt her designs:
“I am such an emotional and romantic person. As a child, I had vivid, bright and colorful dreams. That part of me is very explosive and creative. I am drawn to the unusual and to intense beauty—I love mixing these two things together. Bridal helps me play make-believe and also allows me to bring my childhood vivid imagination into reality.”
Plus, ’80s movies & music:
“I grew up in the ’80s, so I can’t ignore the era of strange and mystical shows and movies like Oz, The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe that shaped my childhood. I try not to make everything too literal, but I do like to play with the themes quite a bit.
“I will lock myself in a room and listen to a playlist I created for the season and just work, work, work. I listen to music and go crazy on inspiration concepts. I can visualize a design, who the girl is, where she will wear this to, the texture in fabrics, down to the way we want to shoot it for the season. It’s all a mad science. I live my life that way. We all need a place to go to dream. Odylyne The Ceremony is that place for me.”
On being the indie kid of bridal:
“I don’t tend to follow trends in bridal as much. I like to be the indie kid on the block. I enjoy not having everyone understand us; that’s why we do what we do. We never want to create work that feels meaningless or too tongue-in-cheek. We want to sell but we don’t want to sell out. That has never been my focus and I am a true believer of creating work that comes from my heart rather than what is trending in bridal. I love when designers push the boundaries and do things their way.”
The dress that took the longest to design:
“Our Icarus gown, which is a silver sequin-and-pearl gown [was the biggest undertaking]. It is a major gown with a full sweeping train and it is quite heavily beaded. With it being all hand-sewn, it took us the longest to design and takes us the longest to make in production. Just hours and hours and more hours of work goes into this gown from the hand-beading to the hand-sewing. It is not the easiest dress to have done, but the final product is so breathtakingly beautiful. It’s a piece of art.”
The most iconic brides in her mind:
“I think Kate Moss was such a beautiful bride. I mean, how beautiful was her wedding? So many gorgeous details. I just saw a picture of Michelle Obama’s wedding—I was really impressed with her classic and clean look and thought she looked like a dream!”