ASK A WEDDING VENDOR: CATHERINE LANGLOIS
Catherine Langlois is an award winning designer known for her exquisite custom wedding gowns. You may also recognize her name from the White Cashmere Collection - she was one of few designers chosen to create a wedding dress entirely of bathroom tissue!
Catherine Langlois, shot by Whitney Heard
How did you become a wedding gown designer?
I always loved fashion and historical fashion in particular. I studied fashion design at Ryerson University but realized halfway through that I wasn't a "designer", costume interested me but historical design like Bridgerton or Downton Abbey - not contemporary design.
I made a few wedding dresses while in school and realized I could start a business on my own, that's how it all began!
What is your biggest inspiration when designing your gowns?
I create a story or a theme, make a list of names for each of the designs and them let the fabric and mood of the collection speak to me. For example the NorthStar Collection is inspired by Canadian women who followed their own star. The muses are women from politics, entertainment history (Kim, Celine, Roberta). The collection is a contemporary collection with plenty of sparkle and simplicity.
What is the average timeline of creating a custom wedding dress?
It really depends on the dress. A simple gown based on a design from a collection that is on my ecomm shop will take 12-16 weeks. The same gown ordered in the studio and made custom for the bride with a few tweeks will take 4-6 months. An elaborate ball gown with a lot of detailing will take up to 8 months.
How far in advance should couples plan to start the process of designing and creating a custom gown by Catherine Langlois?
Again it depends on the gown, but I would suggest visiting the studio about 8 months before the wedding date. As long as the bride has enough time to visit the studio for 3-5 fittings before her wedding day we can create almost any gown. It also depends on the time of year, brides getting married in the shoulder season (November-April) have the luxury of having a custom gown finished in three months. I don't suggest booking in June for a September wedding, but it can be done.
How much should a client expect to invest in a custom gown?
The wedding dresses on my ecomm site will give a good idea of the cost of a custom dress designed in the studio. An average gown with a slight train and a modest amount of detailing will be $2500-$3500. An intricately detailed whimsical gown and all lace gowns start at $3500. It helps to know a bride's budget so I don't get carried away with design suggestions.
Do you have any advice or guidance for brides wondering what style would best suit them?
Think about what makes you feel most lovely. A v neckline? A bandeau top? Soft flowy pants or a 60's inspired shift dress? Are you self conscious about any body part that you'd like to not draw attention to - a tattoo, scar etc. Are you modest or vavoom? What kind of ceremony is it and who will be there? Who is your style icon? Don't be swayed by what is available in bridal shops, there is a world of bridal fashion out there.
What fabrics/materials do you favour when creating your designs?
I love all fabrics and there is a design in my mind for everything I see! I am most partial to chiffon over charmeuse and anything pretty.
How would you describe the style or theme of your gowns?
Feminine, timeless, romantic with a nod to fashion.
We love the exquisite attention to detail in your designs. What has been the most elaborate/time consuming gown you’ve ever designed?
I recently designed a show stopping romantic whimsical ball gown for a bride in Florida. With 6 shades of blush tulle, layers of chantilly lace and glitter tulle and hours of vibrant floral applique in summery shades...it was heavenly! Every time the bride had a fitting we added more detail, it was like Dolce & Gabbana meets Christian Lacroix. One of my all time favourite custom pieces, I loved it so much, a version of it is the anchor dress for my new collection LoveBlooms.
We absolutely love your gowns, your collections are incredible! Do you have a favourite collection?
We think it is so important to highlight how important ethics and sustainability are to Catherine Langlois. Can you tell us more about your operations?
I've been sustainable before it was a thing! I have always had a studio attached to my house, it was the most practical way to keep my business growing in the early days while having a work/life balance.
We re-use all our paper patterns until they fall apart and re-use all the cotton mock ups as well. Fabric remnants are donated to crafters, other designers, kids learning to sew and artists/quilters. I offer Eco options for brides who want to have a gown made from vintage and out of stock fabrics, these are fabrics that cannot be reordered, the dye lot is different or it's the end of a roll.
I have some Eco fabrics available, and try my best to order from local suppliers. Or suppliers I have a personal relationship with.
My samples are sold as samples or donated to The Brides Project.
I'm proud to say my studio creates very little waste, a very small garbage bag of unusable fabric and a whole recycling box every two weeks!
As a custom designer I'm accustomed to working with brides from all walks of life, abilities, genders, tastes, religious requirements, social requirements...pregnant and proud, or not wanting to show they are expecting, older brides, many times married brides. A bride isn't one thing but it can be a bit of a label. I just go with what I am presented with and understand the ultimate goal is to love who you are marrying that day and feel your best, what ever that is for you.
Where can brides across Canada find/purchase Catherine Langlois gowns?
For a custom made, one of a kind personal experience visit the Toronto studio.
I have an ecomm website with selected designs that are customisable directly from the site, or can be designed custom made remotely. A similar experience is available on the international Ecomm platform @dress_hunt.
A curated collection is available at Chantilly Lace Bridal Boutique in Hamilton, Ontario and I am showing at New York Bridal Fashion week in the hopes once this weird time in history is over I can be found in more shops.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Covid and everything to do with it.
What has been the most memorable compliment or experience so far?
There have been big things like winning Wedding Bells Magazine Best Designer, designing the Cashmere Bathroom Tissue gown twice, having singer Charity Gayle track me down from Pinterest and designing a stunning gown in less than three months...but the most memorable things are the notes I receive from brides. The honest affection for the time spent in the studio, the love they have for their gowns and the connection we shared during that time is immeasurable, My brides inspire me.
We were absolutely fan-girling at the opportunity to interview Catherine and get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes of the brand! If you're in wedding gown heaven swooning over these gowns, we highly recommend exploring Catherine's collections and following on social media. Here's where you can find out more: Catherine Langlois Bridal Design | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest
Tale of Tulle, Canadian Wedding Magazine