One of the most exciting moments for any bride-to-be is when she says “YES!” to the dress. For most women, when they put on the dress, they know it’s the one. Whether the dress you choose is a crisp white, a cream or something a little different from the norm, it has the ability to make you feel like your most beautiful self and that is something you will cherish forever. We aren’t the only ones who think that—Today, we have J.Crew’s Head of Bridal Design, Molly Schaul, sharing what it’s like to be the person designing these fabulous gowns and how to tackle wedding dress shopping. Starting your wedding dress search or accompanying the bride-to-be? You’ll want to read on.
When did you become passionate about fashion and design?
I caught the fashion bug when I was about 12 years old. I was at a friend’s house and her older sister had a VHS of the documentary, Unzipped, about Isaac Mizrahi. I watched the entire documentary in awe. It just made my heart race and I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Why bridal design in particular?
I love the idea of designing something that will be worn on one of the most memorable days of a person’s life.
J.Crew is one of our favorite brands—How did you start working with them?
It was in 2005 just after I graduated from Parson’s School of Design when a friend recommended me for an open assistant designer position. I went in for the interview and never left!
Has working at J.Crew influenced your personal style?
Oh, definitely! Working at J.Crew you learn to appreciate quality and how to invest in your wardrobe.
Do you have a favorite dress that you’ve designed?
I once designed a gown using thousands of tiny fresh water pearls. The gown never made it to production but we still have it in the design closet. I still dream of seeing a bride wearing it barefoot on the beach.
Can you tell us a bit about this season’s bridal collection? What was the inspiration behind it?
We were really inspired by an ultimate destination wedding beachside.
Can you walk us through your design process?
What is so great about the design process at J.Crew is that it is truly collaborative. I am so fortunate enough to have an amazing designer that works specifically on our wedding collection with me. The two of us collaborate and shoot ideas off of each other which leads to a beautiful dynamic collection.
Do you have any tips on mixing different bridesmaid dresses (whether it’s different colors, fabrics or styles)?
It’s easiest to come up with a monochromatic color scheme.
What are 3 tips to make wedding dress shopping less stressful for a bride?
1. Don’t over think it. If it makes you feel beautiful, go for it.
2. Live in the moment. Brides are so stressed out about making sure it will be the most timeless gown—A bride should feel beautiful and be able to have fun with no regrets!
3. Trust your instincts. Sometimes there are just too many cooks in the kitchen.
What’s an unexpected way to style a wedding dress?
I always love when a bride has an unexpected shoe. No ivory pumps please!
Image of Molly by Dorothée Brand of Belathée Photography
Other images courtesy of J.Crew