Momentous occasions often require months of planning: choosing the location and its decor; narrowing the guest list; disseminating invitations; planning the requisite seating arrangements to ensure the smoothest of gatherings. Selecting flowers, the menu, and the sequence of festivities—it’s all in the details. When the occasion signals wedding bells, there’s another element to consider of the utmost importance: the dress. Finding this one garment alone often requires long hours, endless changing room visits, hundreds of styles, and strict deadlines for ordering.
Enter North America’s first Max Mara Bridal boutique, tucked in a new 3,850-square-foot Max Mara flagship in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood. Its prêt-à-porter bridal dresses are beautiful to behold, whether a wedding is in the near future or not. The collection was gradually created as an evolution of Max Mara’s eveningwear line, and this special boutique has a selection of styles in cream, champagne, and light rose shades—hues reminiscent of celebratory toasts—in sumptuous fabrics like mink fur and tulle.
“Women can walk off the street six months—even a week—before their wedding and buy a wedding dress,” says Catherine Guadagnuolo, president and founder of the Vestis Fashion Group, who operates the store. With various sizes available, and options to have the dresses tailored in mere hours, this is bridal shopping as stress-free as it comes. Attire can also be customized with Sicilian lace, and accessorized with headpieces, tiaras, veils, gloves, jewel minaudières, or elegant bijoux flowers. It’s a trousseau trove, all ready for the bride’s processional debut.
Guadagnuolo operates three Max Mara and two Max Mara Weekend stores in Vancouver, with plans to expand east with a new location to open in Calgary’s Chinook Centre later this year. “Vancouver has the largest concentration of Max Mara stores in North America,” she says. “I’m thrilled, it’s very exciting.” The newest boutique carries a range of Max Mara lines along with the bridal boutique, including Sportmax, Max Mara Elegante, and Max Mara Studio.
“What we do is offer something for every woman: different collections, different prices, different lifestyles, for every occasion,” says Cristian Notari, CEO of Max Mara USA. “Bridal has been a strong concept in Europe for 10 years. Now, here in Canada, this is the right space, in the right store, and Catherine is the right one to do it.” Pietro Frassa, wholesale director of Max Mara USA, echoes these sentiments: “The wedding tradition is very strong in Italy, the home of Max Mara, so we have continued it here in Vancouver. Max Mara, ultimately, wants to live with its customer.”
Photos: Joshua McVeity.