There’s an inimitable allure to French design, a beguiling nonchalance grounded in understated elegance. For centuries, fashion lovers have looked to France for sartorial cues, ensnared by their pursuit for art and romance; for living life wildly, effortlessly and without regret.
Synonymous with French fashion comes bridal label A La Robe, a brand suffused in the chic simplicity and innate sensuality that rings so true to the region. Originally hailing from New Zealand, designer and founder Elizabeth Soljak relocated to the French countryside in chase of her artistic dreams. A wildly creative spirit, Elizabeth is fuelled by an intuitive yet highly considered approach to bridal, honoring traditional techniques and slow fashion practices throughout the creation of her collections, unbound by strict fashion calendars and seasonal trends. Each piece steeped in luxurious fabrics sourced from remote villages and European houses, subjected to artisanal hand treated dying and texture-inducing techniques before hand-sewn with the utmost attention to detail and care. What results are gowns of exquisite craftsmanship and mindful design, artisanal pieces that transcend the now for the ever effortlessly graceful, timeless bride…
“I’m forever inspired by that feeling of falling in love on a summer holiday, adventuring together in the heat, ending the night in the ocean…”
A La Robe is infused with a wildly romantic free spirit… we’d love to hear where your inspiration comes from and the muse you have in mind when designing?
I’m forever inspired by that feeling of falling in love on a summer holiday, adventuring together in the heat, ending the night in the ocean. I also love the essence of eloping! My ultimate muse is the kind of bride who swims in her gown or has a dawn photoshoot on the beach the morning after the wedding. Maybe I’m trying to inspire brides to cut loose a little, break with tradition but still be elegant and chic.
Your gowns are made from the most incredible fabrications that allow a real sense of fluidity and comfortability to your designs. Can you share a little more about some of the fabrics you use?
All of our gowns are made from silk and are silk lined, a breathable natural fiber that is totally bio-degradable. I use traditional heavy silk crepes and satins as well as silk organza, which mostly come from China, the birthplace and traditional home of the silk industry. My sequined silk georgette is hand made to order in India – to get a message to the village where it is made, the contact has to drive for 2 hours as they have no phone! The fabric is charming in its imperfection, I really adore it.
As all of our garments are washed after they are made, it means they are pre-shrunk and can be hand washed after the wedding – so yes they are formal and elegant, but not too precious. I love that silk is so naturally strong and resilient.
“I want my brides to feel that they are free, that being in love & getting married is the first day of the rest of their lives. To be able to really feel that freedom physically & mentally on their wedding day – to move, dance, love, express themselves in their gown.”
You’ve mastered the art of simplicity which we love here at The Lane! What is the silhouette that speaks to you the most?
Always the bias cut – it is our signature silhouette, which we feel no other label specializes in to the extent that we do. And we have always offered wrap skirt overlays in sheer fabrics since we first started over 10 years ago.
I always listen to the feedback from our brides, we will often sample different ideas and decide to include them in the next collection if it is a success. Our Stephanie gown is named after a bride who asked if we could do a cowl front neckline instead of a plunge neckline! I am always trying to find ways of unexpectedly adding to the slip dress concept. I love the diagonal seam that is a constant necessity, as the fabric is cut on the cross and needs to be joined. This season our gold satin dress is adding a slinky dimension and hopefully some new inspiration.
Of your recent designs, which is your personal favorite?
My new favorite is Nancy, the strapless gown. I have been thinking for a long time about how to make this idea work, and I’m very happy with how it has turned out. I can’t wait to see our first real bride in this style! I like the idea of the bride being able to make an A La Robe gown her own – add everything, earrings veil, overskirt – or nothing.
How do you want your brides to feel when wearing an A La Robe gown?
I want my brides to feel that they are free, that being in love and getting married is the first day of the rest of their lives. To really feel that freedom physically and mentally on their wedding day – to move, dance, love, express themselves in their gown is what I wish for. There are no rules with A La Robe and I think the collection reflects that philosophy well.
Where can brides find A La Robe in the world?
We’re so excited to share we now have a petite salon d’essayage in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It’s a discreet salon for personal trying on sessions. We can help you choose from the collection as well as a few other select pieces that we will only have in Paris. Open now for 2021 brides, who can book an appointment via the website.
If you’re not in Paris, all of our stockists have a selection of new and classic A La Robe styles available to try, trunk shows will start again once life returns a bit more to normal. In the meantime, for the next six months, we have no rush fees and a quicker than normal delivery time. If you decide to elope or just can’t wait any longer, we should be able to make sure you have the perfect gown ready in time!
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