In the eclectic heart of San Francisco lies a bridal boutique that bottles up the city’s palpable energy. A melting pot of worldly influences, artisanal finishes and contrasting silhouettes, WildBride is a destination for spirited brides. Housing an edit of boutique bridal labels such as Laure de Sagazan, Temperley London, Leila Hafzi & Claire La Fay, WildBride spills with unexpected designs that exude the romance of their global origins.
Dreamt up by founder Samira Araghi, WildBride is far more than a transportive space, it’s a styling experience for brides shaped by a background in fashion design. Samira’s bespoke consultations stretch the concept of traditional bridal gown shopping into something far more intimate, relaxed and in-depth. Here you’re in the hands of someone truly versed in the language of bridal – the intricacy of fabrics, the fit and form, interpreting what you envision and presenting curated options that far surpass your brief.
Quietly capturing the space, photographer Kellē Sauer passionately vouches for Samira’s expertise, “Samira knows you’re coming; she’s there waiting for you and your closest people, with a glass of prosecco and a light-filled atmosphere that feels something like Europe meeting an oasis in the high California desert. You find yourself breathing out as Samira seats you on the couches that line the shop, putting you at ease, inviting you to share your story. She’ll learn the little things about you while you’re there, your love story, your interests, the plans for the wedding you’re dreaming up. Maybe it’ll be the first one you put on (she’s that good), or maybe it will be the third – but she’ll have something for you that will feel like you.
Samira’s a secret-keeper, a cheerleader, a friend (if you want one), and she has designed her shop for brides who know what they want and how they want it, but it’s the dresses that hold her heart — you can see it in the way she carefully chooses the styles she presents. She takes each beautiful piece seriously, with a side of sparkling fun that makes you believe you might just be able to get away with… anything.”
We caught up with Samira in between consultations to find out what brides can expect to shop in-store at WildBride.
“You’re in the hands of someone truly versed in the language of bridal – the intricacy of fabrics, the fit and form, interpreting what you envision and presenting curated options that far surpass your brief.”
What was the spark for WildBride?
As a child, I always had a passion for clothing and fashion. From the time I started studying fashion design in the US and then in Italy, I can remember always sketching dresses that were ivory with lace, silks and cotton fabrics. I love white clothing. I never really knew this meant I loved bridal fashion until I went bridal shopping with a friend of mine and felt incredible being around all the gorgeous white wedding gowns. This is how the idea of WildBride was born inside of me!
You have an eye for selecting bridal cuts that beautifully complement the female form. How has your background in fashion influenced the styling advice you provide in-store?
When I worked in fashion for years as a designer, I worked for a great variety of brands with different styles and aesthetics. My biggest focus was textiles. I loved fabric sourcing and learning about all of the different types of fabrications. I was so passionate as a designer, always learning new details about the fabrics, cutting, pattern making and sewing, soaking up knowledge from every person in the company at each of the brands I worked for. I would say this great knowledge plus my skills as a technical designer add so much value to my bridal styling expertise.
One of my other greatest experiences has been working for the Vera Wang Bridal Flagship store in San Francisco. I had many roles and absorbed so much valuable knowledge working there, especially about bridal gown alterations. Alterations are almost always needed to make the wedding dress fit perfectly on the bride and it’s so incredibly important to know what can and can’t be done. It’s important to be able to show brides what alterations and customizations can realistically be made to a gown.
We love your edit of boutique labels you’ve sourced internationally, who are some of your favorite designers in-store and what drew you to their pieces?
I love them all! My favorites change from time to time but the first that comes to mind is Temperley London. I fell in love with this collection and designer when I interned for them straight out of fashion in school in London. I have never been so inspired in my formative years as a designer. Designer Alice Temperley pioneers as a true artist using intricate hand-worked embellishment techniques creating modern yet bohemian and vintage designs. Her gowns are some of our most unique in the shop with details like colored embroidery, midi-length dresses and even gold embellishments.
Laure de Sagazan is probably my all-time favorite brand. The label is inspired by old-world yet timeless design ideals that they have modernized for women of today. The romantic gowns are made in the most high-end silks with unique lace finishes. The thing that draws me most to this label is the minimalist yet elegant, romantic and classically modern designs that are so unique and one-of-a-kind in the bridal fashion world.
Daalarna is one of our top-selling labels with slightly more traditional bridal styles that focus on femininity and haute couture qualities. I love their use of hand-finished appliqués on barely visible illusion mesh, no other designer in the world can do this as beautifully as Daalarna can. The brand is developed and created in Hungary by a team of incredible women. They are one of my favorite brands to work with because of their great communication, extensive customization options and the amazing support they offer clients.
Cortana is one of the newer brands to be featured in the shop, but I have loved the collection for many years since I first saw an article talking about their new bridal range. The collection’s relaxed and effortless look is like no other, but what sets them apart is their use of natural textiles and fibers. Gowns made from silks and linens or cotton organdy instead of synthetic fabrics make this collection stand out and be a favorite for our San Francisco WildBrides.
What does shopping for a wedding gown look like at WildBride?
At WildBride, brides can expect to find a serene and luxe space that is also a single destination for all of her wedding needs, from decisions on the gown to picking their wedding vendors or venue. We love to recommend our amazing local wedding professionals from planners to photographers and venues to our brides. Brides experience a private one appointment at a time bridal styling session. They can expect to find unique, untraditional yet chic and modern pieces from around the world. Not only will they find their perfect wedding gown, but they will also have an exclusive selection of wedding jewelry and accessories to choose from to complete their look. We don’t stop at the gown or accessory. We make sure our brides are always supported from the time they find their gown with alteration recommendations, undergarments, shoes, and even their groom’s suits.
You’ve curated an incredibly relaxing and modern space for brides to shop in. What design elements were important to you to create that atmosphere?
I always wanted the shop to be very green and to feel as if you are outside in nature. There are tons of cacti and tropical plants like palm trees in the shop. The name WildBride is about brides in the wild or in nature. We cater to a lot of couples who are getting married outside in nature so I wanted the boutique to resemble the wedding setting with plenty of greenery and abundant golden sunlight. We are in California so the weather almost year round permits for outdoor weddings. The next element was to tie in some elements from my Persian heritage. There are a few antique and new Persian rugs, old antique heirloom family decorations, and evil eyes for protection. We have more natural elements such as crystals and semi-precious stones, succulents, shells, driftwood, and dried floral installations by a local Bay Area florist Ash + Oak Floral Design.
You have a close network of wedding industry professionals from planners to photographers and venues, what kind of events do you host in store to connect your brides with these like-minded vendors?
We host special events with industry locals such as planners, florists, photographers in our shop where our brides and their bridesmaids can meet these wedding industry vendors, enjoy an evening of expert wedding planning advice, champagne, and of course, goody bags! One of the first events I hosted was with a local wedding planner, Lily Spruce Events, for the launch of WildBride. The event was a fundraiser benefiting the wildfire-impacted communities of wine country near San Francisco that year, partnering with a list of like-minded creatives and neighboring restaurants.
For those unable to visit WildBride in person, what virtual services do you offer and how can brides access your collections?
We have a beautiful online shop that has a selection of brand new stock and lightly used sample gowns and accessories. Brides from all over the world can purchase our carefully curated selection of unique gowns, headpieces and jewelry from any city or country in the world. We also offer virtual appointments for brides looking for made-to-order gowns from our unique designers.
What trunk shows can brides look forward to attending in your store this year?
While our brides are always guaranteed to attend our yearly main brand trunks hows like Temperley London, Laure de Sagazan, Watters and Daalarna Couture, we frequently welcome new collections and designers into the boutique so we suggest keeping an eye on our social media channels for our current trunk show events. For this year, we are planning on a few trunk shows from new designers from Spain, Italy and the US.
Lastly, what’s your best advice for brides on the search for a wedding gown that embodies their personal aesthetic and spirit?
Don’t get caught up in bridal trends, go what feels like you and feels good. We are true believers in personal style and look. There is not one dress that is going to be the best one. There are so many beautiful wedding gowns in the world right now, with so many talented bridal designers. Follow your own instincts and see what feels right for you!
The WildBride Playlist
Find our handpicked edit of Bridal brands from around the world on the Directory.