When Alexis Novak was searching for her wedding dress this year, there weren’t all that many high-fashion archival gowns to choose from: which, well, is exactly what she wanted. As the founder of Tab Vintage (whose clients include Dua Lipa and Kourtney Kardashian), Novak was seeking a bridal look that both made a distinct style statement and had historical panache. After some extensive sourcing using her industry contacts, Novak ended up finding just the thing—and just three weeks after her Los Angeles elopement, she now wants to help other brides do the same.

Today, Novak launches a vintage bridal curation on Moda Operandi. For fans of fashion history, it’s nothing short of extraordinary: there’s a Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior evening gown from the late 1950s, a 1970s embellished floral dress by Bob Mackie, and a 2007 Balenciaga gown by Nicolas Ghesquière that’s a re-edition of the house’s 1951 “Puffball” design, just to name a few. “I included as many different styles, eras, and designers as I could find,” Novak says of her selection. Y2K fashion obsessives will be thrilled with its couture offerings by Gianni Versace, while Phoebe Philo fanatics will swoon over the white suits from the designer’s time at Celine.

Novak had her work cut out for her on the project: as white fabric is hard to keep clean, there was a lot of repair work needed to get the pieces ready for sale. With the Dior gown, for example—a piece she describes as a “major career highlight”—Novak worked with a restoration expert to update the dress without taking out any of its original tulle, boning, or structural elements. “Throughout the process, I would find myself stopping to take deep breaths and just in awe of the beauty and power the piece had,” she says. “It’s an elevated couture piece with impeccable design, which was expected out of the House of Dior at this time, but it has a subtle playfulness to it, a youthful refresh of the classic Dior gown.”

Novak’s Moda Operandi curation comes at a time when vintage wedding dresses are rapidly growing in popularity. Eager to stand out and avoid a cooker-cutter dress seen on countless others, brides are seeking unique looks that test the boundaries of traditional nuptial style. “As we’ve gotten to know our clients and reviewed our sales data, we’ve seen massive interest from brides, looking for unique looks for their ceremony that they aren’t seeing at the typical bridal showrooms: ‘White dress’ is actually our number one search term,” Moda Operandi co-founder Lauren Santo Domingo tells Vogue. “Brides are looking for something truly one-of-a-kind, and what fits the bill for the ‘fashion bride’” better’ than a vintage couture dress?” Then there’s the sustainability angle: buying a vintage wedding dress is, of course, a far more eco-conscious choice.

Thierry Mugler 1980’s Striped Pantsuit


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