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Chicago's Dress Nurse Launches Own Line of Bridal Couture, 'Giselle'

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I'd rather juggle a million projects that keep me busy than manage one day-in-day-out job. So, I'm always running! And it's all with a smile, of course.

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Giselle standing next to her design at Galleria Marchetti

A new line of bridal couture and evening wear 'Giselle' launches in Chicago. Designed by a young student, 'Giselle' is elegant and incorporates classic, glamorous shapes with modern twists - imagine wearing a full trumpet-shaped gown with ruffles along the brimming bottom and then unsnapping that portion to reveal a short cocktail dress for dancing. Designer Giselle Ghofrani is new to wearing the label "designer," but she was raised around the business of couture seamstresses, particularly in bridal.  I have a hunch her Spring 2010 collection is just the tipping point for what we'll see from this talented designer.

In 2009, I had the good fortune of stumbling upon The Dress Doctor while planning my wedding. My dress had arrived from Jim Hjelm and needed a few alterations, so my mom suggested we check out The Dress Doctor. The quiet studio is tucked away in the Water Tower offices, and the people were rather calm, nonchalant. Truth be told, I did not feel confident just walking away and storing my dress there for the next six months because they were so laid back and I was definitely nervous handing over an irreplaceable expense. But over the course of those months, I came to love my dress fittings with the doctor, Soheila Ghofrani, and her team. The girls were always smiling, friendly and accomodating, and Sohelia's quiet nature was incredibly calming while she worked to gently pin and tuck areas to perfection.

The day before my wedding, I hung the gown in the hotel and noticed a little flap of lace that had not been sewn tightly enough and was starting to fall away from the dress. Within half an hour, Kari, who had been present at all my fittings along with The Dress Nurse (Sohelia's daughter) Giselle knocked on my door and came swirling into the room in these brightly colored caplets like the fairy godmothers in the original version of Sleeping Beauty. They spent well over an hour meticulously skimming every inch of that dress, tightened each piece of lace and steamed the gown for wrinkles.  

Fast-forward over a year later: I'm walking into An Evening in Eden bridal event at Galleria Marchetti and run right into The Dress Doctor. I give her a huge hug of excitement, and this proud, beaming mother points to the model on the stage wearing a gorgeous white gown and says, "That's Giselle's dress." With the support of her family and surrogate aunt Amanda Bonnell from Belle Vie Bridal Couture, Giselle's pieces are now full-fledge beautiful bridal gowns, and she shared a few gowns alongside her story of how The Dress Nurse grew from a seamstress' assistant into a name in bridal.  

Photographs courtesy of Jon Shaft.

Giselle hopes to branch out and create lower-priced gowns under the label 'GiGi for Giselle' and even higher-end gowns under 'Giselle Couture'. "Because I work at The Dress Doctor, I get to hear what brides like and don't like about their gowns," she says. "I get to work with different kinds of body types and shapes - these women are my inspiration and help guide my designs."

What is the most rewarding part of the design process? "I love seeing my brides at that initial moment when they decide that it is the gown they want to get married in," she says. "They are so sure and confident in my work; it gives me a lot of satisfaction and confidence. I still don't see myself as a designer; I know I have a long way to go, but seeing even one bride put their trust into something I've conjured up is rewarding and keeps me going."

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