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The Vow Factor

Bridal gown designer Ines Di Santo creates dresses fit for the modern Dallas bride.

“I think people have stereotypical images of what a Texan bride would wear,” says Toronto-based bridal designer Ines Di Santo. But, she says, after regularly traveling to Dallas over the past eight years, where her wedding gowns are sold exclusively at Bridal Salon at Neiman Marcus Downtown, Ines has been able to dispel a myth or two: “My experience is that Dallas women are very sophisticated, worldly, well-traveled, well-educated, and very fit and body-conscious.” With regular trunk shows in town (and fittings for her made-to-order clients), she’s gotten to know Texas women, and her nimble, tailored gowns accentuate her clients’ Pilates- and SoulCycle-made bodies. “I am very obsessed with the female form,” Ines says in a throaty whisper, her accent a hat-tip to her native Buenos Aires, Argentina. “I want to show the shape of a woman with my designs.” But her designs are not minimal. Decidedly fairy-tale based—feathered, embroidered, beaded, corseted, sparkling, bustled with a train—her dresses are made to reflect what is for most women their most special day. This means handfinished details and regal silhouettes, shapes that skew, at times, more evening than bridal. (She has an eveningwear business too.) The effect verges on haute couture both in price (a gown can go north of $10,000) and wow factor. “Women today want a fashionable wedding dress,” says Ines, who studied design in Milan before starting her business in Toronto. “And women in Texas are very fashion-savvy. They really know the trends and tell me about them when we meet the first time to find a dress,” a meeting she likes to have at least six months before the wedding date. Interestingly, though, she’s never been to a wedding in Texas. “I have not yet had the pleasure,” she says diplomatically.