Marchesa (pronounced mar-kay-sa), creator of otherworldly gowns and spinner of dreams, has chosen Dubai as the location of its first-ever stand-alone boutique in the world. Set within the elegant surroundings of Fashion Avenue in The Dubai Mall, the store discreetly opened its doors on December 28 last year, but celebrated its official launch last month.
Taking its inspiration from the apartments of 1940s Paris, the boutique is genteel and sophisticated, offering a neutral canvas against which Marchesa’s signature evening gowns are allowed to shine. The boutique carries both Marchesa and its more accessible sister label Notte by Marchesa.
The two designers behind the label, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, met while studying at the Chelsea College of Art & Design in London. They realised that they had a shared love of glamour, and complementary skills in costume and embroidery design, so were well placed to create magical evening gowns. In 2004, Marchesa was born.
The brand is named for the wildly eccentric Italian aristocrat Marchesa Luisa Casati Stampa di Soncino (1881-1957), a glamorous socialite and patron of the arts. The heiress to a fortune so vast that she was rumoured to be one of Italy’s wealthiest women, she collected art and artists with equal fervour, declaring herself to be “a living work of art”.
Galvanised by her colourful life, Chapman and Craig translated di Soncino’s stories into high-end gowns that were both elegant and fanciful. Aimed at those with the desire to really dress up, Marchesa proved itself perfect for red-carpet outings, and within two years had earned itself a place in the top 10 in the annual competition held by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue Fashion Fund to cultivate emerging talent.
Offering dresses that range from simple sheaths through to showstopping gowns, the new Dubai Mall boutique has something to suit most occasions. However, where Marchesa is in its element is at the most grandiose of moments, where only yards and yards of fabric will do. With its unique take on the fanciful, Marchesa allows its customers to indulge in a sense of theatre, dressing to the nines in billowing tulle and intricate embroidery. With huge skirts and nipped-in waists, these are dreamlike gowns that speak to the child-princess within every woman. It is no coincidence that Vogue describes Marchesa as the creator of "Disney princess" gowns.
Marchesa's spring/summer 2017 fashion show in New York saw dresses created from layers of tulle in ombré tones, with sheer, shimmery, barely-there fabrics. Previous collections offered cascading chiffon in light-as-a-whisper clouds, embellished with hand-cut flowers scattered as if blown in by the breeze. Meanwhile, for its spring/summer 2017 runway show, Marchesa Bridal offered up Chantilly lace column dresses, with puffed sleeves and petals of ivory silk gathered in drifts around the models' feet.
Yes, Cinderella, you shall go to the ball.