Nicole loves wedding dresses. Her interest in dresses doesn't stop with the dresses themselves. She wants the story behind the dress and the bride who wore it. For Nicole, there is a magic woven into the dress on the day it was worn by the bride. Once worn, most bridal dresses are relegated to the back of wardrobes and forgotten. Nicole wants to give these dresses new life. 'I see myself as the temporary guardian to these dresses, until they find a new bride and a new chapter to their story', says Nicole.
And that's how Dress Stories was born. Nicole hunts high and low for well kept, exquisite dresses that are too beautiful to be kept away from the world. She has dresses by Pronovias, Jean Fox, Sophia Tolli, Imoda, Jasmine, Maggie Sottero, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Wendy Makin, Henry Josef and Mia Solano. She even has a vintage Myer 1960s lace gown. Sizes range from 6 - 16 and prices range from $95 - $1100. Each dress comes with a pink Dress Story album, with photos and its story, penned by the bride who last had the dress.
'My dress has been living in my wardrobe for years' says one consignee. 'Each time I came across it, I thought it a pity just hanging there but I didn't want to part with it. When I met Nicole, I realised I could put the dress into her safe hands, allowing the dress to find another bride who hopefully would love to wear it, just like I did. I was surprised that I was so emotional about giving it to Nicole to sell and it took me a while to get my dress to her'.
This is precisely what Nicole finds so fascinating about what she does. 'In the past, a wedding gown was passed down to the next generation, being altered each time it was passed on, the new owner making a new version of the old'.
When you hand over your dress to Nicole, she asks for photos and the bride's dress story so the history of the dress is also recorded visually and handed over to the new bride. 'For me, this is like looking at old photos of a place and seeing how it has transformed, just like looking at old photos of Melbourne'.
When you purchase a gown, you get the photos and story in a folder.
As well as her interest in the history of the dresses, Nicole realised how difficult it was to obtain pre-owned gowns. Searching for pre-owned gowns can mean visiting a home here or there and travelling great distances to try on just one dress, Nicole wanted to offer the opportunity for brides to access a great range of pre-owned gowns in one place. If the gown fits, you can walk out the door with your new purchase - no waiting periods. If alterations are required, the new bride can organise this for herself.
Nicole cares for the dresses as if they were her own, handling them with white cotton gloves. Dresses can only be tried on by appointment with careful guidelines. No make up, cream or perfume can be worn at your appointment. If you are wearing any of these you will not be permitted to try on the dress. Who wants to buy a dress with foundation marks on it?
The ethical solution this service provides also appeals to Nicole and is another reason why she is so committed to rescuing dresses. 'No new resources are exploited to create another dress and passing on a dress honours its beauty and the original time, planning and creative process taken to make the dress, allowing its beauty to be enjoyed again', says Nicole.
Nicole sells the dresses on consignment so if you have a unique, well kept dress hidden from the world, give it a new chapter to its story. Contact Nicole on 0417 844 590.
Hilton and Main has other things to offer. There is a room full of authentic stunning vintage dresses like the one pictured here as well as accessories for brides and other special occasions.