THE SHAPE OF THINGS
Chicago Loft Venues sat down with Maria Rubino, owner of Luxe Bridal Rack (LBR) in Logan Square, to bend her ear on all things spring bridal fashion—and how to bring the fun back to big-day dress shopping.
CLV: What sets Luxe Bridal Rack apart from the other wedding dress boutiques around town?
MR: Whether her budget is $1,500 or $10,000, every girl deserves a beautiful, high-quality dress and bridal shopping experience to boot. Here at LBR, we are a tight-knit team of expert stylists who live and breathe all things bridal! In addition to having our undivided attention, what truly makes us unique and sets us apart from any other salon is that we offer three different shopping concepts in one store—ready-to-order dress selections, off-the-rack options and our bridal vault gowns [a combo of our made-to-order and higher end off-the-rack collections]. Our wide range of options and prices make it inevitable that you’ll find the dress of your dreams!
CLV: Who is the designer to watch for spring/summer 2020 wedding dresses that wow?
MR: Hands down, Yaniv Persy! His collections are haute couture, unique, trendy-yet-timeless and everlastingly elegant. Better still, his Lavish and Destinations collections are highly accessible in terms of price point.
CLV: We’re big fans of your off-the-rack offerings of overstock and sample gowns. Walk us through the savings potential… Can it be challenging to find your size?
MR: Our off-the-rack selection of gowns is thoughtfully hand-chosen from some of the world’s leading bridal designers, and many times are complete designer overstock, which translates into a 25-75 percent value off of the original, retail price. Our inventory is in constant rotation with new looks steadily coming in. Our goal is to ensure that our clients can always find a gown in their size, on their budget and, most importantly, that exceeds their vision.
CLV: Speaking of size inclusivity… How does Luxe Bridal Rack ensure that it has dresses for all body shapes and sizes? And what is your sizes range?
MR: LBR is totally size inclusive. To be transparent, the majority of our samples in-store are between a bridal size 8, 10 or 12. But all of our ready-to-order collection gowns can be custom ordered up to a bridal size 24. And if the designer charges for additional sizing, we will cover the fee on the house.
CLV: What are you most excited about right now from your ready-to-order offerings?
MR: The designers that we carry exclusively in-store in Chicago, including Yaniv Persy, Caroline Castigliano, Riki Dalal and Wona. I think it’s a common misconception that to have an amazing wedding gown there needs to be a celebrity designer name on the tag. These designers’ dresses rival the Vera Wangs and the Monique Lhuilliers of the world—you just need to give them a chance!
CLV: Now let’s talk accessories… What are the veil and headpiece trends for 2020? And are there any fashion jewelry trends that you spied on the runways that brides should be hip to?
MR: Mantilla-style lace chapel veils are really having a moment. Brides love the drama of a draped veil. At LBR, our in-house atelier can custom make Mantilla veils to perfectly match any gown. As for other statement-making accessory trends, the 2021 collection previews revealed bridal belts and sashes being manipulated as body jewelry—wrapping a belt around the wrist or, say, taking a sash up to the neck.
CLV: Luxe Bridal Rack has a reputation for making bridal fittings fun. How do you take the stress out of finding the perfect dress?
MR: Step one is doing our homework—staying on top of trends and knowing what will work for different brides and different body types. Step two is listening intently to our brides. We will always guide our brides through our showroom selection, but we also pull throughout the fitting after listening to her feedback. A lot of girls equate the LBR experience to shopping with their best girlfriend. We are genuine, straightforward and never pushy.