10 Minutes With: Rubin Singer
Couture and Bridal Designer
Surrounded by frothy tulle, delicate beading, shimmering sequins and yards of lace, the search for a wedding gown is incredibly exciting but can become overwhelming. In a room full of gorgeous white dresses, it’s easy for them to start to blend together and make your decision even harder. But have no fear, that’s all about to change.
Rubin Singer, expert couturier and designer to the stars, has brought his signature style – featuring aggressive yet seductive details that empower the women who wear his creations – to the world of bridal, and the hunt for a wedding gown will never be the same.
We sat down with Rubin to discuss his family’s rich history of couture and costuming, his experience working with greats like Oscar de la Renta and the celebrity clientele that has helped put his name on the map (you may have seen Beyoncé in his leather and Chantilly lace creation onstage at the Super Bowl), as well as why he’s decided to enter the world of wedding dresses.
Brides around the world, rejoice!
How does your family history, with both your father and grandfather being couturiers, influence your work?
I grew up in the business, around my father’s work in Paris and in New York. I made my mother’s first dress when I was five. The people who worked in his atelier would show me things and teach me things. I was always floating around, watching and learning from them. Of course as an adolescent I wanted nothing to do with it, but then I circled back around to it.
I watched my father work my whole life, and his aesthetic has been ingrained in my philosophy.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Do you have a signature design element that truly makes a piece yours?
It’s a symbiosis of a few different things. There is a very strong aftertaste of couture in everything that I do. One of the biggest, most obvious feelings in my work are the elements of couture and the old-world feel. At the same time, there is a strong edge in everything that I do. A lot of my work is form-fitting and body-conscious as well as sculptural. There is a lot of attention to paneling, detailing and drape. All of the dresses I drape myself. I do all of my own sketches and all of my own prints. It’s very hands-on.
I love to combine unexpected elements. I use a lot of leathers and silks, I use contrasting colors and fabrics and create interest through surface and tension between the elements. My signature elements are probably the lines and the shapes, and the delineation of angular and soft.
Why did you decide to design a full bridal collection?
It was a slow development. I’ve always designed bridal dresses in my mind that were very outside of the box. I would do a black wedding dress and then use it as the finale of a show, but I never really told people that that’s what it was.
The first big bridal moment that I had was when my stylist at the time approached me to do a wedding dress for Cynthia Bailey for the Real Housewives of Atlanta wedding finale. I was reluctant to do it because I didn’t want to get into reality television, but I changed my mind. My caveat was that it would be a wedding dress unlike any other. We went with platinum, with an haute couture, strong silhouette with a big bow on the side. It was very dramatic. Shortly after that, I started doing a lot of private bridal clients.
It became an evolutionary experience where I started working with a lot of different kinds of brides. I had an African bride, I had a bride that was getting married at a Scottish castle, I had a bride getting married in the south of France. On the heels of that, I started developing a joint venture with a Japanese bridal house, Novarese. Over the last three years I’ve been developing, producing and promoting bridal in Japan. It’s been exploding in Asia, and it just came time for me to start focusing on bridal in the States.
It was all about my experience of all of these different kinds of brides I’ve worked with. I started to think about how I could approach, with my aesthetic, these different personalities. There are archetypal kinds of weddings and brides, and I wanted to address each one through a dress or a group of dresses in this collection.