On 16 July 2022 – two years after the original date and a micro wedding later – Vanessa Axente and Rahil Gupta were finally able to hold their long-awaited wedding party in Budapest, which was attended by guests from all over the world, including South America and Australia. The beautiful Hungarian top model, who recently launched her own brand, was the first to tell Secret Stories about her unique Daalarna dress and the details of the wedding.
What locations did you choose for the big day?
Vanessa Axente: Since our guest list was very international and many of them visited Budapest for the first time, our most important aspect was to show them the most beautiful and exciting parts of my beautiful city. Accordingly, on Thursday we started with a cruise on the Danube. On Friday evening we continued the celebration at the Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers perhaps the most beautiful view of the entire city, not to mention the special historical buildings of the Castle District or the Matthias Church. In addition, we have compiled a Budapest Guide for our guests, in which we have collected our favourite places in Budapest with Rahil, including museums, walking routes, restaurants and other exciting programs.
On Saturday, the Kiscelli Museum was the location of our wedding, which turned out to be a really bold and unusual choice, and that’s exactly why Rahil and I fell in love with it. The ceremony itself was held at the entrance of the museum, in the sculpture garden, which continued with a cocktail hour in the garden, and the dinner and the evening party were organized in the old church hall. The building looked spectacular with its minimal, greenery-style decor, which was made special and intimate by chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, hundreds of candles and the play of lights.
You could have chosen any designer in the world to make your wedding dress. Why did you chose Daalarna designer Anita Benes?
Vanessa Axente: Actually, I always knew that I wanted to get married in a Daalarna dress. I worked with Anita Benes for the first time at the age of fifteen, and that’s when I got to know Daalarna. I really liked the beautiful dresses, and Anita was also very nice. I decided then that if I ever got married, I wanted to wear a Daalarna dress. I always followed the new collections and I really look up to Anita for building such a successful company on an international level.
What can you tell us about the style of your wedding dress?
Vanessa Axente: As a model, I have tried on countless wedding dresses, and I have noticed that many styles become uncomfortable after a while, or it is difficult to sit down and move in them. Therefore, my most important aspects were comfort and practicality during the selection, as well as the fact that my dress should be light enough for a summer wedding, so although they look great, long-sleeved versions were out of the question. What was also important to me was that I could easily dance in my wedding dress, because I didn’t want a separate dress for this purpose.
So taking all my points into account, Anita designed me a two-in-one style dress with a beautiful high neck lace top and a light airy skirt, which I wore a bigger skirt over for the ceremony, and for the evening party, I changed it up and could dance freely until dawn.
Vanessa Axente is a Hungarian top model. In February 2012, at age 16, Vanessa opened Prada’s fall-winter 2012 show. After this, she was promptly booked on an exclusive with world-renowned photographer, Steven Meisel. Vanessa would also go on to walk the runway for brands like Miu Miu, Valentino, Celine, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and Givenchy. She appeared in campaigns for top fashion brands including Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Victoria Beckham, Prada, Stella McCartney, DKNY, and Calvin Klein. Vanessa also graced the cover of magazines such as Vogue US, Vogue Italy, ELLE France, Vogue Japan and Harper’s Bazaar Singapore.
Designer Anita Benes’ thoughts on making Vanessa Axente’s wedding dress
Do you remember the first time you met Vanessa Axente?
Anita Benes: Vanessa was fifteen years old when I first saw her on the website of her mother agency. I immediately fell in love with her radiance and asked her to be the model for our latest collection. During the photo shoot, together with the photographers, we raved about Vanessa’s perfect genes, instinctive talent and discipline. We even noted that “Vanessa, you won’t be here next year.” And really, that was the last time she could be in a Daalarna campaign because a few months later she became a rising star and got exclusive contracts with Steven Meisel and others that prevented me from working with her. But I always watched her successes with great joy and pride. It gave me a good feeling that I saw the potential in her even when she was not yet a world-famous top model.
What do you think Vanessa owes her success to?
Anita Benes: In addition to having all the external features that make her one of the most beautiful models, Vanessa is perfect without effort. This exceptional beauty is accompanied by a wonderful personality: she is present at every moment during the work and works together with the crew to make the concept come true. She is able to instinctively immerse herself in the given task and become one with it. This is the difference between a professional model and us ordinary people: one can immediately notice that we are being photographed, while a good model blends in with all the other elements of the concept as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Vanessa already sensed this at the age of 15.
How does it feel now, ten years later, that she came back and asked you to design her wedding dress?
Anita Benes: I think any world-famous designer would be happy to design a dress for Vanessa, so it made me very happy that she came home and asked us at Daalarna to make her wedding dress. Of course, we are happy to make each and every dress for our guests, but this past connection, that we worked together with Vanessa ten years ago, made the designing process even more emotional. She was a teenage girl when we first met, and now a grown woman walked into the Daalarna salon.
What aspects did you take into account during the design?
Anita Benes: My most important aspect was that the dress should not dominate her, but that everyone should pay attention to how beautiful she is, and that every single detail of the dress should enhance her beauty.
Of course, any style looks good on Vanessa, but during the design, we tried to highlight her most beautiful features, such as her beautiful, long arms and elegant neck. To emphasize these parts a bit, I played with the top of the dress, so the lace could creep down her shoulders and follow the curve of her neck.
How was this two-in-one style wedding dress made?
Anita Benes: For the upper part, we chose one of our iconic laces. The entire top is hand-made, with each lace flower applied one by one by the Daalarna team. With the two-in-one skirt, we wanted to achieve a princess look for the ceremony with a big skirt and the train. Because it was detachable, Vanessa could easily change it to a lighter and more airy skirt, so that she could dance in it all night long.
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