The name Anita Benes, Daalarna Couture’s designer, is undoubtedly familiar to all the fans of the brand. But did you know that originally she didn’t plan to become a wedding dress designer? Can you guess what colour her wedding dress was? Not white, that much we can tell you now. Read on to discover some of Anita’s best-kept secrets!
A year in a carpet factory
„After finishing an arts secondary school I went on to the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. I didn’t get accepted the first time so at my parents’ advice I worked as a carpet design assistant at Sopron’s carpet factory for a year. In practice I was a factory worker just like the others. I had to work in each of the departments on a weekly rotation, and I cannot say it was my favourite workplace. No matter how much I cried and begged my parents that I didn’t want to do it they were invincible. Today looking back I view that year in a different light: I learned many useful things including how to be consistent which is a trademark of my work today. “
“In the end I didn’t give up, I applied again to the university, and this time I got the answer I was hoping for!”
Originally fashion design was not a conscious decision
“In the beginning fashion design was only my minor, my major was in textiles. The turning point came one day in May when my love announced that he had won a scholarship from the French government, and would study for one year in Paris. The idea of being apart for this length of time was so appalling to me that I checked out the scholarship opportunities too! First of all, I didn’t find anything that appealed to me because there were only possibilities for product designers. However, I was so determined that after a while my teachers saw how committed I was, and they changed the tender on condition that if I had a professional recommendation they would let me go.
So I arrived in Paris which totally changed my worldview. I had the chance to see the biggest fashion shows firsthand, of course not because anyone would have invited a student like me. But one of my French friends had a friend and I looked a little like her, so I got into the fashion show with her invitation! These defining and shaping experiences made me realize that fashion is not simply about which colour and style will be the trend in a given year.
There is great significance to what we wear, what message we convey, and it is also interesting to see how this becomes a business, how an idea is transferred and transformed from the haute couture right down to a department store.”
The first wedding dress
“The first wedding dress I made was for a regular client, for whom I had earlier designed suits for her business wardrobe. When she got engaged she wanted to have a wedding dress that reflected her style, and so it was that at her request I started to research and investigate which direction was worth exploring. This was the point when I realized what an exciting area this is, and how much I enjoy it. The final result was a light green floss A-line strappy dress with a little tulip motif.”
Source of inspiration
“I am basically driven by my emotions, I do not have consciously market-driven plans. I am inspired by new things appearing in the world- could be a new restaurant, a film, a book, a technical development or the arts. I always follow these areas with interest, and I am always consciously concerned about what influences peoples’ feelings and emotions, for example, a conversation with a client may be very revealing. It is interesting how the theme of weddings is changing from year to year, and how what people would like to express on their Big Day is also changing. Human dynamics is very important in my work, it is a strange feeling when my teenage son draws my attention to a new brand!”
“The other defining factor in design is what trends are reigning in the world. In reality, almost anything can influence them, a series, a film star or even a presidential election. We have an incredible effect on each other, and this is all predictable, observable and measurable.”
Where did the name Daalarna come from?
“Daalarna is the name of a Swedish region, found north of Stockholm. When I founded my wedding dress business I was sure about two things. One of them was that my name will not be over the door, the other was that I do not want to design princess style wedding dresses- though I had to change my mind about that one, at least partly!”
“The Scandinavian name evokes the clear milieu of the region, and represents the strong bonding between shape and function, which has been in me right from the beginning.”
Anita Benes’ wedding dress
“My wedding was held before the founding of Daalarna. At that time I wasn’t working as a wedding dress designer, and I wasn’t the romantic type who is at home in the world of weddings. I had a favourite material shop in Vienna which I visited with my father. There they showered us with all kinds of white lace and silk, but I simply could not picture myself in any of them. Finally, I moved on to the evening dresses where I fell in love with a dark blue dress. I asked my father what he would think if I got married in it, to which he simply replied: “I always knew you wouldn’t get married in a normal dress!” It was many years later I heard there is a superstition that blue brings luck at a wedding.”