- James and ViviAnn Du Fermoir-de-Monsac design nontraditional wedding outfits for every body type.
- The duo first met at a drag competition, went into business together, and married their personas.
- “We don’t just make dresses. We can do anything you’re dreaming about,” they said.
Dresses for wheelchair users, kilts for boys who like skirts, suits for heavy-metal loving grooms — these are some of the nontraditional wedding outfits that Benjamin and Cedrick, who operate under the drag names James and ViviAnn Du Fermoir-de-Monsac, created since founding their design house.
The Strasbourg duo told Insider they met in January 2020 when Cedrick (ViviAnn), was competing in a French drag race that Benjamin (James) was judging. They were both designing wedding dresses for their sisters at the time and decided to combine their creative prowess.
“Benjamin called me in the first week of the lockdown and said, ‘What do you think about building a company together and making wedding dresses for the rest of our lives?’ We’d known each other for two months but I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it,'” recalled Cedrick, who was working as a hairdresser at the time while Benjamin was a chocolatier.
The drag couple, who married their personas in the name of art but are simply friends in real life, said they greet clients in drag to show them that performance has a place outside of nightlife. They also think drag helps their clients to see “everything is possible when you love yourself.”
“The philosophy of our brand is really to make people understand that anybody deserves to feel beautiful on their wedding day,” said Cedric.
The duo meets clients for two hours before creating the custom looks where they determine “who they are, what they love, what they want, and what they don’t want.”
After this, the pair performs a “sketch battle,” where they both design a dress based on what the client has shared, before merging their sketches.
“We don’t have any boundaries. We don’t just make dresses. We can do anything you’re dreaming about,” said the designers.
Their first client was a 4-year-old boy who wanted to wear a skirt to his aunt’s wedding but his mother was worried it would attract negative attention from other guests. They made him a kilt that he now wears every day to school.
“The philosophy of our brand is really to make people understand that anybody can be beautiful and anybody deserves to be beautiful, for a wedding or any day in their life,” said Cedrick, adding that they were making a custom suit for a groom who loves heavy metal and wants it to be part of his wedding.
“We want to make people understand that fashion is for anybody. It’s not just for an elite,” he said.
Cedrick and Benjamin agree that bridalwear, and fashion in general, is made with an ideal body type in mind. They say designs often exclude people with disabilities, plus-size individuals, and old people whose bodies have changed with age.
“We already designed three dresses for people in wheelchairs, and every time it’s different because everyone has unique constraints,” said Cedrick, noting that they included a wheelchair user in their debut runway show.
When asked who influences their designs the most, Benjamin said he admired Coco Chanel, while Cedrick preferred the work of Jean Paul Gaultier and the femininity of Dior.
Despite having different tastes when it comes to industry pioneers, both designers agree that the client is their first inspiration: “We are most inspired by their universe and all aspects of their personality because we want to fit to our customers.”