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ShopLocalSD: M Bride

M Bride: all hand-made gowns.
Photo by Rebekah Sager

No matter how the economy may be doing, woman will always want the fantasy storybook wedding. Let’s face it--it’s all about the dress.

When Michelle Martin opened bridal boutique M Bride in La Jolla six years ago, dresses were going for a lot more than today. In 1987 the average cost of a bridal gown was $800. In flush times, the cost had crept up to an average of about $5,000. Today we’re averaging around $2,000. Despite those prices, Martin says 2011 will be her brightest yet—guess we haven’t lost all hope.

With department stores being the place most brides visit when shopping for the big day, this writer can’t help but think--it’s Martin herself that sells these dresses.

A Detroit girl with a truck driver’s mouth, this chick tells it like it is. “I don’t blow smoke up someone’s ass," she says. "I’ve been blogged about. If a gown looks like shit on you, I’m gonna’ freakin’ tell you. And I think brides respect that.”

If it doesn't look good, the owner will tell you.
Photo by Rebekah Sager

Martin is also her own quality control. She’ll only sell gowns that are hand-made in the U.S. “None are mass-produced in China," she says. "I respect the artistry of it. I worked in designer showrooms, and know how hard those people work."

In L.A., she worked for Coce Voci and St. Pucci.

Martin believes the most important thing about a wedding gown isn’t how much you spend on it, but how good you look in it. “Whatever your budget, find something that fits your body and your personality,” says Martin.

Trends in dresses don’t change wildly. Although, brides aren’t choosing as much white anymore--more antique ivory, and latte. Strapless gowns are the cornerstones of the industry thanks to Vera Wang’s collection in 1992, and the one-shoulder 1950s style gowns have made a huge comeback.

Veils are tricky. “The dress is the painting, and the accessories are the frame,” says Martin. “Don’t spend five grand on a dress and then go buy some cheap looking Quinceanera looking veil,” says Martin.

Her major pet peeve is the bride that scrimps on great foundation garments. “If I hear one more time from some bride that she doesn’t want to wear a real strapless bra with a bodice because she doesn’t want to be “un-comfortable,” I’m going to freakin’ scream," she says. "It’s awedding, you’re not supposed to be comfortable."

Martin, who lives in jeans, is not married. When she’s asked, she answers as only she can: “Fuck no, I’ve lived over a thousand weddings. I’ve got Liz Taylor beat.”

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  • City: La Jolla, Ca 92037
  • Phone: (858) 551-1718
  • Name: M Bride
  • Address: 702 Pearl Ave.