By Kelley Walker Perry, Contributing Writer
BOSTON – As a boy in upstate New York, Daniel Faucher raced other neighborhood children on bicycles to St. Mary’s Catholic Church when a wedding was scheduled. Everyone wanted to catch the first glimpse of the bride as she emerged.
These days, he is always first to see the bride.
An early start with sewing
His maternal grandmother lived two doors down and taught him to sew. First, he created childhood costumes; then he stitched prom dresses for neighbors. But his first serious design work was for his older sister, Anne. It was a Bob Mackie-inspired semiformal gown―black, with a shockingly low pearl backdrop necklace.
He started designing under his own label in 1985. Since then, Daniel Faucher Couture gowns have been worn across the globe―from inaugural balls in the United States to events at Buckingham Palace. The late Linda Cole Petrosian―fashion icon Yolanda Cellucci’s daughter and one of Boston’s top models―often modeled Faucher’s gowns. His work has been showcased during Boston Fashion Week and featured in Brides magazine, Women’s Wear Daily and New England Bride.
“I adore bridal,” he said.
Gowns start at $1800; he requests a budget from clients before showing fabrics.
“We only work in the best fabrics possible. I love organza and taffeta―lightweight, crisp, sheer fabrics. But there’s a difference between four-ply crepe and six-ply crepe,” he said.
Fully beaded and appliquéd fabric costs around $80 a yard; a muslin mock-up reveals imperfections in the fit. Clients see renderings of the design and samples of handcrafted beadwork. Only then does construction of the final gown begin.
Clients must commit to at least three fittings.
“No one has ever suffered from an extra fitting,” he said.
His design philosophy
Some brides starve themselves before their wedding day; others binge eat from nervous tension; and just seven pounds’ difference equals a dress size. Faucher believes that every woman is beautiful―regardless of size―and deserves a gown that makes her feel that way.
“We’ve moved so far beyond men telling women what they should wear,” he said. “I’ve learned to listen and try to make a dress where people say, not ‘That’s a beautiful dress,’ but ‘Wow, you look fantastic.’ ”
Sometimes he uses a small piece of lace from the mother’s gown as an appliqué, repurposes buttons or adds antique jewelry to honor the past and personalize the new dress or petticoat. In fact, the bridal petticoat is itself made into a special heirloom.
“A blue bow belongs underneath the heart, and a piece of the grandmother’s lace,” he said.
The petticoat is intended to be reused as a bassinet cover for the couple’s first baby. Faucher, who has no children of his own, is touched by such sentimental details.
“I get caught up in it all,” he said.
Taking a step back
Faucher suffered a brain aneurysm in 2004. No lasting effects remain, but he quit participating in Fashion Week and producing work to sell in stores.
“The extra hubbub just was really too much,” he said. “It made for an easier work-life balance.”
Most of the work done at his Waltham Street studio is bridal wear, although Faucher doesn’t just “do weddings.” He is a senior instructor and co-director of education at the School of Fashion Design in Boston; creates custom gowns; and does an occasional “trunk show,” taking samples to high-end boutique stores that have referred clients to him for years.
When the pandemic temporarily eliminated the need for bridal gowns and evening attire, Faucher used his needle and thread to make fashionable masks. The proceeds from those sales paid the bills and helped provide medical masks for Boston-area healthcare workers and caretakers.
But his magic is back at the drawing board.
“People are planning large-scale weddings and formal events―and they need the gowns to match,” he said. “For us, bridal season is Labor Day to Columbus Day. But this year, we’re busy straight through the beginning of January.”
Faucher, who just turned 61, noted that more weddings are being booked for March and April.
“Who gets married in March in New England?” he quipped.