When the ever-crafty Chelsea Lovett planned her wedding in 2011, she kept getting stuck on one key detail: She couldn’t find the dress of her dreams. “It was post-recession, and there weren’t as many shops as there are now,” she says. “Stubbornly, I said I wanted to design my own dress—and I just took to it.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, she spent a year of evenings after her job at a law firm learning the finer details of couture and sewing with fiddly fabrics like silk and chiffon. And after a few friends fell in love with Lovett’s dress and asked her to make their bridal gowns too, she took the plunge and started her own brand.
Nearly a decade later, Modehaus Bridal has grown into a full-on bridal shop and design studio in the Northrup King Building, where Lovett and her four employees design, create, and alter bespoke gowns for clients all over the country. “We really spend the time and a high level of attention to detail on each garment,” Lovett says. “It’s such an important time in an engaged person’s life, and it’s really beautiful to be a part of it.”
Clients can book appointments to shop and try on Modehaus’s sample gowns from current and past collections just like at any other bridal shop, but since each gown is custom-made for the person who will wear it, Lovett and team can have a little fun with the shopping process. “We get creative during fittings,” she says. “I can run in the back and grab a piece of lace, and we can play around with where the placement is, or I can pick up a piece of fabric and drape it over the neckline to see if we like this shape or that shape.”
And Lovett says that even though most of her designs lean toward understated elegance—fine silks sewn into A-lines, lace swathed into delicate sleeves—she can create just about anything her clients want. Her one steadfast rule? “I never want the dress to overshadow the wearer,” she says. “It’s supposed to come alive once it’s on the body, and I always design with that in mind.”
Lovett’s latest collection, She Speaks for Herself, is her most personal yet. It was inspired by the pendulum of anguish and love she experienced as she cared for her dad during his cancer treatment and the grief she felt after his death a few years ago. “It really halted my creative process,” she says. “But experiencing the ups and downs of grief, it started to spill out, and my medium is dresses. I had so many women who were so good to me during that time, so helpful and loving and supportive, and they inspired me as well. Some of the dresses are named after them.”
Lovett’s creative juices haven’t stopped flowing: Watch for Modehaus’s next collection, debuting early this year (the first in an expanded size range, from 0 to 34), on the brand’s socials and website.
Northrup King Building, 1500 NE Jackson St., Mpls., modehausbridal.com
February 23, 2023