Home Business Report Magazine Coverage – Marie Routhier Designs

Home Business Report Magazine, March, 2001

Marie Routhier Designs

By Eva Weidman

With someone like Hauge doing all the planning, the bride can turn her full attention to her wedding dress. It’s said that every bride looks beautiful, but the bride with a wedding dress designed just for her looks extra-special. It’s that feeling that Marie Routhier seeks in every one of her bridal gown designs. “I love the idea that I can make someone feel like a princess for a day,” she says. “That is the comment I most often hear.”

At 21, Routhier is an exceptionally talented young designer. She’s designed dozens of graduation gowns, wedding dresses, costumes and evening gowns for beauty pageants from Winnipeg to Newfoundland. It is her wedding gown designs that have captured the most attention, however. In fact, one of Routhier’s designs recently made the cover of Newfoundland Bride magazine. She says she prefers a simple look, not a lot of lace and beads or “cookie cutter” designs. “I want the person to wear the dress, not the dress to wear the person,” she says. “The dress shouldn’t be more noticeable than the bride.”

Routhier started designing her own skating costumes when she was 11 because her mother couldn’t afford the $90 training outfits. Other mothers started to notice the outfits and asked where they could get them, launching Routhier’s design career. When the young figure skaters got older and were looking for graduation dresses they turned back to Routhier, and are now calling her once again for wedding gowns.

Creating a one-of-a-kind wedding dress takes more than satin and lace. Routhier’s first step is to talk with the bride-to-be. “I meet with the customer to see what she looks like, what her body type is. Most important, we talk. I find out what her personality is like, and I then design the dress from those impressions.”

Although she has been sewing since she was four or five years old, Marie says that sewing is the least favourite part of her work. It is the creation of something new and different that interests her. “I never really planned to be in the fashion business until I took a fashion technology and design program in high school,” she says. “My real strengths in school were science-based courses, but I find a good understanding of mathematics is a real plus in design.”

For the upcoming year, Routhier plans to show her work at a number of wedding fashion shows, and will launch a how-to-sew book on the Internet. She is also planning a move to Newfoundland soon. “Believe it or not, I’ve found that the best way to design a wedding dress is to sit and watch icebergs,” she says. “That is where I’ve come up with my best work.”

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