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Maid For More

Designer Natalie Deayala debuts a line of bridesmaid gowns to be worn long after the big day. No, really! 

FROCK STAR Houston native Natalie Deayala, photographed at nearly nine months pregnant in her current city of San Francisco

Most bridesmaid dresses are infamously worn just once before spending the rest of their days collecting dust in the back of a closet. Houston-reared fashion designer Natalie Deayala, 28, didn’t want the bridesmaid dresses selected for her wedding to suffer a similar fate, but she struggled to find fashionable alternatives to dated or garish gowns that so often turn bridesmaids into fashion victims. 

“I was wedding-planning, looking for bridesmaid dresses and job-hunting,” explains Deayala, who relocated from New York to San Francisco in the middle of her engagement to now-husband Andrew. “And then it all kind of clicked.” Instead of buying her bridesmaid dresses, she decided she’d draw upon her experience as a Calvin Klein showroom coordinator and design them herself.

After photos of her big day—including pics of her maids in effortlessly elegant taupe column gowns—were featured on the popular blog Style Me Pretty last spring, her inbox was flooded with requests from brides and boutiques eager to get their hands on Deayala’s dresses. At the time, Deayala was only selling a handful of styles on her website. But when retailer Bella Bridesmaid contacted her with an offer to sell her designs in more than two dozen of its stores nationwide—including the one in her native Houston—Deayala debuted a full line. “The response we’ve received has been pretty unreal,” says the striking green-eyed brunette. 

All of the pieces in the Natalie Deayala Collection ($200 to $400) were created with a specific client in mind. “She’s a modern girl,” says the designer. “She’s likes simple, clean and sophisticated looks.” The minimalist dresses—there are classic knee- and floor-length frocks, plus minis, rompers and separates—are versatile enough to be reworn to a variety of non-nuptial occasions. Many brides-to-be find winning looks for their wedding party and also end up ordering outfits to wear to their own rehearsal dinners or showers. 

In the coming months, Deayala—who gave birth to daughter Margot in May, her and Andrew’s first—plans on introducing several new styles to the collection, in addition to working on a new line for flower girls. For this young designer, it’s all about making a bridesmaid feel comfortable and confident on her best friend’s big day. Says Deayala, “We can help any girl, no matter what size or shape, find something that she feels good in.” 

I DO...
Drink tons of coffee; think bridesmaids should actually like the dress; believe in creating the job you want to have—it’s possible!

I DON’T...
Think friends should make their friends wear ugly dresses; abide by the “no white after Labor Day” rule; wear prints