Etienne Brunel: the art of being a bride!

Light and breezy as a summer wind, unique, unforgettable, beautiful: this is the bride according to Etienne Brunel (Mireille for friends), the French designer who has created a new concept for weddings – the dress made of nonwoven fabric and paper!

Maura Leonardi

Refined, magical and special wedding gowns created through the combination of two materials rather unusual in dress-making – all the more so for wedding dresses! – Tyvek® fiber to create that light, elegant effect and more resistant paper (the one typically used for envelopes) to make the corselets that define and shape the features of the future bride. Born in Lyon, France, and raised into the world of art (her grandfather was an importer of silk from China), her distinguishing features have always been a unique style and the use of alternative materials with respect to traditional fabrics. Within the wide world of weddings, Mireille has created a new way to dress the bride.

“PARIS LA VILLE LUMIÈRE” SERVED AS HER INSPIRATION AND, after having left the city of Lyon, Mireille moved to the French capital to start her artistic career. Following her début in the world of prêt-à-porter fashion in 1982, in 1997 her desire to create something different and utterly innovative led her to open a boutique in Rue De Grenelle in the Saint Germain district, main artistic artery of Paris. And what Mireille produces is indeed art.

Brilliant and creative, the French artist designs and produces alternative models, capable of highlighting and enhancing a woman’s features with simplicity and finesse. Magical, even poetic gowns which, thanks to their simplicity and light-weight (a wedding gown weighs less than a kilogram), turn every bride into a floating angel. To inspire the artist is the desire to experiment with new materials, creating special gowns, different and unique, just as different and unique is every woman. The models are 100% filtre à lumière, indestructible, fire- and water-resistant, stain resistant and above all…. resistant to any mishap that can happen during a wedding celebration! Rhinestones, feathers, paillettes, pearls and flowers make her creations veritable works of art.


a special event which should not be translated into a conservative and monotonous one. The lightness of the material that filters the light and captures its nuances make the bride all the more radiant on the most important day of her life. Mireille’s secret lies in interpreting every woman’s personality as well as her dreams, transforming them into a light and sinuous summer cloud that highlights her natural beauty. The filtre à lumière, as Mireille habitually calls the raw material used for her creations, is a type of nonwoven fiber used in photography and is very resistant and easy to work with.

The exclusive texture of the fibers gives a three-dimensional effect. Like under the spell of a magician, at the blink of an eye, the “girl next door” bride becomes a femme fatale and vice-versa, thanks to the dress’s chameleon-like nuances. White is the protagonist for “the big day”, but colors are predominant in the design of evening gowns.

“I DO” IS WORTH A LIFETIME, and so are the dresses created by Mireille. With a little creativity, a little color and a little glue, Mireille can modify the wedding gown using darker tones or pastel colors and transform it into an elegant robe du soir, perfect for a fashionable evening out or a romantic dinner for two.

How is this possible? The answer lies in the elasticity and flexibility of Tyvek®, that allow to modify pre-existing models with colors and accessories, making for a glamorous evening gown. Changing a woman’s image and making her perfect and fascinating in every occasion: this is fashion according to the artist. Unique creations that make a woman feel ethereal, fascinating, glamorous… a princess in a fairy tale.

The nonwoven material catches the light, mixes the colors, models the body highlighting its features and creating a strong visual impact. Mireille alone – sole designer working with this type of material – knows the techniques of workmanship, sewing and collage that allow to transform the wedding dress into an evening gown, or to simply “restore” it after some time. In the hands of the artist, the impermeable, fire- and water-resistant, washable and above all recyclable material becomes a collector’s piece. Purchaser of Brunel creations are usually enterprising, strong and creative women, looking to depart from the “usual” fashion and find the gown that best expresses their personality.

For Mireille Brunel, the guiding principles are simplicity and naturalness. For this reason, her gowns highlight a woman’s features by adhering to the body and at the same time being as light as a feather. To make the gowns more precious, Mireille also uses Chantilly lace together with the nonwoven material, or even soft and delicate silk, capable of conferring an even lighter and more elegant aspect to her creations. Some light make-up and an extravagant and modern hair style complete and enrich the ensemble!

Etienne Brunel gowns are obviously unique and inimitable. The fascinating little boutique in Saint Germain represents the window through which to show the world her creations while the real laboratory is located at the Maison Blanche, her home as well as her atelier. Immersed in the green countryside and tranquillity thirty kilometers from Paris (more precisely in Saint Rémy- Lès-Chevreuse), the Maison Blanche, a Palladienne-style villa, represents a sanctuary from Parisian chaos where Mireille can work, design and create.

THE WARM, LIVELY AND WELCOMING ATMOSPHERE of the Maison allows Mireille to receive customers in all tranquillity before the inevitable start of the pre-wedding stress. Simply and elegantly furnished, the Maison helps the artist to relax and to escape form the daily routine, finding the right inspiration for every collection.

A luminous haven, enveloped in the silence that reflects the artist’s universe. The décors of the rooms, the tables, the windows, made in the same fabric as the gowns, confer the ambience a fairy-tale aspect which serves also as an inspiration for the wedding reception. The gown model can be chosen exclusively on appointment and the future bride should preferably be accompanied for that all-important bridal gown advice… preferably by the mother.

Delivery time is from six to nine months, depending on the particularity and complexity of the gown.

If being unique and inimitable on your wedding day is what you’re searching for, then all you need to do is go to Paris and visit the Boutique of Etienne Brunel! •

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