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“When I started dress shopping, I was like, ‘if I get married it has to be in Galia Lahav,’” says Simone Biles, to Vogue during her final fitting at the Galia Lahav flagship store in New York City. - Simone Biles
But, for her May 6 destination dream wedding to football player Jonathan Owens in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the Olympic gold medalist shopped not one, but four dresses from multiple collections. (The couple had officially tied the knot earlier at a relaxed civil ceremony in Houston, Texas in April.) The then-bride-to-be’s dress journey actually started across the country.
“She went to the L.A. store, and she found two dresses that she loved,” says Galia Lahav Creative Director Sharon Sever, who worked closely with Biles to customize her wedding wardrobe “for what she wants, and what she likes.”
For her ceremony dress, Biles was immediately drawn to the Gimaya gown from the Do Not Disturb collection.
“I was like, ‘This is definitely my style,’” Biles tells Vogue, in a video shot at the gleaming Soho flagship. “I like the sheer, I like how it fits, and then the little pearl details, I love the pearls. If there’s something else I wanted at my wedding, it’s flowers and pearls.”
In working with his superstar client, Sever modified the dress straps, embellished with delicate florals and beading, to sit on the shoulders. He also changed the color to a champagne-hue to celebrate her wedding color palette and adjusted the high-leg-slit to create more length. “The higher [the slit], the sexier…and the taller I look,” says Biles.
“It was very important to her to see how she walks in the dresses,” says Sever, of working closely with Biles, who was “very focused” during the fittings. “Basically, the things that were important to her are the things that are important to us: That the bride will feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful.”
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Well, goal accomplished, as Biles told Vogue, while wearing the wedding gown made just for her:
“This is exactly how brides are supposed to feel–luxurious, beautiful, kind of on top of the world.”
The Galia Lahav team also custom-designed a matching cathedral length veil for the gown. “To give her something unique and special,” says Sever. Against the backdrop of lush florals and blue sky, Biles wore the tulle layers veil clipped at the back of her hair, adorning her long waves.
Sever was also impressed by the gymnast’s proven eye for fashion and design with her second gown selection, the Maya, a body-con mermaid silhouette, also blooming with exquisite floral-appliqués. The newlywed donned the alluring dress to pose for photos with guests, including U.S. Olympic teammate Aly Raisman, and cut the cake during the reception. “I love the fact that she grasped right away that there is a liaison between [the gowns],” says Sever. “That both dresses tell a story.” He explains that the “whimsical” nature of the more ethereal A-line Gimaya feels ideal for an outdoor beach paradise ceremony. “The second one is a glammed up version of it,” he adds.
Party dresses were also in order, starting with a shimmering G-502 gown from the Gala collection, sparkling with metallic sequined embroidery on beaded lace. “A soft, flowy bias-cut dress,” says Sever, about the A-line dress that caught all the lights on the dancefloor.
Captured on Owens’ friend’s Instagram Stories captioned “The power couple have arrived,” Biles debuted her rehearsal party look before sunset: a dazzling silver strapless mini-dress. “It’s a super glam, sparkly hand-beaded dress,” says Sever, about the Jill, from the evening collection, which he also modified for Biles.
Walking hand-in-hand with Owens, who wore a white shorts suit and sneakers, Biles just stunned in the mini, also adorned with fluttering feathers. Sever and Biles made tweaks to the ultimate party frock by creating an edgy asymmetrical hemline and adding delicate spaghetti straps.
Sever looks back on the expansive project fondly and thinks that. Galia Lahav and Biles make a perfect match, like the happy couple.
“The presence, the confidence,” says Sever, about Biles exemplifying the Galia Lahav spirit. “We believe in female empowerment. She's a superstar. After all, a gold medalist is a gold medal for us.”
wedding planner: @carenatrampe @amyabbottevents
wedding content creator: @ninasalci