One need only glimpse the tailored couture collection of Renne Phillips to understand why she sees herself as more of a “dress sculptor” than a designer. These gowns embrace the arc of the breast and the curve of the hips before cascading to their formal length.
“I have always liked the word ‘couture’ because it describes highly designed, unique, one-of-a-kind dresses all in one word,” she says.
Renne started young, making costumes in high school before going to San Francisco’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. After that, she brought her couture aesthetic to Eugene, a town more known for sports apparel, tie-dyed shirts and recycling. She now tries to incorporate a lot of upcycled materials in her dresses—something she says that she’s picked up from living in Eugene. “It’s a combination of being inspired by finding and using the materials and letting those materials determine the direction of the dress,” Phillips notes.
When working on custom wedding gowns, she prefers silks to other fabrics. Ultimately though, it’s about the weight and fluidity of the garment, she says. “I have a lot of love, and I feel that I can put a lot of that energy into pieces that are all about love.”