For more than a decade, Veronica Prida has created elaborate dresses and crowns for the reigning royalty of San Antonio’s annual Fiesta celebration. Last year, the Mexico City native launched Da’Vero Bridal with friend Bianca Calvert after Calvert’s daughter struggled to find the hair accessories she wanted for her wedding. Da’Vero offers tiaras, vines and hairpins, veils and boutonnieres with painted brass flowers adorned with pearls and crystals. Ornaments are whimsical and versatile. “We’ve already heard of a few brides,” Prida says, “planning to wear the tiara as a necklace for their anniversary.” And in February, Da’Vero launched a limited Fiesta collection of tiny flower tiaras, pins and other hair accessories, available exclusively at Limatus Bespoke in San Antonio in April. We spoke to Prida, whose studio is in Olmos Park Terrace, about her process and her inspiration.
Texas Monthly: How did you meet your business partner, Bianca Calvert?
Veronica Prida: We both worked in retail for many years and became friends. When Bianca’s daughter got married during the COVID-19 pandemic, she struggled to find what she wanted. She asked me if we could make her accessories and the accessories for the bridesmaids. Then Bianca said, “We’ve always talked about this line, and right now you have time,” so we decided to team up.
TM: Is the collection purely bridal?
vice-president: It started as a wedding because of what we do in the studio, which is very intricate and handmade. The mainstay of the collection is soft, but I did some very colorful pieces, which then [made us realize] that it’s not really need to be married. We were able to sell to people who wanted to wear them to a party or every day.
TM: What do you attribute your love of color to?
vice-president: I do not know; I think it’s just in me. Some people gravitate towards beige, and for me, lime green is the starting point.
TM: For whom do you create?
vice-president: I think it’s more of a state of mind. We’ve had clients in their 60s who bought a colorful tiara for a party, and we’ve had young women who got married and bought the same tiara. It speaks to them. We [originally] I thought our target was young brides. The truth is that we were surprised by who buys.
TM: What gives you the most joy in this job?
vice-president: What gives me a lot of satisfaction is when people see the work up close. When they come to the workshop, they can see the detail of the beading for the veils, the seams or even the flowers which are all painted by hand. They enjoy it and think it’s something they’ll keep for a while.
TM: Personalization is a big part of the Da’Vero experience. How do you personalize the pieces?
vice-president: We had a bride who brought a pair of hot pink shoes that she is going to wear with her wedding dress, so she wanted the tiara to work with the shoes. On the sails you can always put a little sentiment or a word or a date that means something. For the guys, we made these beautiful milagro hearts that are hand-embroidered into their tuxedo jackets and have their wedding date or initials on them. So every time they wear that tuxedo, they get that little reminder.
TM: I know you said before that flowers are your first love. When did it start?
vice-president: I must have been twelve or thirteen years old and I received an allowance from my parents. I went straight to the florist, bought a huge arrangement and took it home. My mother was a little shocked. For me, it was a really good way to spend it. I have always been drawn to the outdoors and flowers in particular.
TM: What does the manufacturing process of a Da’Vero piece look like?
vice-president: For metal parts, it starts with an assortment of brass flowers and lots of paint. I paint a few hundred flowers at a time because there are fifty in a tiara. It’s a process that takes about four days as they have to dry between coats. Then all the central flowers are made separately with beads and beads. That’s a lot of steps for everyone. It’s a bit like a puzzle. I learned to speed up the process by having enough of everything prepared in advance. Like a painter, you want to have all of your colors available before you paint.
TM: Can you share the meaning of the Da’Vero name and any symbolism you’ve stitched in, like the four-leaf clovers that come with each piece?
vice-president: My family and close friends have always called me Vero instead of Veronica. Davvero translates to “true” from Italian, and it’s a pun to mean “coming from or belonging to Vero” from Spanish by Vero. The four leaf clover is something that as a young girl was a symbol of good luck, so I spent countless hours looking for it. I still have the one I found in my grandmother’s garden over fifty years ago. Throughout my life I have encountered them at important times and have always taken them as a symbol that I am either in the right place or on the right path. If you look at our logo, there is also a swallow. Growing up in Mexico City, there was a place in my house where swallows came to build their nests every spring. Every time I see swallows, it brings back very good memories. For me, this line was important, and these little reminders are important too.
An abridged version of this article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Texas monthly with the title “Eternal Flowers.” Subscribe today.