For more than a decade, Veronica Prida has created elaborate gowns 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 had trouble finding the hair accessories she wanted for her wedding. Da’Vero offers tiaras, hair vines and pins, veils, and boutonnieres featuring painted brass flowers adorned with pearls and crystals. The ornaments are whimsical as well as versatile. “We’ve already heard from a couple of brides,” Prida says, “who are planning to wear the tiara as a necklace on their anniversary.” And in February, Da’Vero launched a limited Fiesta Collection of small flower tiaras, pins, and other hair accessories, available exclusively at San Antonio’s Limatus Bespoke during April. We talked to Prida, whose studio is in Olmos Park Terrace, about her process and 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 was getting married during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was having a hard time finding what she wanted. She asked me if we could make her accessories and the bridesmaids’ accessories. Then Bianca said, “We’ve always talked about this line, and right now you have time,” so we decided to partner on it.
TM: Is the collection purely bridal?
VP: It started as bridal because of what we do in the studio, which is very intricate and handmade. The mainstay of the collection is soft, but I made a few pieces that were really colorful, which then [made us realize] that it doesn’t really need to be bridal. We were able to sell to people who wanted to wear them to a party or every day.
TM: To what do you attribute your love of color?
VP: I don’t know; I think it’s just in me. Some people gravitate toward beige, and for me, lime green is where you start.
TM: Whom are you designing for?
VP: I think it’s more of a state of mind. We’ve had clients in their seventies buy a colorful tiara for a party, and we’ve had young women getting married buying the same tiara. It speaks to them. We [originally] thought our target was young brides. The truth is, we’ve been surprised by who’s buying.
TM: What about this work brings you the most joy?
VP: What gives me a lot of satisfaction is when people actually see the work up close. When they come to the studio, they can see the detail of the beading for the veils, the stitching, or even the flowers that are all hand-painted. They appreciate that and feel it’s something they’re going to keep for a while.
TM: Customization is a big part of the Da’Vero experience. What are some of the ways you’re personalizing pieces?
VP: We had a bride that brought a pair of bright pink shoes she’s going to wear with her wedding dress, so she wanted the tiara to work with the shoes. On the veils we can always put a little sentiment on them or a word or date that means something. For guys, we made these beautiful milagro hearts that are hand-embroidered into their tuxedo jacket and have the date of their wedding or their initials—so every time they wear that tuxedo they have that little reminder.
TM: I know you’ve said previously that flowers are your first love. When did that start?
VP: I must have been twelve or thirteen years old, and I got an allowance from my parents. I walked straight to the flower shop, and I bought a huge, huge arrangement and brought it home. My mom was kind of shocked. To me, that was a really good way to spend it. I’ve always been attracted to the outdoors and to flowers in particular.
TM: What does the process of making a Da’Vero piece look like?
VP: For the metal pieces, it starts with an assortment of brass flowers and lots of paint. I paint a couple hundred flowers at a time because there are fifty in one tiara. It’s a process that takes about four days because they have to dry between layers. Then all the center flowers get made separately with pearls and beads. It’s a lot of steps for each one. It’s sort of like a puzzle. I’ve learned to expedite the process by having enough of everything made ahead of time. Like a painter, you want to have all your colors available before you paint.
TM: Can you share the meaning behind the name Da’Vero and any symbolism you’ve stitched in, such as the four-leaf clovers that accompany every piece?
VP: Family and close friends have always called me Vero instead of Veronica. Davvero translates as “true” from Italian, and it’s a play on words to mean “coming from or belonging to Vero” from the Spanish de Vero. The four-leaf clover is something that as a young girl I knew was a symbol of good luck, so I spent countless hours looking for them. I still have the one I found in my grandmother’s garden over fifty years ago. Throughout my life I’ve come across them at important moments, and I’ve always taken them as a symbol of either I’m in the right place or I’m following the right path. If you look at our logo, there’s also a swallow. Growing up in Mexico City, there was a place in my house where every spring the swallows would come build their nests. Whenever I see swallows, it brings back really good memories. To me, this line was important, and those little reminders are important too.
An abbreviated version of this article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Eternal Blooms.” Subscribe today.