A vivacious ball of bubbly energy, the multitasking Durham styled models for the fashion shoot and the show while sharing this bit of wedding trivia:
"You have to remember," he extolled, "white dresses are relatively new to brides in general. Queen Victoria, in the late 1800s, was the first to wear white. Not only did she show off the shoulders and décolleté, she also showed an ankle in a white gown!
As for what is "in" this year, Durham and Watters brought some of the most popular dresses in their line for the "Say I Do" fashion show.
The hottest things on the bridal runway this year are "sheer bodices with light embellishment, natural waistlines and soft, pleated skirts," Durham said.
"We're finding that sashes are important and beading -- light, demure beading -- makes a lot of brides feel mature. It is a throwback to a vintage look."
The sweetheart neckline still rules, he said, but the jewel neckline with a sheer bodice is making a comeback.
And, thanks to the lasting fashion influence of Pippa Middleton, seen by the world at her sister's royal wedding, "Cap sleeves and portrait collars are also in. ... It is very much a return to an organic feel."
This return to classic styling and a more traditional look is also evident in the color choice for wedding gowns.
"Brides don't mind a hint of color, but most still want pastel. Ninety-five percent of our brides are wearing ivory."
At the same time, they still want their weddings and gowns to stand out as unique.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.
"You can lead a horse to water ...," Durham said, trailing off with a raised eyebrow.
"A gown is like a car," he added. "You can entrust it to someone, but how they keep it is up to them!"
To spend the afternoon with Durham is to get an education in all things fashion. He worked his way up through the industry, from personal shopper to master stylist, and he has learned a great deal along the way.
But it's clear there is still a West Virginia boy inside.
Durham's down-home charm was evident in his chatty style and the way he welcomed the fashion show attendees. He stayed until the last person in line had an opportunity for photos and autographs, and graciously offered to let potential brides try on any of the styles they had seen on the runway.
"Monte can make anyone feel like a princess!" said Amy Franzer, another bride-to-be.
Born in Oak Hill, Durham and his husband, Jack, still maintain a house in Raleigh County. "I don't get back as much as I like, but when I cross that state line I breathe a sigh and think, 'There truly is no place like home.'"
Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopk...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.