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LOVE/HATE: The Twilight Wedding Gown Lite


Ha! Fooled you! This is just a random shot from one of the Twilight films. Thing is, I know there are at least three Twihards out there who haven’t seen Breaking Dawn Part One yet, and I’m not going to spoil them. You’ll have to look under the cut.
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Carolina Herrera Spring 2011 = Pure Love

Whereas my fondness for other wedding dress designers waxes and wanes, I’ve had an almost continual bridalboner for Carolina Herrera. And her Spring 2011 gowns obey the rule instead of becoming the exception. Strong, creative, and dynamic women were Herrera’s inspiration this go around, and I’d wager to say you could choose a worse set of muses. From singer Edith Piaf to sculptor Camille Claudel, from writer Jane Austen to photographer Berenice Abbott, all of these Spring 2010 wedding dresses are as bold as the ladies who inspired them while still being classical and feminine.

Carolina Herrera backstage

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A Sampling of Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2010 Gowns

I thought I’d get a gander at the Spring 2010 wedding gowns here and there since I’m notorious at not remembering to ever post about that sort of thing. Perhaps it’s just that I need to get into the habit? I figure it should be easy to remember since looking at (and sometimes laughing at) wedding gowns is so much fun, even for those of already married. Am I right, ladies?

Anyway, the usual things dominate Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2010 gowns — all across the runway board, in fact. The Spring 2010 wedding dresses are overwhelmingly strapless, for one. Where there are straps, they tend toward the skinnier side of things. As does the bride the designers probably had in mind. But there are also some pretty neat details, like polka dots, vintage detailing, and boldly patterned fabrics. Overall, it’s a lot of fun, even if some of the gowns are a tad weird.

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Barbie brides

Will Ken finally settle down?

I’m not sure if Barbie has ever had a wedding that wasn’t annulled. I mean, how many times has she donned a wedding gown only to end up swinging single once again? Poor girl probably has a complex.

Maybe Ken will finally settle down once and for all, however, when he sees his best girl in Monique LHuillier. Barbie’s custom designed gown features a white silk lace bodice, full tulle skirt and a thick satin sash in sable with a rhinestone floral brooch. Her ensemble is completed with a faux diamond engagement ring (ooh, Ken), faux diamond stud earrings, lacey underthings, and an off-white garter embellished with a blue ribbon.

But if Barbie decides at the last minute that LHuillier just isn’t for her, she can simply trade places with the Carolina Herrera bridal Barbie (who wears a beautiful, beaded gown featuring ecru corded lace) or the Badgley Mischka bridal Barbie (who wears an a-line gown embellished with iridescent beading, rhinestones and embroidery).

The importance (and unimportance) of wedding fashion

As the NY Fashionweek is nearly upon us, the lovely Lesley of Fashiontribes is hosting the pre-Fashionweek Carnivale of Couture. The topic? The State of The Fashion Union. This theme is, as Julie of Almost Girl put it, wide open to interpretation. Being that I am hot for all things bride, including the stress of being one, I want to discuss the relative importance of fashion in choosing dresses, place settings, venues, bands, and the like.

I think that, if called to, there are few people who couldn’t conjure up an image of the stereotypical wedding. In the West (or at least North America), that wedding would feature a glowing bride in a big, lacy dress marrying a fellow in a stark black tuxedo in a church. At the reception, this couple receives their guests in an orderly fashion, dances together, and then cuts into a bright-white, many-tiered cake. As designer Carolina Herrera said in an interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette, “How different can a bride really be?”

Herrera, who has designed wedding gowns since 1986, says that brides today come to her with the idea that they want to be different, more fashion-forward. They ask for dresses with uneven hems, or say they want bold colors, even black or red.

But when the big day comes, they’re wearing a white princess gown, complete with veil, train and high-heeled shoes, just like their mothers did.

When you announce your engagement, it is likely that your Grandma Bea, Aunt Alice, and Cousin Norm are all going to immediately picture you in that princess gown. People have expectations. You, whether you like it or not, have been psychologically influenced to think of certain elements (rice, veils, church, etc.) when someone says, “Wedding.” Your mom has dreamed of dressing you like the perfect lady or gentleman she knows you really are. Your dad has dreamed of dancing with his little princess on her wedding day. Your grandpa wants to see you walk down the aisle in white.

There is fashion and there is tradition, and it is in the planning of nuptials that these two elements of life often clash, with miserable results. So, is the perfect white wedding a fashion? No, it is a tradition. Wearing a simpler but still white gown with a bright splash of color when simpler and more colorful is the current style might be considered conforming to fashion. Yet it is not bowing to any particularly rigid rules of fashion. Beach weddings go from being in style to being a cliché to being in style. But how unusual or innovative is having a party at the beach?

Weddings represent a few hours in one’s life wherein one steps out of one’s usual role, be it banker, farmer, clerk, or CEO, and into a different and far more glamorous one. However, as Herrera implied, that glamour seldom changes or, at least, changes very slowly. Dress shapes and decorative highlights change by the year but are still recognizable as wedding gowns. Many of the favors brides and grooms give their guests in the modern age might have looked just as at home at a post-nuptial place setting in 1960. Some still consider a wedding in the park the height of daring. And most wedding bands still play the old, bland favorites.

Why? Because as much as we love fashion – particularly flashy colored wedding gowns, ultra mod cakes, non-traditional ceremonies, and kooky favors – we also love tradition. And when those of us who don’t particularly love tradition and would rather embrace fashion try to exert ourselves, we discover our relatives (perhaps those writing the checks) love tradition. Which is why, no doubt, the new wedding fashions are so slow to be adopted. Thus, when a soon-to-be-bride who in her mundane life is a beacon of fashion walks into a bridal boutique, she usually makes a bee-line for the poofy princess dresses rather than the sharp-edged dresses of the runways. Behind that decision lie decades and even centuries of tradition, her childhood dreams, and, quite possibly, the shining eyes of old Grandma Bea.

P.S. – Be sure to check out what other bloggers about town are saying about the state of the fashion union!

Rene Zellweger in the Carolina Herrera

The Bride on the Beach

Manolo says, here you see the Rene Zellweger in the beautiful-if-perhaps- inappropriate- for-the-beach-wedding Carolina Herrera wedding gown with her new husband the Kenny Chesney.

The Manolo he is hoping that the hunky country doofus husband, he wore to the ceremony something the little more formal than the untucked white shirt and the grey pants.

Still, the Manolo he could not be happier for the loopy Rene Zellweger and her ersatz cowboy with the hat too big for his head. And, likewise he can only approve of the intimate, romantic nature of the ceremony and the way the Rene she managed to keep the loathesome papparazzi at the great distance.

May they long be happy.

Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera, Spring 2005Carolina Herrera, Spring 2005Carolina Herrera, Spring 2005

Jackie O once adviced women to dress “like a column”. I think what she was really calling for was a return to classicism in fashion, and the American designer who best exemplifies this is Carolina Herrera.

Her wedding dresses, in particular, evoke the order, proportion and symmentry that were the standards of the classical world.

These three here, although regal, remain approachable. Their classicism is tempered with a touch of whimsey and light-heartedness. They show the sure touch and confidence of a master, one who has been designing beautiful dresses for many years, and so is it any wonder that Jackie O’s own daughter Caroline, chose Herrera to design her wedding dress.