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Designers | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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Wedding Fashion and Things I Do Not Understand

Fashion is fashion, and for the most part, it’s its own animal that’s only tangentially related to what most of us actually wear. That’s true for wedding fashion, too, which means that every season, alongside all the gorgeous wedding gowns, we get to point and snicker at some really edgy wedding dresses, unusual wedding gowns, and wacky bridesmaids dresses. But isn’t that part of what makes fashion fun? I collected a whole bunch of photos of 2011 and 2012 wedding dresses that illustrate various trends – or circular fads – that make me scratch my head. Have a look and when you’re done, tell us what wedding fashions make you go “Huh?”

Late 70s disco chic clubwear wedding gown what? (Alan Hannah Spring 2012)

How things like sheer bridal mumus make it into shows (Oscar De La Renta Bridal Spring 2012)

Crazy fringe... crazy MISPLACED fringe (Inmaculada García 2011)


2012 Marks Another Bow Migration

Every few years, bows make a comeback. Sometimes it’s on gowns for brides, sometimes it’s on frocks for bridesmaids, but like clockwork, the bows always find their way into this or that season’s dresses as if they haven’t already been done to death. And just recently a little birdie whispered in my ear that the 2012 wedding dress trends included, you guessed it, bows. I have a funny fascination with bows that began the first time I saw a giant bow placed smack dab on a bust as if the breasts concealed underneath were a gift waiting to be unwrapped. Very naughty, really.

Want to see some of the 2012 bows? (And where they’ve ended up this go around, which includes the entirety of the torso and back, waist and bust, sometimes turned completely to the side.) Your wish is my command!

Spring 2012 by Douglas Hannant

Spring 2012 by Vera Wang

Spring 2012 by Tara Keely

Spring 2012 by Alan Hannah

Aaaand another example of classic Vera (along with the classic Vera model)

What do you think? Bows, yes or omigosh no?

Consider the ‘Hows’ When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

One of the things I think I regret most about my own wedding experience was buying my gown online. NOT, I want to stress, that I think there’s anything wrong with buying online if you’re not one for shopping. I just wish I’d gotten to have that wedding dress shopping experience that is so often cited as one of those special elements of wedding planning that bride will remember forever. Only problem was that in my case, shopping was difficult. My mom was in another state. As a freelancer, my schedule was flexible, but mostly when it came to daytime on weekdays – precisely when my girlfriends were at work. There was something about the notion of shopping for my gown alone that just plain bummed me out. End result, I ended up with something not quite right instead of, say, one of the Priscilla of Boston wedding dresses that might have been my first choice.

Want to know a secret about me? I still imagine myself walking into somewhere like Priscilla of Boston (which just happens to be local to me and just plain awesome all around), and getting the celebrity-style bride-to-be treatment along with my mom and a bestie or two, even though my hope is that I’ll never actually need another wedding dress! (Note: I am not the kind of weirdo who would actually go try on a bunch of gowns, fibbing about being engaged all the while. I’m this shy of being that kind of weirdo, but not there yet.)

Aren’t those just beautiful? …and there I go hypothetically wedding gown shopping all over again.

Indeed, if I had my whole wedding to do over again, I’d probably actually hit up an actual real live luxury bridal shop this time around after figuring out a day and time that worked for those of my loved ones who are ladies instead of just going it alone. Not that there’s anything wrong with gown shopping alone if that’s what you want to do, but I personally didn’t find my wedding gown shopping and wedding gown alteration experience all that jazzy. (Did you know that P of B – can I call it that? – can make a muslin before making your gown so it fits your body perfectly? Would have saved me a lot of hassle, that’s for sure…)

So that’s my sob story – no one to shop with, no pre-wedding pampering in the bridal salon. Now I’m asking you: What was the best part of your wedding gown shopping experience? What, if anything, do you regret about your wedding gown shopping experience?

Last Month, Two Very Different Launches

For those who missed it, February was all about wedding dress line launches. Launches, I should add, that made me go hmmm. On February 11, Vera Wang is debuted her White Collection for bridal retail giant David’s Bridal. White wedding dresses are priced from $600 to $1400 and go up to size 14 – that’s wedding dress sizing 14, not regular 14. Come June, the White Collection will be augmented with a line of bridesmaids’ dresses. Here’s a taste of this small collection:

They definitely have that Vera Wang appeal, all fluttery and feminine, but I feel like overall, the designs are kind of meh. I like the skirts better than the tops, definitely. Especially that one in blush! Yum.

The second launch, a Valentine’s Day special, was BHLDN, Urban Outfitter’s newly-minted wedding brand that falls under the Anthropologie umbrella. Right now, it’s an online-only boutique with convenient sizing that actually lines up with real world sizing (though still only up to 14), but there will be brick and mortar locations are set to open come summertime.

I think my favorites are the Pleated Fantasy wedding dress:

And the Zinnia Gown, designed by Beth Bowley:

If you were curious, BHLDN is pronounced ‘beholden’ – omg how edgy! – though my brain continues to want to parse it as Belden, the name of a line of not-so-great jewelers here in the northeast and, randomly, Kansas. My one complaint is that Urban Outfitter’s wedding dresses are way too expensive for their demographic, but I’m loving the associated ‘event dresses’, vintage-look accessories, lingerie, and jewelery, and I’m looking forward to the tableware, cake-toppers, and invitations launching in May.

What do you think about Vera Wang’s White Collection and bridal newcomer BHLDN?

Sublime Softness: Pronuptia Boheme 2011 Wedding Dresses

There’s not a lot that bothers me about wedding dresses – other than the fact that they are too big and too expensive for me to have a closet full – but I have now and then wished that the bulk of them could be a bit softer. All that rustling that you hear when pushing your way through racks of gowns often means a stiff, scratchy experience for the wearer. That’s why I’m loving the Pronuptia Boheme collection for 2011, with its drapey dresses and soft fabrics. Aren’t these gorgeous?

Blanche de Bohème is a crossover-effect bustier wedding dress in lace tulle embroidered with flowers with plumetis tulle gathered at the waist and highlighted by a wide Obi belt in duchess satin embellished with flowers.

Flower de Bohème in ivory gazard is an a-line wedding dress richly strewn with tone on tone flowers. The heart-shaped décolleté, the arms and the shoulders are veiled by a fine lycra tulle and the back is closed by crystal buttons.


LOVE/HATE: The Jet Puffed Edition

Some brides want to achieve a wedding day look that’s more handsome than romantic, and I say go for it. The bridal suit has gone mainstream in recent years, either as the honeymoon getaway outfit or at the bride’s primary ensemble. But all bridal suits are not created equal. Take this interesting number from Piedad Rodriguez… I’d say it does its best to combine the simple look of a suit with the frills of a wedding dress. Does it work? You tell me! I am going to err on the side of hate on this one, but I would much prefer the more basic bridal suit paired with that hat. Yum.

For the Out of the Box Bride, Papilio

It isn’t often than I love everything about a wedding dress, but I have just been staring and staring at this beautiful gown from Papilio every since I first laid eyes on it. Papilio is a Russian wedding dress designer that has come out with some gorgeous and original ideas in the past few years. Looking through their catalog, I was struck by how many of their wedding dresses didn’t fall into the standard white strapless ballgown trap. But this one is definitely by far my favorite model among their 2010 offerings.

Isn’t that just scrumptious? I’m not saying it would actually flatter me, but by golly, if I saw it in a bridal salon you can bet your sweet bippy I’d be trying it on first.

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