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Wedding Dresses | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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Wear What You Want

(Illustration via Wedding Dress Online)

The other day on the Huffington Post wedding page, in the Ask Amsale column, a bride asked what to do if she doesn’t look good in white.

Amsale tells the bride to look into a gown in ivory, blush, caffe, or champagne.

Those are all good suggestions… as far as they go. But there’s an important thing to keep in mind: what color you wear makes no difference to the legality or spiritual significance of your wedding, or the commitment you feel in your marriage. White or a neutral color is not required to be a bride.

So pick a color you like, look and feel good in. You are still a bride whether you wear white, pink, bright orange, ice blue, kelly green, or purple like the woman in the photo at top of this article. My own beloved mother wore scarlet from head to toe – including her stockings! – at her 1959 wedding to my father. When she died more than thirty years later, they were still in love.

That’s the part that matters. Not what color the dress is.

Hey Bebe!

The first ever Bebe bridal collection, designed by Project Runway alumnus Rami Kashou, has come out. And while I have a deep and abiding love for Mr. Kashou’s work… I’m kind of wishing it had stayed in the closet.

The gowns range from the messy (see above) to the merely expected:

to the frankly kind of tacky.

On the further downside, these gowns are available in sizes from 00 to 12. Yeah, that’s right, size 12. Just for reference, the average woman in America wears a size 14 when last I heard. The model shown in the gowns is – according to the text – 5’9″ and wears a size 6. I like the fact that there is a reference in that regard, but couldn’t they have shown something on a shorter or heavier model? Or one who isn’t white? Or something?

On the upside, the most expensive gown in the collection, the Kate Middleton homage, runs only $2,500, making it the most expensive gown in the collection. Designer gowns for under two grand are pretty rare. In this case, there are several under $1,000, and even a couple under $500.

All in all, I’m kind of disappointed. I didn’t expect Bebe to be much of a bastion for elegance or size acceptance, but I have really loved a lot of Kashou’s designs in the past and was hoping to be able to sit up and applaud a bit more. The designs are scattershot without a real point of view. The design work is some of the weakest I’ve seen from this designer.

Still, I’ll keep a weather eye on the experiment. Who knows? Perhaps if things go well the next collection will make more sense and look less random yet uninspired.

PS: There’s still time to enter the drawing for the gorgeous tiara from USABride. Get your entry in now to have a chance to win something sparkly for your wedding!

I See the Train a Comin’

It’s quite possible you didn’t know there was a category in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest train on a wedding gown. Until quite recently – as in Tuesday – the record was held by someone in the Netherlands. On Tuesday, though, their record of less than a mile was shattered by The Andree Salon in Romania gown which features a 1.85 mile long train.

Of course a train this long isn’t very practical for your average wedding. The materials alone cost over seven thousand dollars, and the length would fill four football fields.

So how does one make a getaway in a gown with a nearly two mile long train?

In a hot air balloon, natch!

Spring 2012 Bridal: Sleeves Start Sneaking Back In

For the past couple of decades, it’s been nearly impossible to walk into a bridal salon and find a gown with sleeves. No matter the season, no matter the preference of the bride, sleeves have been a dirty word in bridal couture for some fifteen to twenty years.

Then, last year, something happened.

Kate Middleton wore a wedding gown with sleeves, and the world stood up and cheered at the style.

Cries went up for copies. And then the last Twilight film came out and Bella wore long sleeves, too. The knockoffs started hitting the markets nearly immediately.

So one popular royal bride and one pop culture fictional bride made headlines for wearing sleeves… and suddenly they’re starting to show up on the bridal couture runways again.

There’s Not Another Like It

Patriotic wedding gowns are nothing new. Wedding gowns based on the flag of a country – while not terribly common – have been made commercially and sold for years, if not decades. But it’s not terribly often that a bride chooses to celebrate her favorite team that way.

That’s only one reason that Karen Bell’s wedding gown is so remarkable. It’s also a rather ambitious DIY upcycling project. When Karen and her new husband Simon decided to tie the knot, they reasoned that since they’d both been married before in white weddings, they wanted to do something different. They decided to celebrate their hometown of Manchester, England across the Atlantic… oh, sorry. Flashback to that production of Hair I saw once. Anyway, yes, their hometown of Manchester, England where they both still live, and the football team they both support.

Over the years, Simon had developed a collection of Manchester-themed shirts. He handed these over to Karen who spent the next eight months at her sewing machine turning them into the gown shown above.

After the wedding, the happy couple went straight to romantic Etihad Stadium to watch their beloved team play. There is no word on whether or not the bride changed her clothes first.

Whatever the case, I do wish them the very best of British luck, and may Manchester City win often.

Well, That’s One Way to Tag a Dress

(Image via WRAL)

As many of you have no doubt heard on the wedding grapevine, Priscilla of Boston has sold out to David’s Bridal and their boutiques are closing their doors all over the country.

In the Cameron Village store in Minnesota, however, it seems they’ve done more than simply close doors. There are rumors of workers spray painting leftover gowns and consigning them to dumpsters.

Other merchants in Cameron Village claim they haven’t seen any spray painting and dumping, but there are photos like the one above that give credence to the story, and at least one former employee claims to have seen this in action.

David’s Bridal has neither confirmed nor denied the story. They have, however, made a statement that Priscilla of Boston never did donate wedding gown samples in poor condition… which begs the question of what condition these gowns were in that spraying huge orange swirls on them and putting them in a dumpster is a better use for them than donating them to charity, offering them to consignment stores, or selling them off at bargain basement prices as is.

Ultimately, this is their merchandise. They can do as they please with it so long as the use is not illegal in itself. Painting and dumping the gowns is not a crime.

I do, however, consider it a real shame. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather work with a company that doesn’t waste apparently perfectly good wedding gowns simply because they’re out of season or have a tiny flaw somewhere in them. I’d rather work with a company that wouldn’t condone this sort of flagrant waste of goods.

Whatever the facts in this case, I hope that brides take the time to consider the companies they deal with and whether the policies those companies follow fit with their own morals and standards.

Sometimes it’s not enough that something isn’t illegal.

What if You Don’t Feel That Way?

It’s part of the unquestioned mythology of weddings. When you find that right gown and slip it on for the first time, you feel like this:

You’re joyful, almost giddy with excitement. You know with absolute certainty for the first time that the wedding is really happening. You feel like a princess.

There’s even plenty of literature to back that up. Not just novels, though the theme is rife in books that feature weddings, but in films, TV shows, and even blogs about weddings.

For instance, a recent article at the Huffington Post by wedding gown designer Justina McCaffrey chronicles the way she sees career woman after career woman morph from a no-nonsense, phone-glued-to-the-ear customer in search of a simple white pantsuit to get married in to a dewy-eyed Disney princess in the making.

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