Down-the-Aisle Style

October 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Edit

Bridal trends hot off the runway

When it comes to weddings, there’s one item most brides stress over more than any other: the dress. After all, they are literally the center of attention. But with so many gorgeous dresses out there, how’s a girl to choose? You’ll want to express your personal style, of course. Are you the girl who grew up wearing a pillowcase as a veil, your petticoat and some of Mom’s heels? Chances are you’ll be opting for the ball gown silhouette—the Cinderella-style silk, satin and tulle construction your inner princess has always dreamed of. Maybe you’re thinking old Hollywood glamour in the mode of Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly. In that case, you’ll probably want a silky sheath accented with just enough sparkle, or a mermaid style gown highlighting your best assets. Perhaps you daydream about a classic, traditional wedding. Dresses of all shapes and sizes feature vintage inspired lace and filigree-style beading. Regardless of your personal style, you don’t want to look outdated. Check out these trends we saw on the couture catwalk at the Bridal Extravaganza Show.

Splish, splash
This season designers are enamored with mermaid gowns, which hug the body until slightly past the hips, then flare into trumpet-style skirts. If you’re a curvy girl, you’re in luck—the mermaid silhouette works best on coveted hourglass figures. However, this year’s mermaids are more forgiving as designers use rouching, pleats, draped fabric and other subtle tricks to camouflage pesky, little figure flaws. For example, many mermaids feature balconette or bandeau-style bodices, which balance trumpet skirts by adding fullness to your décolleté.

If the mermaid gown isn’t what you have in mind, the ball gowns, sheaths, and ever-popular A-lines all made a big impression on the runway. Ball gowns are appearing in decadent fabrics like duchesse silk satin, and accented with varying levels of sparkles, allowing you to opt for subtle shimmer or serious bling. Sheaths are a popular choice for beachside destination weddings and range from simple halter-style silk with beading at the waist to layers of Victorian-style lace. A-lines, which flatter most figures, are being modernized with splashes of color, filigree beading and layers of tulle. Trains this season are mostly chapel-length at 4 feet or less.

Details, details
Rouching is the darling of the wedding fashion industry this year. We saw dresses with this centuries-old sewing technique used in creative ways—layered to give the illusion of a balconet-style top, asymmetric to draw attention to the smallest part of the waist and centered at the small of the back to accent the narrowest part of the body and highlight the bare skin above. Pleating is also a popular decorative technique, adding glamour to mermaid gowns, giving a neat, structured appearance to the bust of A-line dresses and ornamenting the hems of a silky sheaths.

Accessories often worn with jeans are now becoming hot additions to wedding dresses. Belts and sashes were everywhere: on mermaids, A-lines, ball gowns and even the simple sheath. We saw belts with rhinestone accents, ribbon sashes with bows and dramatic two-tone belts in bold color combinations like red and purple. Most belts sit on the natural waist, giving slimmer looks to brides with straighter figures needing definition.

Layers aren’t only for the cake this year. Designer dresses feature layers in a variety of fabrics to give fullness and depth to skirts, or create wrap looks on the bodice; very flattering on women with larger busts. Many of the popular mermaid gowns have tiered tulle skirts. Another popular style is classic A-line silhouettes, jazzed up by rouched, drop-waist bodices of smooth, shimmery fabric. Layered on top of a full tulle skirt, this style adds great contrast and interest to the dress.

Dresses this year are highlighting the side of you most of your guests will be seeing: your back side. Dramatic details on the back abound, including daring keyholes, striking swaths of color, bustles and down-to-there plunges. As you stand beside your groom, you can be sure your guests are as entranced by the back of your dress as they were by the front.

Purple reigns
Purple is the color for accents, attendants and flowers. Not limited to shy shades of lavender, designers are using bolder hues of deep amethyst, violet and plum. Dresses and bouquets combine complimentary tints of purple to give elegant, shaded looks. We also saw purple accented with marigold and forest green creating earthy, Tuscan ambiance.

But purple isn’t the only color currently commanding bridal couture. We saw vintage-style gowns accented with dusty rose, mauve, Wedgwood blue, pale sage and antique gold. Traditional crisp, lily white shades were also on display, in addition to off-white and deep champagne.

Bright color hasn’t disappeared from the spectrum. Apple green looks divine alongside hot pink for attendants and flower girls; beachy, pool blue is a cool accent for bridal and attendants’ gowns. Canary yellow is a new trend for beach weddings, where grooms don’t have to be dressed in black—the runway was hopping with guys in sepia or mushroom-toned suits that would blend well with sand and surf backdrops. An abundance of black, white and sliver combinations on gowns and attendants were also on display. The stark contrast of black and white lends to a classy, timeless look.

Today, wedding gowns come in limitless styles and colors. Pick a combination of trends to reflect your personal taste and highlight your best features. Enjoy navigating through all the taffeta and tulle, in your quest to find the perfect dress.

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