Monday, March 31, 2014
The infamous moment when a bride reaches her groom at the end of the aisle and her maid of honor gently takes the back of her train, throws it in the air and everyone watches it make its graceful way to the ground, is generally the time when the gown's beauty is in full affect. However, train length is often overlooked as a unique and important aspect of every gown design.
Barley 'sweeping' the floor, a sweep train is generally three to six inches longer than the front of the gown's hemline. During the design process, sweep trains generally coincide with gowns which are sleek and sexy in nature. A gown that 'hugs' a bride's curves creates enough star power that a dramatic train is not needed. A single layer of fabric, such as a delicate lace or a stretch satin, is perfect to pair with a simple, sweet and a no-fuss sweep train. Since a sweep train is so minimal, no bustle is needed; and really a bulky bustle is the last thing you should see on a sheath, slinky wedding gown.
Much like a sweep train, these are found on more fitted gowns. A court train, shown to the right, extends out two to three feet from the waist of the gown. Gowns that typically have this train are ones in which details on the back of the gown are not meant to be covered by a bustle. Also, since they extend out more than a sweep train, you will find more design aspects on the train, for instance, embellishments, lace appliques or a gorgeous lace scalloped hem shown also in the picture.
The difference design-wise between these two is where the train begins. In the first picture, you will notice a panel train starts from the waist of the gown while a Watteau train starts just below the shoulders on the highest part on the back of the gown. Designers often put these trains on gowns which they want to show movement. During a runway show, a designer also may use a panel or Watteau train to break up the monotony between the majority of their other gowns in which the train is just an extension of the gown, not its own complete piece of fabric. What can make these trains such a unique design detail on a gown is they are often removable. Underneath the panel train you will find a sweep train or none at all.
As you may have guessed, a chapel train is the most common train length found on gowns in the market today. This train extends about four feet from the waist of the gown and gives the effect of a fuller train without being so cumbersome. From a design aspect, chapel trains are found on wedding gowns where the skirt is fuller. The chapel train, and Cathedral train, are the types of trains where the aforementioned tossing of the train by the maid of honor give the largest effect.
Often a cathedral train is described as the most formal of the trains. The cathedral train truly creates a dramatic effect and from a design point of view, finding a way to not let the train overwhelm the entire gown can be a challenge. However, when done correctly, a cathedral train can make a gown truly unique and standout. Cathedral trains generally extend about 7 feet from the waistline. My favorites are those which have embellishments and details throughout the full length of the train. It is a mesmerizing sight as your eyes can not possibly take it all in during one short walk down an aisle.
Reem Acra , recently had their Spring 2014 Runway show and I saw two new design elements that were different in regards to trains. First, their opening model (shown to the right) was carrying an umbrella with a veil that hangs over the umbrella extending to the floor. The model is wearing a short gown underneath, however, the veil over the umbrella gives the effect of a chapel length train on a gown in which otherwise would not have one. This theme was repeated a couple times during the show. There were also a couple short dresses featured in which no train was there at all. Although not traditional, these really caught my eye. I look forward to observing how all designers can be creative with train lengths in the coming seasons.
A Girl and her Clothes...
Every day I have the same fight with my two year old daughter. She wants to wear her favorite dress everyday and I have to explain that it is dirty and try to talk her into wearing something else. What usually happens is I have to get out her 'dirty' dress, show her where it is dirty and then she is somewhat willing to wear something else. However, I am always limited to skirts and dresses. On the other hand, her twin brother loves to pick out his own clothes as well and unfortunately he is not as fashion savvy as his sister. Yesterday he wore basketball shorts with a thermal long sleeve shirt. Not very fashionable, but he was happy.
|Ladies Fashion in the 60's|
I decided to see if this is true across the age spectrum. What is the correlation between women being happy and clothes? I had to find out.
First, I found an article from Time.com where it stated, "A new series of studies shows that attractive people earn more money and marry better-looking spouses, and that the economic benefits of being good looking make them happier than their homely counterparts." Well, this was a start. This study basically was finding that beauty equaled success which equaled money and happiness. Interesting, but what about us average ladies who have to work to look beautiful? The article went on to say that plastic surgery, designer clothes and make-up didn't prove to make people happier. But rather it stated, 'it’s the people who obsess about their personal wealth and/or attractiveness that are less happy.'
As women, we want to look our best as it makes us feel our best. I found another article on ScienceDaily.com which did a study about what clothes women wear when they are happy versus depressed. The entire article is quite interesting, however, I was only concerned with if certain clothes make women happier. This is what one professor from the University of Hertfordshire found, "Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore. This demonstrates the psychological power of clothing and how the right choices could influence a person's happiness." She went on to say, "The study found that 'happy' clothes -- ones that made women feel good -- were well-cut, figure enhancing, and made from bright and beautiful fabrics."
|Chloe in her favorite dress|
As I was clicking through pictures of wedding gowns tonight I came across all the beautiful gowns in many of the Spring 2014 collections with peplums, and I got to thinking, what is the story behind the peplum? Where did this trend begin?
|1940's style peplum|
In researching the history of the peplum I was surprised to learn although it first made its debut in the 1800's, the peplum we know and love today became popular first in the 1940's. Then it had a brief comeback in the 1980's as well. In the forty's you can see the classic peplum shape while in the 1980's there was more of an alternative take on the peplum. Being an 1980's baby, I recall wearing these dresses and never would have known this was a revised peplum skirt- although, I wasn't too into fashion in the 1980's either as I still wore MC hammer pants with banana clips in my hair.
|1980's style peplum|
Back to the peplum though. The word peplum is derived from the Greek word 'peplos' meaning 'shawl'. The current definition defines the peplum as 'a flared ruffle attached to the waist of a jacket, bodice, etc.' Essentially, when it made its debut in the 1800's it was an overskirt designed to highlight a woman's waist by accentuating her hips. Today, it seems the peplum has come back with the same concept in mind. I adore a peplum skirt on all dresses, but mostly I love it on a wedding gown. The way a peplum skirt can be exaggerated, the use of different fabrics, and the way it draws your eye to the smallest part of the waist are all reasons why I love the peplum skirt.
|Marchesa peplums - exaggerated and different fabrics- ahh love the middle one!|
Although we love it on a wedding gown, the peplum can be found everywhere. Beginning in 2012, the peplum made its current comeback and can be seen not only on the runway, but in department stores as well. The everyday woman, as well as bride, have been drawn to the way it does in fact highlight a small waist while accentuated the hips. The peplum truly is an amazing design. It has a way to not only accentuate these womanly features on a woman with curves, but it can also give curves to a woman who does not have any. I always love the element of surprise as well, so for me, a fun twist on a peplum for a wedding gown would be to have it removable.
No matter what type of gown it is worn on, I do not see the peplum trending out soon. It is classic, eye-catching and again, truly shows off a woman's gorgeous curves. No, rather it seems we can look forward to ways designers can bring new light to the peplum in the coming seasons.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Gorgeous beaded gowns, headpieces, bangles, long pearl necklaces, and of course, jazz, bring us back to a time in America when money was flowing, music made you want to dance and the fashion risks to this day make us ooh and aaah at the 1920's. Warner Bros took the acclaimed book by F. Scott Fitzgerald and with music from Jay Z, to actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby McGuire, they struck a cord with American brides. Embracing the 'Gatsby' theme, designers this Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 are bringing their own style to this long ago introduced look of the roaring twenties.
Headpieces. These alone are a theme to talk about. They are the perfect reminder of the look of the 20's. Usually off-centered on the head, they are adorned with beads, Swarovski crystals, lace and of course pearls, your eyes are immediately drawn upward to see the intricate piece of art. Although, headpieces are just an accessory, they area a must for the Gatsby theme look.
Cap sleeves. Shown above, wedding gowns with the Gatsby theme demonstrate how absolutely stunning a cap sleeve can be. Look how the bottom of the cap sleeve even has the famous beads that dangle just above the elbow? When you think back to jazz dancers from the 20's, they always had these at the bottom of their gowns to give an allusion of more movement when they danced. Beads. Ahh! The bead work on these gowns is amazing. They represent all the glitz and the glam that was the 1920's. The jewelry. Again, like the headpieces the jewelry may just be an accessory to the gown, but a must have. Long, pearl necklaces and the way they swing around while the bride walks down the aisle or is dancing her heart away at the reception, again represent the jazz age perfectly.
Lastly, the silhouette. Nothing says sexy like a sleek, stunning, sheath beaded gown such as the one shown above. Hugging curves, flowing around the ankles and enunciating all that makes a woman beautiful, this gown is definitely going to stop people in their tracks. From the headpiece, to the delicate cap sleeves, bead work from top to bottom, what's not to love?
How I wish I could go back to the 20's and meet the designers who first came up with these gowns. Although they were made for jazz dancers, the transition to bridal is only natural. Sexy and alluring, unique and dramatic, the perfect wedding gown covers all these descriptions. We have seen the Gatsby look begin this summer and going into the Fall and Spring I am sure the trend continue.
Recently, I began to wonder why white for a wedding gown? When did this tradition begin? Researching, I found an article by Readers Digest at www.readersdigest.com.au/white-wedding-dress which broke down when this tradition began. It was 1840 when Queen Victoria, whose picture is in one of our previous blogs, wore a white wedding gown in her marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg, that this tradition began. However, even before 1840, a dress has always been the desired article of clothing for brides as far as back as history will take us. Throughout history, women have worn many colors depending on their religion, position in society, or place in time.
|Kathryn Chemise Gown|
|Modern Bride in Celtic Gown|
The bride shown to the left is a modern example of a Celtic bride wearing a red, satin Celtic wedding gown. The fabric is rich, luxurious and can easily be envisioned in white. However, rather than follow the newest tradition of white, this bride choose to wear red as she was inspired by a show on BBC titled, The Tudors which is set in Celtic sixteenth century England. The ruched, fitted sleeves are a modern element she added that makes the gown a little less medieval and creates a more flattering look for the bride. Even though only pictures of Celtic wedding gowns are shown, red is also seen on non-Celtic gowns this year.
|Sky blue wedding dress|
Another unique color worn in the past was blue, by early Christians. This was because most depictions of the virgin Mary show her in blue and bride's wore this as a symbol of truth and purity. What I first wondered when reading this in the aforementioned Reader's Digest article, was if there was a correlation to the tradition of wearing 'something borrowed, something blue.' I did not find any information to support a correlation, however, I did find blue is another common color to be worn by brides in 2013. This blue wedding gown is a gorgeous shade and I love the white and blue criss-cross stripe pattern throughout.
Although white is considered the newest color to wear for a wedding gown as of 1840, that is over 170 years ago. The most popular colors for wedding gowns today are of course, white, followed by ivory and champagne. However, I think women today are ready to see how designers can incorporate new colors into wedding gowns. As seen above, wedding gowns are already being worn in different colors, and I for one, am looking forward to what other ones may show up on the runway this Fall!
Hands down…it is much easier to design a gown when the mannequin is a sketch of you. From day one interning at Lu Raquels’s, I observed that the design team each has their own unique and conceptual fashionista character wearing every gown they designed. I am convinced Sarah’s “croqui*” character is a depiction of her alter ego or some fabulous heiress bride that used to be a client of hers. I also took it in my liberty to call the assistant designer’s character Lola. And my fellow intern, Jessica, has a beauty with a long flow of mermaid hair. But I found when I was put to the test in designing my own gowns as a beginner, I felt designing in fashion came from how I would look in a gown. My own unique character was a highly exaggerated illustration of myself, with my most distinctive characteristics: straight blonde hair, dark almond eyes, and glam makeup. After I developed my unique “croqui”, I was in business.
I was placed in Sarah’s empty office alone and asked to come up with new designs today. Staring at a blank wall, it was difficult to get started. Like any young woman, I took a gander at my fantasy wedding on Pinterest. I also snooped around in Sarah’s very own collection of fabric “swatches**.” Eventually, it resulted in messing up Sarah’s highly organized office into a chaotic mass of tinsel, lace, and art supplies. As an aspiring designer, I must say I felt like a true artist. Surrounded in this creative clutter, I then designed a few of my own bridal gowns.
If I submitted my work to the design manufacturer, I am sure they will mistake my gown as made out of fishing wire, paste, and glitter. Yet, I am glad Sarah asked me, a marketing and business major, to experience the process in designing to better understand the industry. I have found a new appreciation for bridal gowns and what it takes to generate an idea from the designer to the bride walking down the aisle. The design team here at Lu Raquel’s has many exciting new never before seen bridal gowns. I have seen some of the sketches, which in themselves is a piece of art. I can only imagine what the actual dress would look like.
*Croqui [kro-ke/] from croquier to sketch, rough out, literally, to crunch. Noun.
Origin: 1805; French
**Swatches [swotch] a sample of cloth or other material. Noun.
Origin: 1505; Scottish and northern English, or uncertain origin.
Source: American Psychological Association
Destination Wedding: Incorporating Design Elements to Emulate According to Region
Coastal: The bride of style and class. Lobster tails, yacht clubs, and the smell of sea salt. The landscape for her wedding back drop is; old money, preppy, with a hint of tradition.
Style Elements: When selecting a dress for a coastal wedding you want to focus on traditional elements with a modern take. A strapless gown A-line gown that cascades at the natural waist is a beautiful way to showcase this. Also opting for a gown that has been in your family, possibly your mothers or grandmothers, and reworking it into something new can be a sentimental and thoughtful touch.
Inspiration: Think Blaire Waldorf. Something traditional and modest, without sacrificing fashion. You can never go wrong with guiding your bride with anything in the navy, khaki, or coral family as accents.
Possible Location: Maine.
Beach: The bride of ease and grace. She wants tropical scenery, an ocean view and sand. A relaxed and romantic vibe is what she wants to convey to her guests.
Style Elements: When helping a bride choose what gown to wear for a beach wedding it is important to remember that light and airy fabrics are going to be the most flattering for the weather and esthetic of the decor. It is also likely that brides who get married on the beach will want to incorporate elements from the ocean. While this can be done beautifully with; a mermaid, short, or sheath gown some brides find this too typical for a seaside affair. If you have a bride feeling limited by her options, go the more subtle route. Opt for something that is more muted, for example instead of the obvious sea life accessories, show her how pearls can be used in an understated way but still correlate with her theme. Introduce a dress with tiers, showing the way they embody the waves of the ocean. Another option is a dress with cut outs. This will allow the bride to choose any silhouette but will also keep it casual.
Inspiration: What guests expect to see at a beach wedding is the obvious incorporation of the scenery around them. Don’t be afraid to use anything from the landscape to the water to the exotic flowers, to draw inspiration for helping a bride find the perfect dress. To go with the whole laid back feeling of her big day, you should also keep in mind how her whole appearance is going to be presented that day. When helping her decide on a veil and hair accessories, suggest she keep it simple. Have her Blake Lively up that hair with a fish tail braid or some tousled loose curls!
Possible Location: Hawaii.
Winter: The unconventional and unique bride. Think icicle, snowflakes and horse drawn carriages. This bride wants these crisp, cocoa drinking winter months to convey the gorgeous twinkle light lit coziness of her wedding.
Style Elements: Recommend the whitest of whites for the color of her gown. There is a certain indescribable beauty in the photographs when you can’t see where the snow stops and her dress begins. Remember that due to the weather this brides gown will spend time being covered up either by a wrap, shrug, or jacket. Help the bride decide what she will wear over her gown in order to style her accordingly. The most typical dress for this time of year is a ball gown. With crystal embellishments and a fur shall it will take this expected silhouette to something extraordinary. It’s easy to see why the ball gown is known as the ultimate wedding dress because even with a wrap of fur it is not overpowered, still shows off her waist and always keeps her feeling like a true bride.
Inspiration: While everyone is having their weddings in the spring and summer she chose a time that is severely underrated for how beautiful it can be as a back ground for a wedding. Encourage her to have fun with this winter wonderland theme; adding gloves, crystal jewelry, or metallic accents.
Possible Location: Aspen.
Desert: The daring and risk taking bride. A wedding with cactuses, rust colored sand and a sunset. Some say this is where the sun meets the Earth making this a perfect destination for a bride seeking an unforgettable ceremony.
Style Elements: One thing to keep in mind when having a wedding in the desert is the weather. While it goes without saying it’s going to be hot, but not only that, there is going to be wind blowing in from every direction. Direct her towards dresses that are not too form fitting and will flow beautifully not only in the wind, but against her body. A sheath, short, or drop waist gown would be a great choice. Another thing to consider is the color of the gown. Ivory, off white, or a dust color will be beautiful with the landscape and will keep the bride stress free for the evening because I can guarantee if she chooses a gown that is stark white, that sucker will get dirty in a second.
Inspiration: While the desert is known for being desolate and flat, one of its best kept secrets is its sunsets. Drawing from the colors; deep rusts, purples and greens make an outstanding accent to a wedding with this background. Another thing that keeps this wedding destination unique is the plants and cactuses. Suggest creative ways for your bride to incorporate this into her dress and accessories.
Possible Location: Arizona.
Country: The bride of simplicity and natural beauty. With pickup trucks and cowboy boots, this back road, invite only ceremony surrounded by fields is a country girls dream.
Style Elements: Like the landscape, her simplicity should be showcased in her gown. However his does not mean plain by any means. The key here is to keep the bride seeming understated without appearing boring. A straight silhouette with off the shoulder straps is a prime example of how to add interest to a gown. Another way to show a bride how to spice up a simple dress is by choosing a certain part of the gown to be avant garde. A unique neckline, full skirt, jeweled ribbon belt, or contrasting fabrics are all great ways to do this without overpowering the theme.
Inspiration: Emulating a southern belle doesn’t have to consist of big hair, bling, and an expensive venue. You can still guide your bride toward a dress that will make her feel like a Miranda Lambert country princess without sacrificing her desire to keep her wedding simple.
Possible Location: North Idaho.
Choosing an appropriate name for a bridal shop has its challenges. The name should reflect your image and brand. Brides will either choose to come to your shop because they love your name, or possibly not schedule an appointment if they feel your shop is not the place where they will find their dream gown. While researching bridal shops in the United Kingdom, I found overall their bridal boutique's names were incredibly creative. Names such as Hoops-A-Daisy and Tantrums and Tiaras really stood out. Overall, shop owners did not stick to the classics and they were willing to take risks with unconventional names; and for that I applaud them.
During my research, I emailed each shop for comment. Keep in mind we are only rating these shops by our favorite names and they are not in any particular order.
|Tantrums and Tiaras|
|"The House that Moved"|
4. Sugared Almonds Bridal Couture- Again, this name just took me by surprise! I adore almonds and what girl doesn't have an obsession for sugar...I had to learn more. Although I did not learn the origins of their unique name, I did learn they are a family run business and therefore always provide excellent service and honest advice.
5. Vanilla Beaus Bridal Boutique- I love this name! Luxury bespeaks it and after reading through their website I find it correctly matches their brand. Vanilla is rich and fragrant and beaus reminds one of beauty. Carrying higher end lines, owners Natalie Garrard and Jodie Willaims saw a need for a shop of this nature and opened shop quite recently in 2012. What also makes them unique, other than their name, is they sell engagement rings as well.
|Just a Day|
7. Frilly Frocks- I quickly realized frocks must have a different connotation in the UK from the US when researching shops in England. Frocks on Frilly Frock's website is directly speaking about wedding gowns when they say 'This year we are thrilled to introduce some new and exclusive Designers to our ever growing eclectic collection of frocks.' I have a whole new take on the word frock and look forward to using it more and more :)
|Tantrums and Tiaras|
9. The Tailors Cat- Do not let this name fool you. When I came across this name I think I read it more like this: 'The Tailor's Cat...?' Wondering where this name came from, I went to their website and learned they have a beautiful shop with high end designers and a team willing to make your experience the best. Boasting over 100 gowns they reach across all lines and offer vintage, traditional, contemporary and destination style gowns.
10. Ebenezer's Bridal- Instantly upon reading this shop name I imagined the Ebenezer's Scrooge character from Charles Dickens's novel, a Christmas Carol. However, upon more research I learned the name has nothing to do with this character. Situated in Shropshire, owner Helen Broadway actual opened the shop as a florist and then branched out to include bridal.
All in all, I found it was wrong to judge a book by its cover. All these bridal shops had unique names and the ones which boasted the highest end designers were not necessarily ones I would have assumed based off their names. I absolutely loved researching these gorgeous shops. Again, I have to tip my hat to the shop owners for being bold and choosing such unconventional names!
Lots of love to the United Kingdom!