December 28, 2009

New Year's resolutions for the stylish bride

Designs by Reva Mivasaga

I love New year's day! There is something exciting about the beginning of every adventure, the hoping and dreaming, the wondering and pondering if things will go your way, but best of all the opportunity to start over with a blank canvas, no other feeling comes close to that at all. I am usually one to stay away from the ‘R’ word, it always seemed to me that resolutions were only made to be broken within the first week of the new year and thus were rather pointless. I must admit however, that resolutions are important, especially when it comes to fashion and style, they force us to look critically at the past year and work on the weak areas. My last few articles on Examiner focused on resolutions every stylish bride should think about making for the new year. So if you’re a bride-to-be and you're trying to give your wedding planning a stylish boost, you might want to repeat after me

I promise to love the old as much as the new…
The stunning gowns in the photo above by Reva Mivasaga combine stylish vintage elements with modern shapes and silhouettes. Every bridal gown needs a little romance and a twist of something old in addition to the modern trends we love. I adore Reva’s designs because he really gets the balance of old and new just right, overdoses of vintage elements in a gown can make the entire outfit look like a costume.

Reva Mivasaga

I promise to be kind when choosing bridesmaid gowns…
There is no rule that all the bridesmaids must wear the exact same dress. I wrote chapter 2 of the bridesmaid series to show that the maids can still look uniform and coordinated without wearing the exact same dress. They can even get away with wearing different colors, it all comes down to thoughtful execution of a stylish plan rather than the ‘one dress fits all policy' that most brides impose on their maids.

Striped chiffon gowns by Thread

I promise to consider stylish cover-ups…
Wraps and boleros were a big hit during the bridal fashion week, many of the 2010 collections featured chic cover-ups that can be worn all year round.They are multi-functional; giving the bride extra coverage, more warmth in cold months and an extra layer of sophistication.

St Pucchi silk cover-up, Monique Lhuillier opera coat, Romona Keveza ruffled bolero

Most importantly each bride should resolve to have a wedding that truly reflects her personality and style. I hope you all enjoyed 2009 as much as I did and hopefully 2010 will be an even better year for us all.

December 17, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things ♫...

Maria from the Sound of Music, might very well have been singing that song to me this week. I couldn’t seem to get the tune out of my head and all my bridal articles for the week were eventually inspired by it. The song might be slightly outdated but it doesn’t hurt to have a cheery tune in your head when winter comes too early and summer seems oh so far away.

"Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes.." I never quite understood why that was one of her favorite things, but it did make me ponder anew the countless number of flower girl dresses I’ve seen that should have been kept miles away from any wedding ceremony. People claim that it doesn’t really matter what the flower girls wear because they’re only children, and they’ll look cute no matter what. Not exactly the gospel truth. This is a wedding not any ordinary day and the flower girls are the leading ladies of the bridal party, (at least they lead the wedding march) surely they should look just as stunning as the bride and her maids? I think so.

Fabricated is a series dedicated to helping brides understand all the different bridal fabrics, which in turn helps them choose the perfect dress. This week the focus was on Satin, which in case you didn’t know, also goes by the name liquid gold. Okay so thats not strictly true but it should be. Certain types of silk satin are so luscious to look at and touch, its a wonder it wasn't named silky gold.

Are people still oblivious to the fact that there is more to bridal fashion than a strapless ball gown? The answer is a shocking yes. It might be blasphemy to some brides, but cowl neck bridal gowns do exist and are authentic.

I’ve always liked the simplicity of cowl neck dresses, they are effortlessly sexy, sophisticated and modest all at once, they have a 1950s elegance about them and still manage to look modern and fresh.

Well I'm thankful that its friday and I plan to love every minute of the weekend. Hope you all have a great weekend too.

December 11, 2009

A week in the life of a bridal writer...

A week in my life involves being immersed in a bubbling fountain of bridal information, as a bridal fashion writer my attention is always drawn to fashion concepts both new and old that impact upon the ever so important walk down the aisle. When I'm not drooling over deliciously unique fashion pieces, I'm liasing with my sources of inspiration; designers, photographers, fashion writers and ofcourse bridal retailers. A photo of me on Fashion Ave in my favorite city

This week my bridal pages on examiner were focused mainly on bridal accessories,the bridal party and wedding decor..

The bridesmaids dress is so often the focus of much hate and disgust, as the maids feel forced to wear frocks that dont flatter them in the slightest... thus i penned down chaper 1 of the 'choosing the perfect bridesmaid dress' series.

I came accross a darling collection of wedding cake toppers, and realised how boring and bland most of the ones I had seen in the past really were...

While browsing on an excellent source of bridal resources, I realised that there is no longer any reason for chaotic seating at the wedding reception, with low priced DIY escort cards that guide people directly to their table. I also rediscovered my love for all things Swarovski.. their crystal products have won my heart all over again. The low priced sparkly gems should be every
brides best friend. A crystal solitaire looks exactly like its diamond cousin but cost much less! Crystals can also be sprinkled over bridal gowns, and veils, even purses and shoes with fantastic results as long its just a sprinkle of crystals rather than a flood.

December 3, 2009

Focus on the back!

It seems to me that most brides search for their perfect gown by focusing mainly on the elements of the gown that can be seen from the front view; they worry about the neckline, the waist, the silhouette, the fabric...everything except the back of the gown! In fact the more I thought of it I realised that after looking at hundreds of completely different bridal gowns, somehow they all seemed to look identical from behind. Many wedding dresses share features at the back such as a standard lace up corset, hidden zips and neat rows of microscopic buttons. These thoughts led me to write the article Behind every great gown..

If the red carpet has taught us anything at all, we have learnt the importance of a dress that looks great from every angle and not just the front. This is because real photographs are not as forgiving as magazine shots of models and mannequins, they show all the different sides of the dress so it makes perfect sense to spread the glamour of the gown more evenly so that there are exquisite details on the front as well as the back. Of course this doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with a gown that has a simple back; it really comes down to the personal taste and choice of the bride. Just as long as it is an open minded choice rather than a blind following of the 'boring back' tradition.
The beauty of back detailing lies mainly in the element of surprise; people always expect the best of the gown to be apparent from the front view, it is not until the bride has walked past or maybe even taken her veil off for the reception that they get to see the extra touch of glamour at the back of the gown where it is least expected. The back detail could be anything ranging from criss-cross straps, to lace cut outs or even over sized bows.

Intricate detailing on the back is best for gowns that are ultra simple in the front, if the gown has too much detailing on both the front and the back it will look busy and overdone which is never the look to aim for. Brides who prefer to cover their upper arms and back can go for high necked gowns like the bateau neck and then compensate with a deliciously chic open back. Open back gowns often straddle the line between classy and trashy, if the opening in the back is too wide, too low, or poorly fitted, the gown will look cheap and tacky. Whenever in doubt about overdone embellishments and over revealing gowns, opt for less of both.

For more photos of exquisite back detail click here to visit my page

November 25, 2009

Let there be Lace!

Lace is the most intriguing of all fabrics because of the way it is crafted with holes and gaps deliberately woven into the fabric to create an interesting pattern. Cheaper versions of lace are woven into regular fabric, and the holes are cut out of the fabric later. Lacy patterns are often a combination of floral and leafy designs but the options are endless. In contemporary fashion, lace is mainly seen in the lingerie department, although it makes occasional appearances as trimming on blouses and party dresses. Many women stay away from lace because of the myth that lace tends to look dated and dreary but the truth is, there are so many different types of lace made out of completely different fibers such as silk, cotton, linen or synthetic fiber; thus while some types of lace may invoke the vintage spirit of previous centuries, there are other types of lace with a more contemporary appearance.

Lace is usually light weight with a sheer or transparent quality to it, so it regularly used as an overlay with a heavier fabric underneath it. The delicate beauty of lace has resulted in it being used as trimming or added embellishment on wedding dresses. Brides have the option to go for a gown with all over lace, or choose the simpler alternative of lace detailing on portions of the gown such as the hemline, neckline or waist. Lace adds a unique textured quality to garments unlike any other fabric, it is frequently incorporated into many other bridal accessories such as veils, gloves and wraps. Many modern bridal designers add lacy elements to their gowns in an effort to blend past and present trends, resulting in timeless pieces that can be worn for years to come.

November 23, 2009

The Balloon Debate

Are balloons ever really stylish enough for a wedding? Balloons are the most universal decoration used all over the world. They seem to transcend age, gender and social class. I have attended more than my fair share of weddings and seen an overdose of the best and worst of balloon decorations used in the wedding ceremony itself and at the reception hall. Objectively speaking, there are good reasons to use wedding balloons and equally good reasons to run a mile away from them.
The good Balloons are affordable, they have significantly smaller price tags than fresh flowers and involve much less work and risk than candle arrangements. They are an easy way to incorporate the wedding colors into the decoration as they are available in literally every color imaginable. They are also extremely multi-functional, possessing the ability to take on several roles in the wedding d├ęcor, adding up to a great overall saving. Balloons can be use as aisle runners, reception centerpieces or arches and pillars for the couple to stand or sit under. They can even be made into exploding balloon drops that release cascading mini balloons on the couple during their first dance or serene balloon clouds that float above the guests at the reception. The possibilities are endless. Many couples have their friends and family release handfuls of balloons into the air as the couple exits they church, creating a beautiful visual effect which lasts longer than throwing confetti or rice and can be captured better in the photographs.

The bad In all honesty, balloons are terribly reminiscent of clowns and 6 year old birthday parties; by their very nature balloons have a childish quality, so the choice to use them in a formal event is always a risky one. Many people wrongly believe that balloons are easy to handle so they attempt to do the balloon decorations themselves which can result in tacky balloon arrangements. To succeed in pulling off a stylish balloon arrangement, experienced professional help is an absolute must and this will of course cost more money. Balloons have an exceptionally short life span; they can easily be popped by any number of sharp edges that abound in a room full of people such as hats, belt buckles and the eager hands of excited children. In addition, helium filled balloons have the cheeky tendency to come loose and fly away in respectful obedience to the gravity defying gas within them. Finally, regardless of how much experience the balloonists have, wedding balloons only look good in metallic colors and pastels, dark colored balloons seem to look childish no matter how nicely they have been arranged.

Balloons have the potential to look chic and stylish enough for a wedding, but only when they are handled by experts who treat them as delicate pieces of art rather than childish toys.

November 18, 2009

Off the shoulder bridal gowns

Brides tend to flock towards a specific type of gown in their attempts to look authentic, and fit into the generally accepted mould of a bride. Without a doubt,  the strapless neckline would definitely win the popularity award but there are many other necklines available to brides who dare to venture from the norm.

Off the shoulder gowns feature a wide neckline with straps or sleeves that appear to be literally falling off the shoulders. These gowns are very reminiscent of the romantic era of old Hollywood. Brides in the 1950s were particularly fond of this neckline; famous women like Elizabeth Taylor  (shown in the picture above) and Jackie Kennedy (as seen below) walked down the aisle in stunning off the shoulder wedding dresses. This type of neckline offers more coverage to the back and upper arms of the bride as compared to completely strapless dresses. They are ideal for women who prefer not to have completely bare arms and shoulders. The key to choosing the right off the shoulder gown is making sure it is the perfect fit! Despite the fact that it is meant to look as though it is falling off the shoulders, it still has to stay in place right on the edge of the shoulders or at the top of the upper arms. If the fit is anything less than perfect, the straps will keep slipping too high or too low and will ruin the overall look. 

Off the shoulder gowns create the illusion of broader shoulders, so women who are heavier on the top with big arms and very broad shoulders should steer clear of these gowns. Aside from that, they are generally very flattering for most body types; they add a feminine touch to any gown and are a refreshing break away from the standard strapless neckline that is currently dominating the bridal scene.  

November 15, 2009

Birds of a feather

Feathers often make an appearance at weddings, they show up on the hats of the guests, as part of the hair pieces for the bridal party, on shawls, purses, shoes and even on the bridal gown itself! When executed properly, feathers add an air of polished elegance and high class sophistication. The character Carrie Bradshaw of SATC wore a full bird on her head for her on screen marriage in an attempt to look and feel the part of a truly stylish bridalista. Several of the top designers featured feather embellishments in their bridal collections for late 2009 and early 2010. Some of the dresses such as the peacock feathered gown by Monique Lhuillier shown below are avant garde pieces that are interesting to look at and admire but aren’t a practical option for the average bride to actually wear down the aisle. But the feathered gowns by Ysa mokino and Romona Keveza prove that it is possible to make use of feathers in a tasteful way to enhance the appearance of the garment rather than cheapen it.

For winter brides, feathered wraps and shawls add an extra layer of warmth protecting the bride and her party from the harsh elements, and keeping them 

stylish at the same time!   

November 10, 2009

Dreaming of a white winter...

I'm ever drawn to unusual combinations of bright and fun colors, but my latest interest is completely void of color; all white bridal bouquets. They seem to be appearing in all the recent celebrity weddings like Milla Jovovich, Khloe Kardashian and Ivanka Trump. The white bouquet is appealing because of its simple beauty; it looks ultra chic and stylish without being too loud or over done. An all white bouquet can consist of a mixture of several different kinds of flowers in different shades of white, giving each bride the chance to create their own unique version of the monochrom
e bouquet.
The downside to having a white bouquet is that when the photographs are taken, it is easy for the bouquet to blend into the white wedding gown and fade away from notice. For this reason many photographers and wedding planners strongly advise against white bouquets unless the bride intends to wear a bright colored gown, but there are ways around this; such as choosing flowers that are a significantly darker or lighter shade of white than the bridal gown. Alternatively, incorporating flowers with bright colored centers or even adding non floral elements to the bouquet can make a big difference. The miniature pine cones added to the winter bouquet shown below help to add texture and light to the bouquet, giving it a life of its own and making it stand out more against the white wedding gown. Some brides choose to wrap the handle of the bouquet with a bright colored fabric thereby adding a splash of color and contrast which translates beautifully in the photographs

For more photos of white bouquets visit my page

Photo credit Photos by Carlos Andres Varela and Allan Zepeda, Claire Barrett Photography, Ksenija Savic Photography, Echard Wheeler Photography Azul Photography, Kari Kochar Photography