It is only five years since the most popular gowns depended on making a large statement through excess. Gowns were beaded top to bottom. Shoulders were huge. Skirts were overwhelmingly large.
Today, it may just be the placement of a shoulder strap that marks a gown as beautifully cut and styled.
It may be…
- the placement of a lovely piece of lace.
- a tiny row of pearls following the line of a drop waist.
- tiny bows at the shoulder.
- a simple gown with a dramatic cowl back.
Be aware of the contribution made by the fabric. The contrast of a Thai silk with satin used as trim, perhaps in a band under an empire bodice, plays with light, giving a lovely effect.
The density of velvet can work in contrast to a variety of other fabrics, including taffeta, silk charmeuse, silk shantung and chiffon.
Eyelet trim gives a romantic touch to many gowns.
Fabric appliqués are being used as an accent, particularly on bodices. Embroidered lace appliques are interesting and sometimes have tiny seed pearls or beads.
Shirring is being used on some bodices, and this may be the only detail on an otherwise simple gown.
Almost all trim is more subtle than in past years.
Pearls are still popular, and although they are sometimes used extravagantly, they are still more subtle and muted than crystal and beading.
Crystals always will be in demand because of their drama. They play with light and can dazzle.
Bows are a favourite – perhaps because they remind us of when we were young. This may be a sash, tied in a bow at the back, or it may be tiny bows around the hem of a ballgown or sitting on the shoulders of a gown.
When a woman dreams of her wedding gown, she almost always sees it in white. That said, however, top designers can’t resist playing with colour. The most acceptable colour is blush because it is flattering to almost all skin tones. The past season or two, a few designers have done their more sophisticated gowns in tea-rose, lavender or the softest of greens.
Fabric flowers as a primary trim element are popular. Sometimes they make a major statement in large roses cascading down the back of a dress. Sometimes they are more subtle, with tiny roses on a sleeve. Some designers capture the romance of flowers by having tiny buds sprinkled all over the skirt of a ballgown.
Today, it is a totally different shopping experience that it was just a few years ago. You will discover that the impact of the best gowns are those that have paid attention to detail.
The extravagant skirt is still part of the fun of getting married. It’s the bodice that has become more refined.
The huge sleeve was yesterday. Simplicity is today.