Something Old and Something New
Although they are part of an age-old tradition, wedding dresses are not immune to the vagaries of fashion. The perfect image of a long, white gown in satin and lace may be iconic, but the styles many modern brides are choosing are often quite different. While traditionalists may rue the day that the white wedding gown is judged passé by contemporary women, they would do well to consider that this iconic style is, in itself, simply an extended trend.
Queen Victoria of England deserves the credit for popularizing white dresses for brides. Previous to her wedding of 1840, brides dressed according to their social standing in their colors of choice. From the 1960s on, wedding styles generally reflected idealized romance with long, flowing skirts, pearls and lace.
In recent years, however, bridal styles are more eclectic and colorful. While many brides still select traditional wedding hues of white, ecru, ivory or eggshell, others are wearing pink, red, black or gold with glamorous accessories to match. Below are some of the most popular trends in contemporary wedding dresses in Johannesburg.
1. Lace tattoos
Currently trending are gowns that give the illusion of lacy motifs against bare skin, particularly in the bodice area. Designers accomplish this trompe l’oeil effect by applying lace medallions on sheer backing that lets the bride’s natural beauty shine through.
2. Corset bodices
Corset styling is quite popular as a trend and as a design feature that flatters. Typically, the corset bodice is strapless and has a sweetheart neckline. It may be fashioned from lace. Vertical lines or “stays” mimic foundation garment construction. A corset bodice highlights the bust while slenderizing the midriff.
3. Bead embellishments
Beading and sequins are presently very prevalent in both formal fashions and bridal wear. They impart a rich, Victorian look that is both romantic and trendy. A sprinkling of sequins catches the cathedral light as the bride strolls along the aisle.
Ruffles add volume, motion and soft style to wedding dresses. Vertical waves of gossamer ruffles along a belling skirt make the bride feel graceful and look beautiful. Ruffles grouped in sheer and solid layers create added dimension.
A soft, swingy peplum adds definition to the waist while skirting the hips in fashionable flutters. Very much a feature of contemporary fashion, a peplum adds a bit of flair to a slender, curve-hugging profile, such as a mermaid-style wedding dress.
6. Convertible Dress
One popular version of the convertible wedding gown is a short sheath with a removable full-length skirt. This choice doubles the chances of wearing the fashion more than once. It also is a handy style for both wedding ceremony and reception, especially if dancing is in the plan.
7. Sheer delight
A sheer overlay gives a full-length wedding dress an ethereal, cloud-like look. A full, gathered overskirt atop a narrow base layer sketches a multidimensional vision far more interesting that a single layer. This trend is popular with evening gowns as well.
8. Long, slender sleeves
Thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge, whose trend-setting wedding style still resonates with bridal designers, long sleeves are back in vogue on the wedding circuit. Slender, semi-sheer lace sleeves with scalloped hemlines are among the most sought-after. They lend a formal gown exceptional elegance and style.
9. Beautiful blush
Many celebrities have made blush the “it” tone for contemporary wedding dresses. Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Biel are among those brides who opted to infuse their wedding attire with a lovely touch of pink or peachy hues.
10. Fascinating finale
Another hot trend in contemporary wedding gowns is an unusual or ornate back. Brides can wow their wedding guests all of the way up the aisle with a back cutout, a lovely lacy panel or other dazzling details.
Fabrics and textures are also at the forefront of the latest wedding dress trends. Lace, a longtime wedding dress staple, is leading the fashion fray. In keeping with the trend toward the romantic, designers are using lace bodices, overlays and top-to-tow cutwork to create feminine, flowing bridal styles.
Necklines for the contemporary bride are beginning to branch out from the strapless look that has held sway for several years. Toward the top of the current trends is the illusion neckline. This consists of a sheer yoke extending from the hollow of the throat to the top of the bust. The sheer area may be unadorned or it may be embellished with lace appliques or beading.
Despite design trends, a bride should choose a wedding dress that reflects or enhances her essential sense of style. Often the most successful gown is a departure from what’s trending and makes a classic statement all its own. When selecting her dream dress, the bride should consider those options that make her look and feel the most beautiful.
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