Non­tra­di­tional wed­ding dresses range from blush to black

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE - By Solvej Schou

When de­cid­ing what kind of dress I wanted to wear for my wed­ding this year, I knew what I didn't want. No lace, no veil, and ab­so­lutely noth­ing long, corseted, tra­di­tional and white. So, for our tiny May mar­riage cer­e­mony, I went with an off-the-rack, navy blue sailor dress with a film noir flair. For our wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion with friends and fam­ily six months later, I wore a shorter, stretch vel­vet hal­ter dress in red my fa­vorite color - cus­tom-made by a Los Angeles bou­tique I've gone to for years.

It turns out that un­con­ven­tional wed­ding dresses, while still not as pop­u­lar as their white, floor-sweep­ing coun­ter­parts, are catch­ing on. "We saw a no­tice­able spike in the num­ber of un­tra­di­tional dresses - shorter dresses, the use of color - a cou­ple of years ago," said Keija Mi­nor, editor-in-chief of Brides mag­a­zine . "There's a move for all cou­ples to want to per­son­al­ize their wed­ding and not be the cookie-cut­ter wed­ding their par­ents want. If your dream dress isn't a flowy white gown, and you want a pop of color, then why not?"

Ac­cord­ing to the mag­a­zine's 2016 Amer­i­can Wed­ding Study, an an­nual sur­vey of en­gaged and new­ly­wed women, 93 per­cent of brides still select white and off-white gowns. Yet 11 per­cent of brides opt now for some­thing "unique," from cock­tail­length and non-white dresses to slinky jump­suits. The study also found that 73 per­cent of cou­ples pay for or con­trib­ute to the cost of their own wed­ding. "If your mom's pay­ing for your dress, she would prob­a­bly want more of a say," said Mi­nor. "The days of the bride's fam­ily pay­ing is so over. With this fi­nan­cial shift, you've seen more girls be­ing less tra­di­tional."

Pop­u­lar non­tra­di­tional col­ors range from lighter pas­tels such as cham­pagne, blush, pale pink and light blue to glit­tery gold and sil­ver, said Mi­nor. Be­sides shorter lengths, high-low hem­lines ap­peal to women who want to show off their shoes. De­signer Vera Wang has show­cased wed­ding dresses in black and pink. David's Bridal stores sell a white wed­ding jump­suit.

"Even tra­di­tional designers, and in the main­stream, are giv­ing a nod to the feel­ing that brides can wear what they want," Mi­nor added. Re­cently, at Ma­trushka Con­struc­tion, a cozy, one­room cloth­ing shop in the hip Sil­ver Lake area of Los Angeles that makes col­or­ful dresses and other ap­parel by hand, owner Laura Howe - wear­ing a slouchy, off-the-shoul­der sweater laughed when re­call­ing the most un­tra­di­tional wed­ding dress she's ever made.

More dis­tinct

"I once made a tutu dress, like a De­gas dress, in laven­der, and that was wacky," said Howe, 49. "Usu­ally peo­ple who want alternative dresses are peo­ple who have an un­der­stand­ing, an appreciation, for both fash­ion and hand­made fash­ion. I also have clients who trust me from mak­ing dresses for them be­fore." Howe started mak­ing cus­tom wed­ding dresses 10 years ago. They range from $200 for a dress based on an ex­ist­ing Ma­trushka de­sign to $1,500 for a more dis­tinct and com­plex cus­tom-made look.

Dresses with names such as the Jas­mine (in sheer black and em­bossed green vel­vet, with long bil­low­ing sleeves and a Vneck­line) and the Jean Har­low (a clingy Old Hol­ly­wood-in­spired floor-length and knee-length de­sign, with a plung­ing neck­line and ruch­ing) hang on racks through­out the shop.

For a tall "anti-any­thing froufy and kind of punk rock" con­cert pi­anist get­ting mar­ried in London, Howe said, she de­signed a sil­very silk hal­ter gown with a full-length skirt. For a cus­tomer who runs a yoga stu­dio, she made a Jean Har­low in a cream-ish yel­low.

"Peo­ple have said, 'I want an orange silkscreen with a poppy on it,' or 'I want it to be black,' or what­ever color they're re­ally into. It's very per­sonal," said Howe. When Brook­lyn, New York­based Jamie Hardy, 37, and her hus­band were plan­ning their June 2011 wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion - a lunch and dance party - a year af­ter they se­cretly mar­ried, Hardy asked her ar­chi­tect friend Gerri Davis to make the dress. Hardy and Davis - who plans to make a pantsuit for her own wed­ding next year - met and hashed out a de­sign. Then they shopped for fab­rics, and Davis took a plas­ter cast of Hardy's body to work off of.

Hardy's neu­tral toned, cocktail-length dress ended up be­ing a sleek and artis­tic combo of raw silk, clear se­quins, up­hol­stery fab­ric and darker, vine-like em­broi­dery, with part of a multi-col­ored ki­mono sash on one shoul­der. "I wanted it to be tree-like and root-like, and Gerri as an ar­chi­tect brought struc­ture to it," said Hardy, who was then go­ing to school for land­scape de­sign. "I also don't like the color white. It doesn't look good on me, and I would get it dirty. Comfort is re­ally im­por­tant. If I'm in a corset or bodice, that wouldn't work."

A more comfy, trans­lat­able wed­ding look that can also be worn at other events has a cer­tain ap­peal. Still, while Hardy wanted her dress "to not just be a wed­ding dress in my closet," she said, she hasn't yet worn it again. "For a cer­tain bride, there's some­thing about a more ca­sual dress, if it's a more ca­sual wed­ding or party," said Mi­nor. "I have to be hon­est, though. I haven't seen some­one wear their wed­ding dress again. I have a friend who wore cocktail-length gold, and we said, 'You're go­ing to wear that again!' But she didn't."

Bride Jen­nifer Gu­towski danc­ing dur­ing her wed­ding at the Rainbo Club in Chicago, Ill, with her hus­band John Hern­don.

— AP pho­tos

This photo taken at Los Angeles hand­made cloth­ing bou­tique Ma­trushka Con­struc­tion shows the shop’s owner Laura Howe ad­just­ing a long green dress that can be worn as an un­con­ven­tional wed­ding dress.

Shop’s owner Laura Howe ad­just­ing a long green dress that can be worn as an un­con­ven­tional wed­ding dress.

Shop’s owner Laura Howe stand­ing next to a dress called the ‘Jas­mine’ that can be worn as an un­con­ven­tional wed­ding dress.

Photo shows a dress called the ‘Carli’ that can be worn as an un­con­ven­tional wed­ding dress.

Jamie Hardy in her un­con­ven­tional wed­ding dress made by her friend, and ar­chi­tect, Gerri Davis, at Hardy and her hus­band’s wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion with friends and fam­ily in the Brook­lyn bor­ough of New York, a year af­ter the cou­ple of­fi­cially mar­ried.

Shop's owner Laura Howe sewing a piece of fab­ric.

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