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Get Kate Middleton’s Fairytale Wedding Gown for Less

29 Apr

Kate Middleton–excuse me–Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Wales, exceeded every expectation this morning as she wed her Prince Charming, William. Designers around the world are scrambling to debut knock-offs and spin-off and “inspired-by” gowns aimed at replicating the genius of Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton. While they work at a breathless pace, we wanted to feature a few gowns already available that offer the same Fairy Tale look as Kate’s.

This Oscar de la Renta gown, from the designer’s Spring 2011 collection, echos the classic style of Princess Grace that Kate emulated:

Sources say that Catherine, who worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress, wanted to combine Princess Grace’s traditional, classic style with the modernity and artistic flair that Alexander McQueen is known for.  You can easily see the influence of Grace’s gown in Kate’s and the regal Oscar de la Renta dress:


This Vera Wang gown from her White Collection for David’s Bridal
also takes a nod to Princess Grace’s dress with it’s classic lace overlay and three-quarter length sleeves:

Wang brings her own signature style to the timeless design with an airy ebony bow that emphasizes the bride’s narrow waist and adds a touch of whimsey and romance. The best part about this gown–it’s only $1,300!

For a similar look with a bit more modern sex appeal, consider this “Arugia” gown from Elie Saab’s 2011 Pronovias collection:

Saab’s creation plays homeage to Grace’s gown with it’s embroidered lace, but, like Kate’s dress, captures a more modern allure with it’s v-neckline.

These are only a few of the Kate Middleton look-alike gowns available at the moment. And stay tuned–over the next 24 hours expect to find direct knock-offs flooding the market! In the meantime, want a better look at Kate’s gown? Check out Fashionista’s suite of pictures–they’ve got photos of the Royal Bride and her dress from every angle.

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Details on Katy Perry’s Elie Saab Wedding Gown and the Gray Bridal Gown Trend

25 Oct

It’s official! Katy Perry, a.k.a, Mrs. Brand, married her husband Russel Brand last Saturday night in front of approximately 80 guests at the Aman-i-Khas wildlife reserve and resort in Rajasthan, India. While pictures of Perry’s wedding gown haven’t been released, a source revealed to Us Magazine that she wore a dove gray haute couture gown by Elie Saab that featured lace sleeves. We’re wondering if it’s this stunning gown from Saab’s Fall/Winter 2010 -2011 Haute Couture Collection:

Saab’s collection, which was inspired by the concept of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, features dreamy, red-carpet ready gowns ranging in color from fire-engine red to the gorgeous, dove gray tone of this bridal gown, which closed the designer’s Couture 2010 Fashion Show.

The gown Perry may have chosen features layers of ash-gray silk tulle accented with gray and gold sequins, and has a dramatic eight-foot train that would certainly appeal to the singer’s whimsical style. Saab’s decision to use a delicate lace fabric to form the gown’s sheer sleeves provides a fantastic contrast to the strong shoulders, made up of beautiful shimmering flower applique. The same sheer lace is overlaid on the bodice, and sewn on the bias, which creates a very flattering silhouette.  It’s certainly not for the traditional bride, but we can easily see Perry getting married in it!

The silver/gray color palette has been an emerging bridal trend since 2009, when Sarah Jessica Parker wore a now iconic Versace Couture gown made up of 1000 layers of tiered gray tulle in the series finale of Sex and the City (“An American Girl in Paris: Part Une”).

 

Gray brings an unexpected, sophisticated drama to bridal gowns.

It’s a fantastic option for brides looking for an non-traditional gown, and can be especially lovely for winter weddings.  If you’re looking for a gown inspired by Perry’s, check out these choices:

Vera Wang featured gray gowns in her 2009 collection, and then mixed in black accents for her Fall 2010 collection:

 

Fall 2009

Fall 2010

You can get a great deal on gray wedding gowns by searching on websites like Preownedweddingdresses.com–many, like this gray chiffon dress with an exquisite sequins and beaded bib halter neckline–are sample dresses and have actually never been worn. This gown, new with tags, is available for only $245:


This beautiful pearl gray Priscilla of Boston gown is $2,000 (originally $5,293–you save 62%):

Vintage sites can also be a great resource if you’re looking for an “offbeat” gown, like a gray one. For something short and flirty, check out this one shoulder Derek Lam dress, a steal for only $450 at a “new vintage” (1990 to present day) online store, Relic NY.com. The pleated silk creates just enough volume to add some drama, while the silhouette still stays streamlined and sophisticated.

Get Chelsea Clinton’s Vera Wang Wedding Dress for Less

1 Aug

It’s official: Chelsea Clinton and her long-time love, Marc Mezvinsky, are husband and wife.

Chelsea and Marc wed in an interfaith ceremony that honored the bride and grooms’ Methodist and Jewish upbringings. The affair was held outdoors in Rhinebeck, NY at a Hudson River Beaux Arts estate called Astor Courts.  Etc., etc., let’s get on to the good stuff: several photos have emerged from this security event of the century, and we can see that Chelsea’s highly anticipated Vera Wang gown–a version of Wang’s $10,000 “Diana” gown from her Spring 2010 collection–is absolutely stunning. I especially love this picture of former President Bill Clinton walking Chelsea down the aisle. Take a look at the unusual skirt of Chelsea’s gown:

Genevieve De Manio / AFP - Getty Images

If you look closely, you can see that the swirling layers of silk organza create the petal folds of giant roses. The juxtaposition of the clean lines of Bill’s suit and tie with Chelsea’s origami-esque skirt perfectly captures the feeling of modern-romance that characterizes this wedding. Here’s a closer look at the strapless gown’s draped tulle bodice and its exquisite embellished belt:

Genevieve De Manio / AFP - Getty Images

I love the crystal belt, which draws attention to Chelsea’s tiny waist. This is the main modification of the “Diana” gown that Chelsea made, aside of changing the slight sweetheart neckline to a true, straight-across strapless neckline. You can see the gown below as it appeared on the runway:

I love the change Chelsea made to the dress. Her embellished crystal belt adds a lot of glamour and individual personality.

Many bridal designers, including Jenny Packham, Oscar de la Renta (who designed Jenna Bush’s 2008 wedding gown and Hillary’s fuchsia mother-of-the-bride gown), and Elizabeth Fillmore are using black accents in their upcoming collections–and Vera Wang is no exception. Personally, I’m not certain if I’m 100% on board this trend and I’m happy to see that Chelsea chose a more traditional alternative. Your wedding photos will last forever, whereas this bridal trend of using black belts and accents may only be around for a few years.

So, where can you get Chelsea’s wedding dress for less? One way to reproduce the look is to buy an already worn or sample Vera Wang gown that has a similar silhouette, then add your own belt. One place to find great deals on already worn gowns is OnceWed.com. For example, check out this White French Tulle and English Netting Vera Wang Gown with a similar A-line silhouette to Chelsea’s dress. It’s available for $2500 (more than 50% off its original price of $5,314):

Why not get a great deal on a dress that's only been worn for 6 hours.

I like the pleated bodice of this gown–it’s similar to Chelsea’s, but this one creates a more definitive corset-like shape. Very feminine. Now all you’d need is a lovely belt to define your waist and transform your gown into a Chelsea-worthy look. Here’s option 1, a Romona Keveza Swarovski Crystal belt on sale at Weddingbee.com for $325 (or $425):

If you want something with more beads and crystals that still won’t break the bank, check out LittleWhiteDresser’s shop on Etsy, which offers beautiful crystal belts that will add some dazzle to any dress. I like this one, $96, with a beautiful, wavy design:
If you’re looking for a floral design, I like this one from Kirsten Kuehn’s designs, $150:
A couple of points to keep in mind if you decide to order an embellished belt online:

  1. Be sure to take note of the measurements. Make sure the belt will be long enough to comfortably get around your waist, or, if you want to have extra ribbon to tie in a bow in the back, double-check to make sure you’ll have enough material. Also, take note of the width of the belt you’re looking at so know if you’ll have the width (or skininess) that you desire.
  2. If you’re planning on ordering a hand-made piece on Etsy, where the crystals or beads are placed on a sash or a ribbon, think about whether or not the ribbon will show under the beading. If any of the sash is exposed, will its color match or compliment the color of your gown? If you want a seamless look, the last thing you need is an off-white sash contrasting with your winter-white gown.
  3. Consider  your belt to zipper placement! Especially if you are going to have a tailor sew the belt onto your dress, think about how it will be located when it comes to the zipper. Will there be a place where you can break the pattern of the beading with the divide of the zipper?
  4. Make sure you have enough time for your order to arrive. To be on the safe side, make sure the designer can guarantee a delivery date at least two weeks before your big day.

If you don’t want to bother building a similar look with a separate gown and belt, here are a couple of dresses that are look-alikes of Chelsea’s gown. For starters, check out this dress from Etsy designer Toccata, $3,500:

This dress is a little busier than Chelsea’s, but it definitely has a similar feel. The two gown share similar features, like the strapless neckline, embellished belt, and origami-esque A-line skirt.

If it’s the structural, origami feel of Chelsea’s skirt that you love, consider this Monique Lhuillier “Sunday Rose” dress on Recycledbride.com. Like OnceWed, RecycledBride is a great resource to find once-worn (like new!) designer wedding gowns for great prices. This Sunday Rose dress is listed for $7,500 (from original price of $10,460) and it has a textural feel to the skirt that’s similar to Chelsea’s:

Here’s another Etsy hand-made gown where tulle petals give the skirt a unique texture. This one is one sale through August 5th for $398:

Last but not least, if you love Chelsea’s dress, but can’t afford to pay full price, use the internet to find an exact copy on sale. If you search for “Vera Wang Diana dress on sale” today you’ll find one size 4 of the dress that’s 50% off at OnceWed.com, (listed at $5,000–a steal from the original $10,000 price), and one size 2 for $4,500 on PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com.

If you’re looking for more pictures of Chelsea and Marc’s wedding, check out this slideshow.

Mad Men Countdown: Betty Draper’s Fashion, Past and Future

17 Jul

As Faran Krentcil so eloquently put it on AMC’s Mad Men Fashion File blog (check it out if you haven’t seen it!), the past season of Mad Men was all about unraveling, from Betty’s marriage and Peggy’s morals to Don’s very identity. About the heartbreaking scene above, with Don, Betty, and the kids, Krentcil writes:

“As Don and Betty announce their divorce to the children, the words and feelings are fractured but the aesthetic is that of the perfect American family: Sally’s Peter Pan collar, Betty’s sweater set, Don’s perfectly pushed-up sleeves exposing the starched white shirt underneath his sweater. They look like a Norman Rockwell painting, which only makes the news of the family’s breakup feel even more churning.”

Krentcil perfectly describes the power that fashion brings to Mad Men. However, she didn’t mention the way fashion communicates an unraveling of gender roles in this picture. Take a look at the photo–Betty and Bobby, seated side by side, are both wearing plaid, while Don and Sally wear a similar look of dark sweater with a white collar. The effect is eery.

Here, Mad Men fashion genius Janie Bryant is playing with the concept of unisex clothing and its connection to the break down of gender roles in the ’60s. The idea of unisex fashion trends–clothes which could be worn by both men and women i.e, denims, etc.–emerged for the first time in the ’60s. In this scene, where divorce shatters the “man and wife” gender roles that had defined this family,  Bryant underscores the unraveling social identities through the character’s wardrobes, suggesting that Bobby and Sally will grow up in a different world than their parents–one where Sally can be more than a housewife and Bobby can be more than a breadwinner.

But, back to Betty–again, her look is an intriguing mix of masculine and feminine. Obviously, wearing slacks in the ’60s meant a more casual look–and a more masculine one. Plaid was also a unisex trend–another part of her look that makes Betty as masculine as we’ve ever seen her. Yet, the capri cut of her trousers makes them definitively feminine. If you’re looking for a good capri trouser for this summer, check out this pair–$59 at Bally hoo Vintage Clothing:

Or this pair, also at Bally Hoo, for $35:

Both trousers feature the stovepipe leg, still popular today, which first emerged in Betty’s day. The high waist and side zipper are other features that make these slacks distinctively ’60s.

But enough about the what’s happened in Betty’s past–what about her future? The finale cliffhanger I’m losing sleep over is whether or not Betty will marry Henry. In the final episode of the last season they were seen on a plane together, flying somewhere. Perhaps to a secluded wedding/honeymoon location? If Betty marries again, I wonder if she would wear white. Since a bride needs to wear something blue, perhaps she would choose that color. We know she looks stunning in it:

If you’re looking for a similar style, check out this vintage Hawaiian gown by designer Elsie Krasses, from Waikiki, available on Etsy for $205. I can picture Betty landing in Hawaii and wearing this for a formal evening on the islands or maybe even a wedding right next to the surf. It shares similar features with Betty’s dress above, including the rich aqua blue hue, a fitted shelf bust, and a long slim skirt with walking slit in the back. Whereas Betty’s dress is accented with a spray of silver flowers, this gown is accented with gold hibiscus, lily, and plumeria flowers that float across the bodice and then concentrate in a large border print near the  hem line.

$205 on Etsy.com

If Betty does decide to wear white, I’d love to see her in something like this vintage dress from 1960s California Couture label Lilli Diamond, available on Etsy for $300:

Does this look familiar to you? It should! It’s not unlike the corset-bra bodice trend taking over bridal fashion right now, as seen in Carrie Underwood’s “Augustine” wedding gown from Monique Lhuillier.

I love the crisp white cocktail length shirt, paired with the delicate sheer bodice decorated with the floral rhinestone/sequins applique.  The icing on the cake is the sash waistline–so flirty and swingy. Just as Monique Lhuillier, Pnina Tornai, and other bridal gown designers working today have discovered, the appeal of this look is that it’s a little bit bombshell, a little bit ballerina–just like Betty Draper.

But Betty hasn’t always dressed this way. Remember her adorable polka dot party frock from her “Trip Around the World” Dinner Party? Here, she was much more ballerina:
We loved the delicate spaghetti straps and the whimsical, playful look of the polka dots combined with the traditional, formal, full skirt of the ’50s. It was a very feminine but girly–almost childlike–look. Very appropriate for a more naive Betty.

Now, times are a-changing. We’ve moved farther into the decade and Betty is a different, more empowered woman. I think this season we’ll see her embrace the more grown-up, statuesque, body-hugging silhouettes of the mid-’60s, like in this Red Beaded Evening Gown by Mandalay Creations, available on Etsy.com for $340:

A gorgeous mermaid pattern on the gown is created by an opaque red beading that outlines pearlescent semi-transparent rose sequins. The silhouette is pure hour glass perfection, fitted in the bust, waist, and hip to hug every curve. It’s easy to imagine a more empowered Betty turning heads in this dress.

Check back for one more Mad Men fashion post–we’ll be taking a look at Peggy’s fashion in the upcoming days before the season premier! If you missed it, check out our post on Power Girdles and Joan-inspired fashion here.

Carrie Underwood’s Monique Lhuillier wedding gown: Is a Corset-Bra Bodice a Wedding Dress Do or Don’t?

11 Jul

Carrie Underwood is now Carrie Fisher.

She and husband Mike Fisher were married last night, reportedly at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge in Greensboro, Georgia, in front of 250 of the couple’s family and friends. Blah blah blah. I’ll skip to the important part–the wedding dress!–the bride wore a custom strapless exposed-boning corset Chantilly lace gown by Monique Lhuillier (similar to the gown pictured below that’s identified by the name “Augustine”) from the designer’s Spring 2011 Bridal collection. That’s right, Carrie Underwood’s dress is so fashion-forward it’s from the future.

image from MoniqueLhuillier.com, Spring 2010 Bridal Collection

No, I kid. Really, the exposed-boning corset gown, or the corset-bra look, has been growing in popularity over the past year or so, especially in bridal, and I think it’s going to be one of the top bridal couture trends for the rest of 2010 through 2011. Case it point: remember Miley Cyrus’ golden Jenny Packham gown from the Oscars?  Originally it was a bridal look from Packham’s Fall 2010 Bridal collection.

from Bridal to Red Carpet, the corset-bra bodice gown is making its entrance

As my man would put it, the corset-bra gown is a way for fashion-forward brides to “bring sexy back,” on their wedding day. Especially when paired with an A-line skirt and/or lace, like Carrie’s dress, or tulle, like Miley’s dress, the corset is a way for brides to make an elegant, traditional gown more modern, sexy, and edgy.

This look is not for everyone, and the style isn’t always successfully executed. I love the deconstructed look of the exposed corset structure, paired with the demure nature of the Chantilly lace, in Carrie’s gown. Lhuillier’s visible but delicate boning is feminine, and the 2-piece look of a separate bodice and skirt is fresh.

However,  I’m not so much a fan of the completely transparent corset tops with dominatrix-esque boning. Below is an example of a wedding gown by Pnina Tornai, who often features more risqué corset bodices in her designs.  I’m not a fan of the see-through bodice, or the styling of the skirt; the positioning of where the skirt meets the bodice is dropped below the natural waist and sort of wraps around the bride’s crotch. This gives the skirt the look of a frothy beach cover up or a towel that you’d tie around your hips when you’re in a swimsuit.

Designer Pnina Tornai's gowns often feature what I'll call "dramatic" corset bodices for the dramatic bride.

Basically, I’d shy away from this look because I don’t want to look like a wench on my wedding day. But, to each their own.

What do you think?

(P.S. What is Chantilly lace, you say? It’s a lace that takes its name from Chantilly, France, and it’s known for being intricately detailed, so much so that its use of a half-and-whole stitch as a fill can achieve the effect of light and shadow in the flower pattern of the material. Very pretty. Very expensive. Enough said.)

Brides-to-Be, get Megan Fox’s wedding look for less

8 Jul

Have you been holding your breath, waiting for pictures of Megan Fox’s wedding dress to be released? If so, my guess is that you’re a bride to be, like my friend Laura. She taped ET tonight (that’s Entertainment Tonight, for all of you out there who are unfamiliar because you have a life) which aired an “exclusive reveal” of the photos. Well, now the suspense is over and the pictures are everywhere, including this one, which the couple released to People.com:

Credit: GSI Media, People.com

It’s hard to see the dress, but People is reporting that the bride wore an Armani Prive white chiffon gown with a sweetheart neckline and a 16 foot train.

Fox has frequently garnered comparisons with Angelina Jolie, and her wedding gown choice instantly called to mind Jolie’s Ellie Saab gown for the 2009 Oscars. Jolie’s gown is (of course) a different color, and her deeper sweetheart neckline is more sexy than sweet, but the simple silhouette of flowy chiffon gathered at the waist creates a similar look.

Jolie's Ellie Saab 2009 Oscar's gown

If you’re exploring bridal dress options like my friend Laura, and you like how this flowy look combines elegance and ease, here are a few gowns we found that give the same look for (much) less than an Armani Prive:

ABS by Allen Schwartz Women's Ruched Satin Gown--$160 at Overstock.com

The bias cut diagonal ruched satin bodice is incredibly flattering and makes for the same fitted yet draped look as Fox’s silk chiffon.

The slit at the waist mirrors the slit in Jolie’s dress–it’s a trick many designers use to flatter a woman, as it allows for the slimming column silhouette of a sheath (there’ll be no extra volume there if you’re bottom-heavy) that still allows for comfort and fluid movement when you walk.

If the gown doesn’t fit or you need another size, you can return it within 30 days as long as it’s in new/unused condition.

  • Net-a-Porter has a ton of options, including:

This Diane von Furstenberg Delphina Ruched Bridal Gown for $2,200.

Diane von Furstenberg Delphina ruched bridal gown--$2,200 on Net-a-Porter.com

The white ruched silk chiffon doesn’t come across as flowy here as in Fox’s gown, as it’s stretched across a bustier boned bodice. So, you lose the flowy Greek goddess look, but you gain a guarantee on having your slimmest-possible looking waist, and peaking out from under your sweetheart neckline will be your perkiest-possible looking cleavage.

Matthew Williamson Peacock-print silk-chiffon gown--$2,350 on Net-a-Porter.com

In this dress, the silk chiffon is gathered at a higher, Empire waist, which will flatter brides with wider waists (like me! In middle school, my orchestra instructor told me I have “child bearing hips”) by bringing the eye up to a narrower section of the body.
If you’re looking for a similar feel, but slightly different look, my favorite of the gowns currently available for a steal on Net-a-Porter is this one, a Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Opuntia corseted gown for $2, 645.

Vivienne Westwood Opuntia corseted gown--$2,645 on Net-a-Porter.com

I love all the details on this dress, especially the draped panels at the neck that fold into a knot to create a sort of modern portrait neckline–how darling and appropriate for the day when you tie the knot?  I also appreciate the slightly raised waistline (again, very flattering for us wide-hipped gals), that, combined with the asymmetric skirt, creates a slimming look. Finally, the corset top (hidden under the folded silk fabric) will keep you locked and loaded.
Even if you’re not a fashion geek, you may recognize Vivienne Westwood’s name from the first Sex and the City movie–in the film Westwood created Carrie’s wedding gown for the large ceremony that was supposed to be held at the New York Library. After the movie was released, Westwood created a shorter version for Net-a-Porter that was priced at $9,875–and promptly sold out within a few days.

Westwood's gown as featured in the first Sex and the City film

As with Overstock.com, you can return or exchange all items at Net-a-Porter for free–within 14 days of purchase.
  • JCrew.com is another place to check for wedding gowns at a great price. They have several dresses similar to Fox’s design, including this Silk Chiffon Taryn gown:

JCrew's silk chiffon Taryn gown--select colors for $299 on JCrew.com

The criss-cross draping that forms the sweetheart neckline in this dress is especially romantic.

Check out the rest of JCrew’s bridal gowns.
For all you brides-to-be out there, I wish you luck in your bridal gown search! Don’t forget to consider the internet as a possible source for your dress.