When the lucky "bride to be" plans her wedding day, her first thoughts are probably of that special gown that will make her look and feel like a princess on her wedding day. Designing the right gown can be quite a challenge as there are many options available and at times it is an overwhelming experience - too much or too little to choose from!! Often when speaking to the bride for the first time over the telephone, she will inform me that she does not have a clue as to style, colour, fabric, design or shape that will suit and flatter her. I advise her before we meet at my bridal studio to page through a few bridal magazines, both local and international, to get a feel for current styles and trends.
It is important for the designer to know her client's likes and dislikes so that together they can create the bride's "dream wedding gown". At the consultation we would discuss what the bride finds attractive and appeals to her. Sometimes we'll choose one element of a dress that is lovely and design the dress around that. e.g. a beautiful neckline.
The bride's physical attributes are a key factor to look at when designing a dress that will flatter and enhance her. If she is very petite and short then a dress that is too full at the hemline would make her look even shorter, whereas a more fitted dress with a train attached could lengthen her appearance. Any horizontal seam in the dress will draw attention to that part of the body, so if you want to look taller and thinner keep your lines vertical and angled, a paneled dress is often very flattering. If the bride has very broad shoulders, avoid necklines that are horizontal and that draw attention across her shoulders for example, boob tubes, off the shoulder sleeves, boat necklines etc. keep the necklines more 'v' and elongated. Whilst discussing styles with my client, I'll also observe her personality: is she very outgoing, confident and bubbly or more reserved, quiet and shy? If the bride is reserved and conservative, she would not feel comfortable in an eccentric, "over the top" gown and vice versa. The wedding gown should enhance the bride's figure and personality.
There are many different styles to choose from: the modern look, typical of the American bridal magazines, the classical look consisting of clean simple and timeless lines or a rich, romantic look she can go back in time to the "baroque" period of rich, ornate stiffened bodices and full gathered silk skirts with petticoats and hoops. Besides the style and cut of the gown, one must choose the colour. White is of course the most popular choice, but today many brides have chosen to be a little different preferring pale pink, ice blue, silver, gold or combinations of colour.
Fabric choices are extremely vast but must be chosen in accordance with the style and look of the dress. There are silks, duchess satins, organzas, brocades, lace and many more to choose from. As for your trims, I always refer to them as "the icing on the cake". One can choose from embroidery (very popular these days), beading, piping, tassels, ribbons and hand painting.
As a fashion designer my reward is seeing the bride radiate beauty, confidence and elegance on her very special day.