Wednesday 16 November 2011

Put a spell on you: Vera Wang

Lunchtime on a Friday afternoon in Brook Street, and I find myself mingling with some of the most beautiful bridal gowns I have ever clapped eyes on. To be honest, I did not even realise they made gowns this beguiling, all swan-like grace and stardust lightness. But here's the catch - of the 10 or so gowns the lovely team at Browns Brides showed me as part of a limited chance to see this, Vera Wang's latest collection fresh from the catwalks of New York Bridal Fashion Week - most were cinder-coloured. Yes, black wedding dresses.

Inspired by Degas ballerinas, and I suspect a certain Swan Lake character, the line-up featured fluid silhouettes of overlaid silk chiffon with fan detail pleating around the waist, drawing the eye into its dainty proportions before slinking down to an eruption of degrade-effect tulle (sure to cause a stir up the aisle) and romantic frothy ballgowns in inkiest black. For the uninitiated, the legendary queen of bridal wear Vera has been in the bridal fashion industry for over 20 years, so is unlikely to be ditching her respect for tradition anytime soon. These dresses do remain faithful to her romantic standing, and fit the bill for the catch-your-breath impact many brides seek. Channelling the same luxurious feel of all her collections in textures of undulating millefeuille that are almost shockingly light - I found myself happily swinging one from its hanger a finger - these gowns are pure haute couture in their exquisite construction.

On the face of it, it is hard to see many brides being brave enough to give these bewitching gowns a whirl. But I think Vera has a point about the often staid, overly-girly aesthetic of much bridal attire. As she explained "I found black to be fresh and tongue-in-cheek". And, increasingly, I don't think brides want to settle for the safe or commonplace etiquette of weddings. They are actively seeking if not such a break with tradition-bound bridal frocks, something that at least makes them feel very much themselves. Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City's Carrie) wore black when she married Matthew Broderick, so there is a iconic pedigree to this dark-dress lark.White or ivory are timeless, they will not fade or date if chosen carefully - and if you only get one chance at your wedding dress, is this a wildcard too far for most? Us lucky brides should be thankful then, that Vera has been fairy godmother-ish enough to do them in ivory, too. Phew.


Browns Brides
59 Brook Street, London W1K 5HS
Tl: 44 (0)20 7514 0090

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