Friday, March 1, 2013

When a wedding dress designer, designs her own wedding dress...

As a designer, and one that designs wedding dresses, you might think I've obsessed about my own wedding dress for years. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case.  While I have known for years that I would design my own wedding dress, it's more because it seemed kind of sac-religious not too.

What I have wanted to do for YEARS (and always been too chicken to do) was to go and try on wedding dresses, since I'm a terrible liar, I didn't do this until I actually got engaged. And I really went everywhere. That might be another story that I'll save for another post. But where it relates to this discussion is in how surprisingly difficult it was to find a dress like I thought I wanted, even in just the silhouette. 

Trying on dresses is actually advice I give to all my clients, for exactly this reason, when I found a dress that was similar in silhouette to what I had in mind. it confirmed for me that I was going the right direction with my design. The dress I tried on, I didn't want to take off! I just felt like a film star from the 30's, I was sure that was how I wanted to feel in my wedding dress. 

My idea started with the idea of some kind of short dropped waistline with a flared skirt of some kind, something vaguely art deco maybe bias, and kind of liquid in it's movement.

The easy part was knowing what color I wanted. I wanted this color. This pale green/grey/silver color. 
Once I draped the first draft, I was actually surprised how quickly this design came up and remained basically unchanged yet how difficult it was for me to complete.  (Another post I'll have to share with you is the photos from the fittings... works in progress..)

What I struggled with was my incredible desire for sleeves. I started out wanting removable sleeves. But I started designing in July when the idea of needing sleeves seems crazy in New York. By November I was horrified my sleeves were removable. And I HATED them.

I have to interrupt myself here and discuss my design team. My team consisted of my friends My Phung (who is amazing with fancy dresses), Jenn Rogien (who is a genius at telling story's with clothes, google her, you'll see), Maggi (she's a marketing & color genius), Nicole and Daniel.... I am lucky that I have so many talented designers for friends. It's weird to say that the most compassionate thing they all helped me do was, that they just gave me permission to not like what was going on and to redesign.

So in 3 separate fittings, one with My Phung, one with Daniel and then one last one with Nicole, I totally redesigned the removable sleeves into this half shawl/ half shrug thing.

Which I totally loved!! It added to me feeling like a starlet from the 30's, it doubled as some kind of amazing scarf/collar when I put my coat on. (the coat is another post.) And it achieved what I needed, a way to be warmer and covered earlier in the day and then remove it when I was too warm and wanted to dance.

Maggi also did my make-up and lent me, my something borrowed.
She had some vintage shoe clips from her grandmother (I think) and she had worn one on her wedding. I loved the little bit of sparkle and getting to share that detail from her wedding. It was really so fun how it all came together.

For my fascinator, I made it the last few days before the wedding. With my shrug, doing a big tulle fascinator seemed wrong, and everything that looked traditionally bridal just felt wrong. In the end it's mostly dark green feathers, some peacock feathers and a tiny bit of gold silk flower petals. 

Photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography
Photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography

 There is about 12 yards of fabric in the skirt of this dress. Twirling in it was so really fun.

Photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography

In the end, the dress and the sleeves/shrug/shawl was exactly what I wanted. It could have been more green, but I loved it exactly as it was.... Especially with all the input and help from my friends. They made it so much better!


  1. my own wedding dress for years. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case. While I have known for years that I would design my own wedding dress, it's more because it seemed kind of sac-religious not too. modest bridesmaid dresses

  2. Thanks a ton for sharing these wedding dress reviews!! All these wedding dresses are just fabulous. You know I also bought my wedding gown from this site. It contains a large variety of wedding dresses. I bought a fairy dress for my fairy themed wedding that held at some NYC wedding venues. Really enjoyed the day.