Sleek, Sophisticated and Over the Top

Now that the excitement and chaos of the Phoenix Bridal Fashion Debut has passed, we can all take a step back and assess the massive amount of information.   For the thousands of brides in attendance, it was a chance to see and touch the various gowns that the valley’s finest bridal boutiques and seamstresses had to offer.  For the boutiques, it was a time test the waters and see what fashion silhouette brides are gravitating to this season.  At several booths the overwhelming response was, “sleek and sophisticated.”  That is a far cry from the traditional cupcake bride silhouette.

 

Five out of ten girls that I had the pleasure to meet at the show are having their wedding at a non-traditional location where the traditional gown just won’t suit the surroundings.  One bride plans to take a stroll up South Mountain with her guests in tow.  She found Bonaparte NY’s Giselle, carried exclusively at Mariée, to be the perfect match for the sophisticated, yet bohemian vibe.  The designer has carefully constructed an A-line sheath of delicate French lace crisscrossed with silk charmeuse.  The back is stunning with two ankle-length lace sashes that hang free to make up for the lack of a train.  Its couture construction techniques are softened by its simple silhouette creating an overall humble impression.  The Giselle has a pool hem, but is short enough to be easily carried in one hand for the mile and a half walk up South Mountain just as the sun is setting.

 

A red-carpet affair by the beach is exactly what Natasha had in mind when she tried on Elizabeth Fillmore’s Starlet, carried exclusively at Mariée.  A starlet she would be in this strapless, silk charmeuse gown made sultry with a sweetheart neckline.  No curve escapes the draping silk.  Yet, Elizabeth Fillmore puts her couture skills to work so that the silk glides over flaws as though they never existed (not that Natasha needed it).  One can just image her strolling about the Spanish Colonial grounds of the Bacara resort.  She would fit in perfectly with the rest of the celebrity guests. 

 

Not to be overlooked is Jenny Lee, carried exclusively at Destiny’s Bride.  According to her reps, “Lee continues to share in the enthusiasm of brides who understand that elegance is a matter of design, not overpowering details.”   That seems to say it all this season.  Jenny Lee’s Spring 2006 collection is marked by simple elegance that would look as appropriate in the sanctuary of St. Mary’s Basilica as it would in nature’s sanctuary in Oak Creek Canyon. The lace adorning her gowns can be seen either as whimsical or traditional.  It is all a matter of perspective.

 

Accustomed to catering to opera stars, Rani Totman of St. Pucchi has been able to reign in her dramatic urges and pare down the yards and yards of her typical designs to create a few sultry silhouettes with significantly less yardage.  Carried at Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique and I Do I Do, this St. Pucchi Couture Collection gown is fabricated of Silk Taffeta and French Chantilly lace.  Dispose of your old ideas about Taffeta.  This is the new taffeta that is sexy and soft to the touch, especially when made of silk.  This v-neck gown flows into a drop waist emphasizing a woman’s silhouette.  The sheer skirt embellished with flowers leaves nothing to the imagination.  It is a far cry from a cupcake gown.

 

Demetrios too is known for traditional silhouettes with yards of fabric loaded into the skirts.  Feeling the winds of change, they have created this beautiful silhouette for their Princess Collection carried at their store on Drinkwater.  This spaghetti strap gown is fitted throughout the body as it falls into a graceful trumpet skirt and sweep train.  The low key hole back further emphasizes the sultry quality of this dress.

 

Surely the winds of change will sweep into the bridal industry again bring about yard upon yard of silk a la Melania Trump’s fifty pound Dior gown.  Until then, bridal is mirroring the red carpet.  At least the investment can be worn once for the wedding and again to the Oscars.  We can dream, can’t we?

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