I always thought that I’d be a no-maintenance bride, content to wear a dress in an approximate ivory palette, with a sprig of something fresh behind the ear. (Any wedding-related daydreaming usually centered around the cake.) Then I spent the afternoon at White Toronto, the city’s chicest bridal shop, talking bridal gown trends with owner Andrea Anastasiou.
With its shelves of sparkle and rows of dresses that look like the loveliest, most delicate confections—layers of lace, artfully draped tulle—White is as pretty as a champagne bubble, and just as intoxicating. I walked in a fiancée, and walked out a bride, with visions of raw-edged chiffon roses dancing in my head. I also got the scoop from Anastasiou on the major spring wedding dresses available and the top new names in bridal design.
Whether you’re shopping for your own dress, or you’ve caught a serious case of Royal Wedding fever, check out ELLE’s hot list for how to be Spring 2011’s most stylish bride.
5 TOP TRENDS: WEDDING DRESSES
1. Volume, with a twist.
Spring dresses are voluminous, but incredibly light, thanks to layers of organza and tulle. “Women want the feeling of something dreamy, but they want to be able to move freely too,” explains Anastasiou, swirling an organza creation by Monique Lhuillier.
2. Lace, with a twist.
“Designers have modernized lace,” says Antastasiou, pointing to a dress by Rivini, which features four different patterns of French lace. “It’s not about Victorian conservatism anymore.” A sleek Monique Lhuillier lace dress with a plunging neckline embodies the sexy possibilities of the classic fabric.
3. Short hemlines.
Perfect for what Anastasiou calls “urban weddings”—held at an art gallery or downtown restaurant—short dresses are less formal, more affordable, and, with new offerings from lines like Ivy & Aster, ultra chic too.
4. Three-dimensional texture.
Couture details are major, like the raw-edged chiffon roses on a Monique Lhuillier gown, or the row of satin ribbons on a creation by Oscar de la Renta. “Women are looking for unique embellishments that add dimension and make a statement,” says Anastasiou.
5. Vintage inspiration.
The hottest decades right now? The ‘20s (think Art Deco touches such as finely encrusted beading), and the ‘50s, with its Dior New Look silhouette (think nipped waist, full skirt). The revival is inspired in part by the popularity of the vintage-influenced designs of Brit designer Jenny Packham, whose celeb fans include Beyoncé and Keira Knightley. As Anastasiou points out, “Jenny Packham captures the spirit of the red carpet in every dress.”
BODY TRENDS & TIPS
1. Most flattering neckline: Sweetheart.
“It softens the upper part of the body, even if you have a fuller bust,” explains Anastasiou. A strapless dress also helps elongate the neck.
2. It spot: The open back.
Says Anastasiou, “We’re hearing from brides ‘My fiancé loves my back, and wants me to show it off.’”
3. Hot silhouette: The mermaid.
“It’s perfect for girls who want to show off their bodies,” says Anastasiou, adding that it also creates a smooth vertical line, making it perfect for petites.