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Behind the Dress: Freida Gown

Freida Gown
Art: Vera Wang

At first sight, Freida has a very traditional, conservative effect, and appears to be draped all over in lace. In fact, the material is a lightweight gazaar which has been hand-painted to resemble Chantilly lace. So you don’t have the heaviness of actual lace, but you have that sparkle and texture which lace has traditionally given to the bridal gown, which is so well-suited to morning and daytime weddings. This is a playful take on the classical lace gown: a girl may not want to be Scarlet O’Hara, but she can enjoy this modern deconstruction of lace.

I chose to give the romantic, fairy-tale surface a modern finish by gathering the skirt asymmetrically, suggesting a corsage or sash. These visual details at the bodice set off the cascade, the layer-upon-layer fantasy, in the skirt.

When I introduce a striking accent into the design of a dress, I find it’s most pleasing to complicate things visually by muting or concealing that element. With Freida, the section of handpainting runs along one side of the skirt, so it’s asymmetrical, and then I’ve veiled it with another layer of the gazaar. This gives dimension to the pattern, so it catches the eye in an fresh way, and when you see the gown from different angles, you have that excitement of different layers, different transparencies. It’s whimsical, it’s fantastical: it puts the bride right in the heart of all that grandeur.

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