Vera Wang

Vera Unveiled




Behind the Dress: Gisele

Gisele Gown

To me, Gisele is a perfect illustration of an aesthetic philosophy that I’ve spent so much of my time cultivating. When you see this gown, you see a lot of effortless softness: in the skirt, in the corset. Now in the corset what you don’t see is the network of boning that supports the bride, shows off her figure, and gives that almost sensual, accentuated definition to her body. Gisele really holds you in, but to keep with the skirt I wanted softness and lightness for the bodice. Even with beading, it looks like just the thinnest, most delicate layer, right against her skin, and that’s so beautiful to me: when something so engineered appears so light and effortless.

You can see this principle again in the skirt, where it’s really taken to the level of a work of art. The skirt is Chantilly beneath, then layered with a large-weave esprit lace, and then each lace edge is framed in horsehair to give it that wonderful, well-defined lift. There’s so much volume in this skirt it’s almost a symphony of different musical instruments. It’s done with very little actual difference in color…there are patterns in the lace, but most of what you see is the natural light and shadow playing and peeking around as the skirt moves, with that magnificent, dramatic flounce. The use of esprit lace is very modern in this context, and especially as it’s done here, forming these drapes that suggest veils and cages, in an extremely artful arrangement, almost an architecture that nevertheless remains light as a feather.

This skirt is so designed, and requires such an elaborate process, with all the layers, tucking, and bustling, that it actually takes tremendous work to make it look as frothy and airy as it does.

It’s quite a feat of engineering, but again, when you see this dress, I don’t want you to come away impressed with the technical detail. I want you to be taken in by the effortlessness, the lightness, the sheer vivaciousness. That’s what the bride wants to feel at her ceremony, and that’s what all the rest of us want to see: the kind of beauty that uses these processes and techniques, not for their own sake but in order to take us to a whole new place.

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