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Behind the Dress: Gloria

Gloria Gown

I always want my clothes to be easy, modern deconstructions of the classics, and I feel no differently when it comes to bridal. Gloria, a study in organic, kinetic volumes, epitomizes that philosophy.

The bustle, which is typically a train leading from the gown’s edge that’s been lifted and fixed to the back, is a very traditional element of the bridal vocabulary. Gloria, like all of my fall bridal gowns, is very bustled: there’s volume in the front, the side, and the back. Here the bustle has been totally rethought. The tucks and folds are asymmetrically and organically placed. There’s a fullness all over in Gloria, but it’s achieved without using crinoline: it’s all just to do with the bustle and the flow of the fabric, how wide it is and the way that it’s gathered. It’s an exciting way to create volume.

The beading is very unique in this dress, too. I haven’t done beading in a very long time. In fact, I’ve really shied away from it. But I decided that if I was going to do beading, I really wanted to do it—opulently, beautifully, elegantly. There are fern leaves in gold bullion, but I’ve added a layer of tulle over it to veil it—make it less glaring, and garish—and then scattered dark, silver-backed crystals on top. They float throughout the beading, giving it a three-dimensional effect.

I’m always making an effort to avoid flatness and stiffness.  My bridal dresses need to come alive with movement. What makes that possible is the architecture, and the creation of color using transparencies, depth, and negative space. With Gloria, it starts with the asymmetrical sweep of French tulle across the neckline, and that draws the eye to a brilliantly embroidered bodice with a Basque waist, ending in a softly tucked, diaphanous gazaar skirt that is hand-painted with light and dark tones. The hand-painting gives it a smoky, cloudy, watercolor-like look that changes with the light—it’s very fashion-forward and dynamic.

One of the influences that started off this collection was the rococo period, and although it’s come a long way from that point, you can still see some of the notes of this inspiration. For example, here in Gloria, I’ve taken the golds and silvers from great rococo canvases like Fragonard’s The Swing and muted them with layers of tulle and a smokey charcoal palette. So there’s an opulence, and a decadence…but in my own way. It’s rococo, deconstructed.

Browse the Fall 2011 Bridal Collection.

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