With all of its opulent lace and flounce, Helena is a very Traditionalist ballgown, suffused with a grand romantic air.
Three different types of handmade Chantilly lace were incorporated into this gown, and I designed each lace pattern specially: they’re unique to this dress. With Helena, as with other dresses in my Luxe collection, I’ve used different infusions of laces, all with different densities, to give the dress a full, three-dimensional presence. Chantilly is the most delicate of all the laces, but you can also create enormous variety and contrast with it. Here in Helena, there may be a thicker cord outlining all of the shapes, or you might find a bigger flower, or in other cases, a very small, tight flower pattern.
Each of these laces is made the traditional way, by hand, then it’s cut apart into smaller pieces and floated throughout the dress, again by hand. Anything that is done by hand can never be exactly the same as the one that came before it; it’s like a snowflake. Helena really is couture, in the true sense of the word.
You don’t often find all-over lace construction in bridal gowns, and Helena is especially unique. The different layers and patterns of lace have been fitted together and inter-related with tremendous care, so that you’re encountering all the individual facets of the lace patterns—the rose bloom, the bud—as they emerge, and fall away, and shine through again.
The vast volume of tulle that makes up the cage of the gown is what we call honeycomb tulle, because of its more open, almost diamond-like perforations. It lends a beautiful airiness and flounce. And when you notice the different horsehair-framed tiers of the dress, you can see how much lace is scattered throughout, accented by organza crystal sprig appliques. The patterns move, and the depth and the light are constantly creating different effects of transparency and diaphanousness.
Meanwhile, on the bodice, the lace floats up, up, to the neckline, where there’s a cut tulle element that frames the neck and sounds that note again of the floral pattern, ever so delicately, against her skin. Then in the back of the gown, where it all becomes symmetrical, there’s a side-swept gather, creating a tiered bustle effect, right out of the glorious gowns of the opera, which is absolutely delicious and is just icing on the cake.