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Behind the Dress: Josephine

Josephine: V-neck halter ballgown with chantilly lace bodice and distressed organza and shadow lace flowers at neck and multi-layered crinkle tulle skirt

I don’t usually do a completely exposed back, but in the right setting, a woman’s back can be a tremendously magnetic display. In this halter ball gown, the bride’s back really contrasts with the collection of three big deconstructed rosettes right at her neck, done in distressed organza, a material which was very important for this season’s textures, and in shadow lace. The rosettes form almost a ruff, or a halo—very gorgeous and dreamy. In the black gown, which is so moody, there’s an effect almost like an empress, or a dramatic sorceress.

The deconstructed rosette is another motif I’ve used throughout the collection. They’re bold and also playful, they take up some of that classic floral element of traditional wedding vocabulary, and refresh it. It’s quite a contemporary decision: you have these pretty, abstracted flower forms, and then you set them off against her bare back. It’s deliciously sexy.

I chose a very full A-line skirt for this gown, which fancifully deconstructs the classic formal skirt you’d have in a traditional ballgown. I built the whole thing up from crinkled tulle, layer after layer. It’s carefully arranged so you have layers of a leaf-pleated tulle, which is so fantastic to me: it’s a fabric that wavers perfectly between crispness and organic flow. The layers are folded in and tumbled so they seem to fly away when the bride’s in motion, and they almost open up. There’s no stiffness or structure in the skirt at all: it’s a piece of Degas ballerina here, and with all of the different tones and shadows in the tulle it’s so natural-looking and organic that it’s almost a watercolor. I think this blend of texture and movement came together very well: you almost can’t look at it without getting swept away. It’s always whispering to you!

This dress is for the Romanticist bride, who wants to embody that allure and seduction, while drifting in a very ethereal, romantic world.

JosephineV-neck halter ballgown with chantilly lace bodice and distressed organza and shadow lace flowers at neck and multi-layered crinkle tulle skirt | Collection: Vera Wang Fall 2012 Bridal | PhotographerMichael Beauplet

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