Monday, January 13, 2014

The wedding dress I'm NOT wearing

It's getting on crunch time to buy my wedding dress.

Oh yeah, by the way I'm getting married in the fall! I don't think I've mentioned that yet, have I?

I'd say it's the majority of the reason I've even gotten into this whole style thing. I spent months researching the most flattering options for me and looking at thousands of images of pretty clothes and makeup for inspiration. Eventually I remembered that people see me other days too.

Anyway, I'm posting because I have spent the last several days stressing my gown.

I had some very clear ideas about what I was looking for, especially in terms of silhouette. My love of dancing, small frame, and size of the venue all pointed me toward a lighter, more fitted, non "bridal cake meringue" dress with a high drama factor, and I've stuck pretty firmly to that. I have a gown picked out, but there was an aspect of the fabric that didn't quite click so I'm special ordering it in a custom fabric.

I love it, it's gorgeous, because of the fabric changes it will be 100% unique to me, I can't find one picture of someone using it as a wedding dress, and it's designer silk with custom changes at a retail chain polyester price-point. Presumably that is because it's not generally sold in a "wedding dress" colour. No, I'm not telling you what designer or style, not yet anyway (EDIT: I will say however that there were apparently five different people wearing their designs at The Golden Globes and associated galas).

I'm totally buying it, but I think I needed another good day of running around in circles with my hands flailing over my head and an intense internet shopping comparison session before I could commit.

So now that that's out of the way, this post is about The Dress I'm NOT getting.

More after the jump:

I started planning right away a but it took a good six or seven months for me to turn on even one wedding show, at which point I fell deeply into a Say Yes To The Dress hole and did not climb out until every episode on Netflix had been exhausted (yes, Atlanta too, no not Bridesmaids). I found the information on terminology and price points incredibly helpful. The funny thing of it was, I HATED all of the dresses. Not for everyone else, some of the women on the show looked absolutely lovely, but for me? Zero interest.

I love high drama, and to me high drama involves stark, stand out elements. Turns out it's a pretty rare aesthetic in the bridal world as most people seem to equate drama with "more shiny stuff".

But, but.... Amsale.

The only dresses that ever really caught my interest on the show were both (as I found out after some heavy research) completely stripped down silk faille designs by Amsale Aberra.

SYttD Season 7 Episode 12
Rosalie by Amsale
Why do I like this so much? I hate asymmetry!
Lauren by Amsale

One hundred and eighty degrees from what I had been looking for myself, but I just couldn't get them out of my head. Giant architectural expanses of unadorned glorious crisp naked silk. It's practically pornographic for someone who loves fabric.

From the Amsale site blog:
Every designer has their signature—a style that’s distinctly and recognizably their own. Mine is “understated, confident elegance.” What does that mean? I think it’s hitting the perfect balance of exquisite simplicity and luxurious restraint.
...This simplicity isn’t exactly “simple” to achieve, because a lot of design goes into creating this look! It’s actually much harder as a designer to take things away than to add lots of things in—the lines have to be completely perfect as you carve away everything unnecessary to reveal the beauty of shape and the fabric must be luxurious enough to carry the shape flawlessly.
-Amsale Aberra
I've never *explicitly* wanted to hug a designer before. So yeah, needless to say I got a bit starry eyed over her designs.

On top of that, I had already found my dress, but there's only so many times you can hear iron willed Southern matrons saying "but you HAVE to try on a ballgown!" before you start thinking to yourself "maybe I should try on a ballgown?"

... Aaaaaand that was it. Suddenly my web searches were All Ballgowns All The Time and completely rethinking everything I had decided, despite the fact that this style doesn't fit with my wedding even the slightest bit.

I went to a "big box" bridal retailer whose name I will not mention because they spammed the crap out of me (PRO TIP: make a wedding specific email and DO NOT give out your phone number, SO MUCH SPAM). I'm not one for wasting salespeople's time, so I did go with a firm plan to check out some dresses for my Best Person but I figured it would be a perfect time to exorcise that ballgown demon. 

I'm not sure anyone has ever gone in there before and said "no bling, no lace, no embroidery, JUST GIANT FLAT EXPANSES OF FABRIC". Or maybe I grew extra heads? Anyway, I tried on the closest thing to that which they had, (a very floaty tulle number) and while it was pretty it didn't fulfill the ultra modern architectural aesthetic I sought OR compliment my figure in the slightest, as the pics below will attest. Those pictures were taken about ten minutes apart but look to me like two different women.

So the ballgown fixation was firmly quashed and as an unexpected bonus I  found out I can TOTALLY ROCK a clingy trumpet dress which is a commonly selling design at a nationwide wedding chain and thus probably available in short order. I never would have expected that and I've definitely filed it away for future reference.  It's good to keep in mind if say... my real dress gets eaten by wolverines the week before the wedding.

If you told me to pick a major designer gown (any major designer gown) RIGHT NOW it would be this Spring 2014 Amsale design, which I feel splits the difference between giant princess dress and stripped down architectural elegance perfectly. It is also apparently some sort of half imaginary faerie dress which only existed one day out of the year, like Brigadoon. It was (as far as I can find) not given a style name, not shown on 90% of the listing of dresses from that season, and not listed anywhere on her website or in her collection. Of course.


That is probably for the best really as I expect my wedding guests would like food. Even if I tried to make it myself that fabric alone runs upwards of $80 per yard. It's probably on the order of $800 in the outer fabric alone *if I made no construction mistakes whatsoever*.

Sadly I was CATEGORICALLY unable to get this video to embed with a jump to a specific time stamp. See the above dress in action in the video below starting at 1:52.
That train is magic. 

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