Wedding Dresses & Style

Katherine’s Theatrical Impact

posted: 03/05/13
by: TLC
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A beaming Katherine celebrates her dress choice with Sam and Kelly.

New York bride and theater aficionado Katherine was after a dress with big impact and timeless elegance. What's more, the dress had to show off her figure. But this bride was feeling an immense amount of pressure from her family to wear her grandmother's 1942 champagne colored, embroidered silk gown. The dress had been quite expensive in its day, and while it was lovely, Katherine admitted, there was simply too much of it. The bride felt lost in the folds of fabric, and it was up to Kelly and Sam to help her find her way. This is how they styled Katherine.

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Katherine's Borrowed Gown After

What were the basic details of the original dress?

I loved this dress! It was beautifully made. The fabric had hand-embroidered flowers all over. It was extremely fashion-forward for its time.

What were the elements that really dated the dress?

The beauty and craftsmanship as well as the overall style dated this dress -- but in a good way! It also had a beautiful waistline that reminded me of a Disney princess dress.

What were the biggest challenges in transforming the dress?

Not ruining it! I was in love with this dress, so it was hard for me to cut into it. That said, I could see the vision. It had a beautiful appliqu?d piece that reminded me of poinsettias, and I imagined reusing that piece to create a keyhole back. It also needed some serious treatments to get it lightened, but I managed to get it a few shades lighter and brighter.

What was your inspiration for the transformation?

Katherine was my inspiration: She was simple and beautiful, just like I wanted the dress to be. The original dress overwhelmed her and was too covered-up for her style. Since she was getting married in New York, I wanted the dress to have a young socialite feeling to it!

What details from the transformation would you like to point out?

There was a hole in the original dress...and I left it! She could have easily had it repaired, but to me, it was a reminder of the dress's history.

What did you think when Katherine chose your dress?

I was thrilled! Also, I was worried that her bridal party would hate her decision. It takes a certain love for vintage and family history to wear an old dress. It's an extremely sentimental decision, and not everyone will understand your choice because most people want new, new, new!

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Katherine's New Gown

How did Katherine's wedding venue and theme influence your dress choices for her?

Katherine wanted a big city, New York-style wedding. She was getting married in Brooklyn on the river with views of the Statue of Liberty, so I wanted a dress that delivered and stood up to the venue. Since Katherine is a theater girl, I knew I also needed to find a dress that had a touch of drama. I looked for dresses that had at least one element that made a statement: a train, a ruffle, special beading or some kind of flourish that added a wow factor. I was looking for something cosmopolitan, but still bridal -- perfect for this sweet city bride.

Based on her body shape and personal style, what types of dresses did you pull for Katherine?

Katherine knew right away that she wanted a fit and flare gown, so I tried to honor her vision by trying fit and flare dresses that had distinct variations from one another. While Katherine did fall in love with one classic A-line dress, she felt best in a sexier body-hugging dress.

One of my favorites was the silk dress with seed pearl embellishment. It had the fit Katherine was looking for and showed off her curves, but the style was a nod to the '40s and reminded me of her grandmother's dress. It felt like a vintage city bride, sleek and elegant.

The dress Katherine selected as her something new was my wild card. I always reserve a dress that may be a bit outside the bride's comfort zone when she sees it on the hanger. This was that dress. When Katherine put in on, she lit up like the New York skyline. This dress was unique because it was really a twofer. The front of the dress was very architectural and looked like a skyscraper. The back of the dress was dramatic with a full pleated skirt. It hit all the notes, and she fell in love. I think it spoke to her inner drama queen. She was sexy and regal -- all at the same time.

Do you have recommendations for Katherine's hair, makeup and accessories for an overall bridal look based on the dress she chose?

From the moment I met Katherine, she reminded me of an Old Hollywood actress from the studio days. Though the dress had a modern flavor, it felt like a dress a movie star would have worn in the '40s or '50s. In the event Katherine had chosen my dress, I wanted her hair naturally wavy and twisted up into a side bun. I selected a long, raw-edged veil that kissed the hem on the back of the full skirt. We found some great vintage rhinestone clips to place in her hair, which pulled the look together nicely. The rest of the jewelry story was simple and all vintage: small earrings and a simple crystal bracelet. The dress was dramatic enough, so less was more when it came to accessories. The makeup design was soft and clean, highlighting Katherine's natural beauty. I chose warm peaches and pinks with a neutral eye.

What did you think when Katherine didn't choose your dress?

No matter how much Katherine liked the something new, there was a huge amount of pressure on her from her mother and family to wear the borrowed dress. When it turned out so beautifully, I had a feeling she was going to choose it, so I was not disappointed. I think she was very happy with both dresses, but the odds were not stacked in my favor on this one!

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