Wedding Dresses & Style

Lauren’s Modest Prerogative

posted: 03/27/13
by: TLC
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Sam and Kelly toast Lauren's feminine lace gown.

A bride mature beyond her 25 years, Lauren felt strongly that a wedding gown shouldn't be about showing off her body. Instead, she wanted to find a demure dress for her Catholic ceremony. Mom had different ideas, though. She thought Lauren should celebrate her fantastic figure with a dress that hugged a few curves. Despite these differences in opinion, one thing was sure: Lauren would not be wearing Mom's dress in its original state. The 1990s knit tank dress was pure Bea Arthur, Sam judged -- and Kelly had to find a way to turn it into a formal dress with a serious train! Get the details on their makeover efforts in this style report.

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Lauren's Borrowed Gown After

What were the basic details of the original dress?

This was a very basic knit tank dress with a matching cardigan.

What were the elements that really dated the dress?

The most exciting part about this dress was the metallic thread that it was knit with. And it also had one cute little button on the back. The fabric was also a buttercream color, which is hard to work with because it meant the bride was going to have a yellow dress.

What were the biggest challenges in transforming the dress?

The biggest challenge was not having much to work with! Lauren wanted a big dress with lace and grand details. So, I had to create something out of nothing. Since this was a sweater-knit woven fabric, I was afraid that once I cut into it the threads would unravel.

What was your inspiration for the transformation?

Well, Lauren wanted lace, and if I had purchased lace to work with, the existing fabric of her mother's dress would have looked like a craft project! That said, the inspiration was my imagination of what the possibilities could be using a small amount of metallic knit fabric. And bam! There it was: make beautiful floral appliqu?s out of the old dress and use them as decoration for the new dress. So, instead of lace, Lauren got beautiful handmade flowers, and because she wanted a dress that was big and made a statement, I wanted to make sure I gave her that.

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

I would like the viewers to know that when I remake a dress for these brides, the color of the dress all depends on the color of the old dress. And most vintage dresses are no longer white. Nine times out of 10, the bride will end up with a dress that is somewhere in the cream or golden family. Since Lauren's mom's dress fell within that color range, I had no choice but to make Lauren's dress a match with the original fabric.

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

I thought she made the wrong choice. I gave her exactly what she wanted and what she asked for. This dress was above and beyond what the expectations were, coming from the plain knit original dress. I believe one of Lauren's bridesmaids influenced her decision to go with the new dress. Her word for my dress was "hideous." (LOL!) I thought it was gorgeous and that Lauren was a beautiful vision when she came out in my dress! At the end of the day, my hope is that she changes her mind!

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Lauren's New Gown

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

I was most influenced by Lauren's desire for modesty. I also found it interesting (and cool) that a young modern bride wanted to be traditional and covered up on her wedding day. Lauren was planning a classic church wedding, so she wanted tons of lace, a full skirt, a train, a long veil and some drama -- the whole nine. It was a bit of a 180 for me from what we had been doing on the show up until that point, but once I started working with Lauren, I understood her vision, and more importantly I respected it.

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

This was hard for me, because I tried three different types of dresses on Lauren, and all of them had a dash of modesty and tradition to them. I wanted to make sure I selected dresses that still felt young since we weren't planning on showing a lot of skin.

The first dress was a silk satin princess style dress with a sweetheart neckline and a full pleated skirt with pockets. It came with an embellished jacket that I decided to reverse and put on backwards to cover Lauren's chest. I actually loved this shape on Lauren's body and thought it was super flattering -- especially with her height. The crystal embellishment made it feel younger, and she had the option to go strapless for the reception.

The second dress was a trumpet style, all-over lace gown with a very high neckline, a split mandarin collar and cap sleeves. This one found Lauren's curves and showed them off, while giving her the coverage she was looking for. This dress was what I would call modern modest. Though Lauren loved the look, she wanted a train, a fuller skirt and a lot more drama.

The dress Lauren selected as her something new took elements from all the dresses. The shape was fit to flare with a full, trumpeted skirt and a long train. The top was straight across with a scalloped lace detail that covered any cleavage and full lace straps that covered the shoulder. There was a knot of tulle just under the bust that highlighted the small of Lauren's waist, and tons of lace and details that made the bodice and skirt more dramatic. The skirt also had inset godets to give it more flare and fullness below the hip.

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

Lauren's something new, by San Patrick, was very classic, traditional and romantic -- perfect for her modest church wedding. There were lots of special details and layers of mixed fabrics used in the dress's construction. Though it may have appeared simple on camera, in person it was not. I wanted to keep the rest of her look unfussy so the focus was on Lauren and not just on the dress. One element I knew she wanted for the ceremony was a long, cathedral-length veil. This was the perfect finishing touch, and it really completed her vision.

Lauren's hair was pulled back with loose waves, and we added a crystal headband for a bit of sparkle and shine. For makeup, we focused on a bolder eye and went for a deep natural lip. Lauren loves jewelry and necklaces, so she won that battle and ended up in a pearl and crystal statement necklace, with complementary bracelet and earrings. The accessories were not as subtle as I envisioned, but still beautiful, and I loved the pearls because they added that timeless, elegant touch.

What did you think when Lauren chose your dress?

Lauren truly loved her something new and it made her really happy to be in it. I think that was written all over her face. I have to admit I did love the shape of Kelly's borrowed dress and thought that Lauren looked like a princess in it. Kelly did a great job under very difficult circumstances, but I don't think anything could have separated this bride from that new dress! The two were perfectly matched, and I'm excited to have had a hand in Lauren's big day!

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