Wedding Dresses & Style

Monika’s Vintage Vision

posted: 04/03/13
by: TLC
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Monica celebrates her dress choice with Kelly and Sam.
DCL

Monika's appointment with Sam and Kelly marked a first in "Something Borrowed, Something New" history: She was considering wearing her mother-in-law's dress! The women were very close, and Monika liked the sentimentality behind borrowing the gown as well as the gown itself. The '70s chiffon empire-waisted gown matched some of the qualities Monika desired for her own dress. While she admitted she "wouldn't wear it as is," Monika was fond of the lace and high waist. It was up to Kelly to edit the piece to wearability, or Sam to choose a vintage-looking new dress that would steal the bride's heart. Here's how they styled Monika.

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Monika's Something Borrowed After
DCL

What were the basic details of the original dress?

It looked like a vintage Yves Saint Laurent dress! It had a gorgeous high neckline and the prettiest vintage lace appliqu?s I've ever seen! It also had long belled sleeves and a pointed empire waist.

What were the elements that really dated the dress?

The style dated it in a good way, and the fabric dated it in a bad way.

What were the biggest challenges in transforming the dress?

The biggest challenge was a personal aversion I had to NOT wanting to mess with the dress! I thought it was perfect as it was, and I was afraid that if I cut into it, it would lose all of its charm. I wanted to make Monika happy, but I really didn't want to change the dress at all.

What was your inspiration for the transformation?

The original dress itself was my inspiration. I wanted minimal changes. I decided to slightly update the fabric and while keep the original essence of the dress.

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

As much as I fought it, I did change out the sleeves on the dress using a new lace I found that was very similar to the existing lace -- but I did keep the original pointed cuff. I opened up the neckline a bit more, and I covered the bottom half of the dress with a French silk chiffon that had a slight shimmer to it. I also changed out the back panel of the dress with the same new lace, just to add a bit of youth and sex appeal for Monika!

What did you think when Monika chose your dress?

I was overwhelmed! This was my favorite dress to work with throughout the entire season. It came to me a perfect dress, and it left my studio a perfect dress. I had an instant bond with Kathleen (Monika's future mother-in-law), and I felt extremely fulfilled that she was just as pleased with the dress as Monica was. There isn't one thing I would do differently! To me, this was wedding dress heaven. I still want to photograph the dress for an editorial fashion shoot!

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Monika's Something New
DCL

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

Monika's theme was modern vintage and she was planning to get married at a historical venue, so I was looking for an updated spin on a traditional dress. My focus was on her request for a dress with sleeves, which I knew might be a challenge since it was very early in the season and that trend hadn't really hit the bridal salons yet. I planned on improvising. I wanted fabrics and details that had some vintage flair, so that meant silks, special laces and possibly intricate beading or embroidery. I also knew I wanted the dress to have a bit of glamour.

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

Monika had a fantastic figure, so I was really just trying to accentuate it and play up her natural assets. Once I tried that first fit and flare style on her, I knew we had found the right shape. Monika was totally on board. The fit and flare dresses hugged her curves and elongated her body perfectly, so it was on to the sleeves.

Most designers will allow for customization, so the addition of straps and sleeves is never usually an issue. What was challenging was showing Monika and her entourage how the dresses would look once the sleeves were added. I used cuts of fabric from the store's stock to illustrate my plans, but a funny thing happened: Monika started to love how the dresses looked without the sleeves. In fact, she had a full-on bridal moment with one of the dresses.

This was one of those instances where the dress finds the bride. Monika was shocked by how much she loved the strapless silk satin trumpet style dress with lace detail and crystal belt. I added a large cutout of lace over the hips and waist, which addressed her only remaining concern, and that sealed the deal.

I think this goes to show that while having a vision and plan in mind is a wonderful idea, you always have to remain open ... or you just might miss the perfect dress for you!

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

Since Monika fell head over heels for a something new that did not have sleeves, I wanted to make sure that she still felt a bit covered up, so in the event that she chose my dress, I selected a chapel length veil with lace trim that complemented the lace appliqu?s on the dress and added a pretty vintage touch. I loved how Monika's hair looked when it was twisted up, so we decided on a side updo, which looked retro and chic. The makeup scheme was soft and bridal with a warm neutral eye and a sheer pink lip. The belt on Monika's dress had lots of crystal embellishment and made a strong statement, so she didn't need much in the way of jewelry. I added a pair of vintage drop earrings and nothing else.

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

I was a huge fan of the borrowed dress before and after it was redone. Kelly did an amazing job and gave Monika everything she asked for while still maintaining the integrity of the original dress.

My dress, on the other hand, was everything Monika didn't know she wanted. It was a real wild card, and I think Monika was truly surprised by how much she loved it. All of this made her decision extra hard. I have to admit, when I saw the show for the first time on TV, I was reminded how great she looked in my new dress and I fell in love with it all over again. In the end, she made a great choice and looked beautiful on her wedding day -- but I still love my dress!

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