Thursday, November 5, 2009


New York Bridal Shows: Sping 2010 

Monique Lhuillier
Eyebeam Studios

In what was certainly the most dramatic of spaces for this Bridal season, Monique Lhuillier chose the starkly industrial cavernous space of the Eyebeam Studio for her Fall 2010 show. No stranger to the runway & even more familiar with the Red Carpet, it was no surprise Ms. Lhuillier pumped up the volume of glamour to a frenzied level with this collection. It certainly made the trip downtown in the driving wind & rain worth it! These dresses were so stunningly executed in the kind of rich fabrics that are obviously apparent to the observer without the wearer ever needing to say a word. Just reading the run of show left little doubt as to what we were about to be treated. An example… “Strapless natural waist full A-line gown with dramatic hem border Opera coat with ¾ length sleeves”… or … “Strapless asymmetric pleated drop waist bodice with sweetheart neckline & ¾ sleeve bolero” Reality was no less fanciful. After having seen Ms. Lhuillier’s underwhelming evening wear collection last month during fashion week, I was wondering if the hype that comes with the Red Carpet was affecting the ability of Ms. Lhuillier to wow us on the runway. She took this rainy Sunday in October to not only prove my suspicions ill conceived, but make me anxious for February to get my next fix of runway magic MH style…

anna maier ulla majia bridal
Anna Maier – Ulla Maija

39th Street

Luxury which is defined as the addition of pleasure and comfort that’s not absolutely necessary is what defines Anna Maier – Ulla Maija´s Fall 2010 collection. With a modern proposal & young, classy options; what stood out amongst the rest were the sculptural & architectural trains-made out of literally every type of fabrication & provided a practical detachable function.
Some sexier options were introduced… open backs with trains & broach pieces were well thought out in design for the bride who I conscious of spending most of the ceremony with her back to the guests and still making a big impression on the attendees.

Anne Barge
Jumeriah Essex House

Setting the mood right, Anne Barge presented a collection that can be described as elegant and beautiful gowns. No detail overlooked, from the choice of music, venue & dresses; To say everything appeared expensive & good taste would not surprise those fans of Barge.
The “Gabi” ball gown made of blush silk satin had an over draped skirt accented by a garland of silk flowers that were hidden enough among the drapes to make them the perfect detail without being too much; a strapless pearl tulle gown with asymmetrical draping and beading accenting the back bow at neckline of the “Bruna” dress. These details may sound overbearing, but Barge managed to put all of the elements together and still create a perfect balance.
Overall the collection was cohesive, elegant and graceful for a very classic chic bride.

Anne Bowen

The Terrace Room @ The Plaza Hotel

anne bowen bridalAnne Bowen is a modern thinker & her Bridal Show this season made this statement loudly & clearly. Missing were the classical strings or timeless baritone crooning of standards & in were live electric violins playing a lively, folksy Arabic sounding medley that transported us more to a Turkish Bazaar than down the proverbial aisle. The mood was fun & light & the fashions played to the mood nearly piece by piece.
Her line notes used words like Modern, Architectural, Sleek, Siren, & Structured to describe her pieces rather than the traditional words that evoke thoughts of frilly fantasy. Asymmetrically placed back bows, open backs created by plunging necklines & pearl & crystal encrusted detailing kept this collection grounded in modern sex appeal rather than a colder, sterile approach that is so often the case when a designer deals with “modern”.
These dresses are for a younger spirited woman who doesn’t want to be like a princess on her wedding day, but rather wants to wear a dress that allows her to shine in her natural, self confident state.

Kenneth Pool
EZ Studios

La Vie en Rose was the perfect opening for a perfect show. Kenneth Pool’s Fall Collection combined glamour and drama with its grand ball gowns and exquisite beadwork. The collection was just right for a Bride that’s in the spotlight and wants to shine on her wedding day. The “shine” included the gamut from small sparkly details to fully beaded bodices and trains including crystal embroidery. This collection is filled with its own masterpieces and each gown is a work of art in itself. Kenneth Pool is providing this year’s brides with traditional silhouettes & beading used in such a way to embellish the female figure.

Douglas Hannant

The Palm Court @ The Plaza Hotel

In what is rapidly becoming Mr. Hannant’s home court, he once again staged his collection showing at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel’s Palm Court. The multi-tiered room with stunning balcony provided drama enough to suit a royal wedding & this feeling was conveyed wonderfully in his tightly edited 12 piece collection of pieces that were created in shades of silver, celery, ivory & of course cream. His fabrics ran the gamut from duchess satins & organzas to antique laces & eyelash fringed tulles. At times, his silhouette was a bit too pumped up round the middle, leaving one observer to comment that “several of these dresses would make great maternity bridal options”, but I am confident that Mr. Hannant is a seasoned enough designer to not deliver the pieces as prepared for the runway. This was a collection that made a clear statement about luxury & left little doubt as to the financial solvency of the bride wearing them. Has he reinvented bridal wear? Certainly not? Has he made a statement for the season? Absolutely. Will these pieces be bought & treasured for life? Without a doubt.

Matthew Christopher
Jumeriah Essex House

Matthew Christopher went for retro, channeling old Hollywood style. With hints from 1920´s, long pearl necklaces and crystals, his Collection was all about the details. Each gown that walked down the skinny runway was worth looking at twice. The fabrics and beading combined with the textures gave a wide variety for a very stylish bride that wants to look red carpet ready. The jewelry provided by Chad Allison was an added bonus & the perfect compliment for the movie-like gowns. The highlight was the little surprises on the back of several dresses such as the “Jeunesse” silk chiffon and charmeuse, modified trumpet with a deep v cut with ruffles on one side and a straight sleek line with a jeweled broche on the other. Chritopher offer us a collection that was perfect for the runway to the aisle.

EZ Studios

The Christos collection was all about romance. Delicate Chantilly lace, silk shantung, hand crafted flowers and silk organza ruled the runway. The strapless gowns with puffy voluminous skirts created the feeling of heirloom with a modern touch. The dotted tulle was a good example of this modern twist on a classical romantic fabric; sweet looks with modern silhouettes. The highlight was a strapless organza gown with bustled skirt and cascading floral petals called “poeme” and it literally paid tribute to its name. Not only was the fit and flow of the dress flawless, but the color held a pleasant modern twist which wasn’t white or ivory but rather a light gray – silver tone. No matter what your preference -flowers, tulle, ruche, embroidery, bows… everything was there and it was the romantic look any bride would want for her celebration of love on her wedding day.

Ines Di Santo
The Essex House

Ines Di Santo makes gowns for the lady who wants an entrance piece. While subtle is not in her vocabulary, neither is gaudy or gauche. Simply stated, the bride in one of Di Santo’s creations will be remembered & not in a Jackie Kennedy sort of way, but rather the Rolls Royce sort of way.
Volume & crystals were her style points for the Spring 2010 season & she employed both to a degree that has the fabric suppliers & Swarovski both feeling bullish. Oddly, the show stopper was the short shift dress in white that was encrusted from strap to hem in a ines di santo bridalmyriad of shapes & sizes of silver (read: diamond) Swarovski crystals. This was one of those dresses that is perfect for an older bride in great shape who wants a wedding dress, but, whether due to age or previous nuptial promise, feels inappropriate in a full skirted, trained fairy tale number.
Ms. Di Santo’s only misstep would appear to be the full skirted piece that had the hem pulled up on the right front side to expose a hidden garden of self fabric vines & flowers growing up the inside of the skirt. This piece seemed oddly costumey & lacked the sophisticated glamour of the balance of her pieces. Memorable too were the styling points of low slung diamond encrusted sheer cuffs worn as sort of demi-gloves & the headbands of crystal medallions tied into the hair with black satin ribbons that hung down the back of the dress all the way to the floor.

Jenny Lee

ESPACEjenny lee bridal

“Now & Again” is the overall concept in Jenny Lee´s Fall 2010 collection. The designer aimed to offer versatility to the Bride giving her the option of having a formal look for the ceremony and then a different look for the reception…and Lee nailed it. With detachable trains, tulle jackets, shorter dresses and colors, the Bride gets to think about her look beyond that special day.

The collection played with different lengths & silhouettes with some strong details such as a green veil, black details on a modern short dress that included a polka dot tulle train. Another very different option was the V-neck halter embroidered sheath gown with detachable tulle train made of silk charmeuse, silk chiffon & feathers in white, ivory and champagne with darker gray details. Feather details also gave movement to the gowns. Details were Lee’s strong suit & every “Now & Again” you see a strong sexy collection with much promise.

Atelier Aimee

475 Park Avenue

Atelier Aimee showed something for every taste level & type. The huge collection presented, had everything from plain simple gowns to ostentatious looks of elaborate corsets and grand ball gowns. The house introduced a lot of colored details, with a complete collection in purple, green and blue. It included ruffles, transparencies, patterns, flowers as well as bows and belts. Silhouettes ranged from straight princess lines to A-line gowns with tucked up corsets. There where one shoulder cuts, strapless, spaghetti straps and even some architectural pieces. Fabrics ranged from broderie, Charmeuse, tulle, organza and much more giving some really flowy looks as well as some very structural ones. Veils and trains also provided a huge range, beaded, large and small; anything a Bride could think of was there.

Justina McCaffrey
World Youth Alliance, East 71st Street

In what wins the award as the most cramped venues I’ve ever witnessed for a fashion SHOW, let alone a Bridal show that usually means some manifestation of hem volume, thus making a wider runway a near necessity, Justina McCaffrey staged her Falll 2010 show of 18 dresses.

The conundrum of any writer about multiple fashion shows in a single day is that it’s nearly impossible to not compare & contrast from one show to the next, not to mention somewhat unfair to the designer, but at the same time, such comparisons are necessary if one is to dissect the common threads of a season & weave a palette of stories that tells the seasonal message to the reader. As long as my commentary is fair & balanced in regards to the show as it was presented & not overly harsh or complementary as a result of a good or bad show that preceded it, I feel that I’ve done my duty fairly. That said, the fact that I just left Monique Lhuillier’s masterful exhibit in a giant loft of a space, made the ridiculousness of this space being used for RUNWAY even more acute.

Venue aside, what truly was not up to par was the fashion itself. There were several instances of poor fit, puckering along seams, even a zipper that was sewn into a bias bodice that was stretched so far out of shape that the seam rippled with a full 1” from peak to trough several times from top to bottom. These flaws are not forgivable anywhere in fashion, let alone in the bridal arena where the standards that brides expect make couture look like a cakewalk. Add that to the fact that the size of this venue put such flaws only inches from our view. What’s sad is that many of these designs were lovely & would have fared well should the space have been larger or had it been done in this space as a static presentation (I’m reminded of the brilliance of the Marchesa presentation for Spring 2010). Ms. McCaffrey will be back next season for sure & we hope to see her on her game. This showing will be nothing more than a blip in her rearview fashion mirror.

Priscilla of Boston

Priscilla of Boston presented six very different Collections for each of its designer brands leaving options for every style and budget.

Melissa Sweet:melissa sweet bridal

Adding more glamour than in its previous collections, this line presented voluminous skirts and diverse necklines giving different options besides the traditional strapless. One of the outstanding pieces was an entirely hand beaded sequin jacket with jeweled neckline.

Reverie by Melissa Sweet:

This collection had some sweet cute short options such as the princess cut Short Garza dress with rhinestone and seed beaded straps and couture ruffle hem. A very different approach to the short dress was the Taffeta with eclectic beaded neckline with an A shape and short sleeves. The nontraditional personality is evident not only in the silhouettes but also in the choice of fabrics such as cotton tricotine on a ball gown with beading and scattered flowers.

Vineyard Collection:

Presented a wide range of options. The Silhouettes looked a bit dated and the gipure lace wasn’t very subtle. Bows were the main element in this collection present at the waste, empire cut and on the back.

Priscilla of Boston:

The Venice lace created specifically for this line together with the pearls and crystals added heirloom romanticism to the collection. With a wide variety of silhouettes and necklines, there were many standout gowns. One of them was the silk satin A- Line gown with corset-seamed bodice and illusion neckline yoke adorned with crystal “necklace” appliqué. Another unforgettable piece was the Silk Satin ball gown with pleated skirt and amazing v neck bodice encrusted with pearls, rhinestones and crystals.


The Renaissance inspiration gave this collection sculpted styles to enhance curves. The Siena satin fit and flare gown with jeweled neck and hip lines and detachable halter strap was a great example of it. Embellishments are both eccentric and romantic with elaborated beading that includes chunky rhinestones and pearls. The only downside of this show was the coves that did not match the gowns at all.


A great closing for a long show. This collection had a lot of good original proposal to round up a day filled with gowns. Right of the start the strapless Mikado Dance dress with bow belt and small flower appliqués presented a glamorous option for short. Another impressive touch was the choice of lavender silk satins that made the designs look extra elegant. The introduction of light blue tulle on the strapless gown with tiny organza flowers and crystals was also a great touch. The strapless dance dress with all over beaded fringe that first walked the runway covered by ruffles got an ovation of the audience. And so did the halter satin back crepe gown with chiffon and ostrich panels. This was definitely a show filled with surprises and amazing gowns with perfect designs and executions.

EZ Studio

Chic, modern and simple defines Amsale Fall 2010 collection. The show started off with pastel light dresses that helped “clean the pallet” from the other shows of the day before jumping in to the bridal styles. Great cuts and silhouettes where the key to this collection as well as some textured skirts and flower detailing.
Continuing with her tradition, Amsale also introduced some short options that where true to bridal but definitely diverse. Among them was a white silk chiffon with cowl neck, a silk faille scoop neck with peg skirt & a strapless satin dress with bow detail. The stand out gown without a doubt was a silk organza ball gown with shirred bodice and ribbon flower detail that closed the show. To say it in short, overall the dresses where classic, elegant and chic.
disney fairy tale weddings bridal

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings by Kirstie Kelly wasn’t as princess cartoonish as last year’s Collection. Even though it might have fallen short on the fairy tale style, it gave a lot of great options with princess like details for a Bride that wants dreamy and romantic theme. There were some really striking bridesmaids’ options in a wide variety of colors ranging from pastels to bright bold tones. The highlight of the show was the young girls that worked the runway striking fierce poses with flower girl dresses. The Snow White selection was a bit more architectural than the rest of the gowns and still had those fairy tale details Disney got us used to. If you are looking to be a princess on that special day take a hint from a fairy tale wedding.

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