Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Jim Hjelm
Oscar de la Renta

Does any dress say ‘bride' more than a beautifully designed ball gown? Ball gowns have been the trademark of some contemporary designers like Kenneth Pool, Amsale and Justine McCaffery, to name just a few. Going back sixty-some years, Christian Dior revolutionized fashion with his “New Look”. Cinched waists atop skirts flowing in yards of fabric marked a turning point in twentieth-century fashion. The hourglass, the most defined female silhouette, was back.

The ball gown is indeed an hourglass and remains the most dramatic of all bridal silhouettes. A ball gown can be as romantic a confection as those seen in the corps de ballet, flowing in swirls of white tulle; or as edgy and structured as the silk faille versions in 1950s Paris Vogue. But it doesn’t matter whether the fabric used to create it is delicate, mid-weight or heavy, one aspect of the ball gown always remains the same: the skirt and its understructure are both based on volume. Thus, sweeping skirts equal sweeping entrances especially awesome on brides who know how to work their strut.

Max Chaoul

Max Chaoul
Regardless of its formality, a ball gown seems to have flex when it comes to showing up anywhere and looking beautiful. While they go great in all the splendor of a full-blown cathedral ceremony, imagine an outdoor garden wedding where nature, big and diverse as a thousand cathedrals can be the perfect sanctuary.

Variations of the Ball Gown

Bouffant or Hourglass-Fitted bodice with cinched natural or dropped waist atop gathered or pleated full skirt.
Bubble, Poufed or Bunted-Pick-ups and poufs are trendy now. Bouffant shaped skirt swelling out of a cinched natural or dropped waist. Skirt curves in a balloon like shape at the hemline.

RS Couture

Petal-Very structured overskirt. Imagine a fuchsia. A cinched natural or dropped waist sitting atop a full skirt with curving understructure that slits open in the front. Sometimes shows a bit of sheath-like under dress peaking out.
Shirt Dress-A more relaxed version of the hourglass, a classic and tailored look concentrating as much on the bodice detailing as the skirt. Typically has long shirt-like or billowing sleeves and full gathered skirt. Can be made out of lightweight fabrics like organza, chiffon and crepe, as well as medium weights like linen. Nice for a garden reception, especially with a wide- brimmed hat.


del said...

All of these are just gorgeous. I linked to this post from my blog, hope you don't mind!

meg said...

These are to beautiful, especially the Osacar de la Rentas. So romantic.

Michelle @ My Wedding Report said...

I just posted on my own blog about being lost in my dress search. This gives me more to think about. Ball gowns are so beautiful. I guess I just worry about them wearing me. However, they are the picture of a romantic fairy tale.

Dani @ Weddings Fresh said...

i love the classic ball gown--it is vision that every woman has from being a little girl. it may change but it's the classic wedding!

Kristi said...

this post hits a soft spot for me. I can't help it. from the first time I saw a real bride in a giant Reem Acra ball gown I had to come out. now I feel like I have to be back in the closet because ball gowns are no longer "in style". can that really BE? I adore silk organza most of all, and anything with a silk rosette. I don't care if it's not the 80's anymore, the hi-lo Amsale is amazing!

Eliza said...

Hi Amy-Jo:) long time no see:) maybe you can help me solve a riddle. a friend planning her wedding fell in love with an Amsale gown from fall 2007 collection, not available anymore. we're trying to find if it exists anywhere still, where she could order it from. I have it on my blog, you have it on your blog, neither of us has the name of the model..., it's the 2nd from the bottom in this post. would you know the name?
thanks in advance!