This is my idea of the quintessential look for a woodsy Boho wedding. The NIGELLA Dress of Silk Chiffon and charmeuse with butterfly sleeves has a tea-dyed lace and tulle tie front, accented with a silk dupioni rose. A row of covered buttons closes down the back of the gown. Falls into a sweep train. Easy to wear and as comfortable as a nightgown. Clients have told me it's so comfortable they actually didn't want to take it off. It's lined in silk charmeuse, a very, very soft fabric . . . ..
Here’s a real gem and the ace of all coffee table books to add to your Summer reading list. For any bride, fashion designer or fan of Princess Di wanting a close up look at the making of her dress, A Dress for Dianais a real gift. Written by her designers, David and Elizabeth Emanuel (between their feuds), this book tours us through that Spring and Summer of 1981 when the world waited for shy Di to emerge from a gilded carriage to become a real live modern day princess. Once she did, bridal fashion changed forever. This husband and wife design duo from Great Britan were the hottest thing to hit the fashion scene in the early 1980s. They had magnificent talent the world wanted to see more of. I loved their first book 'Style For All Seasons' published in 1983. It was a showcase of their pre Steam Punk, little bit Belle Epoch, a tad Boho gowns and certainly a welcome change after so many years of 1970's funk. Diana's storybook dress eclipsed the granny gown chic and cookie cutter bridal uniforms of the time opening up so many possibilities in fashion. Suddenly bridal designers and manufacturers could innovate and even break a few rules.
One look at this book,and with the click of a mouse it was on its way from Amazon . . . I was not disappointed once I read it front to cover in one sitting. It isn't one of those tell all books. I'm a bridal designer so I wasn't all that much interested in reading about Di's lovers or the Emanuel's eventual split. No, this is a book about the design process and that special designer-client relationship the Emanuels developed with Di. What I loved most was its colorful and visual timeline from concept to creation of Diana's gown. It was like stepping into a time tunnel and being let in on one of the best kept secrets of the century, the designers guiding us through their Brook Street atelier. There are many sketches and variations on the dress Diana finally chose; photos of the dress as a work in progress, even the flower girls weeks before the wedding. The fabric was custom woven and the designers were firm about wanting a weave that couldn't be duplicated. The most inspiring thing about the book is the way the designers not only created a dress but a whole look for the wedding party to coordinate with the grand scale wedding.
More on my salute to the slip dress this year. The CAMILLE Ensemble is a silk chiffon slip lined in China silk accented with a cotton and Chantilly lace cape redolent of the 1930s. The train bordered in Chantilly lace makes for the drama of a grand entrance.
The PICCALINA lace kimono in tulle and Chantilly lace is something I've been wanting to design and create for quite awhile. I was inspired by old movies of women in delicate robes and/or dressing gowns, who of course sported long trains. While this started out in the style of a dressing gown the addition of the dramatic, flowing sleeves falling into points gives it that kimono quality. The under dress is a crepe sheath but a slip dress under this gemmie would work beautifully as well.
About ten years back the length of your gown was a deciding factor in how formal your wedding would be. These days the new code on lengths has more to do with how you feel about wearing a certain gown than what's proper before or after five. So lets get right into what those lengths actually mean. Did you know there's a difference between tea-length and ballerina length? Short and mini? Here are some images to inspire you along to finding your perfect hemline. . . .
FLOOR-LENGTH-Most common length for bridal gowns, this hemline is graceful and elegant; the hem typically doesn't touch the floor in front BUT MEASURES 1-3" above for ease with walking.
BALLERINA-Ballerina-length skirts fall just above the ankle and are wide and full just like the skirts seen in the corps de ballet. Full skirts look awesome worn over layers of crinoline petticoats. A dress this length can go semi and informal depending on the materials and workmanship.
TEA LENGTH-Falls mid-calf and can be either full and voluminous or fitted. Mostly worn for the informal or semi -formal wedding but showing up more and more at larger celebrations.
SHORT-This shorter style of skirt from those finishing just below or above the knee to the micro mini flatter brides with great legs. Usually worn for cocktail and the less formal civil-style wedding.
Feast on a few of the pre-shoot pics for the Fashion Through The Ages Editorial for the look books.. Well, 2017 proved a great year for me when it comes to mixing laces. I've put together some incredible combos for the reason I've found some unusual and gorgeous stuff out there. It's also the year of the slip dress, ideal for in-shape brides who like to strut their stuff. Above and below is the DAPHNE dress, a blosuon of ecru peau d'ange and Chantilly lace worn over a 4-ply crepe slip dress. The Gold Tulle head pouf (GOLDIE) matches up nicely with this dress. A pouf with two beige organza chrysanthemums are sewn to a fascinator . . . .
Question: Would you mix up offbeat cotton style laces we'd term casual with a traditional beaded Alencon? Pair up informal with the opulent? You'll find the answer in these images of some of my new collection pieces--all separates. I found this absolutely wild and wonderful cotton lace that would have made any flower child from the 1960s Summer of Love envious with all these swirly-Q designs around doily patterns. Check out the bodice below; I used it for backing a very traditional Alencon lace, loved the effect and went on to design a couple more pieces mixing it up . . . .
Above: This three-piece dress is a salute to late and great Mexican artist, Frida Kalo. The novelty lace I used for the bolero does hint a bit of Latin American folk wear. The Alencon lace bustier is elaborately beaded pairing up nicely with the tulle skirt. Below: Close up shot of the handiwork on the bustier.
Above: My Salute to Audrey, Grace and Jackie, those fashion icons still inspiring us today The bodice style is clearly 1950s-60s matched up with a tulle skirt. I call this dress, AUDREYESQUE but it actually has a bit of each woman in the design as well as overall look. Below: I backed this bodice with the outside the box cotton lace and placed beaded Alencon lace over it, creating an almost quilted effect. The belt is hand beaded and accentuated with an organza rose.
Above:A silk chiffon slip dress becomes a 1930s Hollywood gem with this easy to wear cape of cotton and light as air Chantilly lace on the border.
The most basic, simple and elegant piece a bride can wear has to be a slip dress. Slip dresses are in a word gorgeous, especially when paired up with the right accessories. The one below was inspired by Carolyn Besette--she wore the classic of all classics when she and JFK, Jr. tied the knot 20 years back. This gemmie in a luxe 4-ply crepe called, SHELIA evokes 1930s Hollywood glam. Add the Peau d'ange and Chantilly lace cape to bring on that look of antiquity. Check out the lace godet insets in the side seams and back creating a triangular train. The laces in the skirt match those in the capelet. This dress is available via custom order from Amy Jo Tatum Bridal Couture
Last week we had the pre-shoot for an editorial going into the 2017 look book called, Fashion Through The Ages, a project focusing on those 20th Century styles that inspire us so. Above is Devon, one of my absolute fave models. She's wearing The PICCALINA Kimono a tulle overdress dripping in Chantilly lace, one of just a few vintage creations. More pre-shoot photos coming soon. Till then, the best sneak peeks are up on my Tumblr
I just adore a lace out there called, Peau d'ange, a whisper soft and thin pattern hailing from the Chantilly family.. This dress, CHARLOTTE has a lace bodice with V-neckline atop a full skirt with Peau d'ange lace border at the hemline. Custom covered buttons down the back. I have to reiterate this lace has an absolutely gorgeous texture, ecru in shade and a sheen making it the perfect candidate for evening and Fall/Winter weddings.
I initially created this space for my clients. Eventually brides looking for that touch of wow found their way here. Draping and playing with fabric started some twenty years back when I did a three-year stint as a bridal fabrics buyer. After that I opened Bridal Alternatives, a custom design studio and ever since have had the opportunity of working with brides who want that extraordinary one-of-a-kind dress. I'm in love with fashion history and re-invention of the past.
Other connections to fashion? I’ve been a columnist for San Francisco Art and Fashion News and have a weekly fashion buzz on One Wed Blog. I founded The Design Project of San Francisco, a networking organization of fashion professionals collaborating their skills and talents on projects. I’m currently working on a book called—you guessed it—'Bride Chic', all about that white gown and very special designer/client relationship. I live with my husband Edgar and Chihuahua Piccalina in Marin County California.
Want to see more of what I do? Check out my site at www.amyjotatum.com or call me 415.336.3480
CONTACT ME. Feel free to send on any ideas, photos or stories about your fashion or shopping finds firstname.lastname@example.org
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Please note some images on Bride Chic are photos from previous shoots and editorials of my collection pieces. Since I do admire other designers work, I’ve also added from online sources to share a different perspective. There’s no profit from the display of these photos -- they are being shown for the informational and educational benefit of brides and aficionados of bridal fashion. I always list my source, providing a link back. If you feel an image here violates your intellectual property and/or copyrights, please email your concerns to me (email@example.com) and I will gladly remove the photos in question. Thank you!
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