Can you think of any fashion era more in sync with cinema than the 1930s? The body-hugging bias cut was still a new, even radical concept back then, especially for a wedding gown. While a French designer named Madeline Vionet pioneered the bias cut gown in the twenties, the thirties was when the style took form in the long, lean silhouette we most remember on stars like Garbo and Harlow. During this golden era, it wasn't Paris as much as Hollywood that decreed the low down on fashion. Hollywood designers and actresses who wore their creations had a lasting influence on how we look at weddings and fashion today. Their work is enduring because the big screen was so saturated; it exposed so much of this new fashion of the time. The beginning of the 1930s ushered in dropped waistlines and skirts that hung in bias ruffles and handkerchief treatments; bodices were still fairly relaxed. It wasn't until the 'nightgown or slip ' look made its way into evening fashion that the waist was visible once more. By the end of the era, waistline still defined, we were seeing wider shoulders and big hair evolve into what would be the look of the 1940s.


* Silhouettes were sleek and draped the body in lightweight high sheen satins and crepes.

* Two of the most popular necklines were the halter and cowl, often cut very low in the back. Actually the look was so daring, tongues clucked as the etiquette police of the time declared, 'no nice lady wore such things out at night'. Ladies had different ideas though and wore these back-baring styles anyway. Today the bare back is pretty much a staple in bridal collections . . . .

*Hair was either bobbed or worn slicked back and in a low chignon. Marcelling (deep waving process) was still being used. Accents were often florals or jewels worn in the hair.

The platform shoe wasn't introduced till the 1940s, so if you're going for authenticity think satin, low-heeled, and strappy.

All gowns and head wear by Amy Jo Tatum
Photos 1-3: Henley Photography
Photos 4-5: Sweet Light Studios