Saturday, January 31, 2009


Some beautiful items today on Etsy. Treasury West is featuring several sellers--moi included! Such a surprise to wake up this morning and find the photo above on my favorite site.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Thanks to a few designers like Vera Wang and Elizabeth Fillmore, mermaid silhouettes have been enjoying a rebirth within the last few years. From skirts that flare gently around the knees to pouf versions, they're all back to stay this time. Like the legendary creature herself, the mermaid is half and half: half sheath, half ball gown. Fitted long and snug to the knees then POW! Either a full flared skirt or tiers of ruffles complete the look, sometimes falling into (no pun intended) a fishtail train in back. Big glam look in the 1950s in heavier, highly polished satins. Bombshells like Jane Mansfield donned some high voltage, kitchy-chic with this cut.

JLM Couture

Most of the drama of a Mermaid is not only in how the skirt flares but what it's made up of . . .
Mariane Lanting Couture

Vera Wang


Suzanne Neville

Amanda Wakeley

Mermaids are great alternatives for shorter brides who love the ball gown look but can't wear it for it's all consumingness.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

MODERN ROMANCE: Confessions of a Bridal Designer

Okay, so all you boomers know Modern Romance used to be the most popular confession pulp back in the 1960s. Lately though I've been stalking Christine Gorman's Etsy site as well as top notch blog of the same name, Modern Romance. I'm totally taken with her wrap chic. Once I tracked her down I just had to ask her from when and where her muse (or muses) first visited. Here's what she said: "Inspiration for this line started with a friend who was getting married. Since their budget was tight she bought a simple dress and was having an impossible time finding a wrap or a scarf to dress it up. I started messing around with some silk I had and my first shoulder wrap was born!"

"My head was spinning with ideas after that and so I just kept creating. The fabrics I like to use for the wraps are dupioni silk and silk organza. I love dupioni because it has a wonderful texture that adds interest to the simple shapes I like to use in my designs. As for organza, what's not to love about the ethereal quality of billowing ruffles. I also am adding a crushed velvet cape to my site which I am mad about. I decided to make the lining with the velvet as well so that the bride can be enveloped in it. It is such a wonderful fabric that it seemed a shame to only have it on the outside! "

Christine, based in Portland, Oregon also creates lucious headpieces and birdcage veils. Handmade silk florals are one of her top specialties and these little flowers look almost real. A visit to her site is gaurenteed tol truly inspire you . . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IN SIMPATICO: The Lowdown on Dressing As a Duo

Relax. There are no hard and fast rules you have to follow anymore when it comes time for you and your groom to coordinate your look. Only that the bride and groom’s look should be in simpatico. This means if you're in a Reem Acra with a cathedral train and veil, the groom can’t show up in a casual linen suit without setting your unity as a couple off-balance. Realize this day is symbolic; you’re creating the harmony you hope follows the rest of your life.

If you happen to like tradition and want to follow the rules to the letter, below you’ll find them outlined; on the other hand, if you wish to add a twist on those traditions to demonstrate your creativity or make a statement, go for it.

HIGH DRESS FORMAL - Pictured above. Generally when the bride is in a formal gown with a long train and corresponding veil after 4PM, the groom is in white-tie and tails. Think symphony conductor in full dress and you’ve nailed this look. The overcoat is black and can be single or double breasted. Shorter in front, it narrows down to two tails hanging to the knees in back. Typically a white pique shirt and white vest are worn underneath with white bow tie. White gloves and a pocket silk or boutonniere really complete your appearance. So what if you want to go white tie before 4PM? As long as the bride’s gown is formal enough and you both feel better in full dress at noon, do it. selix

Vera Wang
FORMAL- Both photos above. Time of day (11AM-4PM), location and size of the guest list usually distinguish this from the High Dress Formal wedding. The bride wears a gown with a train and the groom is usually in a tuxedo. Single or double-breasted, the tux is worn for formal and semi-formal weddings with matching trousers that have a satin stripe running down the outside leg. Under the jacket is a wing tip or spread collared shirt, vest or cummerbund and bow tie. Contemporary versions with vests can be worn with necktie replacing bow tie. An alternative to the tux is the traditional morning coat, once standard for formal daytime weddings. To picture this look think Ascot. You know those races in England with all the guys in top hats? Like tails, this coat is short in front, tapering to a long split panel in back. Can be in black, but gray is the traditional shade. The coat is worn with corresponding gray or gray pinstripe trousers, a gray vest and white spread collared or wing-tip shirt, topped off with an ascot tie.


Ulrich Engler
SEMI-FORMAL - Pictured above and below, typically the bride is still in a formal gown, only she dons a shorter train or ball gown sans the train. This less traditional wedding gives you both the flexibility to tone down the formality of your attire. Here your groom can go with a different shade or unconventional cut tux like a Nehru jacket. During summer months, how about a white dinner jacket with black trousers, matching cummerbund and tie? This Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca look is great for West Coast or island weddings—compliments beachy/evening gown silhouettes so trendy now.

Le Spose di Jo

INFORMAL-For an informal wedding your groom can wear anything stylish from his best suit to something more laid-back like a navy sport coat or silk shirt and khakis. Clothing here follows the simplicity of the celebration, and one of the most important things you and your groom need keep in mind is, informal weddings are brief and the attire though stylish and even elegant, is never formal.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Lately all sorts of sculptural touches are being introduced via the runways and photoshoots. Recently did this layout called, The Future is Now. Check out some of the images that reflect modern chic from orgami touches to space-age versions of frills and ruffles.

Below: Oscar de la Renta
Right: Angel Sanchez

Above: Oscar de la Renta
Right and below: Ports1961

Right and below: Vera Wang

Monday, January 26, 2009


New York-- January 14, 2009 was the 2nd annual Supima Competition For Emerging Designers runway show in Soho. This event showcases new designers as well as what can be done with a little bit of Supima cotton. The designers went haute couture with it as judging took place in these categories:"Innovation in Knits", "Innovation in Denim and Chambray", and "Innovation in Superfine Shirting" They were provided 10 yards of fabric, a model, and a fitting appointment just before showtime.
The big winner was Etsy seller Kimenna creator of a small collection of only cotton pieces she sells online, mostly to European customers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

RECESSIONISTA BRIDE: Would You Wear a Bridesmaid Dress on Your Wedding Day?

Back in the days before the recession, most of my seasonal orders consisted of a certain number of made-to-measure gowns. Cut that in half this season. Yes, there is another half and those clients want restyling on vintage dresses or are bringing in a basic gown to be customized. Actually, customization work is great. I love the creativity involved with inventing hand-rolled florals and adding big, bright sashes. If you're looking into this as an option, and really want to save bucks, bring me any one of these gowns as a blank canvas and I'll help you translate your vision. Believe it or not these are all bridesmaids gowns. Yes, you've heard of the 'All-White Wedding'. Well, just for the record, they really do exist and bridesmaids gowns do indeed come in white and ivory.



Wearing a bridesmaid dress when you're a bride was a mum's-the-word sort of trend going on a few years back. No more. Brides are now boasting and blogging about it. Check out any wedding site like The Knot or and you'll find a whole section devoted to bridesmaids. Also notice bridesmaid dresses don't look so much like those Muriel's Wedding atrocities anymore; most have morphed into simple, unadorned styles, making them the perfect backdrop for customizing into a bridal gown. The bridesmaid dress option is the way to go if:

1.) You're price conscious. Bridesmaid dresses cost a fraction of what a bridal gown costs (start at about $200-300.00 and go up to $1500.00).
2.) You're using it as a foundation on which to customize with other adornments.
3.) You want a more low-key or informal look, sans the train, lace and bead work.
4.) You want color.
For brides who don't want to be in white or ivory, bridesmaid dresses are perfect. They come in just about as many colors as Crayola crayons from the palest pastels to deepest jewel tones. Once you start looking online, keep in mind not all manufacturers use first-rate fabrics and/or construction. Try to find styles in high-grade silk or silk blends. Especially if you plan on customizing, where you'll need as clean and pure a background as possible. Beware of over-the-top descriptions like 'Princess Satin' or 'Diamond Chiffon' if you're a fabric purist; it's simply another way of diverting your attention away from 100% polyester. And always remember, the simpler the dress, the more perfectly it should be made.



Here are my recommendations for bridesmaid designers offering the best in styles, fabric and construction: Lazaro Bridesmaids, Alvina Valenta Bridesmaids and Ann Taylor Celebrations. Most bridesmaid dresses can only be ordered through your salon. Allow 3-4 months delivery.
Even though the gowns by Jasmine here are not pure silks, I'm still impressed. Check out their website. It's probably the most extensive for finding such a selection of long, white formals (or any color under the sun). Most all colors on the color card can be viewed; but they recommend actually visiting the salon where you can get a real look at the gown sample colors and fabrics.