Friday, January 27, 2017

Victoria Effect

Elie Saab
Vera Wang

Queen Victoria as a bride in 1840

Victoria you're on my mind. I've been enthralled with the US debut of "Victoria" on Masterpiece Theater. She was a young bride at 21, but already known as a trailblazer and cultural revolutionary as evident in her choice to wear white on her wedding day. Before this shift in garment hue, most brides dressed in their Sunday best of perhaps blue or green. Headstrong Victoria wouldn't have it like most, and chose what would carry on over 175 years later to today's wedding white.

Many designers have challenged the fair hue with exemplary choices available to brides today. I have a particular fondness for a bit more color saturated gown, but they are not for everyone. I've worked with brides who initially tell me they want color because they chose a non-traditional wedding. To her surprise, however, she usually purchases the traditional off white or ivory gown. (Today most brides opt for off white/ivory, which is still considered a white gown). That's the Victoria effect in action as a bride's final gown choice is ultimately what she believes a bride should wear. I always ask my client if she feels like a bride. Interestingly, most have a common belief what a bride should look and feel like. The Victorian bride still lives!

Some might balk at this comparison arguing we are not living in the 19th century and women today prefer modern 21st century gown choices.  This is very true. Thank God brides have come a long way in all aspects of the marriage ceremony, wedding aesthetics and most certainly the wedding gown. However, I would implore you to scrutinize the next bridal gown you try on. The style and cut may reflect modern design elements, but fabrics, embellishments, general construction have remained constant since Victoria's glorious white frock and precisely why I adore wedding gowns. They reflect today, but hark back to the days of exquisite detailed fabric and a special custom dress fit for a queen.

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