Shades of love

PUBLISHED: 11:05 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 21 February 2013

It used to be any colour as long as it was white... now brides have a rainbow to choose from

It used to be any colour as long as it was white... now brides have a rainbow to choose from

It may well be the 21st century and far more liberated times than our grandmothers', but pristine white is still the first choice for brides-to-be.
Whether the wedding venue is a fairytale castle or the parish church, tradition continues to play a major role in most ceremonies where family and friends wait in eager anticipation for a first glimpse of the bride in her gown.
Since there aren't as many rules, even with church services, these days as there were in the past, it means brides can wear the ultimate dream gown to express their personality and the occasion itself.
As the autumn and winter season's bridalwear collections start to appear in shops, what is clear is that the choice of designs and styles in dresses has never been so fabulously varied. The options are seemingly endless.
The collections offer an eclectic blend of old and new, classic lines and modern trends, demure features and some daring details. Put simply - there is something for everyone regardless of age, figure shape and taste.
But if white simply isn't your cup of tea, ivory or similar tones such as pale gold are, in many instances, a second option for an equally elegant look. Over recent years, ivory shades have developed into an alternative that somehow still retains the image of a traditional bride.
But even though white is still top of the pops for brides, the colour spectrum for gowns and indeed bridesmaids' dresses now surpasses all expectations. Not to put too finer point on it, the sky's the limit for those who want a splash of colour when they pledge their troth,
Bridalwear designers are continually coming up with fresh shade ideas and the coming season is no exception on that front. The palest of pinks, shimmering silver, lilac, the monochrome look and even sage green are just some of the different but decidedly delicious treats in store.
Colour apart, brides planning their wedding in the months ahead have never been so spoilt for choice as far as fabric, style and detail are concerned.
Lashings of tulle, sensuous chiffon, satin, silk, iridescent taffeta and traditional lace are just some of the fabrics, while details range from ruching, bows and showers of tiny seed pearls and sequins, through to belts to create cinched-in waists, oodles of crystal beads, and plenty of embroidery.
Strapless gowns featuring lace-up, corset-style backs are among some of the more risqué gowns around right now.
From a design viewpoint, style is obviously everything and much more. There are retro dresses reminiscent of the elegant 1950s, gloriously glamorous Hollywood-style dresses, ball gowns, and truly elegant figure-hugging numbers with skirts bursting into fishtail flounces.
Internationally-known bridalwear designer Veni Parrinello says fishtail gowns are one of the growing trends of the moment and evoke a retro sophistication for the modern bride.
Drapes that caress the body to create fluid and sharp silhouettes and geometric touches are also among important trends, says Veni, the designer for the Ronald Joyce and Victoria Jane bridalwear collections, and the Veni Infantino occasionwear range.
Talking about upcoming themes, she says: "The entire collection is based around soft colours which include pastel greens and powder pinks, as well as octanium blue, silver grey and pale ivory illuminated by all over embroidery and crystal beads."
Fresh design ideas also include full sleeves, ornate necklines, asymmetric lines and experimental cuts. "We also have new fabrics such as satins that work like taffetas and satins that drape like chiffon," explains Veni, who drew inspiration from Hollywood glamour for some of her designs in the latest ranges.
"The collection includes draped tulle, ruched taffeta and hour-glass silhouettes. The gowns also feature classic corsetry techniques which evoke an age of effortless glamour and sophistication, and all of them have a contemporary twist.
"The younger bride is going for colour and the fairytale look, while older brides seem to be buying dresses from the Victoria Jane collection which is more elegant and sophisticated."
Since there are growing numbers of second time and more mature brides, designers like Veni are catering for their needs too.
"I have created lace coats to wear with simple satin dresses to cover the bits the older bride wants to hide. I have also designed dresses with long lace sleeves to cover the arms," she adds.
In general terms, dramatic veils are back, some are short, some cathedral length, while many of the styles have a definite vintage feel.
Gowns and bridesmaids' dresses à la 1950s and with flared, ballerina-length skirts are a growing trend and will continue to be in the new season.
And since elegance is a key factor in the glamorous bridal image, accessories for those opting for the Audrey Hepburn look will include must-have elbow length gloves and a tiara, of course.

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