You know what I hate? Global warming. It’s stripped us of some of the things we’ve come to expect. The main one I’m thinking of is the guarantee of a white Christmas. The holiday has come and gone, and no snow. What is this? It’s still 40-something degrees outside here in the north-east, and the year is almost over. Yet it snowed in October. It’s all a bit sketchy, if you ask me. However, there’s one white thing that global climate change has no control over, and that’s Vera Wang’s bridal collections. Okay, fine, the garments are not always white, but I love nothing more than a play on words, so for my sake we’ll overlook that small detail. Twice a year, the designer comes out with a new line of brides and bridesmaids dresses in a variety of colors and fabrics that are unlike any I’ve seen before, which is something worth acknowledging. I’ll explain why in a moment.
I have somewhat of an antipathy to bridal and prom gowns—something about the surprisingly overused combination of hot pink satin, sequins, tulle and poor sewing skills really gets to me. One time I had to design a prom dress as part of a fashion sketching course I was taking at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and I had a really hard time coming up with something original. It was so difficult, in fact, that the final result was probably uglier than what the product would have been if I had followed the above recipe for a prom dress. Hashtag designer problems. The reason I brought up this little anecdote is to emphasize how nearly impossible it is to design something unique when it comes to wedding attire. That’s why I applaud Vera Wang on accomplishing said task, and gracefully at that.
Let’s examine some of my favorite pieces from the S/S 2012 collection, shall we? I think it would be appropriate to begin with the most bridal one, which in my opinion is the dress with the lace cap sleeve overlay and the ruffly tulle skirt. It’s slightly reminiscent of the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding gown (the key word here is slightly), what with the lace and…yeah. That’s about it. It’s just the lace. But you all know that I’ve got a thing for lace. Anyway, what I like about this dress is that even though it is comprised of the expected fabrics and has mostly the same silhouette as most other dresses, there are some details that make it an idiosyncratic Vera Wang dress. Note that the use of the tulle is very peculiar—instead of using it to create volume from underneath another textile, the designer created a rippling, waving effect with it while still maintaining the desired volume. Ten points for Vera (the urge I had to say “Hufflepuff” instead was very strong, but I resisted)! Then, there’s the interesting little fluff at the waist (for lack of a better word, although I think “fluff” describes it pretty accurately). The fact that it is unidentifiable by any other words makes it original in itself. The high neckline and capped sleeve are two elements not often seen in bridal dresses, but the lace they’re made out of makes them look modern and dainty, rather than matronly and outdated. That takes skill. And we’re not going to even discuss that headpiece; why explain something that speaks for itself?
I’m not going to dissect every single dress in the collection like that because we’d be here all week, and by that time I would have to write next Tuesday’s article. I’m on winter break right now, so that doesn’t fly with me. I will, however, talk about one more piece that stands apart from the rest. Again, the distinctions are not that obvious, but they’re definitely there. It’s all in the details, guys! The dress I’m referring to is the one with the purple/brown/that’s-not-a-color-I-can-identify-without-the-use-of-a-color-wheel belt and the pleated wavy bodice. The reason I chose this one is because at first glance it’s nothing special. But that’s why I’m here, to focus on the little details that are probably not even worth overanalyzing—but alas, that is how my brain works. It gets really annoying when I’m trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, or which staircase I should take at school every morning. There’s four different staircases! How am I supposed to choose except by weighing the pros and cons of each? I digress. Back to black. Meaning wedding gowns. The first thing I noticed about the dress was of course the neckline. Who would think to turn off-white pleated chiffon into a fan shape at the shoulder and make the rest of it into waves but Vera Wang? The answer is no one. I’ve been in love with her work ever since I looked at her S/S 2012 show (it’s seriously one of my favorite, and I looked at approximately a bajillion shows, no big deal); she’s actually just kind of a genius. She also thought to cut the tulle on the skirt into layers to create a prettier effect than just a puff of fabric would have done. That’s the problem I have with most of these sort of dresses: the people who make them just toss some glitter at an ugly mess of charmeuse and taffeta and call it a day. That actually gives a really entertaining mental image if you let your imagination go a little crazy with it (imagine the person is getting really angry and that might set you in the right direction).
Clickety-click on the pictures on the left to check out my other favorites from the 10-piece collection. Remember that even though there’s no snow, there’s always Vera Wang to help us out and pretend like there is, but not really because snow and weddings don’t have much to do with each other. Never mind. Merry post-Christmas!