Venue vs. Vision

It was so cool to watch the Vogue Weddings video of Kate Bosworth’s visit to Oscar de la Renta as he designed her bridal gown for this past weekend’s wedding of the actress to Michael Polish.


One thing so critical in designing (or choosing) a bridal gown isn’t so much just fulfilling the bride’s “vision” of her dress, but to place equal importance on where the gown is being worn. I encourage my brides to think about “How will the gown ‘walk’ in that setting?” “From what distance will the guests see the back of the gown?” “What is the lighting at that time of day?” “What is the background against which the gown will be photographed?”

All those items should be taken into consideration as puzzle pieces when creating the Perfect Picture.

For Miss Bosworth, that venue was the rugged and unpolished landscape of outdoor Montana. I too feel that when I design a gown for such a setting, the use of beading and embellishment is not just unnecessary, but perhaps overkill.

I like to use glorious, sumptuous natural fabrics for such dresses i.e. silk shantung, peau de soir, linen, silk organza…even cotton in the laces. The sheen should almost be a matte finish and the pleating and billows almost over done.

Oscar was singing to the choir when he suggested an extended train, and of course an equally long veil. Nothing says “bride” more than a train and a veil. Otherwise, she becomes (you’ve heard me say it a million times) “a girl in a white dress.”

When I introduced the Michael Nolte Collection a few years ago, one of my favorites was “Ashley” (named for my Godchild). “Ashley” was an Alencon lace, full A-line skirt gown with a train a mile long.


I also loved my dress “Hydrangea”, which created a mid-back connected train kind of like Kate’s. The drama was all in the back…the angle from which the guests see you all through the ceremony.


Generally my rule of thumb: The longer the aisle, the longer the train. Likewise, the more bridesmaids stretched out besides the bride, the more length and fullness needed for that wonderful “swirl around” picture of the bridal party.

Bridal Party

Here is a picture that illustrates the importance of long trains in big churches. The gown is “Ashley”. The church is Country Club Christian on Ward Parkway.

Rule of Thumb: long aisle=long train