Local brides have many options,
from the traditional ballgown
to a new, seductive sheath.
BY BARBARA PASH
his year's bridal gowns
reveal a new seductive-
ness, with strapless tops,
see-through cutouts in bodices, and
fitted sheath skirts.
Pearls, beading and iridescent se-
quins still decorate the gowns but
there is less glitter and more emphasis
on fine fabrics and on workmanship.
"Instead of being pasted on, the pearls
and other embellishments are hand-
sewn on," says one bridal buyer.
The priciest spring/summer
gowns are made of either summer-
weight satin or silk. Taffeta is less ex-
pensive but also popular. The tradi-
tional warm weather fabrics of organ-
za and chiffon are not as popular as
they once were. The use of two or
more fabrics is common; for example,
lace or tulle netting over a base fabric
Lace is a favorite in gowns at all
price levels. Embroidered and bead-
ed lace bodices, sprinkled with
rhinestones, is a feature of this year's
gowns. Other decorative accents
come in the form of rosette appliques,
passemenerie and soutache braiding,
and fabric flowers on the bodice and/or
Puckering, ruching and ruffles are
turning up on gowns whose sweet-
heart necklines, strapless tops and
shawl collars are a departure from
traditional styles. The most fashion
30 Brides 1990
forward bridal gowns are "short"
(without a train), have a bubble skirt,
or are accompanied by a bolero jacket.
Cindy Rose, fashion director for
Vogue Butterick Patterns, finds that
styles vary depending on the area of
the country and the weather. In some
regions, like New York and New Eng-
land, tailored gowns are the rule. In
rural and suburban areas, brides are
likely to choose puffier sleeves and
Traditional white and, to a lesser
extent, ivory, remain the best selling
colors for bridal gowns. However,
manufacturers also show gowns of
palest pastel, or white gowns with
touches of pastel trim.
• Brides are favoring many looks.
One look is the traditional gown —
a typical example would have a Basque
waist, full skirt and long sleeves — ex-
cept it's a little plainer than in the past,
with less beading and iridescent se-
quins. Another look is more fashion-
oriented — a sheath gown with
detachable train. (In the industry, the
sheath gown is known as the "mer-
"Women are choosing gowns that
make them look feminine and that
flatter their figures. They are not just
choosing fashion for fashion sake.
They are looking for something that
will make them look wonderful," says
Donna Gottschling, owner of Sue
Gordon Bridal Salon, Today's Bride
and Boulevard Bridal. Some of the
latest fashions are gowns with off the
shoulder sleeves. Gottschling notes
that the women with good figures are
choosing gowns with a narrow waist
and a sheath or mermaid skirt.
Bridal shops are seeing many
more "older" (25 and up) brides, and
they are the customers, says one bridal
buyer, who tend to choose the more
sophisticated look of a sheath gown.
Younger brides favor the "sweeter"
look of the traditional gown. Whatever
the look, gowns with trains are by far
the favorite but brides do have another
option. Tea-length (also known as
matinee length) gowns are being
chosen by first-time brides, particular-
ly older brides, who want a more in-
formal look than either of the other
Nowadays, what with air condi-
tioning and central heating, most
gown styles are seasonless. The only
difference in the fabrics is that in
winter, brides and their attendants will
wear velvet; in summer, organza. And
more brides will wear off-the-shoulder
gowns in the spring/summer.
Although the price of gowns has
risen over the years, local customers
are willing to pay for what they want.
A few years ago, bridal gown prices
averaged $300 to $500. Today, the
average price of a wedding gown in the
United States is $800 to $900. The
Continued on Page 37