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Bride Chic: FINDING YOUR CHIC FACTOR

About Bride Chic Once upon a time I was a bride-to-be. And the day my husband proposed I thought whipping up my bridal look would be simple. I was a designer of Harlowesque bridal gowns and envisioned myself in an ivory bias cut crepe carrying one long stemmed calla lily. Then my hopeless romantic Edgar said, "I have a request, Amy. I'd like a band of Scottish pipers and to wear a kilt." Add to that we lived at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a landmark that looks like an old Scottish Castle nestled in the Marin hillsides. Since this was the backdrop of our wedding, my dress ended up looking more like Brigadoon than old Hollywood. I have no regrets. I loved the layers of petticoats and the feel of imported French lace. Whether I was flexible or chameleon-like I don't know. I felt as comfortable as a romantic bride as I would have going contemporary in an evening gown cut. If you're having dilemmas about the gown, consider your venue and overall formality of the wedding or lack thereof. Wedding dates have a lot to do with decisions too. Are you marrying in New York city mid-winter or having a country picnic in late Spring? Since there are no rules here, only guidelines, go ahead and combine styles if you like. Blending gives your look individuality. Maybe you're a little punk and vintage all at once . . . Or cutting edge and classic. Whatever combo you fancy, your options are many. My motto has always been, "Read the rules then teach yourself the art of breaking them . . ." CLASSIC Grace Kelly in To Catch a Theif is your icon. Everything you touch is classic, refined, sophisticated. A Hermes scarf and cashmere turtleneck could be your everyday signature look. Your Dress An A-line or sheath either strapless or with bateau or V-neck. You love any fabric that has understated elegance like traditional duchesse satin and peau de soie. Favorite Designers: Kenneth Pool, Carolina Herrera, Reem Acra, Amsale, Anne Barge, Peter Langner Your Venue: A mansion, country club or sprawling estate defines your dream wedding site. Veiled: A long drop veil tacked to the back of a bun. Unveiled: A tiara of course ROMANTIC You could be the ultimate storybook bride. If you love lace, bone china tea cups and bouquets of white roses in silver vases consider yourself a romantic. Your Dress: A storybook ball gown with lace or tulle. Ruffles and frills and layers of crinoline petticoats. Favorite designers: Amelia Casablanca, Elizabeth Emanuel for the Art of Being, Lazaro, Claire Pettibone, Elizabeth Fillmore, Max Chaoul. Venue: How about Notre Dame or a castle in Scotland? Veiled: Cathedral length tulle Unveiled: Wreath of roses CONTEMPORARY For you the edge is the most comfortable seat in the house and forging ahead of the fashion curve excites you. New and untried fabrics for bridal wear intrigue rather than scare you away and you're the first to try on that linen-hemp with asymmetrical drapes. Your Dress: Any silhouette but you're intrigued by the sheath in an outside the box fabric. Shorter dresses appeal to your sense of whimsy. Favorite Designers: Giambattista Valli, Jane Wang, Junko Yoshioka Venue: Mostly chi-chi urban settings like an art gallery or artist's loft. A restaurant with a killer view is great too. Veiled: Loops of horsehair crowned in netting. Unveiled: A cutting edge hairstyle VINTAGE So you look into the best parts of the past to get your look, do you? Who wouldn't with such great laces and gemmies still hanging around from yesteryear? Like those satin baby-doll shoes from the forties better than brand new Jimmy Choos? Does an allover antique lace tablecloth make you think of restyling it into a gown? Then call yourself a Vintageholic and read on. Your Dress: Mostly evening gown and chemise styles in lace and satin. You may be a 1950s retro buff who likes Candy Anthony type dresses with miles of skirt and tiny cinched waists. Favorite designers: Pat Kerr, Claire Pettibone, Martin McCrea, Candy Anthony. Venue: Almost anywhere that the Jay Gatsby daytime social can be reinacted. Landmark homes with acres of sprawling lawn are ideal but certain boutique hotels and B & B's work for the smaller bash. Veiled: Grandma's antique lace or a recreation. Unveiled: A picture hat
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