n The key to wedding dress nirvana is an open mind, according to bridal designer Marguerite Hannah.
If you thought wedding fever had died down, well hold on to your hat. The battle of the big white dresses has only just begun.
This summer sees a bumper turnout of high-profile brides, with vintage vixen Lily Allen walking down the aisle on June 11, clothes horse Kate Moss on July 2 and the ‘other’ royal wedding – of Zara Phillips – on July 30.
While it’s common knowledge Lily has secured the couture services of designer pal Karl Lagerfeld, all bets are off as to Moss’s choice.Until earlier this year, it was assumed the job would go to her best fashion friend John Galliano, but since his alleged anti-Semitic rant it’s possible the supermodel has changed allegiances.
Luckily, you don’t need a designer on speed dial to find your ideal dress.
Whether you want to float down the aisle in a fluffy meringue or saunter Pippa Middleton-style in a slinky number, there’s a style to suit every bride.
“Brides want to be demure but look a million dollars; they want a dress that transforms them,” says Marguerite Hannah, designer for Alan Hannah (www.alanhannah.co.uk).
Kate Middleton’s wedding gown was always guaranteed to inspire every woman marrying their own Prince Charming.
Reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s intricate lace dress, the Sarah Burton creation for Alexander McQueen has set a trend for a bevy of brides-to-be seeking understated glamour.
“Kate’s dress is a great look for girls to achieve; not only is it very classic and stylish but is an easy shape for most to wear,” Hannah suggests.
Forget backless, strapless and side splits, the demure look is the look of the moment.
“There will be a trend towards brides going slightly more formal in their choice of dress, with covered arms and, of course, the use of lace,” suggests bridal designer Ian Stuart (www.ianstuart-bride.com).
But even before the Duchess of Cambridge wowed her two billion spectators in McQueen, the mood in bridal fashion was shifting towards lace and covered shoulders.
Designers unveiled a similar train of thought at the recent White Gallery exhibition for 2012 – the bridal equivalent of Fashion Week.
“The key trend has moved from the popular strapless look of past seasons to ‘on the shoulder’ with the use of straps, short sleeves and sheer necklines using lace and organza,” explains Hannah.
“The alluring look of showing shoulders and arms is still key, though, so the use of sheer fabrics is a major look for this summer. There is more use of lace and embossed and textured fabrics.”
Hannah adds: “Long dresses are still far more popular than short, and there is a definite trend for longer trains and veils.
“But for the hip bride and those who are marrying abroad, shorter dresses or even a Sixties-style palazzo pant jumpsuit is a great look.”
For autumn/winter brides, summer silhouettes and texture trends will continue, but with the addition of sheer capes, jackets and faux fur throws for extra glamour.
But unlike Kate, who slipped into another wedding gown for her evening do, most brides still look for that one special dress to impress throughout the big day. They are going for a more unusual dress, which will work well day or night.
“Brides are moving away from wanting a traditional wedding dress and are choosing instead to invest in a style which will take them from the ceremony to the last dance,” according to bridal designer Suzannah (www.suzannah.com).
The key to wedding dress nirvana is an open mind, according to bridal designer Marguerite Hannah.
“A good wedding dress should be transforming, and you cannot feel the magic until you try it on,” she advises.
Here are her top tips:
Try on a wide variety of dresses – don’t choose the first one you try on. More often than not what a girl has in mind at the beginning is not what she ends up with.
Experiment with one dress in every silhouette and eliminate the shapes that don’t suit so you can try on more of the ones that work for you.
Choose a dress that flatters your body shape and size, for example a shorter petite girl looks great in a column dress as it elongates the shape, while larger girls looks fantastic in A-line shaped dresses.
Make sure the style of dress suits the wedding you have planned. If you’re having an overseas wedding, for example, a huge dress would be too hot and difficult to pack.
If you chose a plain dress you can always achieve drama via accessories.