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Dressing in Layers: Adding That Extra Something

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2000

Layering can also add a subtle tint of color to a gown. Brides who are looking for something more fashion-forward than traditional white may choose to wear a gown with a pale underskirt of lilac or blue overlaid with ivory organza. Even more color or just the slightest shimmer can be added to one or more layers: They can be embellished with delicate stitches of embroidery or intricate beadwork at the bodice or hem.

Yards and yards of fabric are not necessary to create layers; sometimes a snippet is all it takes. Filmy chiffon sleeves can transform a classic gown into something wispy and romantic. A sheer back panel of a simple A-line dotted with tiny satin buttons both reveals and conceals, adding an air of mystery to a modern dress. Or a frill of tulle at the hem that can only be spotted when the bride lifts her skirt is the sort of private, beguiling detail that makes a wedding gown special.

Layers of Color
The skirt and bodice of a ballerina gown (above) are made of petal-pink silk and over-layered with yards of white silk tulle.

Layers Above and Below
In a silk shantung gown, the modern bodice -- a plunging V-neck with gathers at the waist -- is softened with a sheer apron of organza over an A-line skirt. When the bride lifts her hem, a froth of tulle petticoat can be glimpsed.

Embellished Layers
Ideal for a summer wedding, a neutral-colored, backless, chiffon sheath is overlayed by a wisp of white silk organza decorated with appliqued flowers and crystal beads.

Swirls of beaded embroidery form a shimmery layer over a strapless silk bodice that flows into a tiered skirt of silk organza over silk gazar; opera-length kid gloves and a gold-and-diamond choker add a touch of drama to the modern gown.


Sheer Layers
Bands of satin outline a fitted ballerina bodice, which serves as the anchor for a frothy skirt made of whisper-light layers of tulle.

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