The Magic of Tulle

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2005

Little girls dream of twirling in dresses with billowing layers as light as air; the wispy, ethereal weave of a tulle wedding gown fulfills that fantasy. Tulle originated more than three centuries ago as the netting upon which lace is stitched. But it did not come into its own as a fabric until a factory in Tulle, France, began to mass-produce it, making it more affordable. It became the crowning glory of bridal attire when Queen Victoria wore a tulle veil for her wedding in 1840, and it soon graced bridal gowns in the form of poufy petticoats, flowing trains, and delicate overlays. Imagine yourself floating down the aisle in its gossamer layers and it's clear to see why this fabric is the romantic ideal.

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Tulle ball gowns became popular with brides in the 1950s -- and have been adored ever since. A cloud of tulle swirls at the bottom of this Edgardo Bonilla dress. The Chantilly and Alecon lace bodice sparkles with hand-sewn Swarovski crystals. Earrings from Stephen Russell. Amaryllis and sweet peas are worn in the hair.

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The tulle skirt of this blush-colored gown by Reem Acra falls to just below the knee; antique mirrored beads swirl in an Art Deco design across the bodice. Crystal earrings by Cherry Chau for Fragments.

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A close-fitting tulle-and-lace drop-waist dress by Angel Sanchez is encircled with tulle bands. Tulle flowers by Dulken and Derrick are clustered together in place of a veil. Wedding ring by Michael B.; platinum-and-diamond bangle by Janet Mavec and Company. Agate-and-silver cocktail ring by Melissa Joy Manning. Rhinestone earrings by Erin Cole Design.

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Diaphanous tulle skims the shoulders and overlays the bodice and skirt of an A-line gown with embroidered flowers; by Vera Wang. A nineteenth-century diamond leaf-spray brooch from Fred Leighton is clipped in the hair for a radiant crown.

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A ruffled cuff and sheer flower trim wrist-length all-tulle gloves by Sharon for La-Crasia; this length is a charming accent for either a long-sleeve or strapless dress.

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Rippling layers of tulle and lace drift down an A-line dress by Suzanne Ermann; a lacy platinum-and-diamond brooch from Stephen Russell is fastened to a tulle headband.

Below, left: Carmela Sutera's silk gown is offset by a tulle fingertip veil by Bride's Head Revisited.

Below, right: a bouquet of cymbidium orchids and roses is ringed with pink tulle sewn into a ruffled cuff.

 

 

 

 

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Anne Barge's silk organza gown has corset-style lacing up the side and tulle petticoats.

Silk-satin halo with French-net veil by Suzanne Couture Millinery; earrings by Ted Muehling; ring by Gumuchian

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Peter Langner's tulle tea-length dress is embellished with hand-applied crystals and mother-of-pearl beads, and organza ribbons. Diamond earrings and eternity band by Fred Leighton.

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This necklace of tulle-wrapped beads and silk organza by Simon Alcantara would be a beautiful companion to a sleek dress.

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A tulle and charmeuse Amsale gown gets a burst of color from a corsage, by Ellen Christine, of antique ribbon, feathers, and beads.Tulle blusher by Suzanne Couture Millinery; earrings by Jennifer Miller Jewelry.

Crystal-and-tulle brooches make satin slingbacks by Vanessa Noel Couture fanciful

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Organza and tulle create a feathery skirt, and gathered tulle overlays the bodice of this gown by Monique Lhuillier. Diamond ring by Tiffany and Co.

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