In the Dressmaker's Studio

Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2004

It starts with a vision conjured up in a designer's imagination. Then, piece by piece, a wedding dress comes together -- fabric shapes bound by silky threads. Next come the fittings: Adjustments are made until the material lies perfectly and falls to the ground in harmony with the way you walk. Wearing one of these dresses, you'll look so beautiful -- as if it had been sketched with you in mind.

Left, a shimmering applique graces the train of a dress by Reem Acra, complementing its beaded and embroidered bodice and straps. Below, this tea-length dress by Shannon McLean Bridal has a sweet girlishness, with its wide silk-satin sash and wispy tulle underskirt; an embroidered silk bolero jacket with cap sleeves (also by Shannon McLean Bridal) lends sophistication to the ensemble. Bow-topped slingbacks by Stuart Weitzman.

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Made of oyster-colored duchesse satin, this modified version of a mermaid gown (a type of sheath introduced in the 1960s) by Vera Wang boasts a partially hidden train of coquettish ruffles. Its lace-up back adds romance. Below, the disciplined lines of a corseted bodice give way to a soft draped skirt on this champagne-colored dress by Carolina Herrera.


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Gazing into a mirror, imagining her wedding, a little girl might have dreamed of wearing an ensemble like this. The Italian silk satin dress by Romona Keveza has a pleated chapel-length train; its simplicity is echoed in the lace-edged veil by Nelson D'Leon. Below, poise and grace are embodied in the drape of the cowl neck and simple curves of the skirt on this sleek ivory silk dress by Velasco Couture. The old-fashioned detail of a long train decorated with buttons is a lovely counterpoint.


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A Chantilly-lace boat-neck overlay with bell sleeves frames the shoulders in delicate flowers, its backdrop a silk-satin strapless gown with A-line skirt and gathered train; dress by Youlin. Ring by Harry Winston; necklace by Wasabi. Below, with its fitted bodice, full skirt, and chapel train, this duchesse-satin gown by Amsale could have been made for a princess. It has a touch of "something blue" in the form of a taffeta sash.


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A bride will feel as glamorous as a 1940s film star in this charmeuse halter dress with plunging V-neck by Stephen Yearick. The inset organza train is punctuated with embroidered crystal beads repeated on the bodice. Below, the deep-V front and back of this silk crepe dress by Watters Brides are ideal for showcasing luminous jewelry.


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A bow is quintessentially feminine; this one is turned at an angle to accentuate the asymmetric ruffled train of the silk-faille silhouette gown by Oscar de la Renta.

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