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Hundreds of gorgeous gowns floated down the runway at this season's Bridal Fashion Week. As if seeing the much anticipated collections wasn't exciting enough, we got the inside scoop on the inspiration behind them. From enchanting fairytales to Old Hollywood starlets, see how designers dreamt up their latest wedding dresses.
—Rosie Purdy, Assistant Digital Editor
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The inspiration: This collection was inspired by the Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde as I have been reading many of the stories to my children. In Oscar Wilde’s own words, the tales were written “partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy." The book is filled with princes, nightingales, pixies, mermaids, and kings and it was such fun to dream up what each would be wearing.
The muse: Mia Farrow for her pixie-esque demeanor.
The collection: Modern ethereal romance.
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Advice for Brides
"I really don’t think a bride should step out of their “fashion comfort zone” on their wedding day. Pictures last a life time and you want to look back thinking you were a beautiful version of your everyday self – not caught in a trend. Save the risk for your engagement party or a reception dress as these settings can easily call for something fun and playful."
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The inspiration: The mood began with a gorgeous floral painting, “Still Life of flowers on a Marble Table” by Rachel Ruysch, 1716. I loved the contrast of lush flowers against a dark mysterious background, and translated this inspiration into floral embroideries, rich laces, and layered details, including a few butterflies, as insects were often part of this genre of art.
The muse: There was actually a song I was obsessed with this season, "Counting" by Autre ne Deut, that epitomized the mood, and that, more than a specific person, is what inspired me.
The collection: Opulent, romantic, ethereal.
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The inspiration: Our 2014 Bridal Collection goes back to the DNA of our style—the glamour of "Old Hollywood." We fused it with the effortlessly chic feel of the French Riviera of the 30s for a bride of any era. We imagine our gowns in so many settings: a palace in Italy, a beach in Carmel, the Pierre in Manhattan.
The muse: She is so many women—our friends, Mark's twin sister, our latest Hollywood crush. The only constant is that they are consumed with glamour, in the best possible way.
The collection: Glamorous, elegant, modern.
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"We think that the more personalized you can make your wedding day, the better. If you have family pieces, from jewelry, to lace remnants, to love letters, they can go into headpieces, bouquets, or slipped inside your shoe. If not, you have a personal history with your betrothed that is even better. Don't be afraid to make this the most amazing day of your life, and it will be!"
—Mark Badgley and James Mischka
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The inspiration: This season we were inspired by everything feminine, from lace and sparkle to feather detailing.
The muse: We always think of our J.Crew woman and what she would wear. She is sophisticated and classic but loves to have fun and express herself through her clothing.
The collection: Effortless, classic, romantic.
Advice for brides: "Don’t be afraid to break from tradition and go for a more modern look. I love our beaded cocktail dress and lace jumpsuit. They also make for a great wardrobe change so our brides can dance the night away!"
—Molly Schaul, J.Crew
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The inspiration: The collection was inspired by "The Mystery of Venice" and it beautiful harmony of gentle gothic architecture floating on tranquil waters. Touches of gothic architecture influenced the beading and the way lace was used and layered. The gowns all have a lightness to them combined with some type of structure so that there is something floating at all times.
The muse: Isabella Rossellini, a reflection of inner beauty.
The collection: Pure, reflective, modern romance.
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The inspiration: I always go into a dream fantasy where ideas somehow pop up. I am blessed in that way.
The muse: The muse is in my imagination. She is a dream or fantasy that is surreal.
The collection: Emotional, surreal, magical.
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Advice for the Bride
"A bride should choose one idea that sets them apart and makes them feel special and unique."
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The inspiration: The main inspiration for this collection was to show simplicity and softness but to keep it formal and polished.
The muse: When I design I do not like to concentrate on one person, I concentrate on a woman who shares the same philosophy as me. Someone who likes classic modernity.
The collection: Polished, dressed up, effortless.
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The inspiration: This season Vatana Watters was inspired by three famous love stories: Romeo and Juliet’s love inspired the light and airy styles featuring delicate beadwork; the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde gave birth to timeless styles with dreamy necklines; and the memorable love story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is reflected in styles with intrigue that will leave a powerful lasting impression.
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The inspiration: After taking long walks through the Botanical Gardens, I found myself inspired by butterflies emerging from their chrysalis. I imagined their wings like folds of organza and layers of tulle. Fluttery, delicate and shimmering embellishments with a hint of Aurora Borealis. I think we will see a lot of Austin Scarlett gowns walking down petal-strewn garden aisles in the near future!
The muse: An ethereal princess who haunts my dreams. I’m still searching for the delicate foot that fits her glass slipper.
The collection: Enchanting, floating, resplendent.
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"Darling, one’s wedding day is hardly the best time to start taking fashion risks! Everything you wear that day should make you feel your most beautiful. However, I will say, it is a wonderful idea to experiment during the gown shopping experience. That is the time to take risks and be adventurous! You might be surprised when you find your perfect gown."
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The inspiration: My Spring 2014 collection is inspired by the timeless and playful seductive style of the great Hollywood goddesses—Ava Gardner, Jane Russell, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner, to name a few. Their effortless style became fashion.
The muse: This collection is not simply a tribute to the leading ladies of the past, it is an invitation for generations of brides to come. I hope these designs will inspire brides to have their own personal sense of glamour and style on their special day.
The collection: Romantic, timeless, glamorous.
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The inspiration: My collections are designed as a red carpet interpretation of bridal. Every gown is approached with laborious old world techniques and finishes. Every look is treated as its own homage to Art Deco decadence, the structure of the era, and the glory of dressing on ceremony.
The muse: In celebration of our international expansion it is inspired by the architecture of New York City. This collection is built on the construction of embellished beaded designs, paneled silk gowns, detailed French laces, and reflective, metallic silhouettes.
The collection: Heirloom, artisan, timeless.
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The inspiration: It was focused on silhouette and mixing fabrications, like French lace and tulle. The main direction for the collection was to keep it youthful, sexy and dramatic.
The muse: I focused on the girl who knows how to balance tradition with boldness. She is a girl who shows her confidence with style.
The collection: Young, sexy, dramatic.
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