Your wedding is the ultimate fashion close-up, an occasion that calls for nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime dress. The most awe-inspiring options showcase both imaginative design and the highly specialized techniques of the worldâ€™s top seamsters. Behold the finer points of these 13 unforgettable gowns.
Whale bones, plant reeds, ivory, even woodâ€”these were the "stays" sewn vertically into curve-sculpting bodices as early as 2000 B.C. Today, metal and high-quality, flexible resins are more common. The effect? Too-gorgeous-to-be-hidden shapewear.
Here's proof that you can find major texture and serious volume in one sophisticated sweep. To create the skirt, seamstresses connected scores of fabric strips and arranged them in an arresting pattern.
Vera Wang "Lorelei" lace-and-organza strapless gown with corded bodice and flange wave skirt.
When you see a gown with gravity-defying curves, you can bet that wefts of horse-hair (synthetic these days, but originally the real deal) were sewn into hems to lend both heft and shape.
The handmade variety has no backing, so itâ€™s beautiful on both sides. To create it, artisans braid, loop, and twist together an endless amount of thread using needles or bobbins.
The stitches used in ancient daysâ€”chain, cross, blanket, running, and satinâ€”are still employed today. In ateliers, the time-consuming craft is plied while a model wears the gown to ensure that each stitch is in the right spot.
Oscar de la Renta silk-faille gown with silk-taffeta-and-sequin embroidery.
Sewing a swath of fabric on top of a gown in a way thatâ€™s very 3-D produces a little (or a lot) of texture and volume. Doing so in a way that also flatters? Genius.
There's more! From savvy spending secrets of the pros to 19 pairs of shoes for every gown style and personality, check out everything in our fall style issue by downloading the digital issue for only $.99.
Browse photos of our favorite rings, plus wedding-worthy necklaces, earrings, and more.See the Jewelry