November 23, 2011
I don’t know about you, but I am loving this trend for long sleeve wedding dresses! After so many years of strapless bodiced bridal gowns, I have long felt it was time for a sleeve revival, and thanks to a certain wedding this year (more on that later) it finally seems to be here. Perhaps because my Nan wore a long sleeved dress for her wedding, or because of my love for that most iconic of wedding dresses, the Helen Rose design worn by Grace Kelly, I have always associated them with more graceful and refined times. To me sleeves, especially of lace, evoke romance and give a bride a demure air of elegance, as well as the sleekest of silhouettes! And so today I am indulging in my love for them and sharing some of my absolute favourites….. I just know you are going to love them too.
If there is one designer who can always be relied on to create gowns with more than a little old world charm and romance, it is Claire Pettibone. One of my absolute favourite designers (you can see more of her gowns on Chic Vintage Brides here, here, here and here…oh and her bohemian inspired Romantique collection is a must see too!) her dresses are created using the most exquisite fabrics (including lashings of lace) and her elegant collections always include a long sleeve dress or two – as well as some of the most beautiful portrait backs you will ever see!
Another such designer is Alice Temperley of Temperley London whose Grace dress reminds me a lot of the stunning Ralph Lauren couture gown worn recently by Lauren Bush, with the high neck giving it an almost Victorian quality…..
Her Jessamine dress is a little more modern and ethereal looking but just as lovely with its embellished lace…..
Also with a hint of Victoriana, and a dash of rustic charm, is this dress from Italian designer Luisa Beccaria with its gorgeous hemline…..
Having long been a fan of Elie Saab’s red carpet gowns, I was excited to see his ‘Elie’ collection for Pronovias and it did not disappoint! A collection of dreamy embellished lace dresses, including the lovely Auriga…..
Whilst Elizabeth Filmore created more sophististcated silhouettes with lace over a satin sheath dresses……
Jenny Packham included 3 distinct long sleeved bridal designs in her 2011 collection – Antonella a glamorous gown inspired by the sultry 1940s stars of the silver screen; the cute and chic Dido with its feather fringing and slinky Yevonde, so reminiscent of the 1930s.
Whilst Johanna Johnson, who is better known for her glamorous art deco inspired gowns (take a look at her ‘Muse‘, ‘Still Is the Night‘ and ‘Luxor‘ collections to see what I mean, they are utterly breathtaking!), created the more relaxed but still effortlessly elegant Florence for the bohemian bride…..
Or sleek and sophisticated, this Jesus Peiro long sleeve gown may look simple from the front, however it is anything but from the back…..
First Queen Victoria with her white wedding dress……
Queen Elizabeth in her highly embellished wedding dress, in 1947……
And in the 1980s it was Princess Diana with her meringue of a bridal gown……
This year it was Catherine Middleton’s turn!……
And what a dress it was! I love that deep v lace neckline, that somehow still looks so demure over the beautiful sweetheart bodice. The full satin skirt, which could have looked heavy on Kate’e tiny frame is lightened by the lace at the bottom, which also adorns the bodice and forms the most elegant long, lace sleeves. Created by designer Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, it was both traditional and timelessly chic, absolutely fit for a Princess! It is easy to see why the most anticipated bridal dress of the decade has influenced so many bridal designers and inspired so many beautiful dresses – and brides!……
Kate by Aire Barcelona captures perfectly each and every detail of the Duchess of Cambridge’s celebrated dress.
And I love how Catherine Deane took the exquisite neckline of Kate’s dress and paired it with a far simpler skirt…..
Of course, it is not just the British Royal family that sets trends – some 55 years after Grace Kelly‘s wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, her Helen Rose (MGM’s Academy Award winning costume designer) dress is still considered the most iconic wedding dress of all time and continues to inspire brides and designers alike…..
They even do a Grace Kelly inspired cap veil – beautiful!
But I think this Zuhair Murad design for Rosa Clara takes the best of both, and brings them bang up to date with its tulle skirt peeking from beneath the stunning layer of lace…… I love it!
It seems long sleeved wedding dresses are no longer destined to be the reluctant choice of a winter bride, but a happy alternative for a bold bride wishing to evoke eras past and create a contemporary look unique to them! I for one hope this trend is here to stay!