Jim Hjelm
    Oscar de la Renta

    Does any dress say ‘bride' more than a beautifully designed ball gown? Ball gowns have been the trademark of some contemporary designers like Kenneth Pool, Amsale and Justine McCaffery, to name just a few. Going back sixty-some years, Christian Dior revolutionized fashion with his “New Look”. Cinched waists atop skirts flowing in yards of fabric marked a turning point in twentieth-century fashion. The hourglass, the most defined female silhouette, was back.

    The ball gown is indeed an hourglass and remains the most dramatic of all bridal silhouettes. A ball gown can be as romantic a confection as those seen in the corps de ballet, flowing in swirls of white tulle; or as edgy and structured as the silk faille versions in 1950s Paris Vogue. But it doesn’t matter whether the fabric used to create it is delicate, mid-weight or heavy, one aspect of the ball gown always remains the same: the skirt and its understructure are both based on volume. Thus, sweeping skirts equal sweeping entrances especially awesome on brides who know how to work their strut.

    Max Chaoul

    Max Chaoul
    Regardless of its formality, a ball gown seems to have flex when it comes to showing up anywhere and looking beautiful. While they go great in all the splendor of a full-blown cathedral ceremony, imagine an outdoor garden wedding where nature, big and diverse as a thousand cathedrals can be the perfect sanctuary.

    Variations of the Ball Gown

    Bouffant or Hourglass-Fitted bodice with cinched natural or dropped waist atop gathered or pleated full skirt.
    Bubble, Poufed or Bunted-Pick-ups and poufs are trendy now. Bouffant shaped skirt swelling out of a cinched natural or dropped waist. Skirt curves in a balloon like shape at the hemline.

    RS Couture

    Petal-Very structured overskirt. Imagine a fuchsia. A cinched natural or dropped waist sitting atop a full skirt with curving understructure that slits open in the front. Sometimes shows a bit of sheath-like under dress peaking out.
    Shirt Dress-A more relaxed version of the hourglass, a classic and tailored look concentrating as much on the bodice detailing as the skirt. Typically has long shirt-like or billowing sleeves and full gathered skirt. Can be made out of lightweight fabrics like organza, chiffon and crepe, as well as medium weights like linen. Nice for a garden reception, especially with a wide- brimmed hat.

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