Ever wondered what the term ‘designer’ actually means? The majority of bridal boutiques will have a collection of gowns made up from their own “in-house” designer and from a number of “famous name” designers. Boutiques often insist on the exclusive rights to stock a particular gown. There are around a dozen “big name” designers in Britain for whose gowns you can expect to pay between £1500 and £3000. Each has their own unique style, so if you like one gown from a particular designer you may find that their entire collection will appeal. Although there are also hundreds of less well known designers, it really should only be the famous names that are being referred to when a gown is described as “designer”. If you’re after the very latest styles, it’s worth remembering that the new season’s gowns are shown at a trade exhibition in Harrogate every September, which is when the boutiques choose their new collection and the magazines report on the new styles. The gowns are then generally available in the shops from January.
A-line ~ a cut of dress which is tight at the shoulders and then flares gently outwards.
Ballerina ~ a wide, gathered skirt ending above the ankle, popular for little bridesmaids.
Basque ~ long, tight-fitting bodice finishing with a V at the front of the dress.
Cap sleeves ~ small, tight sleeves, just covering the shoulder.
Contemporary ~ describes a dress with clean, straight, uncluttered lines.
Empire line ~ a dress with a high waistline and a seam just under the bust.
Fish tail ~ a figure-hugging dress, tight to the knee then flaring out at the bottom.
Sheath ~ a straight, body-hugging dress without a waistline.
Shrug ~ a short, round-edged jacket, worn unfastened over the shoulders.
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