Archive for the ‘The Dress’ Category

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Which Designer Would You Choose?

April 29, 2008

Everyone needs a little gimmick every now and then…

I was just thinking, if you could have any designer – anyone in the whole world – design your wedding dress, who would it be? Think about it for a moment, of all the greatest designers out there, living or dead, who do you love their designs so much that you would love to have your wedding dress designed by them just for you?!?! Would it be who we all think of – Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta…

And I’m not talking about going out and getting a dress which was made by one of these people…I’m talking about them making the dress especially for you

I thought about this for about a split second, and honestly, I’d probably pick Betsey Johnson. Anyone who knows me probably saw this coming from a mile away. Betsey’s all over my closet – from dresses to shoes to jewelry; you name it! She’s so much fun. She’s been my favorite since I can remember…since forever.

(I could totally wear this dress, from her 2008 runway show.)

When I’m sad, I usually go to the Betsey boutique in SoHo and try on a few dresses…sometimes the only way to make me feel better is to actually bring one home!

(Betsey after February 2008 runway show)

And I adore that she does a cartwheel at the end of every runway show! I came across a clip of Designer Diaries a YouTube hosted show for Nylon TV. In this fun few minutes we get to see Betsey talking about what inspired her for her 30-year-anniversary collection, which hit the catwalk February 2008. Love it!!

In the words of Betsey…”[we] always love a gimmick…”

Bridesmaid dresses, anyone?

XOXO
M, J, and S

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And the Bride Wore Blue Velvet…

April 27, 2008

Blue Velvet, David Lynch, 1986

(Blue Velvet collage from IMDB)

And the bride wore Blue Velvet, bluer than velvet was the night…This post is nothing like the song.

Aside from Saks in the email Emily had sent me with some prospective places to search for a wedding dress, she included a little shop called Blue, as you learned in that last post. I’m starting off with Blue for a couple of reasons – it was in the initial email Emily sent and I also like to get the bad news first and end on a good note. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this one…

The description she had sent me from New York Magazine online sounded interesting to me, so I thought I would give it a try. It mentioned hip brides; custom-made. I looked up the designer online and saw good things. Not many, but good. The only thing that irked me a little was the one Blue user review…it was scathing. Written by the husband, no less! Here’s an excerpt:

“…we had a *very* negative experience…My wife asked for the dresses to be ready 2 weeks before the wedding…The dresses were delivered 2 days before the wedding, leaving no time for alterations…Many details were off. For example, the hems on 3 of the dresses were quite uneven. On others the zippers were poorly installed, such that they caused the material to bunch…Of the six custom-made dresses, only 2 fit well. One fit so badly that it was unwearable…sloppy craftsmanship.”
(Source: http://nymag.com/urr/urr.pl?rm=view_review&urr_review_id=863333)

I read that and thought, “Whoa” but remembered that it’s only one review and I hadn’t really come across anything else too negative, so I dialed the phone and made the appointment. But I did have my doubts.

My appointment at Blue was the second, and last, appointment that I scheduled for the day Emily, Melissa, and Donna were with me in the city. It was after our time at Morgane Le Fay (fabulous!!!) and after a great lunch at The Mercer Kitchen. We headed over there, with high hopes.

As we walked, I realized it was near the sketchy Tompkins Square Park, where I had spent some time on set for several films I’ve worked on. Most parts of the park stank like urine. Other parts are alright. In the nooks and crannies of the park you have a very eclectic mix – people practicing Tai Chi (alone), pre-school classes, local street musicians, the homeless, and plenty of crackheads to boot. Nice location, right? But really it’s not that bad, actually. It has a bad reputation from things past, but has improved a lot in recent years.

A lot of cute and fun shops exist in the east village. So I continued the “benefit of the doubt” aim I was going for.

When we approached the front door, I was still a little skeptical. So we went in and there was a group of women – it looked like a mom, daughter, maybe an aunt and a friend – all talking about dresses and saying their goodbyes to the woman that worked there.

Upon our entrance, the woman (turned out to be Christina), asked me if she could help us…I told her yes that I was looking for a wedding dress and had an appointment. At that she asked me what I was looking for, and dumbfounded, I simply said, “Something to wear.”

As they left, the mother turned to me and said “Good luck” but not in a cheerful, friendly way. The wheels in my head turned faster.

The place was in total disarray. Not too many dresses anywhere and to the immediate left seemed to be the workroom, partially hidden behind a large curtain. Oh, and it looked nothing like the cute photo above leads you to believe.

The woman asked me when the wedding was, looked me up and down and said, “Something A-line, something flowy” which was right on the money. OK, a little relief there.

She took me back (maybe 10 feet away) and basically told me to strip, in front of her, without even a dress to try on. I’m not really the modest type, so I put my trust in her and did as she asked (looking at a photo on the wall of her and Linda Evangelista…)

Oh, by the way, none of my friends were allowed back there with us.

She came back with a dress, which resembled an unfinished version of the infamous white number that Marilyn Monroe wears over the subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. She actually had to pin it on me, and in doing so, stabbed me in the boob!

I came out and no one really had a reaction I wanted — and I didn’t resemble Marilyn either — I think we were all a little taken aback by the place. And the woman wasn’t really what I had envisioned, and I’ll leave it at that. She was nice, abrupt, and very fast.

I felt out of place, a sense of dread, and I thought I was probably getting some strange illness from being stabbed in the boob. I got dressed as fast as I could and we were out of there.

I made sure to thank Emily for that one!

When we left, I asked my friends where she even got the dress, as I didn’t see anything around. One of them quickly replied, “From the floor!”

Yes, it is true my experience at Blue was wretched and I wouldn’t personally recommend it to anyone else, but maybe it’s right for someone else. I’d like to meet that girl.

XOXO
M, J, and S

P.S. A month after we had our appointment at Blue, I noticed that there was a very positive review of the shop. So maybe it’s just hit or miss with this one. You’ll have to go and see for yourself.

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First Two NY Wedding Dress Appointments Made!

April 26, 2008

Image found online, shopping in New York

Thank god for Emily and New York Magazine….read on to find out why.

Last post about the first wedding dress weekend (which actually happened back in January), I mentioned how I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown and ready to quit the whole wedding event before I had even gotten started. My sweetie just looked at me and laughed every time I told him about my “pain”. So, it was about a week before Emily and Melissa would arrive (and several days before Sam, Melissa’s little sister, was due to arrive) – yes we were about to have a very full house, and I didn’t really have any appointments to look at wedding gowns.

Until that email from Emily came. She apparently knew what I was feeling and immediately set to work – actually that’s a miniature lie. Back in November of 2007 when I announced to her that we had found “the ring” and were having it made, she immediately began planning my wedding. Sent me emails frequently with possible venues, bridesmaid dresses, ideas for flowers, and all that stuff! Right away in fact – more like within minutes.

Anyway, getting back to her dress email – in it she suggested that we check out Saks (if we could) and Blue. She had gotten her information from New York Magazine online, which I thought was a great source. She sent the links to the descriptions, the one for Blue is quoted from the site below:

Blue

Designer Christina Kara creates modern, edgy custom-made wares for hip brides in her tiny shop, offering an array of fabrics (silk, duchesse satin, lace) and styles (off the shoulder, mermaid, A-line).

Young professionals looking for something fashionable turn here for fresh takes on cocktail dresses ($400 to $650) and ball gowns ($1,200 to $3,000). Everything is custom-made at the in-store workshop. As a bonus, designer-owner Christina Kara offers group rates for large wedding parties.
(Source: http://nymag.com/listings/stores/blue/)

I read that and thought, “Well, OK…I could be a hip bride. I like a fresh outlook on the gown. The prices are up my alley!” and figured I’d give it a whirl despite the one and only user review was a very negative one. (I’ve since learned to pay more attention to those user reviews – more on that later.)

A few minutes after that first email from Emily appeared, she sent another with the subject line “ooohhhhhh!” which I knew had to contain something good! In this one, she didn’t even write anything except for the description from New York Magazine online, which I’ve included below:

Morgane Le Fay

These stores will have you imagining yourself as a powerful CEO by day, a princess gliding down a staircase in glass slippers by night. Ethereal silk-organza ball gowns range from $1,400 to $4,000; brides love the dress collection here. For day, try the feminine business suits and wool jerseys.

Liliana Casabal’s bridal collection features light, ethereal fabrics, playing with opaque and transparent materials (ivory and white silk, duchesse satin, organza, and chiffon). Her clients range from avant-garde Björk to the more ladylike Dame Helen Mirren. Alterations not included for the prêt-à-porter collection.
(Source: http://nymag.com/listings/stores/morgane_le_fay00/)

“Ooohhhhhh!” was right! I was totally into the idea of Morgane Le Fay – under the name alone…but the description was completely perfect.

So I immediately called Morgane Le Fay and made my first appointment for the upcoming Saturday, followed by the call to Blue. The one thing going for Blue was that I spoke directly to Christina Kara, the designer, and she had a fabulous accent on the phone. The appointments were set for Morgane Le Fay at noon and Blue at 4:00 PM. So I was super excited, more inspired, and ready to try and make a couple more appointments now that I had something started.

XOXO
M, J, and S

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Intro to Making Wedding Dress Appointments in NYC

April 25, 2008

Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl Needs a Hug

(How I felt right before the Wedding Dress Weekend while making appointments.)

So, after I had scheduled for two of my bridesmaids and my “other mother” to come into the city for the first real round of wedding dress shopping, I figured it was time to gather the numbers of the places I was interested in going and making my appointments. I was extremely excited.

So, I called Kleinfeld first, which was my first choice and for which I had the greatest expectations. It is supposedly the largest bridal gown emporium ever, so I was very excited about this. So, I picked up the phone, dialed out the number and get a menu…”Press 1 to make an appointment” and so on. OK, alright, I thought to myself, it is a large store, this is fine.

(Kleinfeld storefront)

But when she answered the phone it was a whole other story. I had a couple of days and times in mind for the appointment, since I knew which weekend. This was several weeks in advance, so I thought I’d be alright. The representative informed me that none of my times were available and that in order to book my appointment, I would need to provide my credit card information (they charge you $50 for a missed appointment.) At that point, I was kind of turned off, by the factory feeling it gave me, so I declined to provide my information and hung up the phone. I figured that I could always call back if I really wanted to.

(Bergdorf Goodman storefront)

Pressing on, I called Bergdorf Goodman for an appointment. I was required to leave a voicemail so that a bridal salon representative could call me back. I left six messages and got zero calls back. Saks was a similar situation, except that they were just booked that weekend (as well as the Thursday and Friday before and the Monday and Tuesday after!!)

Alright, so we’re three for three in the wrong direction.

At this point, I didn’t even think about calling Carolina Herrera, simply because a dress there would be out of my range and it was supposed to be a fun visit – to try on some fantasy dresses as well as real prospects.

I took a breath, then searched online for places to go…and quickly became overwhelmed, as I mentioned in the last post. My sweetie was no help – he kept telling me things would work out – obviously he had forgotten momentarily what it’s like to deal with me when I’m stressed.

So, frustrated, I emailed Emily and Melissa saying that if they thought I should wear a wedding dress – or anything at all at the wedding – they had better send me a list of places because I was done (and we hadn’t even started yet!)

Melissa sent me a list of ideas on things to check – like sample sales, trunk shows, and gave me some ideas. Emily sent me a list of two or three places with their websites included so I could check it out. It was a virtual hug when I needed it most, just like Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl (image above.)

I think they weren’t about to let me sabotage my own wedding attire with my freak out – they are both very well aware of how I deal with certain stresses, so they know how and when to take the reigns in their own way.

The list I got from Emily turned out to be one of the best places and worst places we could have gone and I love her bunches for it.

XOXO
M, J, and S

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It’s About Time for a Wedding Dress Weekend…in NYC

April 24, 2008

gowns from theknot.com


Now that we had become engaged, it was time to start planning the wedding, thinking about the dress, and all that good stuff. So much planning goes into a wedding that you make list upon list and then start to think that you might need a list of your lists. So I thought I would start simple – finding the a dress.

Now I know I had already mentioned that I had seen a wedding dress on television that I simply adored – that little Monique Lhuillier number. But, at the time, I had no idea how to even figure where I could even get that dress. So I made some plans with some of my best friends – Emily and Melissa – to come up and help me get started on the dress hunt. We made plans for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, so I gave my good friend, Donna, a call to make sure she could join us.

Donna is like another mother to me – ever since high school I’ve referred to her as my “other mother” so it was only fitting that she attend the first wedding dress shopping day, especially since my own mother was all the way down in Florida.

Anyway, a lot goes into preparing to even go look at dresses. And apparently, everywhere you would even consider in New York City requires an appointment. Even the David’s Bridal in Long Island needs an appointment! Can you imagine!?!?

So, I thought I would do a search for wedding dress shops in the city, you know, to make things simple. Go ahead, you try it. Put in “wedding dress in nyc” or “bridal gowns in new york city” and take a look at what seems like a million results! I knew I was in trouble.

I had narrowed it down to a couple including Kleinfeld, Carolina Herrera, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman. These places all seemed ideal.

Kleinfeld, the largest wedding dress shop in Manhattan (and the most famous), was at the top of the list simply because it showed the most selection and range in pricing. So I thought we’d start there. Then my friends and I decided we should go to a place or two that’s out of reach, but for pure fun, so that’s where Carolina Herrera and Bergdorf came in. Not that I could afford a Carolina Herrera wedding dress, but I sure as Hell would have fun trying one on and pretending! Saks was a safety net, since I knew they’d have a selection in styles, designers, and prices.

All I had to do was pick up the phone and make the appointment…More about all that later.

Until then!

XOXO
M, J, and S

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Wedding Dress Shopping – My Introduction

March 29, 2008
Monique Lhuillier “Caitlin”

Monique Lhuillier “Caitlin”

As soon as I mentioned to some people we had ordered the ring, they immediately asked me if I had chosen a dress. That was almost a month and a half before we were actually even engaged! Of course, being a girl, even though I had never wanted to or planned to get married, I did have some ideas – something simple, no beading, very little if any satin, and clean lines. The dress should be modern with a classic twist perhaps. I had it in mind that the there would also be something about the dress to give that edge – that something a little different.

But in truth, I was just excited to be getting a diamond engagement ring, let alone a dress! Who had time to think about the dress when you had a rock coming your way in the next couple of weeks?

However, that was in November. It seems as though right after I spoke to Emily, she began planning the wedding for me. She started sending me emails about different venues, flowers, wedding gowns, and different bridesmaid dresses (and mind you I hadn’t even asked her to be one yet!!!)

So things started to sink in and I decided that after the holidays and the New Year, I should probably start thinking about the dress seriously. I had it in mind that we would have the wedding in September 2008, but with the possibility of the event happening in 2009. (We were hoping for 2008, and we eventually set it as such, but we had some see-saw action going on.)

One of the earliest thoughts I had about the wedding dress was one I had actually seen on television – how cliché, right? I was watching Brothers and Sisters and saw the dress Kitty (Calista Flockhart, otherwise known as Ally McBeal to people of my generation) was wearing and I thought to myself, “Hey, I could do that.”

It ended up being a Monique Lhuillier dress; the “Caitlin” to be exact. It’s the picture at the top of this post.

So after that, I sent an email to Emily letting her know that after the holidays, not only should I start thinking about the dress, but we should all get together for a little wedding dress shopping weekend in New York City…and the plans for the dress (and the rest of the wedding) were set into motion.

XOXO
M, J, and S

P.S. That’s not the dress I’m going to wear.