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Pretty in pink, red and blue: Coloured bridal gowns among 2013 wedding trends

TORONTO - Blushing brides? Make that brides in blush. Coloured bridal gowns aren't an entirely new style phenomenon.
A model wears a wedding gown at a bridal shop in Toronto on Monday December 3, 2012. Coloured bridal gowns are hardly an all-new style phenomenon, but from recent celebrity weddings to designer runways, a wealth of dress options are showcasing sweeping creations in shades beyond traditional white, ivory and cream. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO - Blushing brides? Make that brides in blush.

Coloured bridal gowns aren't an entirely new style phenomenon. But from recent celebrity weddings to spring 2013 designer runways, fresh creations for the walk down the aisle are emerging in shades beyond traditional white, ivory and cream.

Last fall, actresses Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel each donned designer wedding dresses incorporating pink, a year after Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon said her "I do's" in a blush-coloured gown. No Doubt's Gwen Stefani was well ahead of the coloured-dress curve when she wore her famed Galliano gown dip-dyed in hot pink for her 2002 nuptials.

Future brides aspiring to be pretty in pink will have their share of options to sift through in 2013, whether it's a subtle touch of pale pastel or a more colourful creation drenched in the rosy hue.

"I just think that it is all inspired by the idea of the blushing bride, and that pink just seems to be a beautiful natural transition of that," said Victoria Rucks, district manager for David's Bridal Canada. "It's really (a colour) that flatters a lot of skin tones as well."

Alison McGill, editor-in-chief of Weddingbells magazine, said the recent coloured-dress trend is one that has been designer driven.

She started to see a style shift with respect to gowns and colour with Vera Wang's all-black collection for fall 2012. The New York designer's bridal collection for spring 2013 showcased various tones of red. In the case of both lines, the dresses are also available in white, McGill noted.

Fashion legend Oscar de la Renta and New York-based Canadian designer Romona Keveza also showed bridal creations for spring 2013 including hues like red and blue.

"I think it's designers presenting brides with different options because brides want to be able to have something really unique for their wedding day, and having colour in your dress certainly is a very impactful way (to do so)," said McGill.

Beyond dresses in bolder hues, silhouettes and dress styles for brides are also getting a fashion reboot.

"The same silhouette has been popular for so long and that's the sort of princess ballgown strapless style with the big skirt, lots of volume," said McGill. "I think we were long overdue for a bit of a switchup with styles."

Among the options:

Illusion neckline: The sheer overlay at the top of the dress connects to the bodice offering a see-through effect and a "beautiful finish."

"It shows a hint of skin while still keeping it modest," said Rucks.

Fanciful backs: From keyhole cut-outs to cascading, flowing ribbons, McGill said a notable trend emerging is the attention to detail on the backs of wedding dresses.

Rucks said the illusion effect seen in necklines, along with bow details, are among the stylish embellishments being showcased on the backs of bridal gowns this year.

Sleeves: It's been nearly two years since the Duchess of Cambridge wowed many with her luxurious lace bridal gown, and the embrace of sleeved dresses into the wedding wear fold remains strong.

"People are looking to add three-quarter length or full-length sleeves to a lot of existing gowns," said Rucks, noting brides can also pair their dress with small jackets to strike a similar effect.

Vintage: Some designers are reviving retro looks from fashion's glam eras for the modern bride.

"We're definitely seeing that '50s, '60s vibe with the tea length cut to the hemline, crinoline to give it the poodle skirt kind of a feel," said Rucks.

For brides seeking retro-inspired accessories to accent their wedding day ensemble, Rucks said there's everything from beaded purses to lush lace covered platform heels and even fascinator-style headpieces channelling the 1920s esthetic.

In need an elegant touch to cap off your wedding day wardobe? Rucks suggested opting to incorporate gloves into the look. "Whether it's wrist-length or up the elbow, satin gloves ... bring the whole picture together."


The selection of more saturated shades is also extending towards other members of the bridal party.

Rucks said a hot pink hue dubbed Begonia along with Horizon, a shade of cobalt blue, are among the new tones for bridesmaids in 2013. Pale shades of blue and green are alternatives for those with an affinity for softer, pastel hues, she noted.

"There are brides who still want a pop of colour on their wedding day," said McGill, who recently interviewed a bride who had her bridesmaids wear coral for the wedding.

Overall, McGill said bridesmaid dresses are becoming increasingly simplified in style.

"I think people want their girls to be in dresses that they feel good in they look great in that are somewhat classic," she said, pointing to the emergence of styles in shades like navy, black and white.

"You're not seeing a ton of volume, you're not seeing a lot of gowns. It's more of a cocktail length that you're seeing for bridesmaids."

There are myriad dress options with both subtle and more overt embellishments, with Rucks pointing to one style which featured a halter neckline, beading along an empire waistline, and a high-low hemline.


When it comes to helping outfit mothers for weddings, Terrie Tibbetts said there's one constant — there is no constant.

"We have mothers that come in and want to be seen, want to be noticed. We have other mothers that walk in and just want to wear beige and blend in with the woodwork," said Tibbetts, who co-owns T. Carolyn Fashions in Houston with her mother, Barbara.

"Really, it's on a sliding scale. Every mother is different and you just have to read each mother."

The shop has had some 100,000 dress sales since opening its doors more than two decades ago, and specializes in formal wear for mothers of the bride and groom.

Both Tibbetts and the boutique will be showcased on the small screen in the new series "Mother of the Bride," which premieres with back-to-back episodes Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Slice.

Tibbetts offers her suggestions for moms wanting to look stylish for their child's walk down the aisle.

Colour: Tibbetts said there are neutral colours that can shine when paired with beading, crystals or "a little bit of iridescence," but she is a big fan of mature women opting for jewel tones and bold hues.

"Teal looks great, photographs well, especially next to black tuxes."

Styles: While gowns have ruled the last several years, Tibbetts said short dresses are starting to make a resurgence. She said knee-length or longer tea length skirts are both great options, especially for destination weddings.

That said, she loves the juxtaposition of soft-fitted bodices with full skirts as well as dresses mixing and layering fabrics, like metallic lace with iridescent tafetta.

For women who may be a bit more modest or seeking a bit more coverage, Tibbetts said they are able to modify certain dress styles which may be more revealing, such as ordering extra fabric to craft sleeves.

While necklines are "all over the place," she is a big proponent of both one-shouldered gowns and asymmetrical necklines.

"If a woman is more self-conscious about wanting to cover up, maybe her upper body or her arms, an asymmetrical neckline would absolutely be the way to go,"she said.

"It will elongate the torso and give great curves to the bodice, and it's just so flattering on."

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