Brides can dress to thrill on big day

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 December, 2010, 12:00am

One of the biggest questions a bride faces before she walks down the aisle is what she will wear on her big day.

Is her wedding dress going to be like a princess' ballgown? Something with lots of lace and a following train? Or will it be a simple silk-satin dress without any frills?

In the second of a two-part series, we look at the designer wedding dresses that are available in Hong Kong. Some women know when they have found 'the one', while others go on a endless quest, experts say.

'Some brides pick their dress on the first day. But [others] are less decisive and go around trying on dresses for months,' says Carolyn Chow, partner at Central Weddings (www.centralweddings.com) in Central, which sells the lines of six wedding designers from the United States.

'Most of the time, they will know if the dress is for them,' she says. 'They will become emotional when they think about that dress.'

Chow recommends ordering a designer dress about eight to nine months before the big day, so there is enough time for shipping (four to six months) and alterations (one to two months) after it arrives in Hong Kong.

Central Weddings sells gowns by Vera Wang. Anybody who is anybody has had a dress made by the Chinese-American designer, from Chelsea Clinton and Victoria Beckham to Jennifer Lopez.

'Her dresses are luxurious and very sophisticated,' Chow says. 'Her range is very wide, but she will always add a modern twist, like a simple sheath dress will have a black belt added.'

Another A-list wedding-dress designer is Monique Lhuillier, who won Wedding Dresses magazine's 2003 designer of the year award and has created bridal gowns for Ashlee Simpson and Britney Spears. Chow describes her style as more romantic and feminine.

Bridal store Hitched! (www.hitchedbridal.com) opened in April and stocks wedding dresses priced between HK$10,000 and HK$70,000 from seven contemporary international labels. Among these are creations by Nicole Miller of New York, who is known for her modern, ageless designs and artfully draped silhouettes, says the store's co-founder, Dana Trang.

'[Miller's] bridal collection is usually made up of chiffon, and it's simple and easy to wear,' she says. 'She knows how to enhance your curves, and she has this dress that is quite stretchy and very flattering. It's flowy and easy to walk [in] on the beach.'

Hitched! also stocks items from New York-based Lela Rose, 'a breath of fresh air, who uses different materials like cotton faille, almost to the point of being organic', Trang explains. 'She doesn't design the usual bridal gown, but she will take a piece of tulle and make her own lace out of it, and interpret it in her own way. [The dresses] are very whimsical, but the cuts are classic.'

Trang says her store also sells 'very edgy and fashion-forward' gowns by London-based bridal designer David Fielden. With an exclusive collection in Hong Kong, Trang says Fielden 'used to be a custom designer so he doesn't repeat his collections. He designs about 60 to 80 bridal gowns a year that are very fresh and flattering'.

Given such a range, brides-to-be should be open to different looks and styles before choosing a gown, Trang says, as some dresses look very different on a hanger than on the future wearer.