Daring to be different
For brides-to-be who dare to be different, dress designers are thinking outside the white wedding box.
'There is a lot in the market besides a white dress,' says Carolyn Chow, partner at Central Weddings and Occasions (www.centralweddings.com). 'For autumn 2012, Vera Wang showed black dresses that were creative. It was a well-received show, but I don't think Asian brides will accept black.' Less dramatic colours available on the bridal rack are lavender, peach and light grey.
Chow says dresses in blush have become more popular for many Asian brides who wear two or three dresses on the day.
'I would never expect a bride to choose a blush colour for the main dress, but for the second dress not everyone picks red these days. Some brides are choosing blush or lavender,' says Chow. Her boutique stocks items from Amsale, Anne Barge, Christos, Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang.
If you can't commit to an alternative colour, Chow says some white wedding dresses have been accented with coloured sashes, belts and detailing in hues such as black, pink and pastels.
Chow says horsehair, usually found in petticoats, has been making an appearance on the outside of dresses. 'It's a stiff netting that gives the gown its shape, but if you use it on top in a wavy pattern, you can make the dress more three-dimensional,' she explains. Originally, the horsehair was natural, but nowadays it is made of a synthetic fabric to add volume and a clean shape.
Bridal fabrics have become lighter. Silk-satin used to be the mainstay, however, tulle and organza are starting to take the spotlight, says Chow.
'There are a lot of lighter fabrics now, and you can do more layering with them. Dresses aren't as structured and they feel more dreamy and romantic than thicker, heavier fabrics.'
Director at The Wedding Shop (www.theweddingshop.com.hk), Brenda Ng agrees a slew of alternatives to white are available for trendy brides.
She says celebrity favourite British designer Jenny Packham creates bridal dresses in platinum and champagne. And Italian designer Elizabeth B is known for her olive-coloured bridal gowns.
Ng says: 'Olive is a very challenging colour for yellow skin tones, it works best with very pale or tanned [skin tones].'
Another colour making bridal waves is light lavender, Ng notes.
'It's something new and probably will work well for the European market, but I don't see this as a big hit in China,' she says. 'The wedding is an event to entertain the whole family. Brides want bright colours like white, red, dark purple or shocking pink.'