From Dress to Princess

Gown silhouettes crafted for the modern bride

From architectural and tailored to frilly and feminine, bridal dress designers are looking at both sides with new collections that appeal to a distinctly modern bride who wants to look classically beautiful yet fashion-forward on her wedding day.

And that may mean buying a dress that's out of the ballgown box.
"Brides are definitely getting more adventurous," says Edric Woo, designer for Tara Keely, a division of JLM Couture, Inc. "Brides are going for a different look. They are going for more than just a strapless dress."
From the runway, here are the latest trends for wedding gowns from one end of the bridal design spectrum to the other:

Sleek and structured: Dresses that are constructed of heavier fabrics and have body-conscious silhouettes. Fitted bodices show off skirts that have a little flair. Anne Barge has a wonderful selection of architectural-inspired gowns.

Skirting the issue: Yes, there are some big poufs of billowing chiffon out there just waiting for their Cinderella to slip into them. Reem Acra's gorgeous "Tiffany" blue gown is one of the most outstanding in the new collections.

Bursting the bubble: Bridal dress designers often follow trendy fashion statements and translate them into wedding apparel. The bubble skirt is just one way designers are giving fashion-conscious brides a choice of contemporary design. One of Carolina Herrera's newest gowns features a bubble skirt in a trendy cheetah print.

Going A-line: This style continues to be the most popular silhouette for bridal dresses (there are 1,361 listed on, because it is one of the most flattering shapes for most figures.

Layers of tiers: Now there are lots of ways to add some icing to your wedding dress - just consider swishing down the aisle in a gown with a skirt that is stacked with tiers of lace or chiffon. Monique Lhuillier's tiered bridal gown floats in chiffon organza.

All around the waist: The fit-and-flare dresses that are so popular this year get even more of the glamour treatment when the emphasis is on the waist. Vera Wang takes this trend to the limit by crisscrossing ribbons around the waist of her bridal gowns.

Color, color, color: Another way to go to extremes when it comes to choosing a bridal dress. Why stick with the traditional white gown when you can add some colorful touches? Antique hues are sophisticated in every subtle hue from blush pink to light champagne. "Tiffany" blue is another big favorite this season.

Dramatic details: Embellishment can be stunning this season on any silhouette with special ruching, draping, fabric flowers and ruffles.

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