Saturday, November 22, 2003

'These are desperate dresses ...'

Thanks for the links, Feorag. They're going into the sidebar.

I must have really bad taste, because I like a lot of the Simple Elegance / Ellyanna dresses. They click on my mental template of what a wedding dress should look like: totally over the top. This template was formed in the 1980s, which was definitely the high point of sock-it-to-me frocks, though the style continued into the early 90s. After that, the fashionistas got their manicured hands on the industry and it's been downhill all the way to 'classical' and 'elegant' and 'uncluttered'. Even bridesmaid dresses started looking like evening wear. It's only prom and quinceanara styles that have remained on the true path of excess.

I think I noticed the moment when the tide turned. Sometime in the mid-80s there was an article in The Guardian titled something like 'The Bride Trap', in which the author described her bridal shopping experience in New York. She was looking over what seemed to her perfectly acceptable and reasonably priced styles when the shop assistant took her in hand. 'These are desperate dresses,' he told her. 'All that glop and gingerbready lace. They're for some girl from New Jersey who has never worn a formal gown in her life and never will again and who wants to be queen for a day ...' And he swept her off to the racks of classical, elegant, uncluttered and ten times as expensive.

I have a hypothesis that bridal fashion works on a two-generation cycle. Today's bride doesn't like her mother's wedding dress, but she likes her grandmother's. If this is true, Ellyanna will be top of the range in the 2020s.

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