Friday, September 16, 2005


Bare shoulders. It took me until a week or two ago to notice that the defining note of current bridal and formal isn't the absence of glop but the absence of sleeves. Strapless or sleeveless is how most posh frocks look at the moment. Why? I have no idea, except to parody the evolutionary psychologists and suggest that lithe limbs are the last measure of fitness that can't be enhanced, and in the nature of the case, legs have to be covered, so ... it's another twist in the arms race.

A flick through a recent British Brides suggests, though, that the tectonic plates may be shifting. The fashion pages look very different from the cookie-cutter corset-top ads. Lots of seventies boho chic, in white, as well as more distant influences. The cover model is wearing a high-necked, long-sleeved lace jacket. Tellingly, one of the mag's own editorial staff married in a very forties-looking number, fitted at the bodice yes, but with no boning and lots of flow, a narrow-frilled hem, and gigot sleeves. Her bridesmaids wear pale pink frocks - straight skirts, wrapover bodices, little cap sleeves - that have a charity shop in their very near future.

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