Coloured silks, taffetas and laces are to me what his oils were to Monet. I’m not suggesting that I’m making masterpieces, (although… I think a few dresses have come close if I do say so myself!) simply that there is an essential elements to creating your greatest work, and for me, that is colour.
Looking back, it was seeing this very picture as a design student that sparked my love affair with soft colours and ball gowns. There is something very MGM, very Dior and very Princess about the combination. When I started by own label, it was this unashamedly romantic mood that mystified me as a teen that I wanted to re-create with my dresses. Colour became my trademark.
Make it Pink! Make is Blue!
Can you remember that fabulous scene from Sleeping Beauty when Flora and Merryweather are fighting over the colour of Aurora’s dress? I will confess, I can relate to those fairies much more than a man in his mid-forties should be able to.
I use my signature colours and fabrics in each collection, and offer a designer in around 4 colour-ways, so when it comes to deciding what two colour ways to make the sample dress in, those damn plump little fairies take residence on my shoulders. For days I toy between pale lilac, rose, powder blue, gold, taupe, honey, porcelain, the list goes on.
I’ve illustrated some examples for you below, to better understand my pain! You can see how dramatically different, and distinctively beautiful the same dress in a different colour can be.
The moral of the story: if you find a great style but aren’t keen on the colour in the shop, don’t disregrd it yet! Ask the boutique if they can loan an alternative colour option, it could be your dream dress. Learn from Flora and Merryweather here, they both adored and despised the same gown due to their penchant for pink and blue!
A strong colour is a fabulous way to express your unique sense of style, and really go again the traditional grain. Do you think Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese would’ve been able to stay true to their alternative looks in an ivory dress? Me neither.
And I come baring good news if you don’t happen to have Galliano of Westwood in your contact book. I have a big repertoire of diverse fabric colours, so you are not limited to a bridal spectrum of colour with me!
If you find a style you love, it can be made in an alternative colour than the listed options. This gorgeous bride for example had Vanderbilt made in black!
Think Bigger Picture
As a crusader for colour, I love a well thought out colour story.
A coloured dress takes centre stage for building your colour story, but it does require you to think a little more about your wedding party photographs. Here is my advice for avoiding a colour clash that will haunt you forever.
– Match men’s ties/cravats/waistcoats with your gown, consider having them made in the same fabric as your dress. Your boutique can help you with this. Unless your future hubby has frequent “Llewelyn-Bown-isms”, giving him a colour swatch and asking him to ‘tone it’, is a risk I wouldn’t take. May ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ serve as your warning.
– Tone in the matriarchs. God forbid your gorgeous pastel blue gown is stood next to Debenham’s latest hot new shade of sludge brown for the rest of your life. She will understand why a subtle silver was gently suggested!
– Invite your guest to carry the colour story through, give them several suggestions that will enhance your vision. They don’t have to adhere to it, they just need not complain when the wedding photos come out and they don’t seem to be in many, or ask how on earth their fabulous coral dress is now slate grey!
– Don’t let your bridesmaid overpower you, bright colours don’t tend to go well with coloured wedding dresses.