Here comes the bride.....NOT!
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Any of you been watching the Academy Awards (vulgo: Oscars) this year?
I must admit I haven't, however, quite recently a friend of mine pointed out a series of really gorgeous dresses that had been worn, and - lo, behold! Indeed, there were some truly fabulous robes to be seen. So, how did we come to this subject you might wonder, given the fact that the Oscars took place in February?
Well, as chance would have it, we'll be going to see a musical in December: "Elisabeth". As you can see, it is about the true story of Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) of Austria. My friend suggested that she'd like to dress up especially for this occasion and envisioned a not-quite-period-style dress that has a few elements of 19th century fashion. Her preferred color was white or cream, but she was truly afraid of the phenomenon we all have encountered already: Being mistaken for a bride!
It's about the worst that can happen. You spent months creating your Arwen Bridge Dress, a medieval gown or an Elizabethan number; you wear it with pride for the first time to a faire or a market (or whatever the occasion) - and on the way there, or back on the way from there or, hell, sometimes even *right* there, a nice old lady walks up to you, smiles at you and asks you were the groom is. FUN!
So, we wondered, what is it that automatically makes people think that white dress = bride?
I have the impression that this is a decidely German phenomenon. Over the last years, there seems to have been a trend in dress up fashion that completely eliminated bright colors, especially white, off white, cream, champagne and beige from the dress options you have when having to dress up formally. Of course, there has always been the rule that you don't dress in white when invited to a wedding, or that you should try to avoid anything that resembles too much of a bridal dress - which makes sense in a way, of course. On the other hand, this seems to have led to a sort of phobia - everyone is bent on not being dressed too extravagant, or even noticeable. Since it's one of the golden rules of fashion that 'black always works', most people - meaning women, in this case - make the classical mistake in not remembering that black DOES NOT always work. And all of a sudden, you end up at your wedding with a bunch of people dressed as if for a funeral (my friend dubbed them 'flock o'crows'), and not always wearing what truly suits them, all because of a rather stupid dresscode. Honestly, is it your fault when the bride looks awful anyway, no matter whether in white, blue, black, red or with a haversack over her head?
Having had the chance to watch a wedding in both France and Spain, I have to admit that they do know how to dress up. Especially the Spanish! The bride was beautiful in white, of course (this bride being one of the rare examples that would have looked good in everything), but the MOB was equally stylish in bright red, and one of the guest in a stunning (if a little daring) number in pink and black. That's not all: there even was a girl in yellow!
So, why does this not work here? Why do people dress according to our weather - always grey and black and dull, even for a festive occasion?
Everything that is white and looks even a tad formal or not like the casual streetwear, is instantly labelled as a bridal dress - just because people can't place it in any other of the categories in their head. The whole concept of someone attending the opera or theatre in anything else than black, grey or brown is totally alien to them.
Where do the Oscars come in, you may ask. Well, my friend showed me these examples, saying: No one is even remotely thinking of a bride here. Why???
It's not only the red carpet and the audience and the fact that we do just *know* Penelope Cruz's face and we also know that she hasn't married as of late. There are actresses that I have never seen or heard of in my whole life before, and if you take away the red carpet, it leaves a woman in a white dress. But why not a bride?
Well, US-audiences might just be more used to glam events such as this, which is surely one reason. However, when we did a quick google search, we came up with what is one of the main reasons in my eyes. All those designs, if they ever come to us, are transported here in the form of bridal dresses! We came up with about 10 or 15 links that offered "bridal fashion in the style of Penelope Cruz", "dream wedding in the robe XY wore at the Oscar night" and so on. There was not one that had this sort of dress as just a normal formal wear, or even as a simple evening or summer dress!
That leaves the question: Why do we have to marry to be granted the right to wear a princess dress? Why can't a woman just go to the opera, cinema, theatre, ball or party in such a dress - or wear one just for shopping? Why aren't people a bit more open-minded and also a bit more 'daring' when it comes to bright colors in formal wear?
In my eyes, it's a grievance and it's about time we do something against that.
So, women of the world unite and wear white! ;-)
Until next time,
P.S.: And which gown did I like best at the Oscars, you might wonder? ;-)
Well..my faves are definitely Penelope Cruz's vintage Balmain gown and Miley Cyrus' sparkling Zuhair Murhad evening dress. #3 goes to Marisa Tomei's extensively trained Versace gown, and while I personally don't like long, tight dresses, I think that Anne Hathaway looked just stunning in hers. SJP also donned a white ball gown, however I can't help it, she somehow looks like a prom queen. The dress is lovely, but it's just not her style...