Elena’s Melbourne-based bridal gown service, Idilio Bridal, caters to time-poor brides, as well as those who’d rather look for that all-important dress in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.
“Shopping for my wedding dress was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and it is for most brides,” says Elena, who loved her Oksana Mukha wedding dress so much, she contacted the Ukrainian designer and organised to be the first and only Australian supplier.
“However, shop-hopping isn’t for everyone and, believe it or not, not everyone likes shopping for a wedding dress! So, I figured that I could take the dresses to those brides who don’t have the time – or desire – to shop for a wedding gown.”
Elena’s in-home bridal experience involves taking about 20 Oksana Mukha gowns to a bride’s home, where she can try them on in her own time, without others watching and in a very relaxed atmosphere. Elena even brings the mirrors!
Though Elena also sells dresses nationally online, in the year Idilio Bridal has been in business, Elena says she’s seen the number of requests for in-home dress fittings triple, largely through word-of-mouth from the excited brides whose homes she visits.
Here are seven of her favourite (relatively) new styles of wedding dress she believes every bride-to-be should consider:
They say less is more, but when it comes to modern brides, the opposite is often true. Especially when it comes to upping the glam factor on gowns. This means materials that once served as subtle accents now take centrestage in their own right. Think Swarovski crystals, Preciosa pearls, Italian glass, material flowers and Japanese beading, teamed with fabrics such as mikado, natural silk, taffeta, organza and satin.
“Beautiful embellishments really inject a sense of glamour into a dress; they evoke the look and feel of a ballgown,” says Elena, whose own favourite dress, Oksana, features 3D flowers across the skirt.
“They help to create a breathtaking tribute to femininity” and are a great way to take advantage of your personal red-carpet moment.
Like the name suggests, convertible dresses work in a variety of ways.
They generally involve a more formal option for the actual ceremony, which then gives way to a sleeker version as reception celebrations begin. The transformation occurs by way of details such as detachable skirts or removable straps.
“This kind of dress is gradually growing in popularity because a lot of brides want to have two different looks.”
“They want one for their actual wedding and then something completely different for the reception, when a shorter dress becomes easier and more comfortable and offers better freedom of movement, especially on the dance floor.”
The biggest advantage a convertible gown affords is the opportunity to create a dual impact from a single gown. Just make sure you try it on both ways before you buy it to make sure it suits your style and shape.
Colour has been a mainstay of weddings for years, with shades such as blush and champagne proving perennial favourites.
Also on the rise in modern trends are printed wedding dresses, which Elena – who puts no time limit on her appointments – flags as a highlight of 2015 collections.
“These kinds of gowns are exciting and innovative,” she says. “If you look at florals, which are the most popular type of print, they create a beautiful and delicate look without being too edgy.”
The real signature to the statement can come through the use of colour, drawing on everything from a delicate pastel to a neon bright. Paired with the right bouquet and bridesmaids’ outfits, prints are guaranteed to keep all eyes where they belong – squarely on you.
While some brides gravitate towards a spotlight-stealing style, others cast their gaze to a more refined and elegant approach, with a sleek silhouette that serves as a wonderful canvas for a beautiful bride.
“Some women want to be understated,” says Elena. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be eye-catching, with gowns seizing attention through thoughtful details such as a neckline that ties with a ribbon across the back or the clever use of ruching.
“Open-backed gowns are another style that is very much in season,” she says. “Brides like them because they create a very modern look, but they also have their practical benefits, in that they can sometimes offer a better fit than a zip-up dress.”
Sheer fabrics further enhance the appeal, showing glimpses of skin in a sophisticated manner.
Modern ideas include a mesh sleeve or something stunning such as a simple white shift overlaid with an amazing full skirt fashioned from intricate lace.
Something else on the fashion radar are shoulders that serve almost as a piece of art. These can range from a profusion of flowers spilling down a single shoulder to a structured cap sleeve or an asymmetrical design centred on lace.
Paired with a simple neckline, they add wonderful wow factor while also showcasing – or covering – a body part which mightn’t normally enjoy the spotlight.
Alternatively, if you really want to put your shoulders on display, a halter neck is another modern style that serves to be both fresh and fetching.
Flowing dresses are a mainstay of wedding collections, but their form and function continue to evolve.
“They’re always in style, especially for celebrations like a beach wedding, or even during summer temperatures, as they’re very practical and look beautiful as well,” says Elena, whose gowns hold beautiful names such as Amira, Reese, Lola and Arina.
Where they’ve really hit their straps of late, though, is in the proportions, with flowing skirts being paired with tight, often corseted, silhouettes. The effect manages to be both sexy and ethereal, which is a stunning combination.
Asymmetrical gowns are another style that’s also not for the fainthearted. But for a bride with a fashion-forward focus – and pins that she’s proud of – they’re a great way to put a fresh spin on a classic.
“This kind of dress is for women who don’t want to be too traditional,” says Elena, who encourages brides to turn their appointment into a fun group activity with their bridesmaids.
“They’re designed for a bride who wants to create a modern edge with their look, perhaps for a civil ceremony somewhere like a garden or sophisticated private venue.”
The usual style is short at the front and long at the back, which in turn lends itself to photos that cover the full spectrum, from modern glamour at the front to old-world elegance from behind. Just make sure you have the right shoes in mind since they’ll be on greater display – ones that are both comfortable and stylish.
Wedding garters are a little bit of fun, but since they’re hidden under a dress, many brides have been content just to buy something plain or with a touch of blue.
These days, however, bespoke garters are increasingly in demand. “Brides are really embracing the chance to have something one-of-a-kind, which is made to match their dress,” says Elena, who works with such materials as European lace and handpicked Czech crystal vintage brooches.
Ideas range from adornment such as flowers, butterflies and bows to a focus on colour or femininity.
The only problem here is you won’t want to let your groom remove it, let alone toss it to a crowd of single men. Best to have a throwaway garter then so you can keep the real thing in your keepsakes.
No matter which style of gown brides end up deciding on, Elena – who also stocks an evening line that caters for bridesmaids – says she can tell immediately when they put on ‘the’ gown.
“What you often find is that the styles they think they’re going to like, or the ones they think will suit, may change as they start trying them on. But you always know when they’ve found ‘the one’.
“It’s in their expression, their body language and their excitement. It’s such a wonderful moment to be a part of.”
Top tip: When choosing your gown, think first about the time and place of your wedding. If you’re having a beach wedding, a long train is probably not practical, whereas a short sassy gown might feel out of place in a church ceremony.