Saturday, May 14, 2011

Culturally Inspired Wedding Dresses

Last month, while I was searching for the 5 most interesting celebrity wedding dresses of the past year, I came across a picture of Lisa Ling in her wedding dress. I loved the dress and it was interesting, but couldn’t include it because she’d gotten married in 2007. I love that her red dress, designed by Vivienne Tam, incorporated her Chinese heritage, but had a traditional Western silhouette.
Lisa Ling's Vivienne Tam wedding dress

More than a month later, her dress has stayed on my mind. So, I decided to try to find other bridal gowns that were culturally inspired, but still would appeal to a bride who wanted a fairly traditional dress. Also, one of the easiest ways to incorporate your heritage into your wedding day is through your dress and accessories.
I adore the designs from Culture Shock, an Australian company which “creates totally original and made-to-measure wedding gowns, inspired by the diverse fabrics, textures, colours and traditions from different cultures around the world.” The styles are really minimal, but the fabric accents make these dresses truly unique. It’s so simple, but I never would have thought of it. Basically, all you have to do is find some fabric that represents your culture, add some of it to your dress and, viola, a beautiful, culturally inspired wedding dress custom-made for you and your wedding.

Culture Shock's Japanese-inspired dress

Asian-inspired Culture Shock wedding dress

Another Asian-inspired wedding dress
An Indian-inspired Culture Shock wedding dress
Adele Wechsler, working with Zulu artisans who produced the beading, created a collection inspired by Africa called Hello Africa. The dresses also have African names.
Here is Nomsa (Faith) whose beading link the natural elements and represent the connectedness to the earth and soul.
Adele Wechsler Nomsa dress
And here is Ebele (Kindness). The circular medallion represents the circle of life.
Adele Wechsler Ebele dress
Here are a couple of gowns from Tekay Designs that have a distinctly African feel, despite their traditional silhouettes.
Tekay Designs African-inspired gowns
If you’re looking to represent your Celtic roots, these options from Lindsay Fleming are perfect for you. The Celtic knots are subtle, but still give a nod to your heritage. The second dress has a cover-up with intricate gold Celtic embroidery along the edge that could go over almost any dress to give a Celtic touch to your wedding day.
Lindsay Fleming Celtic dress
Lindsay Fleming Celtic dress and cover-up
If your family has a tartan, then consider incorporating it into your wedding gown. These dresses from Tartan Spirit by Joyce Young have touches (or, perhaps, a little more than a touch) of tartan. Just make sure to do a little research and check to see that you like your family’s tartan before you order your dress.
Tartan Spirit wedding dress
Another Tartan Spirit wedding gown
This dress, also from Tartan Spirit by Joyce Young, has a hint of the tartan over the shoulder, but otherwise is a fairly traditional (although in an interesting fabric) white wedding dress.
A hint of tartan on this Tartan Spirit dress
Therez Fleetwood designed these dresses. The dress on the left seems more African-inspired, but it could possibly have more of an Asian feeling if the accent fabric was red. The dress on the right is an all white option for a bride looking for an Indian-inspired gown.
Therez Fleetwood designs
According to a couple of websites I found while searching for culturally inspired wedding gowns, black is the traditional wedding dress color for Spanish brides. Here are a few options if you decide to go black.
This Art Couture dress could totally be worn again after your wedding day. I love the black on black stripes.
An elegant black wedding gown
Cymbeline debuted this black wedding dress in 2008 and had people talking about the return of the black wedding dress (which would imply that black wedding gowns had been in fashion at one time, and not just in Spain).
Cymbeline's black wedding dress
This year designer Juan Duyos sent this black wedding dress down the runway.
Juan Duyos black wedding gown
If you’re not brave enough to wear all black on your wedding day, he also has a bunch of dresses with just a hint of black. Or you can add a little more black for a truly striking wedding dress.
I love this one is by Cymbeline.
Cymbeline's black and white wedding dress
And, to tie it all together (well, not quite, but still), this Scottish bride wore a black and white dress to her wedding. Perhaps she has some Spanish heritage, or maybe she just fell in love with the gorgeous dress (I know I did when I saw it).
A gorgeous black and white wedding gown
And, finally, if you don’t want to give up the dream of a pure white frock, you can take a page from Elizabeth Hurley’s wedding(s) to Arun Nayar and wear two (or more) dresses. She wore a frothy white concoction for her British wedding and then donned a number of saris (and other Indian attire) during her week-long Indian wedding.
Liz Hurley's white dress
Liz Hurley's colorful Indian attire
What do you think about incorporating your heritage into your wedding dress? Would you do it?
Happily Ever After,