Remember my post on Jessica Charleston’s ornate goddess-like wedding dresses where lace and drapes were used to create gowns fit for heroines? Well, there’s a new fabric in town and it’s latex. Yes, I said latex. Most people would immediately find their minds wander into fetish gear associations and find it tricky to reconcile that world with the bridal couture world. But, as you’ll see, it works, and it works good. I think it comes off as futuristic because the design itself is classic. So, team that classic aspect with an unexpected fabric, a white reflective one, and you’ve got space traveller heroine weds, rather than anything more nightclub. Bottom line: I love it.
I asked Jessica about her inspiration for creating such a forward-thinking and challenging dress. Here’s what she told me…
As a wedding dress designer and maker, I predominantly use silk. I love it… layers and layers of it! I love the way it feels, the way it moves and, of course, the way it looks. However, I also like to experiment. I like to find new ways of working to keep my ideas fresh, and I guess there’s even the glimmer of rebellion in my desire to challenge cultural norms…
Weddings are dripping with tradition, but now more than ever the rituals are constantly evolving, and the wealth of ideas and images shared these days are driving people more and more to seek the original and to make their wedding day truly personal.
As an artist, my medium is fabric, but really the possibilities are endless. Latex is an amazing material. It holds the body, smoothing over any lumps and bumps, and shows off your natural feminine curves without any need for boning or corsetry. It feels like a second skin and looks incredible. It’s also really refreshing for me to work with because the seams are glued rather than stitched, so although there’s little room for error, it’s a relatively quick process.
Well, to be honest, I’m not really expecting the phone to be ringing off the hook! I think there are a fair few people out there who already enjoy wearing latex, and might consider getting married in it, but it’s not for the faint-hearted! I guess the bride who wears this would be confident about who is she is and not afraid to show it. For me, it’s really a case of showing the world that really virtually anything is possible in the realms of the bespoke wedding dress. That said, I kept the design fairly classic. It was kind of accidental, but I think it has turned out looking quite Edwardian: that just seems to happen to most of my designs!
When I asked Andrea Pennington to photograph the dress for me, I had no idea I was setting her up for a challenge. It hadn’t occurred to me that the lighting would be tricky, but she embraced the challenge and did an amazing job… I am in love with these images! Hayley J. Lanyon equally embraced the idea of wearing the dress, and she looks fantastic in it. Jess Singer understood my vision of wild soft hair to contrast with the sleekness of the dress, and Teresa Jolly kept the make-up subtle and flawless.
So, what next?
Maybe organic cotton, or paper! And a lot more silk!
Wedding world, keep your eye on Jessica Charleston. I’ve already told her that her mention of paper as a fabric reminds me of early Hussein Chayalan, and that fashion is lucky to have such designers as these who shake things up, who think beyond the accepted, who challenge the boundaries. That’s how it all moves on.