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Custom Wedding Dress - White to Black

How the idea of a black wedding dress came about

Every person has a different vision when it comes to their wedding dress. Some women have envisioned their dress their whole lives, and some have absolutely no idea what it will look like until they see it on and "say yes to the dress". I work with women that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

I design for two types of women. The first is the woman who knows exactly what she wants but can't find it/can't find it in her size. The second, is the woman who has a general idea of what she wants, but can't narrow down all the elements that speak to her and needs a designer to polish her vision.

Liana's vision for her custom black wedding dress

Liana had a general idea of what she liked. She brought me a dress that was predominantly white. (She had purchased it second hand from a wonderful charity with an exceptional cause. 100% of the proceeds go to benefit women who have been trafficked and exploited in the Chicagoland area.

The only black element was the cording along the border of the lace motifs on the bodice.

She said "make it more black".

So we began refining all the ideas she liked, and I filled in the gaps with my design and couture construction background.

The gown design evolution and process

The more we discussed the potential of what the final look could be, it became clear that we just had to make a lot of the dress from scratch. We kept the lining of the skirt and the front of the top. And since the dress was not her size. I built her a brand new back and illusion top to fit her exactly. As with most brides, for the final fit, we waited until as close to the wedding as we could to account for the inevitable weight loss.

In the pictures below. You can see the base of the gown that was completely redone. There was no seam that was unopened. All seams ended up being manipulated in some way. At first I fit her bust properly and created a black to white ombré effect on the top.

One of the big requests was a structured, bouncy skirt. Each layer received a generous horsehair trim border which contributed to the volume and made the dress so much more playful. There are four black layers total. If you're wondering, we individually layered the black onto the skirt until we achieved the desired depth of color.

Choosing the perfect black lace for the gown

While we were at the store together, I took the opportunity to get fabric inspiration for the gown I'd be making for myself, but more on that in a future post.

We chose the perfect black 3D floral lace with diamond sparkles sprinkled throughout. I thought that the border would tie the whole design together. As a couturier, I absolutely love hiding my seams and any straight lines. And of course the gown wouldn't be complete without tiny black satin covered buttons along the back.

Custom black wedding dress
Just a bride and her wedding dress designer

Photography credit: Roni Rose Photography

Speaking of custom gowns, tell me, what is something that you wish bridal designers would take into consideration when creating their masterpiece?

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