There are many terms bandied about in the wedding industry designed to both ease the pain and add to the excitement as we part with our cash. ‘Bespoke’, ‘Couture made’ and ‘Designer dress’ are three of the most common.
Most of us probably have a fairly good idea as to what they mean, but taking a look at what they do not mean will help us to arrive at a more accurate definition.
There are not many bridal shops that do not use the term ‘designer’ somewhere in the description of the dress they are presenting to us. All things we use in this life have a designer. Even a paper coffee cup had to be designed by someone. Try convincing the average buyer that the paper cup is a ‘designer’ cup worth ten times more than an ordinary paper cup and you might have some problems.
Yet effectively that is exactly what is happening in the case of many of the ‘designer’ labels we see in our high streets as well as the designer wedding dresses we first spoke about. Mass-produced dresses made (and often designed) in the Far East are being presented to us in this way. I don’t know about you, but this to me, seems to weaken the whole ‘designer dress’ ethos. Why pay more if it’s nothing but a mass-produced clone?
So what makes for a true ‘designer dress’?
Firstly, there has to be an exclusive element to the design. Admittedly high prices are in themselves a way of making a dress more exclusive, but there has to be more to it than that.
What about the dresses that grace the Hollywood red carpets and the latest catwalk shows? What makes them a designer dress?
The answer to that is individuality. Most of these dresses have been drawn by a designer and then made by a small, elite team of seamstresses, who are working the movie star or model’s actual measurements.
This is often a ‘bespoke’ dress in the true meaning of the word i.e. a ‘one off’ garment made for the individual.
The word ‘couture’ has in recent years come to mean a garment that is made to an accepted high standard by a skilled designer and sewing team. Originally the term could only be used in certain regions of France. Even today the term ‘Haute Couture’ can only be used when referring to ten current fashion houses based in Paris and three other correspondent fashion houses.
Is it possible to buy true bespoke, couture made designer wedding dresses in the UK? Yes of course, but you have to look for them. Many designers have to a certain extent ‘sold out’ to the enormous wedding dress factories based in China, and who can blame them?
In the wedding trade it is quite usual for a wedding dress ‘designer’ to walk in to a Chinese design room, choose from a range of fabrics, bodice patterns, embroidery styles, sizes required and then effectively leave them to …