2012 Red Carpet Fashion Fails

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No ‘End of Year’ blog would be complete without a fashion roundup. There were so many fabulous red carpet moments that it is hard to find a top five or even ten to highlight. However, the really, really hideous ones are not only less in number but, also really standout this year!

First, let me state for the record that bad red carpet fashion does not include outfits that are intentionally designed to shock or be a costume. Any Halloween outfit even for a charity ball is automatically excluded, any outfit by Lady Gaga or Niki Minaj or Madonna or Elton John is automatically excluded. This helps to level the playing field. Seriously – if you are trying to look ridiculous, it shoudln’t count.

My pick for the 5 Worst Red Carpet Fasions of 2012:

 

Stella McCartney in Stella McCartney. Really? There is really nothing nice to say about this puckered, weird, ill-fitting jumpsuit, so I won’t even try.

 

 

Florence Welch in Alexander McQueen. I get that she is an artsy actress and very intense and all….. but, yikes! Somebody buy this woman a full length mirror.

 Fantasia Barrino in a hot, sequined, mess. I wonder why I couldn’t find any name associated with the designer of this gown. Hmmm… Maybe nobody would admit they had anything to do with it?

Fergie in Jean Paul Gaultier. At home this may have seemed risky, edgy and really avant garde. On the red carpet it was absolutely hideous. The worst part is that she is really a total knockout. 

 

Beyonce in Givenchy Haute Couture. #1 – this is the Met Gala. #2 – the inner part is like a bodysuit made of sheer nude fabric that is puckered and bunched up in places. This is perfect for a Halloween gala but nothing else.

 

 

 

 

Make your 2013 New Years Resolution to read Bridal Expo’s blog every day and like us on facebook for up-to-date tips, trends and specials on all things bridal and wedding related!

Happy New Year

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Tuxedo Troubles… What To Do!?

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Every now and then some well intended couple decides the groomsmen should wear a non-traditional tuxedo. You know, something edgy and fun and interesting (to them) and something that most men would never wear in a million years.

In no particular order, some mistakes to avoid when trying to be creative:

Colored tuxedos. Chocolate is not the new black. It is brown and not everyone looks good in or cares to wear brown. Aside from Psy, not many people are wearing colored tuxedo jackets, either. Look for this ‘Gangnam Style’ tuxedo jacket to surge in popularity. Cute for a music video, but not so much for a wedding.

Colored shirts. There is only one color for  tuxedo shirts and that is white. Not peach, blue, red, orange, you get the idea.

Hats. There is no need for a groom or any one of his make attendants to wear a tophat or a bowler or a fedora. They may wind up looking like this:

Last but not least – ruffles. Ruffled shirts are retro ( to say the least) but don’t really have a place at weddings in 2012. Save them for Halloween and awkward family photos.

When shopping for tuxedos, the best thing to remember is: “The classics never die”. Be creative with the tie, the studs and boutonniere and leave the tuxedo alone.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Men’s Suits – The Big Debate

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As the 2012 Presidential debate season heats up, now is the perfect time for me to debate men’s’ suits. In men’s’ suits (unlike politics)  you basically have three choices: one button, two button, or three button, each having their pros and cons.

 

One button: Thanks to a recent resurgence in popularity, mostly attributed to the skinny suit, the one button is making a comeback. This suit really looks best on a man with a very athletic physique. Because of the precise location of the button, it is perfect for the man who isn’t afraid to let his muscles show.

Two button: The most classic, versatile, enduring, popular and easy to wear style. If you watched the debate last night, you would notice that both candidates wore the two button style. Vote for whomever you want, they both looked great in their two button suits.

Three button: Best suited for men who are taller than six feet because the buttons on the jacket reach higher up on the chest.  The three button suit can either be very stylish or very out of date and hardly anywhere in between so, keep up to date on mens’ fashion or you will run the risk of looking like you stepped out of an Austin Powers movie.

 

Whatever suit you choose, make sure you have it tailored so it will fit you and not the hanger it came on. Too-tight or too-baggy pants is a no-no, as is having saggy, sloping shoulders or a boxy waist. A great suit is nothing without a great fit!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

How Much For That Dress In The Window?

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In the 20th century DeBeers introduced modern society to the idea that a woman’s engagement ring should cost approximately 2 month’s salary and no one seemed to blink an eye. The engagement ring will probably be worn every day for the rest of a woman’s life – barring no unfortunate circumstances.

By comparison, no one has ever come forward to say how much a  bridal gown should cost. What percentage of salary, wedding budget or any other indication of the amount of money one should spend. Of course the 2 months salary really was a genius marketing strategy and nothing more.

The best way to decide on how much to spend on your bridal gown is to first take a look at what’s important to you. First and foremost, determine your budget immediately. Before you open a bridal magazine, sit down with whomever is paying and have an honest conversation about price. Convey this to your bridal consultant when you enter the salon and it will help him or her determine what gowns you will be seeing.

After the budget is determined,  consider the  three F’s: Fabric, Fit and Finish.

Fabric:  The quality of the fabric will increase the price of the  gown greatly. Inspect the fabric… is it silk? Is it smooth  or does it have inconsistencies in the weave? High quality silk and low quality silk have one thing in common: they are both silk. However, the process they go through to become a garment is entirely different. The reason some fabrics are more expensive than others because they are more valuable. They are better in quality, they look better and they feel better. High quality fabric makes a difference in price. Does it feel good next to your skin or is the fabric itchy? A quality garment begins with quality fabric.

Fit: Each manufacturer has their own standard sizing. What does that mean? Not every size 8 fits the same way. Vera Wang’s size 8  maybe be cut slightly different from Monique Lhullier’s size 8. Also, a great fit for your body may not be a great fit for the bride standing next to you. The truth is that a  more expensive gown will have a better fit  because a lot of time has  been spent perfecting the pattern before it even becomes a gown. Maggie Sottero advertises her gowns as the best fit in the bridal industry. Is it true? Try one on and decide for yourself.

Finish: The quality of any garment is revealed in the finished product. The finish of a gown refers to the end stages of construction. My mother always told me that a garment should look as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. She was a smart lady. Look inside the gown: are the inside seams exposed? Are there any threads dangling out of seams? Is the hem even all the way around? The serged method is  the least expensive way of finishing seams. This is great for tank tops and denim. By comparison,  French seams are delicate and time consuming. Does this matter to you? A beautifully sewn garment will also be easier to alter and will look better as a result. The gown should feel smooth and comfortable against your body, nothing pinching or poking anywhere. The attention to detail is one of the most important factors in deciding how much your gown will cost.

A bargain is when you pay less for something than it is actually worth. Getting a beautiful gown of superior quality within your price range is a bargain. Buying ana garment for any price that is made and fits poorly is not a bargain.

When deciding on how much a gown is worth to you, remember that you will never be photographed in anything as much as you will be in your wedding gown and you will probably never be seen by as many people at one time as when you are wearing your wedding gown. Decide the value of that before your enter the first salon.

Remember, you always get what you pay for. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

2012 Emmy Awards – Red Carpet Fashion!

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The award ceremony is over, the gowns and tuxedos either sent off to the cleaners, returned to the designers or draped over the back of a chair. But, the fun has just begun, because the “What were they thinking?” portion of the program has taken over and it’s time for us to take a peek at the hits and misses at last night’s Emmy Awards.

I have broken it down into three categories; Belts, Boobs and Breathtaking

BELTS :

Julia Loius Dreyfus in Vera Wang; ditch the belt and you have a winner. Love the neckline.

64th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Jessica Pare nailed it with this Grecian inspired gown by Jason Wu featuring a tiny black belt.

64th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

 

Michelle Dockery looks as if she suffered a dramatic weight loss since her last fitting. The belt does nothing for this Loius Vuitton gown and the gown does nothing for her.

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Sarah Paulsen’s Reem Acra gown was jaw-dropping on her. The belt broke up some of the details in the shimmering lace appliques and made the dress more interesting.

Sarah Paulson

Boobs:

Actually Christina Hendricks falls into the Boobs and Belts categories. Can you guess why? The belt is too big and her bust is too enormous for this not-so-flattering Christian Siriano gown. When she said it was “Old Hollywood” I am assuming she meant Mae West.

64th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Morena Baccarin need some more tape to keep things in check. In reality this gown would look best on someone who has a nearly flat chest, otherwise you appear to have “pancake boob”.

64th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Kat Dennings posture was the most important accessory she wore last night. One false move and either one of ( or both) of her knockers would have come flying out. Not the right dress or maybe just a bad fit?

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Sofia Vergara was positively shimmery in her gown by Zuhair Murad. The problem? Aside from the fact that she looked like a Miss Universe contestant, there was too much side-boob. Plus, did she just jump out of the shower and throw on a beaded gown? Spend some time on your hair! You are gorgeous and you can wear anything but, you have been around long enough to know that you need to step it up. Next year- we all expect you to  bring it!

Sofia Vergara

Breathtaking:

Jane Fallon,  longtime girlfriend of host Ricky Gervais had the right gown for her figure, in the right color for her skin and a perfect fit. Love everything about it.

64th Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Julianna Hough was showstopping in a seafoam green beaded gown by Georges Hobeika. This gown was simply gorgeous; the cut, the detail, the color – LOVE IT!

Julianne Hough

January Jones took a serious fashion risk with the Zac Posen gown. Looking as if it was made entirely of horsehair braid, this gown is a work of art. Not like one of those  Lady Gaga ‘artsy’ gowns made of meat  but, a gown that is so well constructed and so well thought out that it almost has the opposite effect: to appear to be thrown together. Look at it again. Look at it again. It is a work of art and it fits magnificently. She dropped the ball by not accessorizing, wear clunky shoes and not doing something a little more deserving with her hair. When you wear a piece like this you have to go the extra mile.

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Who were you favorites from the 2012 Emmy awards?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Fascinating Celebrity Weddings – The Unique Touches

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In case you missed it last night, the E! channel aired a one hour special entitled “Fascinating Celebrity Weddings”. Aside from fascinating, it was spectacular,  extremely informative, inspirational and at times quite romantic. This was way better than your typical ‘end of year’ re-cap, it looked at really high profile weddings over the past few years and the intimate details you may have missed in the headlines. The event planners were interviewed and discussed the things that each couple wanted to make their day personal and special, the little touches that personalized their wedding for them.

 Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, spent over $5 million on their wedding, including a $130, 000 Vera Wang bridal gown. The reception featured performances by Eric Clapton, the Black Eyed Peas, acrobats and fireworks. But, what made their wedding stand out was their humble approach to their massive combined wealth. The couple refused gifts, asking their guests to donate money to charity. There is no amount of money that can buy that much class.

Dylan Lauren, daughter of style icon Ralph Lauren had a really ‘sweet ‘ wedding.  As the owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar, a chain of boutique candy shops featuring over 7,000 candies from around the world her reception featured waiters dressed in candy-colored vests and white top hats, brimmed in candy dots  serving candy cocktails. The sweet table was the centerpiece of her lavish wedding and reinforced her personal goal to “merge fashion, art and pop candy culture”.

When Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie married actor Josh Duhamel in an ‘enchanted garden’ themed wedding, she searched specifically with a location that had a pond so her husband could enjoy his favorite hobby (fishing). The pond was stocked with fish so Josh and their guests could fish during cocktail hour.

Nicole Richie wanted Elephant at her wedding. Why? They supposedly bring good blessing and fertility. Her “Versailles” themed wedding took place at her father’s estate where he sang for the newlyweds.  Another nice touch was having their names elegantly embroidered on the sleeve of her gown.

In a related elephant story, Russell Brand and Katy Perry rode elephants on the way to take their vows in India probably for the same reason. The elephants turned out to be a pair who had never been seperated so they walked side by side the entire way.

Molly Sims had her heart set on rose petals covering the entire walkway and the wedding planner obliged. It took  over 6,000 roses to cover the 10x 120 ft area. It was a nice touch which she recalls it as being the highlight of the decor.

Some of my other favorite  personal touches:

-Same sex couple Chely Wright and Lauren Blitzer opting for a casual country wedding and serving ‘pigs in a blanket’ at the reception because it is her dad’s favorite. Sweet.

Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo pulled a fireworks permit for their Virgin Island wedding so there would be a no-fly zone for paparazzi helicopters. Smart.

Sheri Shepherd’s only wish for her big day was to have a ‘choreographed’ bridal party dance. The end result was adorable and heartwarming. Stunning.

Whether you spend a million dollars or much less on your wedding, it is of the utmost importance to always put your individual stamp on it. Make it your own unique celebration of love with your future spouse and don’t be afraid to express your own personality. Those unique touches are the things you will remember fro years to come.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

The Ralph Lauren Bridal Collection

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Sorry, there is no Ralph Lauren Bridal Collection but, can you  imagine how phenomenal it would be? Actually, you don’t have to imagine at all. Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan was married last July and his Son David in September and as luck would have it, he designed both gowns for both brides and hit a home run both times! You can see a complete pictorial in this month’s Vogue magazine. Here are the highlights:

Dylan’s  gown for her July nuptials was  modern  with romantic silk tulle ruffles, a duchess satin  bodice delicately draped across the bodice and shoulders with light touches of silk tulle. I loved Dylan’s dress, it is perfect;  urban and sleek, yet romantic and sexy at the same time.

 

Ralph’s son David married Lauren Bush (activist, model and neice to former President G.W. Bush) in September in an Old West themed wedding at papa Ralph’s 17,00 acre Double RL ranch located outside Telluride, Colorado.  Lauren Bush-Lauren wore the most perfect gown I have seen in many years. I know it does bear some similarities to Princess Catherine’s  gown but, with all due respect I have to say that Ralph nailed it and Sarah Burton missed her mark on some key design points.

Lauren wore a  Victorian-inspired  gown with a high neck  and a bit of a pouf sleeve, opting for an open back to show a modern edge. The gown, which took 3000 hours to make, was made of silk tulle that was completely embroidered by hand. Look at eachof those scroll designs – that was embroidered by hand. It was elegant, timeless and unbelievably breathtaking. On her head was a simple crystal headband and a long silk veil. To complete the look,  she opted to wear cowboy boots under her gown. Not a bad choice since the reception was held in a 200 year old barn. Of course they  had  decorated in abundance with fragrant flowers in whites, creams and pale blues.

To complete the Western theme, the groom wore an old timey suit complete with gold vest pocket chains and pinstriped pants. In the pictures, you can see how well the entire look came together. The black and white wedding photo is a nice touch, adding to the antique feel.

According to Mr. Lauren,  he consulted his long time friend and one time assistant, Vera Wang for advice on both gowns. Now, thats’ what I call expert advice.

Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago.

 

Kim’s Fairytale Wedding – The Party’s Over

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There is always that moment after the wedding is over when you wish you could do the whole thing again. The dress, the party, the dancing and seeing all of your friends/family in one place - everything and everyone looking so wonderful. Then you start addressing the Thank You Notes and settling into married life and realize how much work went into the whole thing, thinking maybe you can wait until your 10th anniversary to plan another event of this magnitude. After about six months, when all of the excitement has died down all you want to do is have one nice quiet evening at home with no tasks or ‘to-do’ lists.

Then there are those cases when the wedding lasts longer than the marriage. Whether it is finances, place of residence, children, or infidelity, the realization that you married the wrong person has to be painful.  Yesterday’s announcement of Kim Kardashian’s probable divorce did not come as a shock to as many people as she would have suspected. While I would like to say that Kim Kardashian deserves some time to work this out in private, I can’t for several reasons:

-With all the debate over gay marriage – also known as civil unions or in my house, just plain “marriage”, I wonder why people can’t let this go. Another example of two heterosexual people who have all the rights afforded to them by the state and federal government (and the approval of conservative marriage activists) to marry whomever they want and have it televised to the tune of $18 million +, to stay married for 2 or 3 months and divorce for no reason, to marry multiple times to whomever for whatever reason and treat the process in a disposable manner…. yet two men or two women who are truly in love and have already shared more life experiences than most couples cannot legally ‘marry’ in their state. AND even when they are afforded the rights, they walk away with a certificate that says “Civil Union”. This is completely unjust and I feel a public explanation is due.

-When you are married in front of television cameras for ratings and profit, when the entire romance and proposal and engagement are televised for ratings and profit, when you live every moment of your life for ratings and profit, you should have to answer every single question from every single person who contributed to your ratings and profit.

- If you are able to turn a  self-indulgent lifestyle into a career, you should have enough sense to ask your future husband or wife a few simple questions: “Where will we live after we are married?” and “How will we support ourselves… will we both be working?” or “Where will we raise our children”.

In my opinion, Kim Kardashian should have to answer every question, return every gift and donate every dollar made  to a charity … one that fights for equal marriage rights for all. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Spring 2012 – What’s in Store?

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As the New York Bridal market is about to begin, retailers anxiously await the unveiling of the new collections. Color, fabric, cut and style… who will be showing what and which gown will be the one that sets women’s hearts fluttering?

Since the Spring Collections will be available in Bridal Salons in January for the busy season, this is the big one. The trends for 2012 will be defined at the Spring Bridal Market.

My predictions are for more color in Bridesmaid dresses. I firmly believe that women are ready to come out of the dark ages and express themselves with a burst of color, getting away from the  little black bridesmaid dress. The most popular colors? Greens, Oranges, Yellows and Reds. White could be a big color for bridesmaids, having seen several examples of the monochromatic scheme done in spectacular fashion this year!

Continuing the hiatus from extravagant veils, I believe women will  focus more on  glamorous headpieces and more natural hairstyle with lighter veils. Accessories are big. The right necklace and earring can make or break the look  and accessories are a crucial part of the wedding ensemble.

As for Bridal gowns, I think this season is going to show us a lot of tulle. Tulle skirts, big or small will be popular. Also heavily encrusted bodices and perhaps (dare I say) a few designers will produce something other than strapless. The designs will probably first manifest  in the form of spaghetti straps but, its a start. Belts will continue to accentuate mermaid and other slim styles and corset tops will still be popular with voluminous skirts made from yards and yards of various ruffled fabrics.  I also think we will see less of the pick-up skirt which I personally think is difficult to manage, anyway so “buh-bye”.

I can’t help but wonder if any of the high-profile weddings this year have inspired copies. I will be waiting with baited breath to see how many designers will come forward with their version of Catherine Middleton’s gown! Since the Kardashian gowns are already being copied by Vera herself, there is no need for anyone else to follow suit. But this is where I think the heavy tulle influence will come in.

I am equaly sure as our fashion team gets photos they will be posting them from New York, so stay tuned to see if any of my predictions are correct- and don’t be afraid to tell me I was wrong!

- Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

If The Emmy Fits…

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Last night’s Emmy awards had it’s share of hits and misses from fashions to dead jokes, there were obvious winners and losers. Jane Lynch rocked as  a host and was equally as entertaining sans track suit as she is in every single movie or tv show she appears. Charlie Sheen showed to up to promote… duh, winning? I’m not sure why he was there but I will go on a limb to say it was his way of mending fences. Charlie- if you are reading this, “Apologizing only counts if you mean it, so you might want to go back to step 11.” However, I applaud his sobriety and can only imagine how difficult it was to face all the folks you dissed while you were doing a public detox. That’s over now so let’s leave Charlie alone and get on to something really important … fashion!

The biggest problem with last night’s Emmy fashions was not the gowns, or choice of gowns or the color… it was the fit.  

Kate Winslet chose a red Elie Saab gown. In addition to the gown being too tight (note the horizontal wrinkles that appear to give it a waist seam) the shape is suited for less curvy figure. I’m not talking about weight.. this gown did nothing good for her figure.  

Gwenyth Paltrow should have swapped her black widow Emilio Pucci doily for something a little less  Rorschach-inspired. It is true that we each see somthing different in the ink blots (lace cut-outs) and since seeing this last night I have decided not to eat pancakes for a while.

Katie Holmes wore what appeared to be a saggy blue (Calvin Klein) nightgown 2 sizes too big with a tiny belt. It looked like she did her hair on the way to the show, in the back of a car that was moving….. with no mirror.

Juliana Margulies had the absolute worst look of the night. Her hair was styled for a softer look and her Armani Prive gown was a bedazzled tragedy. The cut was ill-conceived and the entire dress did not fit properly. The good news is that if anyone needs to send something fragile I know where you can get some very expensive bubble wrap.

Kerry Washington was breathtaking in red. The gown fit perfectly and the design was unique enough to stand out but no so unusual she had to arrive in an egg. The see-through part of the skirt was sheer perfection! This  Zuhair Murad gown was constructed  flawlessly and fit beautifully, if only her hair had lived up to the rest of the outfit.

……. and the winner is:
Sofia Vergara, in her red Vera Wang gown dominated the red carpet. Not because she has a killer figure – which she does. Not because she exudes confidence – which she also does. Because her gown fit so perfectly that it looked like it was made for her, which it was. The best part – it wasn;t strapless! The sheer one-shouldered look was  so goddess, so glamour, so abosultely perefect!The shame is that all of these people have their gowns custom fit and sewn and that someone, somewhere doesn’t know how to fit a gown properly. Maybe they are so used to pencil thin mannequins they need to go back to design school to understand a real woman’s body.

We will take a look at more hits and misses tomorrow!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago