Image Credit: Jashan Photography

Behind The


The bridal fashion industry has a number of terms that can confuse even the most style-savvy bride-to-be. Here, Bhria Vellnagel weighs in some common shapes, styles and fabrics you’ll come across in your search for the perfect gown.

Image Credit: Jashan Photography

Since childhood, many brides-to-be have dreamed about walking down the aisle in a beautiful wedding dress. However, finding the words to describe your ideal fabric or desired veil length to a seamstress can be difficult without knowing some key terms. While looking for wedding dress inspiration, you’ve probably noticed that the bridal fashion industry has its own complex language. Therefore, learning some commonly used terms will ensure you can easily communicate the details of your ideal gown to your dressmaker.

If the difference between zibeline and Aleçon silk isn’t yet in your vocabulary, read ahead as Queensland Wedding & Bride explores a handful of must-know terms that will assist you in finding, or creating, your dream wedding gown.

Figure It Out

Finding a shape that complements your figure will ensure you feel fabulous in your wedding gown. For curvy brides-to-be, a body-hugging fishtail gown will draw emphasis to your waist and create the appearance of an hourglass figure. Tall brides-to-be can benefit from a column silhouette, which features a fitted bodice that draws emphasis to the waist and a sheath skirt that balances long legs. An empire silhouette, which cinches just below the bust, is ideal for those with a petite figure. Similarly, the long skirt, which is a standout feature in column wedding gowns, creates the illusion of height and will simultaneously slim the waist and hips.

Cap It Off

While it’s vital that your dress complements your body shape, it’s equally important that it

represents your personality and style. By adding unique additions that you love, such as beaded sleeves or an illusion back, your wedding dress is sure to make a lasting impression.

For those who prefer to feel covered on their big day, but also like the appeal of a strapless gown, a gown with long sleeves made from a sheer fabric is the perfect solution. For a trendy look, ask your seamstress to incorporate stunning flared, bell or waterfall sleeves into the design, or consider wearing a chic cape, which are incredibly popular this season.

The Magic Of Fabric

Bridal couture design is a labour of love, and many couture designers offer a tailored service that allows you to personalise every aspect of the gown. Fabrics can drastically change the look and fit of any dress, so it’s important to liaise closely with your seamstress in regard to which textiles will best suit your requirements.

Lovely Lace

From the classic elegance of Chantilly, to the textured appeal of guipure, lace is a popular option as it won’t go out of fashion. An extremely sought-after style of lace, Chantilly is best defined by its soft, floral design. The handmade bobbin lace originates from France and features a fine-ground outlined pattern.

Similarly, Alençon is an elegant needlepoint lace of French origin that is frequently sewn onto sheer tulle. Often referred to as the ‘Queen of Lace’, this stunning textile can be made in various designs. Featuring exquisite embroidered stitching, guipure lace is most commonly seen on bohemian

inspired gowns. Containing a number of patterns and no netting background, it’s a versatile addition to almost any style of gown.

Silky Sensation

Resilient and luxurious, silk is a highly regarded textile among those in the bridal fashion industry. It has been an extremely coveted fabric for years, and is the ultimate cloth for the individual with class and taste. Silk not only caresses and flatters the body, but this timeless textile is also relatively robust. It dries quickly and is less likely to tear, and resists oil and odours well. Ideal for summer or winter nuptials, the fabric also insulates incredibly well. It will absorb perspiration, while also allowing your skin to breathe.

Zibeline is a thick, pure-silk fabric that features a twill weave, which is ideal for structured silhouettes. Similarly, duchess satin is a heavy, silk-blend textile that’s often used for draping.

While silk may be a desired fabric for wedding gowns, blended satin is used more prevalently due to its variation and affordability. Conventionally made from numerous fibres such as silk and polyester, satin differs in structure and texture, while also being less prone to wrinkling than pure silk. Some of the most common types of satin include antique, baronet and charmeuse, as well as the aforementioned duchess.

Finding your perfect wedding dress should be an exciting experience, but trying to understand the terms used by industry professionals can be difficult. By learning the correct types of fabrics and dress styles, you’ll be able to easily communicate your vision to your seamstress.