Italian Extravagance Vs. California Cool

Brides, prepare to fall in love all over again because it’s bridal season, and thanks to the designs of Bridal Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017, it’s never looked more beautiful.

As we all know, finding true love is merely one important piece of the wedding puzzle, while falling in love with the perfect gown is yet another! For some, the former may be rather simple, while the latter…let’s just say endless hours flipping through bridal magazines and countless dress fittings can be a bit exhausting.

As Bridal Fashion Week has come to a close, it is safe to say that your task is about to get much more difficult.

With the beautifully embroidered and luxuriously laced dresses of Italian-born designer, Ines Di Santo, as well as the vintage, beachside-inspired gowns of California-native, Claire Pettibone, the two designers swept us off our feet, proving that there is truly a dress for every type of bride.

However, what appeared most compelling was rather how distinct the two collections were from one another, as Di Santo’s collection captured the epitome of Italian femininity, sophistication, and the inherited lack of fear for fashion risk-taking. While on the other hand, the “Cali-cool”, care-free, and bohemian vibe currently capturing the hearts of American fashion lovers echoed throughout the collection of Pettibone in true Californian fashion. Let’s take a look at the two culture-defining collections!

Italian Extravagance

“Imagining the flowers that emerge in the season and the path they take from seed to sunlight, I have used lace, embroideries, and movement in my gowns to push toward an unexpected place.”

-Ines Di Santo

Inspired by spring, Ines Di Santo sent her soft, romantic collection blossoming with floral embroidery and delicate details down the runway, stealing the hearts of both retailers and brides-to-be alike.

The show kicked off with a multi-tiered ruffled ball gown topped with an embroidered illusion bodice and short sleeve bolero jacket, setting the scene for the variety of spring designs to come. Staying true to her inspiration, Di Santo paid homage to the blossoming season with her closing design, “Bloom”, a floral print ball gown with delicate flowers growing from the ground up.

Despite the abundance of tulle, textured-ruffles, and full skirts, there was no shortage of the sex appeal that defines Italian style. Di Santo’s wisely-named designs, “Sultry”, “Stunning”, and “Vision”, featured both Baroque embroidery and side cut-out details that highlighted the models’ assets, while trading the classic ball gown design for a more form fitting silhouette.

Parallel to her Fall/Winter 2016 collection, various alternative, risk-taking designs flowed down Di Santo’s runway. In fact, the designer featured a one-shoulder asymmetrical pant suit with floral embroidery and a detachable peplum skirt in her latest collection, which resembled the illusion bodysuit that strutted down the runway last season.

A playful Palazzo romper adorned with an illusion sweetheart neckline and detachable sleeves as well as a plunging V-neck gown styled under a long sleeve peplum coat also appeared as some of the show’s unexpected highlights.

“Fresh”, “Sultry”, and “Stunning”; three names that perfectly capture the essence of Di Santo’s collection as each gown displayed a stunning sense of movement along with the designer’s signature Italian-inspired details.

California “Cool”

“In California, anything goes.”

-Claire Pettibone

On the opposite side of the bridal spectrum is Claire Pettibone, the proclaimed “queen of bohemian-chic couture”, who looked to the Pacific Coast for this season’s inspiration. Named after west coast beaches and neighborhoods, each gown evoked the dream-like, fantasy quality of Los Angeles.

Similar to Di Santo, luxe lace and embroidered designs lined Pettibone’s runway, however, with a rather vintage, romantic vibe. Designs featured in the collection also captured the city’s Spanish roots as “Olvera”, “Palisades”, and “Bel Air” were adorned with fiesta flowers, organzas, and beautiful lace embroidery.

Perhaps the stars of the collection were Pettibone’s intricately designed back silhouettes, that would perfectly pair with sunsets on the beach or breezy walks through the vineyard. Other highlights included lower, open back designs, which appeared in the lineup in various forms as well, adding a certain Californian sex appeal to the rather modest collection.

However, it would not be a true California-inspired collection without head-to-toe crochet gowns. Pettibone’s lineup began with “Laguna”, a crochet open work lace sheath silhouette with a sheer skirt and slight sweep train. “Malibu” later came sweeping down the runway featuring a cotton crochet lace fabric with an open back and elaborate scalloped lace chapel train. Fitting for the current festival season, the designer created a “Coachella” gown made of crochet lace with long boho sleeves and a tassel open tie back that fell nothing short from a bohemian spirit’s dream gown.

Pettibone’s disparate silhouettes, crochet designs, and floral adorned gowns proved that anything truly goes in California and in her collection as well.


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