December 1, 2020

At Last, a Reason to Be Always the Bridesmaid

“The second we saw it on the screen, it was beautiful,” said Omid Moradi, chief executive for Faviana, a dress-making business based in Manhattan that plans to produce its own version. “It was just very elegant and glamorous.”

It was Pippa’s.

He immediately called his mother, the design director of Faviana, to tell her to begin sketching the dress of the bridesmaid, Pippa Middleton, sister of the bride, Kate Middleton. “It almost looked like a bridal gown,” he said.

Celebrity wedding gowns have inspired many creative copies, but executives in the bridal business say this is the first time they can recall companies wishing to design a dress based on what a bridesmaid wore, too.

“There was really no anticipation about Pippa’s dress,” said Dan Rentillo, design director for David’s Bridal, which will also make a version of her gown. “I can’t think of one where there was such a fuss over the bridesmaid’s dress.”

Now, many companies across what is called the fast-fashion industry are scrambling to reproduce not one, but two gowns designed originally by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, doubling the pressure to turn the couture designs into mass-market creations as soon as possible.

Ms. Burton did not seem shy about reproducing either — several fashion critics have pointed out that Pippa Middleton’s dress resembled one that Cameron Diaz wore in 2010, also an Alexander McQueen.

Some of the swooning, though, was about Ms. Middleton herself, not the dress. “She wore it so well, so we said, ‘We’ll do that dress right away,’ ” said Andrew Hops, vice president for JS Collections.

The timetable for this particular part of the bridal industry is critical. Sample dresses are sewn in about 48 hours, to ensure shipments of mass-produced versions to stores within about 12 weeks. “We want to get to market. The demand is now,” Mr. Moradi said. His company, Faviana, is producing versions of both of the Middleton sisters’ reception and ceremony dresses.

“Before she even walked down the red carpet, we were getting calls from customers and consumers,” he said. “‘When can we get it?’ ‘I have an event next month, can I have it then?’ ”

Getting the dresses into stores ahead of competitors, and the summer bridal market, also requires speedy production.

“The immediacy of the world that we live in today changes our customers’, and our brides’, expectations on how quickly we can respond,” said Brian Beitler, executive vice president for David’s Bridal, which expects to have versions of the dresses in stores by August.

Faviana makes wedding, prom and evening dresses sold at places like Nordstrom and eDressMe. While customers can buy wedding gowns that look like Chelsea Clinton’s or Eva Longoria’s, no famous bridesmaids’ dresses have been produced there, until now.

“Bridesmaids’ dresses are generally ugly. Nobody wants to wear them,” Mr. Moradi said.

Not this time. His mother, Shala, finished her sketches last Friday by 8 a.m., before meeting her 12-person design staff in the company’s Garment District offices in Manhattan. In the workroom, they began cutting and draping muslin over mannequins, trying to mimic the shape and fall of the Middleton sisters’ dresses. Next, they made paper patterns; the cap sleeve for Pippa’s dress, the shaped bodice for Kate’s.

By 10 a.m., Faviana employees walked through the doors of district fabric shops, buying a stretch of ivory fabric for Pippa’s dress and lace for Kate’s. Ms. Moradi had already collected bolts of white satin. Next, the designers cut fabric according to the paper patterns and handed the cut pieces to a team of women sitting at sewing machines at one end of the room. By midday Sunday, with few breaks for sleep and food, the Faviana group had completed initial versions of both dresses.

Three days later, in the long, light-filled workroom, a pattern maker bent over a large table, using a red wax pencil to make tiny marks on the paper pattern for Pippa’s dress. He was modifying the sample. The fabric they had chosen didn’t quite work. The Faviana group would sew another two or so samples of each dress this week, incorporating feedback from department store and boutique buyers, and adjusting patterns and fit for the mass-market versions.

With headless mannequins looking like a Greek chorus, mother and son argued.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/06/business/06dress.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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