After 20 years in the bridal biz, Vera Wang clearly knows a thing or two about perfect matches. But her new collaboration with David’s Bridal may be her most inspired yet.
White by Vera Wang, which launched this week is a 12-piece collection of wedding gowns that has all the hallmarks of Vera couture without the Vera-couture price tag. Indeed, prices range from $600 to $1,400, compared to $2,000 and up for her eponymous line.
It’s a neat trick, even for a one-time figure skater like Wang. At the unveiling of the line, the designer said her challenge in creating White wasn’t just price, but incorporating the elements she demands in a wedding dress – modernity, romanticism, sensuality and great detail. “The dichotomy,” she said, “is trying to make something that’s a ball gown and youthful. And the vocabulary is constantly expanding.”
For the David’s collaboration, which Wang called a “wonderful” way “to bring my collection to a broader audience,” it’s easy to see the reference points.
A $1,300 organza gown with a hand-appliqued lace bodice and elbow-length sleeves is a dead-ringer for Ivanka Trump’s classic silhouette -- which itself was inspired by Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, designed by MGM costumer Helen Rose.
A $1,200 blush-colored, fit-and-flare gown evokes the tight bodice and thundercloud-sized ruffled skirt that Chelsea Clinton wore for her wedding last summer.
But beyond evocations of bold-face names, the dresses are sheer Vera: tucked bodice work, hand-cut tulle skirts, hand-appliqued lace, jeweled belts, horsehair bows and a palette of white, blush and champagne.
A tightly edited collection of accessories includes jeweled headbands, crystal combs and tulle veils. It’s just the beginning. For now, gowns range from size 0 to 14, but sizes 16 ti 26 are coming for fall. So are bridesmaids’ gowns and cocktail dresses.
Although Wang has been designing a mass-market line of clothes for Kohl’s since 2007, she admitted she’s “anxious” to see how her first low-priced bridal collection fares. For David’s Bridal officials, though, there’s nothing but giddiness.
Chief executive Bob Huth said he expected the collection to appeal “to our customer and to attract other customers who otherwise wouldn’t shop in our store.” We’ll bet they’re already lining up.
The first White by Vera Wang is available at 150 David’s Bridal outlets, including Westbury and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and by special order at all other David’s Bridal stores. Visit www.davidsbridal.com.