When Amal Clooney stepped onto the Golden Globes red carpet last month, fashion designers and wedding planners alike took note of one element of her look: her white kid-leather gloves, which she chose from her own closet to accessorize a Dior haute-couture gown.
While the gloves were hotly debated, there's no denying that where Mrs. Clooney goes fashion-wise, women follow. Want proof? After she wore an Oscar de la Renta gown, which was crafted of silk tulle and 14 yards of Chantilly lace, to her September wedding to George Clooney, it proved so popular that a spinoff of the classic A-line, off-the-shoulder gown was added to the designer's Fall 2015 bridal collection. Nancy Aucone, owner of the Wedding Salon of Manhasset, carries the talked-about gown, which retails for a cool $24,990.
It's no surprise that this classic celebrity-worn look has led to such real-world demand. Perhaps nowhere is our fame-obsessed culture put more into practice than at weddings, where idea-hungry brides often choose to duplicate the details employed by the Hollywood set.
"You see it mostly in the bride's fashion and beauty," says wedding planner Ashley Douglass, whose eponymous company boasts three offices, in Huntington, Manhattan and Greenwich, Conn. "A bride will want to wear a dress similar to one she's seen on a celebrity, or she'll want to wear her hair the same way."
After Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011, her English-lace gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen ignited a renewed interest in the delicate fabric as a bridal choice, for instance. But what happens as celebrities increasingly choose to embrace wedding day looks that are nontraditional — think colorful or skin-baring — or even a bit more wild? Sometimes, this gives real-world brides the confidence to try out these styles, too.
"Celebrities make choices that might otherwise seem outside the box more acceptable," Douglass says. "A bride will notice something and think, I might not have done that, but now that I've seen it, I see that it works."
Color is one place this translation is most clear and easily adapted. From the hot-pink, ombre-styled John Galliano for Dior gown that Gwen Stefani wore for her 2002 wedding to Gavin Rossdale to a rose-pink Vera Wang gown worn by "The Big Bang Theory's" Kaley Cuoco for her New Year's Eve 2013 wedding to tennis player Ryan Sweeting, the use of color, experts agree, is common among celebrity brides, and an easy way for a non-celeb to add a little individuality to her look.
"Pink is strong with us," notes Aucone. "Brides today are more accepting of a gown in a color, especially for those seeking something that seems a bit more avant-garde or atypical." Aucone points to designers including "Project Runway" alum Austin Scarlett, now a sought-after bridal designer, as one example. "He does amazing things with wedding dresses and color, and brides really fall in love with his designs because they exude romance."
Designer Rubin Singer, whose client list includes Cynthia Bailey of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" fame, featured shades of pink and mint in his latest bridal collection. This is far from the first time he's worked with color, however: For Bailey's 2010 wedding to restaurateur Peter Thomas, Singer created a platinum-toned gown based on a design from his "Metropolis"-themed Fall 2008 collection.
"I didn't want to do [a gown for] a reality show, but I've worked with Cynthia before," Singer says. "So I told her, 'I'm going to do this, but I'm going to do something very unexpected and nontraditional.' "
Although more mainstream, Monique Lhuillier's Fall 2015 collection likewise features pops of color, including pistachio, peach and lavender looks. "As long as it's a soft color, the upscale bride seems open to the idea," Douglass says, adding that roughly 60 percent of her brides currently are choosing gowns by Lhuillier.
"Monique is like Vera [Wang]," adds the Wedding Salon's Aucone. "She really gets the young, fashion-forward bride."
Aucone notes that Wang's looks are still a top choice among celebrity brides, who play a significant role in shaping the thinking of the "real" brides who walk into her salon. "Vera lives in the future; it's one of the reasons brides love her," she says.
Wang's latest collection for Fall 2015 likewise delves into a decidedly nontraditional vibe, with the designer emphasizing skin: "the seduction of cleavage, bare arms and legs," as she says in her collection notes.
Aucone also points to buzzworthy Israeli designer Inbal Dror, whose 2015 collection includes a curve-hugging gown with a low, open back, as another example of nontraditional, skin-is-in gowns. Celebs who have recently opted for similar looks include Ashlee Simpson, who wore a crop-topped Houghton gown when she wed Evan Ross in August, and Carrie Underwood, who chose a Monique Lhuillier gown with a strapless, boned-corset bodice with sheer lace at the midriff (cinched with a blush-pink sash) for her 2010 wedding to hockey player Mike Fisher.
Yet while it's easy to incorporate color (or skin) into real-world bridal looks — a crop-top wedding look, for example, would be ideal for an island-themed destination wedding, Douglass says — some trends are more difficult to pull off. One recent example: Solange Knowles, who in November married music-video director Alan Ferguson in New Orleans. For those high-profile nuptials, Knowles sported a pair of fashion-forward bridal looks, including a capelet gown by Humberto Leon for Kenzo and a jumpsuit and cape jacket combo by Stephane Rolland. Both were shared on Instagram by her sis (@Beyonce), and a social-media frenzy ensued. But did real brides follow? Not really, say the experts.
"I don't think we'll see many brides wearing jumpsuits on their wedding day," says Aucone. "If bridal designers start offering them, I do think they would be a great choice for a rehearsal dinner or day-after brunch."
Singer agrees. "A jumpsuit isn't for your wedding day unless you're someone with a real edge," he says.
Similarly, the Stella McCartney pants that Amal Clooney opted to wear to her post-ceremony civil service in Venice, while lauded for being both classic and fashion-forward, may not end up on a bride for her formal ceremony. However, Naeem Khan's wedding suit, complete with trousers, would be ideal for pre- or post-wedding festivities.
Ultimately, no matter whether you've fallen in love with a particular celebrity's wedding look, or you're simply seeking a gown that reflects your personality and style, Singer advises keeping an open mind about the process.
"I find that it doesn't take very much for a gown to feel and look very individual," he says. "So many times, the best dresses are the ones that aren't always expected."