There are many terms in the wedding industry that are meant to both ease the pain and add to the excitement when we part with our money. “Tailor-made”, “Couture made” and “Designer dress” are three of the most common.
Most of us probably have a pretty good idea of what they mean, but looking at what they don’t mean helps us come up with a more precise definition.
There aren’t many bridal shops that don’t use the term “designer” somewhere in the description of the dress they present to us. All the things we use in this life have a designer. Even a paper coffee cup had to be designed by someone. Convince the average shopper that the paper cup is a designer cup that is worth ten times more than an ordinary paper cup, and you might run into problems.
However, that is exactly what is happening with a lot of the designer labels we see on our main streets, as well as the designer wedding dresses that we first talked about. In this way, we are presented with mass-produced (and often designed) dresses made in the Far East. I don’t know about you, but that seems to me to weaken the whole ethos of a designer dress. Why pay more if it’s just a bulk clone?
So what makes a real designer dress?
First, the design must contain an exclusive element. Granted, high prices are in themselves a way of making a dress more exclusive, but there has to be more.
What about the clothes that grace Hollywood red carpets and the latest runway shows? What makes them a designer dress?
The answer to that is individuality. Most of these dresses were drawn by a designer and then made by a small elite team of seamstresses who work on the actual measurements of the movie star or model.
This is often a “bespoke” dress in the truest sense of the word, meaning a “one-off” garment for the individual.
The word “couture” in recent years has meant an item of clothing made to an accepted high standard by an experienced designer and sewing team. Originally, the term could only be used in certain regions of France. Even today, the term “Haute Couture” can only be used for ten current fashion houses based in Paris and three other corresponding fashion houses.
Is it possible to buy bespoke designer couture wedding dresses in the UK? Yes of course, but you have to look for her. Many designers are “sold out” to some extent in the huge wedding dress factories in China, and who can blame them?
In the wedding, it is quite common for a wedding dress designer to walk into a Chinese design room, choose from a range of fabrics, bodice patterns, embroidery styles, and required sizes, and then effectively leave them to them. The factory signs the fabric required for a reasonable number of dresses and labels it for the “designer”.
To do justice to Chinese manufacturers, the quality is often excellent, but literally “couture” they are not suitable and you usually have a dress that was ordered roughly your dress size and then fitted to you. They are certainly not “bespoke” dresses.
The best way to ensure that you are buying a couture-made bespoke wedding dress, even from a reputable designer, is to ask if it is made on the designer’s own premises.
You should expect to visit the store or design studio multiple times as it is common practice to measure the toile (calico model) of the dress to ensure a perfect fit. At least two or three more visits are required.
Generally (though not always) having a dress ready for your first adjustment when you arrive is not. do not repeat a tailored dress.
If you select an existing style and request it at your size, it may be a made-to-measure couture dress, but it is not a bespoke dress.
To sum up, perhaps the easiest way to express the type of wedding dresses available to the British bride is to group the three basic groups together: made-to-measure wedding dresses (off the rack), made-to-measure wedding dresses (often changed to yours) Size from an existing style) and bespoke wedding dresses (These are unique dresses that will suit you perfectly).
When all is said and done, the most important thing is that you are satisfied with the dress you choose. Note, however, that some bridal shops claim their dresses are something they are not.