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A s P e C i A l s e C t i O n O f t H e r e C O r d - r e V i e W, f e b r uA r Y 14 , 2 014 dress styles define modern romance By TRACI DUTTON LUDWIG W edding bells are ringing in a new era of romance, as bridal fashions redefine traditional styles with a modern voice. Perfectly suited for the contemporary bride, unique beauty reigns supreme in thoughtful collections edited for every personality and nuptial style. One of the most important markers of a wedding’s mood, a bridal dress can set the stage and encapsulate the mood. It’s as important as the symbolic kiss of commitment and as sweet as the icing on the wedding cake. Here’s what 2014 has to offer in its wedding trousseau: Short and sweet Above-the-knee dresses are chic and playful. They are popular for casual ceremonies, courthouse nuptials, second-time brides and reception dresses. Go for a “mod” vibe with sheaths or A-line styles in rich fabrics. Crisp details such as linear belts, flat bows and cap sleeves embellish through perfect definition. Matching coats or demure shrugs, reminiscent of the Jacqueline Kennedy look of the 1960s, are a perfect counterpart to complete the look. New this year are cropped styles that compromise between traditional looks and abbreviated hemlines. From the waist up, these dresses borrow from the conventions of luxurious bridal gowns. However, below their profusions of sweetheart busts, illusion necklines, lace sleeves, tulle and beading, the conventions end and transform into a flirty show of long legs and short skirts. Sexy backs Let’s face it — during the ceremony and on the dance floor, your back will be the center of attention. Designers have responded with backs featuring geometric cut-outs, embellished criss-cross straps, plunging Vs and deep open drapes. Soft skin is beautiful, but subtle decoration can be intriguing. Using the bare back as a canvas, Ines di Santo employs sheer, flesh-colored, illusion insets decorated with arabesque patterns of crystal stones. The effect is reminiscent of henna body painting, skin artistry or a refined tattoo. Gowns with open backs are also a sophisticated alternative to strapless dresses — especially when modesty in the front reverses to unexpected sexiness en verso. illusion necklines Illusion necklines enable designers to play with interesting bodice contours without worrying about corresponding structural concerns — like a strapless dress slipping down. Illusion necklines also allow for a lovely ambiguity between bare and covered skin. Sheer, gauzy fabrics seem to sugarcoat the skin of the shoulders, the collarbone and the back, while enabling a surface upon which to scatter iridescent crystals, silk flowers and delicate appliqués. The more random the placement of the embellishment, the more spontaneous — and less serious — the dress will feel. Crystals evoke stars in an evening sky. Knots of metallic thread glitter like light reflections on the water. Strewn fabric petals cling to the shoulder and bust like sweet peas wrapping round a pole in summer. This is the stuff of fairy tales. Capes, cloaks and mantles Creative cover-ups and cloaks add romantic drama to simple silhouettes. Sheer capes and mantles resemble trains or angel wings as they flutter and flow behind a bride on her walk down the aisle. Diaphanous gauze shawls conceal and reveal shoulders in the most alluring way. Fur wraps add luxury and texture to the sparkling fantasy of a winter wedding. Bow-tied capelets impart doll-like charm. Perfect for outdoor venues, these extra layers not only add warmth; they also allow an element of the dress to play with the breeze. Fabric dancing in the air or billowing around a couple exchanging vows evokes a form of poetry that is like visual music. It also sets the stage for gorgeous photographs. Long sleeves Ever since Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011, long lace sleeves have been the most popular detail of wedding attire. Kate’s gown, designed by Sarah Burton, creative designer for Alexander McQueen, showed a taste for both tradition and modernity that struck a chord with brides around the world, and designers are relishing the creative possibilities of covered arms. Look for Romana Keveza’s long sleeves in delicate lace inspired by the Duchess’s famous gown, Temperley’s billowy Continued on page 2a INSIDE Courtesy of Monique Lhuillier Time for a party? Time to look your finest! ............................................. 3A Creative brides go outside the box for unique looks ..................................4A The perfect blend: your celebration, your food ....................................... 5A Beyond Cake Additional baked goods to wow your guests T By MARy LeGRAND o eat cake or not to eat cake: that is the question. Well, not really. But you get the idea. Cake is still the primary dessert of choice served at an overwhelming majority of weddings and other special occasions, and for good reason. But there are other options out there as well, and local bakeries are ready to step up to the altar, so to speak, with some really good choices. Flourish Baking Co., owned by chef Diane Forley and husband/ partner chef Michael Otsuka, has been in Scarsdale since 2009. Whole-grains centric, the bakery is open to the public and also sells products at several farmers markets. Everything is produced in-house. “We’ve tried to merge our cooking and baking to create some innovative products,” Forley said. “We’re vegetarian-based and do a lot of savory baking — pot pies, vegetable tarts — and then for sweet items always focus on fruit-driven desserts, some of the healthier choices in terms of confections” — fruit, chocolate, nuts and seeds, for example. Forley has taken some of her favorite recipes and recreated them “using healthier ingredients,” she said. “If you can create something that is equally as decadent, but you’re careful in choosing the ingredients, that is the way to go. I look at white sugar and it’s not interesting to me anymore. I can make dessert much more flavorful now.” Flourish Baking Co.’s menu includes plenty of alternatives to a “butter cream on white cake,” Forley said. “If you want that it’s out there, but you don’t always have to go that way. For example, it was an interesting Thanksgiving for us. I had our traditional pies and 75 percent of our customers wanted the healthy version, with the alternative crust or different topping.” In addition, she said, “Something we’ve been playing around with are little petite desserts — tiny bites. There’s a feeling of indulgence, but it’s a tiny, mini-dessert instead of something heavy.” As an alternative to traditional cake, David Shore, managing partner of La Renaissance, a French patisserie in Scarsdale, offers his firm’s house specialty, an appetizing blend of layers of almond meringue filled with chocolate cream, mocha buttercream and Continued on page 2a

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