5 Most Extraordinary Wedding Dresses

By Maria Yeonhee Ji

The industrial revolution, the internet, human artistry, and our love of celebrating marriage have all created "the wedding dress" we know today. We are inundated with a never-ending stream of wedding dress possibilities from the numerous design houses around the world. Trends flit in and out of our imaginations from year to year, and it’s up to the bride-to-be to choose a fashionable dress that also speaks to her personal style - a dress that will be practical for the event’s location and suit the needs of the wearer on the day. But some dresses were made with more than just the practical reasons in mind; some wedding dresses are made to provoke awe and admiration. So we handpicked five of the most extraordinary dresses in the history of modern bridalwear for you to do just that. 

1/ FLORAL FINERY

floral, dress, flowers, design, bridal ,fashion, style, wedding, weddings, bride

Image sourced from Trish Peng


Designer Tresh Peng collaborated with the National Flower Promotions Group this year to produce a dress that truly turned heads at New Zealand Fashion Week. The dress was made of twelve different types of fresh, New Zealand grown flowers (including carnations, hellebores, roses, and chrysanthemums), and required more than 100 hours of work from conception to execution. The dress is estimated to cost 20,000 NZD (well above the everyday bride’s wedding floral budget) and would perish after three days out of water. It’s a transient but truly visionary work of artistry (and floristry!). 


2/ ECO-COUTURE

eco, sustainable, recycled, reused, repurposed, zero waste, dress, wedding, bride, bridal, fashion, style

Images sourced from Zero Waste Daniel


Believe it or not, this custom couture dress by Zero Waste Daniel was made entirely out of repurposed waste fabric from the fashion industry. Which just goes to show that sustainability never has to come at the cost of compromising style. Made from tulle off-cuts sourced from Jaclyn Jordan New York Bridal, and adorned with handmade flowers and found trimmings, this one-of-a-kind wedding gown is as inspiring as it is exquisite. Let’s hope this ethos of making such stunning, environmentally friendly bridalwear catches on in the industry. 


3/ BRIDAL TAILFEATHERS

peacock, vera, wang, dress, wedding, wedding, bridal, brides, fashion, style

Image via www.therichest.com

In the natural world, it’s the male birds that display the most brilliant plumes. That’s not a rule Vera Wang followed in the creation of this extravagant gown for the 2009 wedding expo held in Nanjing, China. Eight craftsmen laboriously appliqued the 2000+ peacock feathers to create a dress valued at $1.5 million, with a grandiose train that caught everybody’s eye. Rest assured, the feathers were gathered, not plucked. 

4/ OCEAN TREASURES

precious, sea slik, style, fashion, embroidery, ocean, jewel, gold, bridal, bride, wedding, weddings, dress

Image sourced from Italidea


Sea silk, or byssus, is a pricelessly rare textile that can only be produced by a handful of artisans in the entire world. Fibres from the giant Mediterranean clam Pinna Nobilis are harvested by divers, spun into golden gossamer threads using traditional techniques, and subsequently embroidered onto, or woven into, clothes that are finer than silk garments. The few makers of sea silk fiercely uphold the belief that this material shouldn’t be commercialised so it can neither be bought nor sold. However, artisans who produce sea silk today have been known to embroider it onto wedding dresses, so as of yet it is still possible to be wed in a dress adorned by the rarest magic of the sea. But with declining clam populations, tightening EU protections around harvesting the fibre, and the extremely small numbers of practitioners who are devoted to maintaining the art, there’s no guarantee that this possibility will last forever. 

5/ HARAKEKE HAUTE COUTURE

maori, design, culture, style, fashion, dress, bride, bridal, wedding
Images sourced from www.mac+mae.com 

The works of Shona Tawhiao aren’t specifically bridal apparel, but they are pretty inspiring for New Zealand brides-to-be hoping to express their cultural heritage in their wedding gown. A multi-talented designer of Ngāi Te Rangi and Te Whakatōhea descent, Tawhiao fuses traditional and contemporary mahi rāranga (weaving) with couture to create avant-garde works of art that been showcased on runways in Paris, London, Melbourne and Honolulu. Tawhiao’s works are characteristically sleek, fitted, and exude a futuristic yet feminine mood - all elements that work exceptionally well as features of a modern wedding dress. Hopefully, a bridal collection is on the horizon from this talented flaxsmith, but we can only really wait and see what Tawhiao works on next. 
 



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