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A new train of thought; Every bride wants to look different and today's trends are about individualism, writes Penny Fray.

Byline: Penny Fray

SINCE Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker hit our screens and designers decreed the death of conformism, we all want to look unique, especially when walking down the aisle for the first time.

According to wedding dress specialist Jean McLeod of Opulence Couture in Hoylake, today's bridal trends are all about individualism. And whether that involves an extravagant ball gown or an ever-flattering A-line, modern designers have a dress to suit everyone.

``Although the traditional white dress and veil remains popular, more and more women now want something a bit different or daring -- and we can provide that choice with more than 600 gowns currently in stock, '' says Jean. Talk about being bold, many brides are even opting to show some flesh to keep abreast of fashion.

Corsets and see-through lace gowns are all the rage in Europe. And some of the biggest names in bridal fashion such as Jessica McClintock and Galina have been striking with their catwalk creations, showing the models' shoulders and arms to their full advantage.

Besides, shape is everything when it comes to bridal vogue, which is good news for the body conscious among you.

And, for the not so body beautiful, the classic A-line remains ever popular.

After all, the long cut draws the eye downwards, and often has a built-in train.

``Great quality silk is also a firm favourite with the 21st century bride, ''saysJean. ``But embroidery and lace, the two mainstays of bridal fashion, never go out of style. In fact, the more elaborate Italian dresses are now back in vogue. ''

So, where to begin on the journey for that unique look?

Well, according to Jean, magazines are the traditional way to trend spot, followed by a one-to-one consultation with a bridal shop assistant. But be prepared to think outside the box, mixing classicism with some funky features like butterflies, prints or even coloured chiffon.

And if you're not feeling too brave, how about experimenting with unusual accessories like feather headdresses or Venetian masks?

``The possibilities are endless, '' adds Jean. ``Just use your imagination. ''

This page: look pretty in pink with this beaded Ronald Joyce corset and skirt for just pounds 695Facing page: top, be a fairy tale bride in this magical ivory silk two-piece by Donna Salado (pounds 1, 165) which features crystal inserts as well as roses; bottom left, stunning biased cut silk and lace dress is by Pronovias, pounds 1, 105; bottom right, the bride wears a beautiful beaded, Thai silk dress by Donna Salado (pounds 1, 495) with bespoke accessories by Jean McLeod. The groom wears a Dolce and Gabanna suit with a Chrome & Jester shirtCover photograph: pretty printed chiffon organza by Donna Salado (pounds 1, 495) injects a funky twist to the traditional wedding gown.

Need to know

THE bridal wear was provided by Opulence Couture in Hoylake, Wirral (0151 632 4721).

Photographer: AndyTeebay, Daily Post. Shoot location: TheAthenaeum, Church Alley, Liverpool.

Models: Darren Smith and Eva Stormova from Wade Smith, Liverpool.

Hair: Luke Gove of Zoo Hair Lounge, Hackins Hey, Liverpool.

Make-up: LouiseSinclair-Jones from Lancome in John Lewis, using the autumn range of cosmetics -- Sweet Vintage.

Co-ordinated by Jean McLeod of Opulence Couture and Penny Fray of Culture PR.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 14, 2004
Words:538
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