Weddings 2012 Planning Guide: Bridesmaid Dresses
The 69-year-old American designer is known for doing cartwheels on the runway, and that exuberance is evident in each of her party-girl frocks. Her Yorkville boutique doesn’t carry an exclusive line of bridesmaid gear, but it is still popular with free-spirited brides who want to adorn their best friends in sequins, lace, taffeta, ruffles and hot pink ribbon. A-line dresses, supported by layers of crinoline, can spice up the otherwise earnest walk down the aisle, and flit effortlessly into a night of dancing. Orders typically take one week. Most garments are priced between $300 and $500; no alterations in store. 102 Yorkville Ave. (at Hazelton Ave.), 416-922-8164.
Cabaret is the city’s best spot for mid-century modern formalwear. The house line includes 20 glamorous cocktail-style dresses, many of which can be adapted into wedding gowns, with such frothy names as The Bijou and The Soiree. The frocks are custom fitted with impeccably pleated bustiers and voluminous structured skirts ($475–$995) that skim the knees like a swinging bell. For brides who don’t mind a mismatched party, there are restored vintage dresses from the ’20s to the ’70s, with dainty beaded purses and gold cigarette cases—the stuff your grandma kept for special occasions. 672 Queen St. W. (at Euclid Ave.), 416-504-7126.
CHAMPAGNE AND CUPCAKES
As the bubbly and butter frosting name suggests, this Queen West boutique caters to women whose tastes tend toward the super-sweet and girly. Owner and designer Caroline Yoon, who can often be found sewing dainty cocktail dresses at her machine in the back of the store, launched her White Label line of bridesmaid dresses ($189–$300) in 2009. The feel of the collection is youthful, flirty and simple—sweetheart necklines, A-line silhouettes, bubble hems—with soft satins and silks in solid colours (no prints) from across the spectrum. Given four to six weeks, Yoon can tailor a sample to your specifications, or she can work from pencil and pad to sketch out an original creation ($375 and up). Closed Monday. 1114 Queen St. W. (at Dovercourt Rd.), 416-533-2253.
This chic Yorkville shop may be synonymous with Lundström (this is the brand’s flagship store), but Eleven also hosts a healthy stable of other Canadian designers, including David Dixon, Basch and Joeffer Caoc. Bridal offerings tend to be the cocktail length. While Lundström frocks veer toward classic cuts with minimal embellishments, the Dixon dresses redefine the bridesmaid look: a sheer black number with a sequined waistband and faux-feather skirt might be too Black Swan for some, but for those who are weary of the demure sidekick look, it’s perfect. Order six weeks in advance. 116 Cumberland St. (at Bellair St.), 416-966-3935.
The bridesmaid options at this fashionable West Queen West boutique are more Avril Lavigne than Anne Hathaway. A thigh-high cobalt-blue Naven dress ($445) with a modified sweetheart neckline is appropriately rock ’n’ roll, while an understated cream Grecian number by Factory ($265) won’t overshadow the bride. Jacflash isn’t a bridal salon, so multiple sizes can’t always be ordered, but all the dresses will have a post-nuptial life. 1036 Queen St. W. (at Ossington Ave.), 416-516-8766.
Elizabeth Oliveira has been a custom clothier for over a decade, focusing largely on bridal alterations and tailoring vintage finds, while also designing jewellery and Debut, her own line of bridesmaid dresses. Jewel-toned, short and strapless, the Debut dresses start at $475, while wedding dresses start at $900. Vintage is a strength. Closed Sunday. 677 Queen St. W. (at Markham St.), 416-504-1504.