Words by: Edie Kim
Photos by: Anna Frumenti
Styling by: Abby Aranda
Modeled by: Sophie Sumner & Stephanie Retuya
Gone are the sticky, sweltering days of summer; finally replaced by the perfectly breezy days of early autumn in September. From the fields of Central Park to the cozier, ancient stone churches tucked along 10th Street in the Lower East Side, brides are sparkling in their fairytale gowns as passerby take photos and well-wishers “ooh” and “ahh.”
Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of September: the smell of childhood classrooms and their freshly waxed floors, the feeling of renewal and the start of a new chapter; but something in the air when the leaves first change color is more romantic to me than the shy buds of spring or the yearning days of a cold winter.
Taste Collection happily provides our perusers with a gorgeous selection of lingerie and loungewear, but our wares aren’t limited to the casual or day-to-day. We have already featured Tadashi Shoji in several other highlights as there’s a palpable pride in carrying the creations of the venerable Tadashi Shoji; a red-carpet gown designer who has dressed the likes of Helen Mirren and Kate Beckinsale before gracing us with a pret-a-porter line for everyday women to feel just as beautiful as his celebrity clientele. However, this is our first feature on his bridal collection and his ethereal garments truly have the radiance to transform its wearer into a Hollywood star or a fairytale bride.
Our beautiful models, Sophie Sumner and Stephanie Retuya, each epitomize the enchantment of Tadashi Shoji’s bridal collection in dichotic ways; both fair and raven-haired. The balance they bring to showcasing Tadashi Shoji’s bridal collection is essential to each of the definitive designs that are encompassed. Being a bride means being your most beautiful; not by a cookie-cutter standard of beauty, but through a culmination of what makes you uniquely beautiful as a woman. Tadashi Shoji’s pieces all boast a refined craftsmanship as a distinction of his collection, but each gown is designed with a different woman in mind; an essential quality in finding the “perfect dress” that is uniquely perfect for you.
Sophie models our first dress that is meticulously embroidered with hundreds of flowers; the sheer cape sleeves and billowing shape resembling a dove in flight. This dress is romance, defined. All the tiny details together create something almost too magical to be real.
Our second gown is in stark contrast to the first; elegant in its simplicity with long, clean lines and a statement bow at the neck as the only decoration. The flourish at the neckline is certainly dramatic for a New Yorker’s minimalist aesthetic, but such avant garde design is what separates Tadashi Shoji’s artistry from the conventional norm. Stephanie looks regal in this dress, her body flows in intrinsic harmony with the free-falling ends of the bow.
Third is Sophie in the bohemian’s dream dress, perfect for the free-spirit who can’t be tied down by convention or 30 feet of tangled tulle (a la Keira Knightley or Whitney Port, both of whom tied the knot in short dresses). The bell sleeves beautifully balance the casual cut of the dress, but what sets this design apart from countless other lace dresses is the intricate lace pattern: a blooming rose at the heart of the gown with dozens of other smaller rosettes adorning every inch of this piece.
Stephanie models our fourth selection; following the former’s predilection for rebellion, this one is not a gown but rather a modern woman’s jumpsuit with a nod to tradition in its white lace pattern. The deep neck of this design is further feminized by the outlines of the leaves and petals being accentuated, rather than being polished off at the sides into a true v-cut.
Our fifth dress is a fairytale come true; childhood dreams realized in yards of tulle and delicate rosettes. While our first gown had hundreds of flowers, this dress relies on the roses for ornamentation only; being defined instead as a diaphanous dream by the billowing tulle skirt. The top is brilliantly contemporary, symmetrical seams stylized into a sunburst with gathered flowers at the stomach, before bursting into a traditional princess’ ball gown.
Sixth is Stephanie in another popular cut, the mermaid dress. Tadashi Shoji’s execution of this style is once again perfected through his carefully lined lace pattern, flowers laid in diamond cuts in the center panel of the gown to accentuate curves and mermaid-friendly fishnet along the sides to highlight length. While most designs rely on all-over lace pattern, Tadashi Shoji pieces demonstrate the distinct difference when each stitch is methodically intended.
Lucky number seven is Sophie rounding up our gowns with the final selection: a beautiful marriage between simple and detailed, modern and traditional. The cut of this piece feels like a favorite summer dress but is fitted like a designer gown. The detailing of the lace in the bodice consciously accentuates the waist but isn’t restrictive like a corseted dress. The highlight is the accordion pleat skirt that is reminiscent of the 1920’s but made contemporary through the use of sheer fabric.
Wedding bells may be far from ringing in your immediate future, but a girl a can dream and Tadashi Shoji’s gowns are spun out of the same spools that our dreams are made of.