The Dress: Memories & Trends Reinvented or Reused

The Dress: Memories & Trends Reinvented or Reused


My friend, Anastasia, is getting married at the end of July and they decided to do pre-wedding photos in their wedding day getup. I asked if her dress was vintage as the style certainly seemed to be. It turned out that her mom made an exact replica of Princess Grace Kelly's from the 1950's. Pretty amazing. It inspired me to check out some other popular/celebrity/royal vintage pieces and their modern day re-makes and influences.

(Whitney Lewis Photography)

Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, April 18th & 19th, 1956.

"Grace's wedding gown was a gift from the MGM Studio and designed by Helen Rose. It was a high-necked, long-sleeved gown with a fitted torso and billowing skirt made of twenty-five yards of silk taffeta, one hundred yards of silk net, peau de soie, tulle and 125-year-old Brussels rose point lace. She wore a Juliet cap that was decorated with seed pearls, orange blossoms, and a veil of 90 yards of tulle. The chief hairstylist at MGM Studios, Sydney Guilaroff, styled Grace's hair for her wedding. Grace carried a small Bible and a bouquet of lilies-of-the-valley. Prince Rainier wore a Napoleonic military type of uniform that he designed himself." -

Grace's wedding gown was very sophisticated and elegant. She was very breathtaking in it. Modest wedding gowns done right are actually very trendy. I thought that this photo of Anastasia best fit the Grace Kelly 'look' (below).

(Whitney Lewis Photography)

Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban (2006) - designed by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga (

I like to think that Ivanka Trump's dress was a Grace Kelly inspiration. Kept somewhat royal and modest with the lace overlay and especially the long veil.

(Fred Marcus Photography/Getty)

Audrey Hepburn & Mel Ferrer, September 26th, 1954.

"For her wedding ceremony with Mel Ferrer she wore a timeless gown by Balmain. This dress was a sweet-tea length dress that matched her pixie length hair decorated with fresh flowers." -

The key design point about Hepburn's and other popular 1950's dresses is the focus on the "tea-length" description. There are quite a few gorgeous variations with the same idea reinvented...and what a great way to show off some fun shoes!

( - this blog post also provides some great links to the designers) ( - left / right)

(Once Upon a Time - Dana Bolton, London Dressmaker)

(Once Upon a Time -Dana Bolton, London Dressmaker)

If you're in to sewing, there are a lot of resources online. One seemingly good resource I came across was from - "Sewing Vintage Wedding Gowns". Also, there are other pattern's available for the specific "tea-length" style which was popular in the 1950's.

(pattern from

Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio, January 1954.

"Marilyn Monroe’s wedding dress was not a typical white bridal gown, but it was certainly elegant and completely appropriate for the ceremony and for Marilyn Monroe’s unique personality." -

Marilyn's dress was pretty basic compared to what she's known for. With that said, she still turned heads, well, because she's Marilyn Monroe. I'm pretty sure she could wear a paper bag and people would still say she was stunning.

The most shocking thing about Marilyn's choice of dress was not the style, it was the colour. A suite-style dress wasn't uncommon, but using anything other than white, was (at that time). Today wedding dresses can be anything and it's not such a huge surprise because people are learning that you can really do what you want. I think that's what Marilyn brought to this world - be yourself.

(Black Beauty Bustle Gown by Stephanie Madesh, a New York based designer. See the bottom of this post for more links to Stephanie)

Black black_raspberry


A black wedding gown became really popular in 2008 in Paris. Well known designers even added more than one style to their lines it was so popular.

"Americans didn't always believe white was traditional. During the Revolutionary War, some brides wore red to symbolize the independence the Colonists desired. Other brides wore purple which represents honor and courage during the Civil War as a tribute to the war dead." -

Colour in today's American wedding gowns really reflects the individuality and personality of the brides. Although in our past, some brides chose to go with certain colours as an honorary movement. Additionally, around the world, the dress colour has a lot of meaning past and present.

For instance, Spain has a tradition with black...

"Spanish Roman Catholic brides wear black gowns and lacy mantillas to show their devotion until death."-

No luck finding any Marilyn Wedding Dress Re-Makes, but she certainly set a precedent for wedding dress styles from her other obvious known dresses. I'm of course hinting toward one of the most famous scenes - the wind and grate scene from the movie, "The Seven Year Itch" which features her in the halter top, backless dress with flowing skirt, an image forever burned into our heads.



This is a very common, but beautiful style (

And of course, Dolce & Gabbana made a fashion gown (wedding?) with a large repeating black-and-white photo of Marilyn printed on the full skirt! I guess you'd have to be a pretty big fan of her to wear that on your wedding day! I'm sure someone could pull this off.

Here are a few how-to's or patterns on making the famous white halter: (how-to), Patterns of Time (pattern), (McCALLS vintage pattern), / user "oldclothes" (McCALLS modern pattern, vintage style).

Then of course there is Gwen Stefani Gavin Rossdale's wedding and the famous pink gradient on her gown. Gwen's look and appeal reminds me so much of the sexy rebellious Marilyn.


Jacqueline Bouvier & JFK, September 12th, 1953.


...she wore one of the most talked about wedding dresses of all times. Made with Battenberg lace, the dress was created by Ann Lowe in New York and is currently on display at the Kennedy Library in Boston." -

"...made of 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta and a full bouffant skirt woven with tiny white flowers. She added a touch of colour with tiny orange blossoms in her hair.  The focal point of the look was the portrait neckline of her gown that showcased her beautiful shoulders and neck, which was adorned with a single strand of family pearls." -

Jackie's dress style with fitted bodice, cap sleeves and full skirt is a style that continue's to be popular in many dresses today. The detail of the taffeta in the full skirt is very original. In fact I am pretty surprised at how hard it is to find similar re-makes of her dress, as popular as it was.

Here's an entire slideshow of Jackie and John's wedding day from LIFE Magazine. Some say that an exact re-make in strapless would work quite well, where others have their own take on it...

( - by Greta Rumsby)

(SnapPhotography -

Diana, The Princess of Wales & Prince Charles, July 1981.


Although Diana had a pretty impressive dress, I highly doubt anyone will be completely replicating it anytime soon, especially the puffy sleeves - notable in the 80's and early 90's. I can't imagine how heavy that dress was. I don't find it particularly attractive, but it suited the times. Good luck finding a pattern (actually I'm sure you could easily find this basic look in a pattern, but the yards and yards of fabric would be crazy). A lot of Catholic wedding gowns tend to go with long trains is the only carry-over I see from this style., but that's not quite unique as many brides have done that, just not as impressive as Diana's.

My Dress, May 2005.

My husband and I have been together since 2000 (ten years in June) and were married five years ago. I wish I had a better photo. I have others but my scanner is giving me issues so you get this very low quality preview.

I'm not a very picky person, but I did want a nice looking, simple but elegant, dress. Mind you, I'm not interested in spending money on labels or designers when I can get something I would be just as happy with and looks and fits just as nice (in my eyes) for a whole lot cheaper.

I got my dress at - unfortunately, as some of you may know, BrideSave is no longer in business. They used to be the leading online retailer for bride and bridesmaid dresses. Apparently they just disappeared one day (2005/2006) leaving a lot of brides in the mud ( I would have highly recommended them for my experience with ordering was great.

I wouldn't necessarily consider that my dress was bought "off the rack" as the dreaded phrase says. I wouldn't have cared less either way, I liked the dress a ton. I remember having to wait three months for my dress to be cut and sewed (manufactured) - something to consider if you are buying on or offline. Don't wait too long to go dress hunting, although I think most of us know, that's the first thing we want to do.

My dress was a CASABLANCA BRIDAL dress. It's made out of high quality fabrics, inlays, and the lace and any jewel adornments are not cheap looking. It was the first dress I looked at online and offline. I remember paying about $160 on the websites clearance sale for it and overall ended up spending maybe $300 after getting it hemmed and pressed for the day-of (expenses you need to consider after paying for the dress). I didn't require any other adjustments it fit that well! I wore it without an extra slip (the pouffy kind) - it came with a built in slip to give it a little extra body.

Notes & Other Resources.

Designer, Stephanie Madesh: I loved this post on her blog about her process from start to finish building one of her most popular dress styles for an order - Beauty White Sand Crunchy Silk Taffeta (from her blog). She is also on as stephaniemadesh. And of course her website, which I mentioned above in the Marilyn Monroe section.

Some useful DIY sites: ,

This also looked like a good directory for 50's dress patterns - - People selling their wedding dresses, specifically designer dresses, bridesmaid dresses, veils, jewelry (buyer beware)... etc. - some interesting information about dress colours and different wedding traditions past and present around the world.

The information on colour in wedding gowns from - Colored Wedding Dresses, I thought was a good read as well.

I couldn't help but attach this. Weird, unique or interesting wedding facts and finds over the years from Enjoy!

Related Articles

Showing 1 - 6 of 6 Comments
Great post! I love the Grace Kelly and the Audrey Hepburn inspired dresses the most!
Thanks Molly!
Thank you! Yes, I think my favorites are the Audrey Hepburn dresses. Way cute style. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

caori wrote:
Great post! I love the Grace Kelly and the Audrey Hepburn inspired dresses the most!
Thanks Molly!
Fantastic post! Gorgeous dresses :)
OMGosh!!! SHREK & FIONA?!! HAHAHAHHA!!! I can't believe someone would do that?! thanks for sharing!

caori wrote:
Yes I did, a lot. I like your wedding posts!
Somehow we all wana be the the princess of our childhood tales! :o)
Thank you so much! It was a fun one for sure!

koala988 wrote:
Fantastic post! Gorgeous dresses :)

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Terms Updated

We’d like to inform you that we have updated our Terms of Use. The most substantive changes are:

This platform was acquired by a joint venture in Israel.
changes have been made to the relevant jurisdiction for disputes which may arise out of your use of the platform.
Changes made to the monetization of users’ creations and the ability to opt out from your account settings.

Please view the revised Terms here. If you don’t mind anything there, then you don’t need to do anything. Your continued use of the platform will constitute your acceptance of the latest version of the Terms. If you disagree with anything there, you can terminate your account within seven days from today.