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Cinderella for a Day

Jan 30, 2015 03:30AM ● Published by Jason Huddle

By: Kim Casell

Cyndi Budhisetiawan (Budhi for short) and her husband Yunus own Impressions Bridal & Prom in Concord. In business since September 1998, they’ve seen a lot of fashion trends come and go, and come back again.

Entering the shop, you walk into a burst of color, from bright greens to deep purples and everything in between. While popular dress colors in 2015 – whether it be for bridesmaids or prom-goers – are navy blue and coral, Cyndi Budhi still finds her bridal customers going with white, ivory or champagne for their own gowns.

“There’s blush too, but 98 percent of our brides will go out with an ivory gown. Customer service reps are sometimes surprised when a bride orders white,” Budhi says.

So, what else impacts formal styles and colors? Hint: Hurray for Hollywood! While The Great Gatsby still influences a number of weddings, “The big thing for this year is almost every designer has come out with a shade of blue because of Frozen,” Budhi says. “Disney has the copyright for the actual color, but you have copycats. You find designers copying each other. We are big into not doing the copycat thing.”

Impressions Bridal orders and sells designer dresses by Justin Alexander as well as Maggie & Shirley and Christina Rossi. Budhi has learned over the years who will make changes to their designs for the bride, and that customization can make or break a purchase.

“We have two designers that will do just about anything for you. We advise brides to try on any gown, even if there’s a part they don’t like. They walk out with a dress that’s pretty well custom because some designers will make changes to their design,” Budhi shares. “There for a while, Justin Alexander was our no. 1 seller since we can do customization, but Christina Rossi and Maggie & Shirley have picked up.”

On the down side, Budhi has seen some hefty price increases in the last four years or so, double what she used to pay. She said it’s across the board in the bridal wear industry.

“We deal directly with the designers and they tell us the minimum of what to mark a dress at,” Budhi explains. “As long as a store is fair, you can find a Justin Alexander here and go to a store in South Carolina. If they carry that same line, it should be the same price within $50.

“We won’t lower a price point. You can lose your agreement with the designer if you mark it too low. If the gown is off the floor, it’s your gown and you paid for it. If you’re ordering a gown, if you get caught, you could get cut off and are not allowed to sell that designer.”

Once a bride has come to a decision about her dress, it typically takes about 19 weeks for it to come in. That’s because they’re imports and have to go through Customs. That in itself can be a slow process due to the world’s anti-terrorism safety measures.

“There’s also alterations and portraits,” Budhi adds. “We advise they start their alterations at a minimum of eight weeks out (from their wedding). Our local seamstress can go in and add sleeves, a yoke, whatever you like.”

Okay, so ivory is the color of choice for most brides. What will they see in the way of changing styles for 2015? Both spring and fall ’15 fashion shows have already hit the runways. For spring, brides will see detachable tulle overskirts, off-the-shoulder-necklines, and illusion cap sleeves and necklines.

More daring brides might opt for color. While it’s predicted that designers won’t create as many in a blush shade this year, blue, gray, even mint green are on the menu. Long and short capes, some with feather or fur trim, also walked the runways, as did 1930s-inspired sheaths and slip gowns. Collars re-appeared, too, some with embroidered bodices, as well as high V and sheer illusion necklines.

Another trend? Beach chic: asymmetrical hemlines, crop tops and peek-a-boo lace. “Usually, what they’ll have is the ivory lace with color under it,” Budhi says. “Some will actually take bridesmaids dresses and do that. And some brides will change between the wedding and the reception…a duplicate of the bridesmaid dress in ivory.”

Next winter sees deep, plunging necklines. “You’ll see a lot of detail on the back…low, low-cut backs,” Budhi adds. “There will be more plunging in the back than the front. Girls are still a little modest.”

Cutouts – some with lace – at the hips, sides, waist and down the skirt are a trend, as are appliquéd laser-cut florals. Some will cover an entire bodice using metallic threads. Corset bodices are a hit, paired with ball gowns, mermaid skirts or sheaths. Translucent overlays and tulle cover short skirts. And feathers, more crop tops and fringe, oh my.

Metallic fabrics will go beyond the typical golds, silvers and bronzes. Designers are creating gowns in blue, pink and purple metallics.

Outerwear for winter ’15 brides sees cropped coats, motorcycle jackets, and winter jackets with short and three-quarter sleeves, some with fur trim. Turtlenecks are being incorporated into capes, and dresses too.

“You can order a jacket that doesn’t look like a jacket. For winter, a lot of brides are going with capes. For a wedding in Blowing Rock, go with a fur wrap,” Budhi says.

“Last year, designs started coming in with more sleeves,” she adds. We’re talking what appear to be 1970s-inspired flouncy sleeves…wide, ruffled, sheer or bell styles reminiscent of peasant dresses.

For the unconventional bride, runway models have sported rompers, jumpsuits and pants – wide-leg or tailored – sometimes with a blazer. When asked about Cabarrus County brides’ tastes, Budhi says, “Pants? Not so much.”

At the end of the day, Budhi wants her brides to remember their gown-buying trip as pleasantly memorable. “We want to sell you the experience, not necessarily the gown. We can pretty well make what you like if you have the time,” she says.

“Our store is a little different. When we started marketing this, we didn’t want to be a competitor. We like to be an extension of other bridal shops because we can’t all carry the same lines. I prefer to refer the bride to another store and will contact them that the bride’s coming. Not all stores do.”

For more information, visit Impressions Bridal & Prom’s website at www.impressbridal.com.

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