Classic Cinches

CTW Features

Brides may now be off the hook for a pre-wedding diet.

Dresses with corset bodices are popping up on red carpet-worthy gowns, slimming celebrity silhouettes, and gaining popularity with the bridal market. Catherine Zeta Jones wore a forest green textured gown by Monique Lhuillier to the 2011 Golden Globe Awards that featured a corset. At the 2011 SAG Awards, Angie Harmon rocked a pink strapless feathered gown by Monique Lhuillier with a corset bodice.

The idea of a corset may make women in the 21st century cringe (who doesn’t remember Scarlett O’Hara being laced into her corset by her Mammy?). And, no doubt, as undergarments go, corsets are more or less history. But, what’s not to like about a style than can flatten the tummy and zap away inches along the waistline, not to mention, give a boost to cleavage?

“We have more girls asking for that look,” says Carrie Casper, director of merchandising and operations for The White Dress, a bridal boutique in Corona Del Mar, Calif., which carries gowns by Reem Acra, Amsale and others. “Lace-up corsets let brides fine-tune the fit of the dress throughout their big day. They can pull tight for pictures and loosen up the laces when they’ve eaten.”

Reem Acra’s fall 2011 collection included a number of strapless corseted looks with full skirts. Lazaro is offering an ivory organza bridal ballgown with a sheer Alencon lace corset bodice and a tiered pleated silk organza bridal ball gown with an Alencon lace bodice. The David’s Bridal Web site also lists a few options, including a satin corset ball gown with beaded lace appliqués.

Some designers are incorporating the look into the newer trend of elongated bodices. Maggie Sottero’s 2011 collection includes lace-up corsets on dropped waist gowns with organza and satin skirts, looks that conjure up a modern-day princess style. And, anything related to princesses this year are sure to win over brides-to-be who will be eyeballing what Kate Middleton wears on her wedding day to Prince William of Wales.

“It’s a young fresh look for the season,” says designer Reem Acra.

The key is not to scream Frederick’s of Hollywood.

“Monique’s corsets are not heavy satin numbers, but thinner and lighter and made with bobbinet and embellished with lace,” says Lori Weil, sales director for Monique Lhuillier, whose corseted styles include an ivory Chantilly lace corset gown with an organza trumpet skirt and a tulle strapless corset dress with a silk satin organza trumpet skirt. “It’s not Madonna. It’s not garish. It just holds you in and makes you look like a rail.”

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Photo credit: L to R: Maggie Sottero, Lazara, David’s Bridal

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