Style for a Steal: Zac Posen Joins Designers to Offer Diffusion Wedding Line

From Vera Wang to Monique Lhuillier, a look at designers who've done bridal on the dime

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Zac Posen’s name brings to mind old-Hollywood glamour, refined tailoring, dramatic details. It conjures up images of all the celebrities he has outfitted for the red carpet, including Beyoncé, Natalie Portman, and Claire Danes. But with his new diffusion line for David’s Bridal, Truly Zac Posen, a more diverse variety of women—of brides, to be more specific—will be able to pick up his designs, off-the-rack. Featuring the designer’s signature details, such as mermaid tails, figure-flattering corsetry, and delicate layering of textures, the line will launch next February online and in 50 stores, with six wedding-dress styles ranging from $850 to $1,350, and five social occasion dresses (perhaps for the bridesmaids?), which will retail for $195 to $225.

“Truly by Zac Posen brings to David’s his well-known red-carpet aesthetic and flair for drama,” Catalina Maddox-Wagers, executive vice president of merchandising at David’s Bridal, told TIME. “His designs are meant to enhance and celebrate the beauty of a woman’s curves expressed in the form of exquisite corsetry and sophisticated lines accented with romantic details—a perfect formula for bridal that was missing from our assortment.” She added that plus-sized brides are likely to love to line, since “Zac’s fascination with curves translates beautifully and with ease into plus sizes.”

“I’ve always felt there was a void when brides come to me and want to commission a wedding dress, because that means they can’t find what’s out there,” Posen, who designed custom wedding dresses for Portia de Rossi and Coco Rocha, told USA Today.

Zac’s collection for David’s Bridal joins several other wedding diffusion lines that have sprung up in recent years, offering brides a designer look and cache for less cash. Here’s a look at some standouts:

WHITE by Vera for David’s Bridal: Vera Wang’s line for David’s Bridal, launched in 2011, features wedding gowns far more affordable than her runway styles ($600-$1,700) and bridesmaid dresses ($160-$200) in a range of silhouettes, from strapless, draped lace column gowns and Grecian-inspired draping to short one-shoulder and strapless tulle dresses. Both formal ball room styles and more casual silhouettes are represented. According to Maddox-Wagers, the line is “more whimsical, more flowy” than Posen’s, so there is room for both at David’s Bridal. The line also offers accessories, including shoes, hairpieces and veils. While David’s Bridal doesn’t discuss sales figures, the line not only made a big media splash when it launched but David’s Chief Marketing Officer Brian Beitler confirmed that it it sold better than expected. “From the moment we announced the partnership, we had customer inquiry,” he said. Annual sales for the Vera Wang catalogue of brands are estimated to be about $700 million.

BLACK by Vera Wang for Men’s Wearhouse: The tuxedo rental collection, launched in early 2012, lends the retailer a modern edge with its high-quality super 130s wool fabric and trendy, slim fits—two-button jackets, side vents, and flat-front pants. The complete look, including coat, pant, shirt, bow or tie and vest, cufflinks, shoes and socks, can be rented starting at $220.

ML Monique Lhuillier: The designer’s diffusion lines include ML Monique Lhuillier and ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids. Launched in 2011, the designer’s ML Monique Lhuillier evening-dress diffusion line is available at Saks.com and Neiman Marcus, and ranges from $398 to $798. It features everything from lace cocktail dresses with illusion necklines (that can double as bridesmaid dresses) to long organza mermaid gowns. There are a few bridal-appropriate gowns, like a tulle one-shoulder number for $698. Meanwhile, ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids for Nordstrom features modern bridesmaid dresses in a variety of colors and cuts, from one-shoulder cocktail dresses to long, strapless gowns, all from $178-$498.

Mae by Johanna Hehir: One of London’s leading bridal designers, Johanna Hehir launched her vintage-inspired wedding-dress diffusion line in May 2012, with dresses in soft, flowing georgette, silk crepe and lace, with illusion necklines, delicate buttons and elegant back details. Retailing for between £1,000 and £1,500 ($1,571-$2,359), they are at least a thousand pounds cheaper than Hehir’s beloved couture pieces. Having quite a following on British bridal blogs, the gushing over her new dresses was endless. “I love the variety of flattering cuts, straps, and oh-so-pretty sleeves, while the modern, deep, v-neck backs make my heart skip a beat,” wrote Bridal Musings.

Marchesa for Priscilla of Boston: In March 2011, high-end wedding-dress designer Georgina Chapman of Marchesa got in on the off-the-rack bridal trend by inking an exclusive deal with nationwide retailer Priscilla of Boston (since closed), to launch Eterna Marchesa. The elaborate concoctions, featuring plenty of corsets and tulle, retailed for $1,500-$5,000—more expensive, but also more decadent than the White by Vera Wang for David’s Bridal dresses. The line hit stores in fall 2011, to much excitement and press from Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and more. But alas, the iconic Priscilla of Boston brand, known for designing for Grace Kelly and the daughters of presidents Johnson and Nixon, went out of business soon after (in December 2011), shutting down its 19 salons after 65 years. Its parent company decided to invest more in its sister brand, David’s Bridal.

 

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