A new "Jewel" in the crown

Wedding Dresses
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In this gloomy economy, it's nice to look to fashion for a moment of respite and find a new line that is concerned with delivering elegance at more affordable prices. We are not in a frou frou moment, and this new collection dubbed "Jewel," debuting next month from the Priscilla of Boston bridal group, gets it completely right. Retailing from $1650 to $2950, it marries clean traditional silhouettes with exquisite beading and pleating, for an overall effect of restrained glamour. The drama is in the details here.

What's more, 11 of the 15 gowns will be available in Priscilla of Boston stores as early as April 11, so there's no waiting three or four months to see these gowns. Yesterday, I had a chance to meet Kelly Faetanini, the effervescent 24-year-old designer of the new line, who walked me through the collection so I could give Brides.com readers a preview in advance of the formal presentation during New York Bridal Market in April.

There's more!

Faetanini drew much of the inspiration for the collection from her love of ballet. And some common ballet themes run throughout the collection—interesting pleating, criss-crossing like the ribbons from ballet slippers, beading at the waistline that you might find in ballet costumes. "Ballet is feminine and romantic," she says, "And that is what this collection is about."

She used soft fabrics but gave them a formal structure that goes a long way to giving the classic, traditional bride options with new details. She researched ballet costumes from the 1920's onward, and even found inspiration from vintage jewelry—which you can see in the shape of the beadwork. Many of the gowns incorporate inverted pleats—and pockets—that are worked in a flattering way.

"I wanted to play with proportion a lot and lines to emphasize great areas on the body," she says, "A curve of the pleat can somehow shrink the body at the waist."

All except one of the gowns are strapless. And Faetanini gave a lot of attention to the necklines. "A lot of necklines from ballet have that very, very sensual deep V," she says.

There are some wonderful options for brides in this collection. For me, one of the most interesting incorporated netting over the skirt. It reminded me of the best of the dresses from the 1950's, but updated in a thoroughly modern way for today. It's a gown that would be great for twirling on the dance floor.

In the end, Faetanini wanted the dresses to have a glamourous and youthful feeling, which because of the fabric and the structure and the embellishments, they do.

Check back the first week of April when Brides.com will show you the full runway presentation. And here's a first look at three sketches from the collection below. —Michelle Preli

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