Creating a Custom Bridal Gown

Continued (page 2 of 3)

Custom scent designer Christopher Brosius, of CB I Hate Perfume, will work with brides-to-be to craft signature scents in his Brooklyn studio. His process is old-world: He creates the scent drop by drop, with the client sniffing the brew every step of the way. Just like a couturier, Brosius allows for “fittings”: The client wears her fragrance for a week or two, then comes back for any necessary adjustments. Anyone wishing to collaborate with Brosius on a custom scent must come to him, though he does consider exceptions for those willing to collect him in a private jet. “I have had clients who flew me places, which involved carting a ton of luggage. That is how I arrived at the decision: No travel unless by private jet,” he says. (It hasn't happened yet.)

But it's not just the brides who are receiving personalized attention. Many grooms are commissioning their suits and tuxedos from Savile Row-style tailors such as Michael Andrews Bespoke in New York City. Michael Andrews Bespoke doesn't provide an old-world experience per se, nor are its creations at all stodgy; in fact, there's a bohemian cool factor, a vibe of aristocracy meets punk. “The studio is anything but old-fashioned,” says Michael Mantegna, co-owner of the business. “Our location is unconventional at best; we liken it to a speakeasy of clothes. It's tucked in a back alley, down a flight of stairs.” Both customers and employees enjoy cocktails in front of a flatscreen TV while choosing lining colors and buttons. This relaxed atmosphere, coupled with the studio's reputation for creating meticulously fitted suits with slim, contemporary silhouettes, has made it a destination for grooms and groomsmen alike. “The rationale is, if a bride is going to spend $5,000 or more on a dress she's going to wear once, why shouldn't the groom spend $1,000 to $2,000 on a suit he can wear for the rest of his life?” Mantegna explains.

Andrew Grosso, a theater director in New York City, was recently married in a one-of-a kind look from Michael Andrews Bespoke. “I did enjoy the process of picking out swatches, buttons and detailing,” he says. “It was pretty quick—one afternoon fitting and two return trips... It was a bit of an indulgence, but there's nothing like the comfort of wearing something that was made to fit you. It bends, stretches and moves in all the right places.”

While some couples give groomsmen custom suits or shirts as their gifts for participating in the wedding, others are pampering their bridesmaids with made-to-order dresses. Bride Zehra Rizvi had a London tailor handmake traditional Pakistani outfits for each of her attendants to wear during a Bollywood dance they performed for her April 2008 wedding weekend in Dubai. For her own traditional garments, Zehra accompanied a Pakistani designer to the dyers in Karachi, where she selected from 15 different custom shades of pink. “I always knew I wanted to go custom,” Zehra says, “but I wanted to add a mix of modernity to it for an old-meets-new concept. My outfits were made by traditional designers and tailors, but I chose the fabrics and crystals, pearls and beads that were going to make the outfit really amazing.”

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