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Recession-Proof Wedding at Vera Wang

New York – A bride-to-be might worry for months about making her wedding day perfect, and that includes finding the ultimate dress. But flash forward to the end of the night on her wedding day, to the champagne soaked floors, disheveled hair and a crinkled dress - yet she's still looking radiant - and you see that there's a real case to be made for imperfection.

A not-so-perfect, artfully mismatched look was the theme of Vera Wang's Spring 2010 bridal collection, which she presented in her New York showroom on Wednesday, April 8.

Wang's wedding gowns mixed and matched fabrics like silk with asymmetrically draped tulle, added mismatched bows tied in all different directions and tacked together sweeping mille-feuille layers, turning the back of one ball gown into a walking cross-section of the Grand Canyon. "Mixed-media" as Wang put it.

"It's as though they were tossed in a washing machine," said Wang, and then, one imagines, were tumble dried. "They're youthful and more organic than most gowns," she said.

Asymmetrical draping of effervescent clouds of tulle layered with hand-painted silk made these gowns both fragile and substantial - there's an intense level of design and couture-like finishing, yet a lightness and sense of dynamism. These dresses have movement and feel completely fresh. Part of this is due to the way they were constructed, using lighter bodices on the inside, and then building the dresses onto those "tubes."

Wang understands that not all her customers want a dramatic look for a wedding-as-fashion-shoot type of event. "There are gowns that satisfy the more informal wedding," said Wang, pointing to a slender, delicate silk charmeuse bias-draped gown with a more sparing use of mille-feuille as a ruffled accent near the bottom of a flared skirt. "You really have to wardrobe them for specific locations."

A fashionable bride getting married in a garden, for instance, might appreciate the spring green and lavender ball gown, as though she were sprouting from the earth as one the season's first crocuses.

"Especially with the recession, I wanted the dresses to stand for more," said Wang.

Next year would seem to be the ideal year to get married, if a Vera Wang wedding gown is what you have your eye on. She's lowered her median price point 30 to 40 percent, from $5,500 to $3,800. "There are 10 gowns at the $3,800 level," she said.

Wang calls it "demi-couture." While Wang has worked with her team to get the prices down, none of the quality has been sacrificed. Each gown has a highly artistic feel. "They're not easy to duplicate," she said, "but we'll get it down."