Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Veils of time

Several years ago, long before I met my sweetie, possibly even before I started dating seriously--so, let's say 1999 or 2000--I was standing in front of Saks Fifth Avenue, waiting for a bus to take me home. For those of you who don't know it, Saks Fifth Avenue on Fifth Avenue is a gorgeous, elegant store. The kind of store Carolyn Bessette Kennedy goes into to buy a $4,000 off-the-rack little black dress before flying up to Martha's Vineyard in her husband's small plane. The kind of store with a lunch room for the real Ladies Who Lunch. The kind of store where li'l ol' me goes in to browse, but never to buy. Once I was given a $50 gift certificate to Saks, and it took me two trips and six hours before I found something I could buy--and yes, I looked at the hair accessories.

Saks has gorgeous windows. They are always chock full of beautiful designer clothes, often gowns of the crispest silk faille or the most glorious structured wool suits. I walk by and drool. And, in January, they have wedding clothes.

So, in January of 1999 or 2000, long before I met my sweetie or even started dating seriously, I was standing in front of a Saks window which featured a dress, a tuxedo, doubtless some frippery accessories--and a veil.

The veil was glorious. I don't remember who the designer was, but it was a long, cathedral-length veil, draped mantilla-style over the mannequin's head--not poufy at all, just smooth and elegant as it fell down over her outstretched arm--and edged in at least nine inches of heavy, luxurious alencon lace, all the way around.

I'd never seen a veil like it. It was breathtaking, and the lace was substantial; it looked almost quilted, corded and beaded with pearls, and the extravagant width of it screamed expensive in the best way. It clearly had weight--the veil's drape was entirely due to its lace edge. I fell completely in love with.

Fast forward seven or eight years, and I am looking at veils. Way back when I saw my Dream Veil, I thought it would be an indulgence, but one that wouldn't be too terrible. Now, I laugh: I don't remember who the designer was, but I wouldn't be shocked to hear that that veil cost $8,000 or more. Veils are crazy expensive, especially when you consider that they are pretty simple things: a circle of netting and some lace edging, maybe with a comb sewn on. Sometimes they don't even have the lace edging, and they still run into the hundreds of dollars. I honestly don't get it. There are a lot of things associated with weddings whose expense I don't get, but veils are #1. Designer wedding gowns are ridiculously expensive, but at least they involve some work to create; veils are, well, veils. There's not a lot of there there, and on top of it, you wear the veil for maybe an hour, while you wear the dress all night.

So, needless to say, I won't be investing in my Dream Veil, even if I could find it lo these many years later. But, sadly, the cheaper veils don't do it for me. I am seduced by that nine inch border, something that is so far out of my price range I couldn't even make it myself for the money I am willing to spend. I could easily have a two-inch or even a three-inch border, but....well. It's not the same.

Ha: I guess there is something I am very particular about :-).

So, I am leaning towards skipping the veil entirely. I have been thinking about it, and I realized that I envision myself walking down the aisle without one. I don't want one obscuring my face. Or my hair. Or the dress I love. Or my view of my sweetie.

But that veil in the window of Saks: I'm telling you, it was glorious.


Anonymous said...

Call me crazy..but isn't this a blog froma knitter? don't you know a thing or two about fabric and making things from it? If the expense of buying a veil is putting you off of them, then why don't you make one? It's soooo easy. My Mom made mine, and she is no expert seamstress. The material, you will find, is ridiculously cheap. So, okay, The Dream Veil, might be a little difficult to recreate, but you should definitely think about making one yourself. --cass

Irina said...

I found your blog while trolling the web for alencon lace trim. I'm having the same crisis...finally found the dress and a veil I LOVE, but it's somewhere in the area of $300 (and that's 25% off)! Is one hour of wear really worth that kind of money? I think not. So I've decided to make my own. Pretty lace trim isn't that expensive and a plain veil (already on a comb) can run about $40 or so at most. You can have your dream-ish veil for under $100 is my bed. Cheaper still if you're willing to fuss with the tulle and the comb.

Nopinkertons said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I think what I am going to do is take a stroll thourgh the Garment District and see if anything catches my eye. I'm sure a veil is easy to make, I'm just still not convinced I want one--or that I'd look good in one....

Anonymous said...

I followed your link from WeddingBee.
Me too, wanting wide alencon! I got a gorgeous Alencon lace edged veil for $150, handmade just for me to my specifications (with her guidance about what to do) by this wonderful Louisiana lady, Maria Banker (found her on ebay): http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=southern_artistic_veils