When we wanted to go to a cool restaurant for our recent staff luncheon, we chose the brand new
Lake Chalet, at the edge of Lake Merritt in Oakland.
As an Oakland resident who walks around the lake frequently, I’d been watching this place being built over the last couple of years and was really curious to see how it would turn out. Well, the Chalet is gorgeous! It’s amazing how a building that started out in 1909 as a pumping station and boathouse could have been transformed into such a stunner. Lots of wood and windows plus high ceilings and a 70-foot marble bar overlooking the water create a warm, convivial ambiance.
We dined in the Lake Room upstairs, which extends over the lake and has views on three sides plus a fireplace and it’s own bar. This room, as well as the Gondola Room on the opposite side of the restaurant, is a charming space for a rehearsal dinner, reception or other kind of private party.
I definitely plan to come back to the Chalet for a stint at the main bar, where I can scarf down a pile of sweet potato fries with my beverage of choice and watch the sun set. Oh, and I can’t wait for summer, when the outdoor decks (there’s a bar conveniently located there, too) are sure to become the local hangout of choice. Hey, I might even take a ride on the genuine Venetian gondola that embarks on scenic tours of the lake from the Chalet’s dock. Who needs to go all the way to Venice?
Bows, peplums, floral details, jeweled belts and the return of the ball gown all made news at the New York Bridal Market this past October as the 2010 wedding dress collections were revealed. But perhaps the most prominent wedding fashion trend is the one-shoulder gown, which first made an appearance in 2009 and is still going strong for 2010.
Ever since First Lady Michelle Obama dazzled the nation with her Jason Wu one-shoulder formal at the Inaugural Ball, fashionistas have flocked to emulate her—a sure sign of her popularity. Like it or not, a First Lady or a Royal is often judged by her fashion sense. (Princess Di? 10. Nancy Reagan? 7. Hillary? uh… let’s not go there.) Favoring outfits that show off her buff physique, our Michelle has created quite the media buzz with her fashion choices.
And wedding designers have taken their cue from the sleek and chic First Lady. This year, designers got creative with uniquely beautiful interpretations of that now famous one-shoulder adornment.
If wedding dresses are the ultimate fashion fantasy, then Vera Wang must be the Fairy Godmother. I’m a huge fan, and have stuffed my closet with as many “Simply Vera” outfits as my Kohl’s credit card will allow. One of my favorite Vera Wang wedding dresses ever is Fall 2009’s “Amelia”. To me, this bridal gown says Glamorous Forest Nymph, and the peekaboo petticoat has just the right amount of sauciness. Plus, as Vera explains, her “recent collections of wedding dresses are tinged with color”—and I love that Amelia and her sister-dresses aren’t exactly Snow White. Imagine my delight to see that my favorite “Amelia” was showcased in Vera Wang’s first edition of “Behind the Dress,” part of her “Love, Vera” exclusive newsletter series.
Starting today, HereComesTheGuide.com will be showcasing select editions of Vera’s newsletters. You can sign up for Vera Wang’s RSVP Club here to get all the content, or check out our blog archive for our faves.
The ethereal beauty of a fairytale princess inspired this collection. I wanted to capture the concept of weightlessness through light, frothy skirts. By removing the crinolines (stiff petticoats under the skirt), the wedding dresses gain more movement. The result is a nymph-like sensuality that is both romantic and modern.
Soft draping across a structured bodice is a challenging formula in design. At Vera Wang, we have sought to master this technique and made it a signature of my wedding dresses. With Amelia, I chose to leave the seam allowance at the back of the draped bodice free, consciously adding more detail to the back. My eye is always searching for subtle ways to draw attention there…
I never add ornamentation just for the sake of it. Like jewelry, the crystal corsage at the hip of the Amelia wedding dress can stand on its own. As it is placed here, the crystals add an organic touch of magic to the dress.
Keep in mind, when accessorizing this wedding dress, keep it simple. The mix of design elements speaks volumes; little more is needed or you will overpower the dress.
I added crystal details on Amelia to introduce drama. As a philosophy, ornamentation on a wedding dress should reflect the nature of the celebration as well as the shape of the dress. When added directly to the wedding dress (as shown here), ornamentation accentuates.
Added ornamentation is particularly effective when beading feels overwhelming or inappropriate, such as for a daytime or an outdoor wedding.
My recent collections of wedding dresses are tinged with color to provide a fresh interpretation on modernity. I believe color expresses romance, artistry and femininity. For this particular collection, I focused on a palette of muted colors. Amelia is shown here in pale nude but is also available in ivory and white. Color speaks to each bride in a different way; use it to capture your own sense of style and originality.