Flower girl fashion grows up


Newsday
Published Sunday, April 06, 2008

MELVILLE, N.Y. When it comes to flower girl dresses, sophisticated is the new cute. "There's a sort of cliche as to what a flower girl is supposed to look like," says Bonnie Young, who was a designer for Donna Karan for 16 years and began her own line for children 18 months ago.

Poofy, tutu-like dresses bursting with tulle are out, she says; simple silhouettes offering clean lines are in.

White and ivory remain the most popular colors, but designers also are using splashes of color this season.

"This spring we are seeing earthy colors, including soft blush pinks, champagne, cocoas, light greens," says Norma Sawdy, vice president and designer for Us Angels, noting that these colors often mirror the bridal party.

Roselynn Fiumara, general manager for Bridal Reflections in Massapequa, Carle Place and Manhattan, agrees, noting that some dresses have colored embroidery, colored sashes, beading, a bit of sparkle and sequins.

"Lace is popular with wedding gowns this season," Fiumara says. "Lace tops are popular for flower girls, the two-tone effect."

Brides also are getting away from the wreath in the hair for flower girls. "They're more sophisticated," she says. "You'll see fresh flowers, crystal hairpins in an updo; maybe in the front you'll have hair jewelry that adds a little sparkle."

Flower girls range in age from about 3 to 7 years old, so comfort and dress durability are important.

"If a child is going to walk down the aisle, it can be very scary," Young says. "You don't want the hem so long that she would trip on it. And if she doesn't like long sleeves, don't have long sleeves."

Fabrics that hold up better are light satin and organza, said Fiumara. Dresses also should be lined, she adds. "A higher-quality dress is important to hold up comfortably for the five or so hours of a wedding and reception."

Flower girl dresses can cost anywhere from $60 to $600.

Jane Launer, 30, recently took her 3-year-old, Madelyn, for a fitting at Bridal Reflections in Massapequa. Madelyn tried on eight or nine dresses. They decided on an ivory dress with a yellow sash and yellow rosettes. Launer, who spent $185, is hoping her daughter will be able to wear the dress again after her brother's wedding in May.

"I'm kind of eyeing it for next Easter, if it holds up," she says. "If not, maybe she'll wear it as a Halloween costume."

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service

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