Traditional ballgowns were marked by low necklines, flattered cleavage, and fitting bodices. The wearer’s décolletage – which consisted her neck, upper back, upper shoulder, and upper breasts were on full display, and were considered a woman’s most sensual features. Skirts were often long and full, elongating her legs, widening her hips, and slimming her waist. Throw in a killer corset and you have the perfect silhouette.
In today’s world, we don’t have that many balls, but the classic ballgown has become a staple bridal gown for blushing brides that want to be a princess for a day. They often have sweetheart necklines, dramatic voluminous skirts, and lots of lace. Modern interpretations do take a few liberties, as we’ll see in this list of top bridal ballgowns for 2018.
- Naeem Khan Silver Ballgown
When you want to go all white but with a lot of pizzazz, you could opt for silver. This catwalk ballgown has a strapless tube neckline that clinches the bride’s bodice and offsets the smooth billow of her bridal skirt. The white base is embroidered with intricate patterns in silver threads. The dress works well with dramatic earrings that lift the focus from the bride’s dress to her face.
- Sottero & Midgely Safira
If you’d like to show some skin without showing some skin, try this off-the-shoulder number with an illusion sweetheart front, an illusion open back, and lots of beaded lace that lets your skin shyly peek through, teasing the crystal buttons on the back zipper. The skirt is tulle, and the colour is ivory over a stone or silver accent.
- Lean Clean Reem Accra
For most brides, their wedding day is their one chance to go over the top with their style, so they will wear blinged out dresses and high-end make up. However, for other brides, this exaggerated look is their daily deal, so if they really want to stand out on their wedding day, the best choice is super simple. This dress has a minimalist appearance and no embellishment. The silky sheen highlights the long sleeves, covered shoulders, and unadorned sophistication of an elegantly understated bride.
- Luna Novias Garoa
For the ballerina bride, this tube top neckline stretches delicate boning detail to a dropped satin waistband, which then billows into a full tulle skirt. This dress highlights the features of the petite bride, and is only available in the size 8 that would most be flattered by its dainty silhouette. The Alcenon lace and chapel train top up that feminine touch.
- Fantastic Feathered Anne Barge
The strapless simplicity on the bodice of this no-lace ballgown is contrasted against a fluffy layered skirt that makes the bride seem to float on faux feathers. Smaller brides should avoid this design, since they’re likely to get lost in it, but a taller, slimmer bride could fly down the aisle in full glory. It adds curvature to her trim figure, and is perfect for a cheeky wife-to-be.
- Maggie Sottero Aracella
Everything about this dress screams daring drama, so you should have some big hair to match, with lose spiralling waves, lots of volumising gel, and setting spray for that wind-swept look. The sweetheart neckline cinches into metallic embroidery with crystal accents. The wispy and dramatic tulle skirt seems to swirl in the breeze.
- Cap it with Sachin & Babi
This updated version of the ballgown goes all out in its tribute to the 80s. The bride’s décolletage is celebrated with a bare neck and shoulders framed with bulky cap sleeves that stretch past her wrists and down to mid-finger, no gloves required. The boxy shapes of the dress are juxtaposed against a deeply textured lace overlay and A-line skirt that pays obeisance to the fullness of a ballgown bottom.
- Pronovias Areta
When you think of the stereotypical princess ballgown, this is what you see. Gorgeous organza embellished with lace, and a sweetheart neckline of embroidery threaded with gemstones. The buttoned back leads to a drop waist and a chapel-worthy train. Naturally, it only comes in off-white.
- Zuhair Murad’s Daring Princess
This dress requires … balls. It’s a tricky twist on the princess bridal gown, barely clothing the bride in illusion lace from head to toe and exposing all her flowers as they do a seductive applique dance on her skin. To force your eyes away from all those bridal curves, the ballgown effect is created with a silken swathe of solid fabric forming a full skirt, anchored at her waist, and bouncing off her hips. Wear with care!
- Rebecca Ingram Darlene
For a gown that’s simply stunning, the sweetheart neckline of a lace bodice stitched onto a full tulle skirt that floats over billowing organza. This deceptively uncomplicated dress offsets a classic up-do, and if you really wat to turn heads, buy the tantalising off-the-shoulder elbow-length lace jacket for your vows, then slip it off at the reception for a taste of bridal teasing.