The upper half of a wedding gown is the most important part of the dress. Why? Because the bodice is close to the face and gives the body its shape under the dress, particularly since many skirts are full and conceal the lower body altogether.
This season, designers stepped away from a romantic, sweet look and moved towards a more linear, architectural and bolder bodice.
The sculpted bodice started appearing a few years back with the revival of the very elegant crumb-catcher, which can literally catch any crumbs that may escape from a bride's lips while she delicately noshes on her wedding cake. However, the crumb-catcher is really meant as a decorative asset to the bodice of a dress.
It's merely a separate panel of fabric, usually in a stiff material that moves slightly away from the body to create a unique, dramatic shape. The crumb-catcher has been in and out of fashion for hundreds of years. They are particularly beautiful on strapless wedding gowns that have a fitted, structured bodice.
Designers went above and beyond the crumb-catcher this season with artful drapes, twists and folds. Some gowns, like Vera Wang's corset ball gown works wonders with exaggerated and asymmetric boning poking fun at the traditional corset wedding dress, while her cream tulle ballerina gown has a soft, swirly pleated bodice that moves up and around the bust and shoulders in an organic, free-form movement.
Ines di Santo designed one of the most dramatic silhouettes of the season with a silk Mikado column that takes the shape of a calla lily. A high, sculpted neckline in front twists off to one side like a flower, while the back folds and dips down deep.
A sculpted bodice needn't be over the top. Some of the prettiest and most wearable have clean, unique draping or an oversized bow that gives the gown a new, elegant look while remaining simple and modern. Look to Amsale, Marchesa and Carolina Herrera for some that are simply the best.