NORRIS’S BRIDAL FANTASY

Byline: Leonard McCants

NEW YORK — With her lavish Victorian-themed eveningwear that launched for spring retailing, Maggie Norris crafted a collection of costume-like gowns and separates that combine modern fabrics with extravagant 18th-century silks, embroidered fabrics and antique linens that she collects from around the world.
For fall, Norris, who designed for Ralph Lauren and Mondi before venturing on her own in 1999, is expanding into the bridal market, with a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces that she presented for the first time at a Bergdorf Goodman preview last week.
The 30 looks employ Norris’s interest in 19th-century equestrian fantasy, employing centuries-old embroidered fabrics that have been reworked into corsets with modern duchesse satins and silk canvas.
“A lot of bridal business is about the woman and her ideas and how to make her feel special,” Norris said. “It was a natural segue and that’s why I love bridal.”
Her bridal collection, like the signature line, is made by hand in the U.S. or in France, where she contracts workers from the couture factories. The gowns made domestically range in price from $6,000 to $15,000 at retail, and pieces made in France may cost up to $50,000. Both the evening and bridal lines are available exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman.
One of the central themes for the bridal collection is the corset, which she said she used because it creates a slimmer waistline and it complements the 17th-century embroidered men’s vests Norris found at antique shops around the world.
Norris said she was also influenced by Thirties and Forties glamour, describing her inspiration for this collection as “the range from the corseted feeling to the most fabulous charmeuses of the Jean Harlow and Rita Hayworth style.”

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