25 November, 2008

Packham envy

My fellow South African blogger, SexyRedFrame, got married this last Saturday, and she looked gooorgeous! Go see. The reason I'm bringing it up is because of her DRESS. Wow, what a stunner. I looked, I marvelled,I said "wow", and I closed her blog. A few minutes later, something was niggling at me. There was something familiar about that dress... I went back to her blog and read pretty much the whole damn thing to find the bit where she chose her dress, so I could see what it was, and, hopefully, see a better picture of it.

Well, there was a picture. A very familiar picture! I immediately went into my well-hidden "dresses I love" folder, which I saved within a folder within a folder within a folder with nothing to do with weddings, so that Mr Ruby Slippers wouldn't ever find it. I hadn't looked at that folder since I ordered my dress in February/early March, but before that, boy, did I look at it twenty times a day!

And there it was. The Jenny Packham Papillon:

I'd saved it in a folder with only 37 other dresses. That's, like, three in bridal terms. :-) I loooved this dress. But Jenny Packham doesn't happen here in SA, and unlike RedFrame, I couldn't go to the States to try on designer wedding gowns. So I must own up to the tiniest bit of jealousy that Sexy RedFrame was able to wear such a stunning dress...and she definitely looked waaay more gorgeous than I ever would! I think you might need to be tall and willowy to pull off that dress, and I'm....not.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my dress, and people told me all night how beautiful it was and how gorgeous I looked in it (best night of my life, that!). I just still can't help wishing that I'd had more variety to choose from, just in case. For instance, in South Africa, all the wedding gowns are a variation on these four standards:

(These are actual dresses from Bride & Co, where I bought my dress)

The A-line with side gathering:

The pick-up skirt:
The frou-frou ballgown:
The slightly mermaid:
And that's it. I did see a couple of sheaths back in the day, but they're all gone now.

I will say that looking at their website, which has been completely restocked since Feb/March, they have a much wider selection of split-front dresses than before. I had two to choose from. There are now six (but the one I didn't choose has vanished). Oh, and my dress has gone up by TWO THOUSAND RAND. I don't earn a lot, but that's more than a third of my monthly salary. Thank you very much, economic crisis. I'm so glad Mr RS proposed when he did!

HOWever, back to the point, which is that the kind of flowy, pretty Jenny Packham/Claire Pettibone dress I was loving online was (and is) nowhere to be found! Aside from the Papillon, these are some of the images I fell in love with:

That scrumptious, flowing, empire-waisted period look was one I just could NOT find here. Now, frankly, I don't believe I could afforded a Jenny Packham dress anyway. But a little bit inside me just wishes I'd had the OPTION, you know?

I've loved this style of dress for years. Everytime I saw "My Fair Lady" (And I've seen it a LOT) I would swoon over the dress Audrey Hepburn wears to the ball (this is the best pic I could find of it without pulling out my dvd and taking a screenshot):

Drool. Envy.


  1. Hey Ruby! I know I was insanely lucky to get my JP... I owe my MIL at least 4 babies to make up for the indulgence! I completely agree with you on the extremely limited choices we have here, it's frustrating. My next-best bet would've been to have one made but I'm not visual enough to trust a sketch. Maybe there's a business idea in this situation?!?! You looked gorgeous in your princess dress and I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't have gone for something more like yours, cause you only do this thing once right? Wanna swap and we can wear each other's around the house? ;-)

  2. I was wondering when you were going to find this post :-) So I guess what we've both just proved is that we're always going to be second-guessing ourselves over our choices. I'm going, "Why on earth would you want to wear something like mine when you had a stunning designer gown?" (not that I care about design labels; I just love your dress!). And you're thinking you should have gone for something more - traditional?

    I could never have trusted a sketch. The final product never looks like the sketch, and I know I would just have been disappointed. That, and you can't tell if it will look good on you. Your Packham might not have suited me at all!

    I don't think I could ever do a Monica Geller and wear my dress around the house! We could, however, swop for our trash the dress shoots :-)

  3. I saw your dress and fell in love! Not only do you love absolutley lovely in it, it's such a beautiful gown. Fairy dress indeed! Having just recently become engaged I've begun my researching and looking into things. I searched through Bride&Co and couldn't find your dress:( Do you by chance still know the #? Living in the states it's unlikely that I'll get that same dress, but maybe I can find a similar one!

  4. Hi Liz, I wanted to email you back but your comment didn't show any contact details, so I hope you see this! Firstly, thanks for reading my old blog from so long ago! That's awesome. Unfortunately Bride & co doesn't make that dress anymore. I know this because two weeks ago I went dress-hunting with a friend who is getting married, and while she was trying on stuff I went through their catalogues to see. But if you live in the states you have to be able to find a similar dress! You must! There is such a huge variety of stuff there! I got jealous everytime I saw an American bride talk about dress-hunting while I was engaged! Anyway, best of luck, and if you find something, let me know! I'd love to see!

  5. Thanks Ruby! I did come back. I've been coming back to check and drool over your dress (and wedding blog) for many months now. Secret squirreling away little tid-bits and hiding your blog in my cleverly labeled 'research' links file. ;)

    I fell in love with your dress 2 years ago, when my now fiance and I were just friends. I wanted to ask so long ago but always dreaded seeming that creepy pre-planning girl who planned their wedding before the wedding before the guy even asked.

    I'll keep you posted, promise!

  6. Hehee, you are so cute! I had so many "research" folders hidden on my folder before Mr Ruby Slippers proposed that it was quite ridiculous. We're just good planners, okay?? Heheh.

    Btw, I did a trash the dress about a year ago, if you want to see more of my dress. It's on my photography blog:http://katforsythphotography.co.za/cape-town-johannesburg-wedding-photographer/the-other-side-of-the-camera-my-trash-the-dress-photo-shoot/ (PS - I had totally picked up weight, so when I jumped off the hay bale, I split the zipper away from the dress...oops :P)

  7. Great photos! It's going to be tough, but fun! My fiance (it's strange calling him that, but I'm getting used to it) has already said he's going to 'let me' take point on this. I suppose since wedding and event planning is what I intend to go into business for it sort of makes sense!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.