Like many real brides to be, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway had a ball trying on wedding gowns for the movie "Bride Wars," opening Jan. 9th.
In the taffeta and lace comedy, the two play best friends planning their dream weddings together -- until a scheduling snafu threatens their Big Days. "Kate and Anne were very excited," reveals costume designer Karen Patch, who worked with the actresses. "So excited, I think they even tried on each other's bridesmaid dresses, so they could see those too!" Karen chose all the fashions for the film, from the girls' Vera Wang gowns, right down to their lavender and eggplant bridesmaids' dresses. Here, she shares her backstage secrets with PW!
"Bride Wars" unfolds like a wedding time capsule, showing not only today's modern bridal trends but also the styles that shape the characters' past memories. There are actually four ceremonies in all, from an over-the-top white and crystal affair and a seaport-themed event to the girls' present-day nuptials. Growing up together, the girls agree they both want to say their vows at New York' famed The Plaza Hotel in June. "Their memories go back to when they were children," Karen explains. "There's a wedding taking place and that's the image that sticks in their minds: 'When we grow up, our weddings will be here.'" Years later, they've grown into two very different but strong personalities: Kate plays a go-getting New York lawyer used to getting her way; Anne plays a more demure schoolteacher. The dresses reflect that. "Anne's dress is an exquisite taffeta dress with lots of layers, an off-the-shoulder period gown," Karen explains. "It's supposed to be handed down from her mother. It's romantic. Kate, on the other hand, was like the bride on top of the cake. Her gown was styled in a classic, sweetheart neckline with layers and layers of tulle skirt, a long train and lace bodice."
To find the perfect gowns, Karen was lucky enough to be able to choose from the heavenly collections of couture designer Vera Wang, who's designed frocks for Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. "They emailed me and sent me sketches and swatches," she recalls. "It was formidable; it was the first thing I started on."
In one hilarious scene, Kate's character frets that she's gained too much weight to wear her designer gown, moaning, "You don't alter Vera Wang, you alter yourself to fit Vera!" Due to the high costs of the gowns, Karen admits that's "kind of true" in real life too! But she adds that she was able to change a few things, like the fabric of Kate's dress. And Vera is actually going to offer the same gown in her spring 2009 collection. Both styles are easily adaptable to real life.
If she were to alter the gowns to flatter a real-life-sized bride however, and not a stick-thin actress, Karen says that she would "probably do something that covered the arm a little more, use a capped sleeve."
In the end, both dresses were almost completely destroyed. When their weddings are booked on the same day, each girl resorts to outrageous antics to ruin the other's plans. For the climactic showdown, they get in a hilarious knock-down drag-out fight. "We tore the veils off and we tore the tulle and we broke a heel," Karen says. "We ripped the shoulders completely and we tore the bow on the back so it was hanging. They took a lot of abuse!"