By Juli Alvarez for Project Wedding
One of the most iconic images in fashion photography is none other than a portrait of Coco Chanel in a black sweater topped off with multiple strands of white pearls. Sounds simple, right? In the early 1900ʼs when Chanel made this color combination her signature, it was a bold move. In the photo she looks confident, powerful and timeless and to this day women the world over swear by the white and black look. Merci Madame Chanel.
Decades later and many miles from the City of Light, in 1985 a boutique called The White House, selling fashion only in white and ivory opened in Baltimore, Maryland. Then in 1995 they went one step further and opened Black Market, using the same monochromatic concept for merchandise but this time all the fashion was in shades of black. Sounds radical, right? So successful were these stores that the company decided to combine them in 1997 for the ultimate statement in chic, modern and graphic fashion.
They became White House Black Market. Now with more than 300 stores nationwide, WHBM speaks to women of all ages who want to capture that same smart look without spending a fortune (nothing costs over $350).
In April 2010, WHBM launched their first bridal line. What could be more chic than a White & Black wedding? Brides can chose from a capsule collection of sexy, refined silhouettes, like the VICTORIA, a fitted mermaid wrapped in tulle and sashed in black grosgrain ribbon festooned with flowers or the cheeky GRACE, a strapless satin gown with a neat cummerbund waist and a high-to-low swirl skirt perfect for dancing and showing off a fabulous pair of shoes. The wedding dresses share the core collectionʼs runway-ready appeal without feeling trendy or tacky. They capture the essence of the WBHM design philosophy which is to "make women feel beautiful." And what bride (or woman) doesnʼt want her clothes to do that for her? The dresses are what the company calls affordable couture, and are all priced under $750. The entire collection for the bride and bridal party can be purchased online at WHBM.com/wedding.
Opening late September 2010, WHBM is set to open a brand new boutique on tony Oak Street in Chicago, which will make it the second store to house the full wedding collection (also available at Plaza Las Americas in San Juan, PR). The third floor of the store will be devoted entirely to the wedding collection and the bridal party. Ladies, mark your calendars!
Bridesmaids also get treated to the WHBM look with a collection of LBDʼS that really are perfect for the wedding day and beyond. For a super sweet look thereʼs the black empire-waisted dress with a full skirt made entirely of ruched satin roses, and topped off with a ruby satin floral corsage at the waist. Or for a floaty, ethereal feel thereʼs the black ballerina dress with a long tulle skirt and boned bustier bodice. We love the pop of this seasonʼs signature color of Ruby Red, inspired by sexy Italian women according to the design team. For a full-on burst of this hot hue, the fitted satin sheath in solid ruby with ruffled sweetheart neckline is a show-stopper. So many choices...but it doesnʼt stop there.
The Accessory collections are enough to make any girl swoon, engaged or not! The costume jewelry alone would surely make Madame Chanel proud with the strands upon strands of pearls, crystals and jet beaded necklaces, oversized statement collars punctuated with rhinestone bows and dangling charms. There are matching bracelets, brooches, cocktail rings and earrings perfect to adorn the bride and her maids in. They can be mixed up for a modern devil-may-care look.
We love the fresh, romantic feel of the grosgrain ribbon necklaces decorated with pearl and crystal baubles. Many brides forgo carrying a purse on the wedding day but with their charming satin bags covered in frayed chiffon rosettes it would be hard not to commit. The footwear is just as irresistible...classic t-straps, slingbacks and peep-toeʼs with just the right amount of height. Tulle, rosettes and draped fabric give the wedding shoes a quiet touch of refinement.
White House Black Market brings a chic, timeless appeal to their collections ensuring that women will look and feel their best. Coco Chanel once said, "Fashion passes, style remains." We couldnʼt agree more.