There are things one wouldn’t mind seeing when rounding a corner, lost in her thoughts, bound for (she thinks) the wedding dress of her dreams. This is not one of them:
Ah, the beloved anti-labor rat, inflatable cudgel of downtrodden carpenters and janitors everywhere. Don’t get me wrong. I love the rat. But when it and the surly proleteriat are in between me and said dress of my dreams, I tend to view it as an inauspicious start to a wedding gown shopping weekend in New York. So as I twirled and preened in front of the mirror in the Birnbaum & Bullock loft under the approving gaze of mother, sister, and one confirmed bachelor wedding dress designer, it was slightly disconcerting to hear, “Hey hey, ho ho, unfair labor practices got to go!” It was an otherwise picture-perfect moment. Dusk was falling outside the wide expanse of glass that separated my cozily lighted studio perch from a wind-whipped West 25th Street below. I concentrated on listening to my inner voice to mull the dress, rather than the gravely voices of Local 419.
But it was not to be. The dress that Messrs. Birnbaum and Bullock offered me was beautiful, but it was ridiculously expensive. And this is in a kookoo bananas world where a $4,000 price tag makes me say, “Well, that’s not too bad.” We’re talking two more dollar signs on top of “not too bad.” I bid adieu to their studio and headed home to bed, more than a little dejected.
The next morning it was off to Kleinfeld, the bridal mecca featured in TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” show, which chronicles all the wacky results when you cater to women who are full throttle into an inexplicably societally blessed period of insanity.
I didn’t plan to buy a dress at Kleinfeld. I just wanted to compare the three finalists I’d tried on here in D.C. at separate boutiques. (Designers have the equivalent of non-compete clauses, prohibiting nearby boutiques from selling their line once they form a relationship with one. So it’s almost impossible to try on your faves at the same place. But Kleinfeld carries a bazillion designers, I’m guessing because they’re the grand dame of the business and wield a fair amount of power in the industry.) Anyhoo, when I got there I was bummed to learn that they had only one of my three finalist dresses. There went that plan.
And the saleswoman followed that news up by bringing in a few dresses that were just so-so. But then, she brought in another one. The One. [Editor’s note: As God is my witness, this is the first and only time I will talk about a wedding gown in such breathless terms. Seriously, I’d like to keep my non-gay male readership for at least a few more weeks before they realize that there are other internet sites out there that have boobies and such on them where they could be making much better use of their time.] When I stepped out of my little dressing room into the main area to examine it in the three-side mirror, it was as if, to quote a dear friend, “a unicorn had pissed a rainbow into my ear.”
I was in the highly unusual position of having just put on a dress that nobody had ever tried on before. (Most bridal gown samples look like they’ve seen more action than Elizabeth Taylor’s ring finger. Zing!) The buyer for the store, a lovely woman named Dorothy, came over and said she had just found the dress on a trip to Paris. It’s the creation of four young designers from Hong Kong who are designing as “Annasul Y.” As I stood in front of the mirror, salespeople kept coming by to ask whose dress it was because they’d never seen it before. One even asked if it was Badgley Mischka, who were having their trunk show at Kleinfeld that same weekend. While it’s quite similar to their style, it most certainly did not carry the boys’ signature $15,000 price tag. At one point two little girls trailing another client walked up, planted themselves in front of me and scrutinized me for a few seconds before one declared, “You look pretty.” Sold. Ring that puppy up. I expected a cartoon bluebird to land on my shoulder.
Unfortunately, I cannot describe the dress here, nor can I post a picture of it, because my fiancé is one of my male readers who hasn’t yet realized that thing about the boobies to be found elsewhere.