Walking down the aisle in a gown covered with doodles is not the dream dress most brides would have in mind for their big day.
But then most brides are not Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, 39, who wed her longtime partner, actor Brad Pitt, 50, last month.
Earlier this week, photos from the secret Brangelina wedding were published in both People and Hello! magazines, ending much speculation over the details of her gown.
From the front, it looked like any other traditional white satin gown, but the back was a real surprise.
It featured drawings done by the couple’s six children – Maddox, 13; Pax, 10; Zahara, nine; Shiloh, eight; and six-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox – which were embroidered on the gown and veil.
Donatella Versace’s sketch of her wedding dress design for Angelina Jolie – ©Versace
While the creation by Donatella Versace and the Jolie-Pitt brood may have looked like something out of an art-and-craft session, the general consensus was that the doodles added meaning to the occasion.
It drew comments like “cute, unique and lovely” from netizens worldwide.
As home-grown bridal designer Frederick Lee, 45, puts it: “At the end of the day, a wedding is not about the dress but the family. It’s a good way to get everyone involved.”
Among the drawings of flowers, teddy bears, animals, bikes and aeroplanes were the phrases “Ma famille” (my family in French) and “Buttock Fattock”, presumably a made-up word.
Some netizens said the groom should have donned the T-shirt he was spotted wearing in July, which had a sketch of him and Jolie done by their youngest daughter Vivienne.
In an interview with Hello! magazine, Jolie said: “I wanted the kids to be a part of everything, including the dress, because that’s our family. That represents the way we live our life together.”
Singapore fashion designer Alicia Ong of the label Al&Alicia says the gown made her do a double take.
“At first, I didn’t think much of her dress, but when I saw that it featured drawings done by her kids, I thought it was simply amazing,” says the 31-year-old, who has a seven-month-old boy.
Gown designer Letitia Phay of home-grown label Time Taken To Make A Dress says it “takes someone with guts” to pull off a “crafty-looking” dress like this.
“In Singapore, what people think still matters to many brides,” adds Ms Phay, 30, who says most brides-to-be here ask her for lace gowns.
The embellishments may have won approval from the public but fashion insiders here are divided on the design of the dress.
Gown designer Ann Teoh, who runs her eponymous boutique in Delfi Orchard, feels the frock does not suit Jolie.
“She is beautiful, modern and very sensual, but the neckline was neither high enough to look demure nor low enough to look sexy,” says the 51-year-old.
Mr Lee, however, says the plain design was a perfect canvas for the kiddy doodles.
“I can’t imagine the drawings on an over-the-top dress, it would have killed the whole design.”
But he says he was surprised to learn that the classic-looking dress, with its ruched bodice and modest A-line skirt, was designed by Versace, which is better known for its glamorous and sexy styles.
Brides-to-be here are unlikely to go for a mural wedding dress a la Jolie though.
“It’s a quirky dress that is perfect only for her love story,” says Ms Annabel Tan, 29.
“Their relationship is quite the reverse of an ordinary couple. They chose to build a family while working through a relationship,” adds the freelance writer, who is getting married in January and has picked a white strapless dress made with organza silk and tulle.
And while art consultant Yan Hui Min is open to wearing a non-traditional dress, such as one in a bright colour, she describes Jolie’s dress as a “tad strange”.
For her wedding in 2016, she plans to shop online for a wider selection of dresses.
The 26-year-old adds: “Angelina Jolie gets to wear nice dresses all the time, so I guess this one doesn’t have to look conventionally beautiful.”
OTHER MEMORABLE WEDDING DRESSES
OLIVIA PALERMO, 28 (2014 wedding): For her nuptials with model Johannes Huebl in June, the American socialite and fashion icon ditched the gown in favour of a cashmere sweater and white tulle skirt with matching shorts by designer Carolina Herrera. She completed the look with a contrasting pair of cobalt blue Manolo Blahnik heels.
KIM KARDASHIAN, 33 (2014): The reality TV star picked a lace gown by designer Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy when she married singer Kanye West in May. Understated yet stylish, the dress showed off her curvy figure and was a step up from the princessy Vera Wang gown she wore for her second wedding to NBA player Kris Humphries in 2011.
KATE MIDDLETON, 32 (2011): For her fairytale wedding, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a gown designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, which featured a 2.7m-long train. The Duchess reportedly played a part in creating the design of the lace gown, which spawned copycats almost immediately. Belfast bridal designer MaryRose McGrath had a similar design stocked at British department store House of Fraser within 24 hours of the wedding.
DITA VON TEESE, 41 (2005): Her two-year marriage to rock musician Marilyn Manson may have ended in 2007, but the burlesque performer’s dress lives on at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The low-cut bodice gown by British designer Vivienne Westwood earned its place in the museum’s Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibit, which runs till March 15 next year, for its dazzling colour.
Image: THOMAS RABSCH/WIREIMAGE
GWEN STEFANI, 44 (2002): This ombre, silk faille number by John Galliano for Dior was entirely in sync with the girly-punk style of the No Doubt singer for her marriage to rocker Gavin Rossdale. The dress is also on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on September 7, 2014. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.