How to Dress Like a VIP Guest

You have received the invitation to your sister’s/best friend’s/cousin’s/colleague’s wedding/s (delete as appropriate). Now it’s time to go shopping. That age-old challenge (how to look your most fabulous without upstaging the bride) has to be tackled again. But fear not, street-style snapper Sandra Semburg, along with Swarovski’s front-row regulars, have pooled their expertise to help you find the perfect look.

Fresh from the AltaRomAltaModa runway, Renato Balestra’s latest collection, Enchanted Garden, offers plenty of ideas for more formal evening receptions. These gowns have floor-sweeping elegance without going overboard on glitz. A highlight is the asymmetric column dress: its grassy print sparkling with dew invokes a rustic charm and simplicity. That outsize green bow, however, is glamour on an epic scale. The key is to keep it light, lean and summery. The show notes say it all: “Dedicated to a young woman, delicate and refined, who appears to have just stepped from an enchanted garden.” Nino Lettieri’s gorgeous butterfly gowns hit a similar note, with exquisite black crystallized butterflies clustered on the décolletage.

Also shown at AltaRomAltaModa, Gattinoni’s elegant deconstruction of an antique undergarment has a delicately directional femininity. The Italian couture brand is known for its clever reinterpretation of heritage designs, which it demonstrates with virtuoso flair in that extravagantly beaded floral two-piece. Crystallized fringing adds a shimmery, flirty finish.

Likewise, the street-style look is garden-inspired, but more casually put together for daytime occasions. The flowery dress is this season’s big story, and during Paris Haute Couture as well as Paris and Copenhagen Fashion Weeks, photographer Sandra Semburg spotted several ways to wear it: Lena Lademann opted for a classic, allover-print shirt-dress. If you’ll be spending lots of time on the lawn, take a note from Lena and stick to dainty flats, otherwise it’s easy to dress it up with heels. Marie Hindkaer opted for a more directional 70s-style, high-necked dress that was a riot of colorful blooms, while Gine Margrethe Kaarstein Larsen kept it fresh in a crisp white shirt paired with a vibrant rose-print circular skirt. We think Caro Daur’s flesh-baring floral two-piece has smart beach wedding written all over it, but she’d have to swap heels for bejeweled sandals.

Meanwhile, like the anonymous fashionista rocking a dress bedecked with appliquéd silver flowers and a leather jacket, Aimee Song demonstrates an eye-catching way to do florals, shimmering over tiers of sheer netting. She strategically accessorized her white dress with luxurious touches of black—it’s a trend that we’ve noticed in bridalwear too.

In our rush to join the enchanted garden set, however, let’s not forget that other summer staple: polka dots. Choose a timeless silhouette and a classic color combo, like Lauren Santo Domingo’s black-and-white A-line sleeveless dress, and you can wear it year after year to all kinds of weddings. Or, sporting an alternative take on the polka dot, Jeanne Damas is stunning in this dainty crochet dress. Look closely and you’ll see that at the center of each spot is a pretty flower—the best of both worlds! 

Photography Street Style: Sandra Semburg