How to look like a wedding Bella: $799 replica of Breaking Dawn gown hits stores just days after movie release
By Daisy Dumas
Last updated at 8:07 AM on 23rd November 2011
Entirely fictional though they may be, Bella and Edward's nuptials in The Twilight Saga's Breaking Dawn, Part 1 have caused quite a ripple throughout the wedding industry.
Just days after the blockbuster film hit screens to rapturous success, bringing in a massive $139.5 million on its opening weekend, an imitation version of Bella Swan's wedding dress has gone on sale in stores.
The ultra-fast turnaround has not been a miracle of high-speed creation, however.
Bella in replica: The Alfredo Angelo version of Carolina Herrera's Bella gown stays as true as possible to the original, with long, lace-edged sleeves, an illusion back and buttons running the length of the dress
Instead, the film's producers at Summit Entertainment worked with bridal retailer Alfred Angelo, who have secretively been planning the replica dresses together since May, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Designer Michael Shettel joked that the confidentiality agreement for the top-secret project was 'signed with blood,' while code words were used in the discreet planning process.
While word got out in August that the dress project was under way, the clandestine nature of the project was so watertight that Alfred Angelo stores were not given prior warning of the arrival of the Bella dress, nor were photos and inventories given to staff.
Kristen Stewart's original gown was the responsibility of Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera, who gave the vampire's lover old-world elegance with a long-sleeved silk dress, complete with lace detailing on the sleeves and a cut-out illusion back.
Bridal beauty: Fictional as they may be, Bella and Edward's nuptials in Forks, Washington, were swathed in secrecy - with the original gown and its replica kept under wraps until the movie's release days ago
Mrs and Mrs Cullen: 'Twi-hards' waited months to see the design of the much-anticipated gown. The saga's fan base is 80 per cent female. Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, awaits his bride under wisteria
Buttons run the length of the back of the 'Edwardian inspired' gown, which according to Hollywood Life is valued at $35,000. A demure V-shaped neckline shows Bella's décolletage without exposing too much skin.
Both the dress and its accompanying specially-designed Manolo Blahnik jewel-encrusted shoes are set to go on sale as part of the designers' 2012 collections.
The replica, costing a very reasonable $799, stays faithful to the original, but opts for liquid satin instead of silk.
Mr Shettel told the Wall Street Journal: 'The stitching on the bodice is the same, and the lace detailing is similar.'
It was the low price point that proved a challenge for the team, he said: 'There were pricing issues to try to get it down to $799. That was the biggest issue more than design issues.'
It is hoped that the dress will capture the imaginations of Twilight fans. Though the saga has an 80 per cent female fan base, many of the film's principally teenage viewers may be too young to be in the market for a wedding gown.
Fairytale: The dream gown follows in the footsteps of both the Duchess of Cambridge and Kim Kardashian's wedding dresses which have spawned cut-prices replicas
Mr Shettel remains positive: 'It really is for a Twilight fan because it does represent what the film is about... [but] I think the silhouette transcends may different viewpoints,' he told the Journal.
In the film, adapted from Stephanie Meyer's Trilogy series, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, tie the knot in a suitably romantic, flower-filled wooded spectacle.
'Twi-hards' spent many months debating the many possible forms of Bella's fantastical dress in the run-up to the much-anticipated film release, with Ms Meyer feeding imaginations by saying that the dress is 'elegant white satin, cut on the bias, with long sleeves.'
'The dress really is for a Twilight fan because it does represent what the film is about'
The replica dress follows in the footsteps of two other hugely high profile, though rather more real weddings, this year. Both the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding gown, by Alexander McQueen, and Kim Kardashian's Vera Wang wedding dresses have been imitated at cut-price retailers.
In a sad twist of fate, Kim Kardashian replica dresses are due to hit David's Bridal stores in February - four months after her 72-day wedding crumbled.
While Alfred Angelo was one of the designers who produced a version of the Royal wedding gown, The Wall Street Journal reports that Breaking Dawn it is not the first time the wedding gown seller has produced a gown based on a fictional character.
It sold a replica of Elizabeth Taylor's 1950 Father of the Bride dress. It is also due to launch a range of prom dresses inspired by the Twilight saga and aimed directly at the story's teenage fans.
HOW MUCH DID THE TWILIGHT WEDDING COST?
The saga continues: The latest installment in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Part 1
Elsewhere, the fictional wedding of the year has piqued the attention of industry commentators who have calculated the economics of the Swan/Cullen matrimony.
According to Centives.net, the wedding would have cost the young couple around $38,000.
Ms Meyer described a 'fit and full' gown for Bella, created by Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera, who usually sells dresses for around $6,000. Bella's garter would have cost just $15.
At $20,000, the main expense was flowers. Orange blossoms, roses, freesia and lilacs froth along the length of the ceremony area and in the house, says the site, surrounding guests and the bride as she walks down the aisle.
Remaining true to the book, which said the Cullen home, where the ceremony took place, was filled with 20,000 flowers, the calculation is based on a cost of around one dollar per bloom.
Strings of party lights swathed along a tree-lined driveway would, says the site, have cost the couple $8,510.88 - if the decorative lighting had come from Home Depot, that is.
Drapes for chairs are a mere $110, while a reception tent is just $210. Happily, the couple save around $13,517 on venue hire by staging their fantasy nuptials at Mr Cullen's family home.
Entertainment is a little more costly, with a band from the local area of Forks, Washington, coming in at around $1,500. The 'grand cake' says Centives, is valued at around $800.
Observant readers on the site have noted the lack of a budget for food, drinks, lighting, sound or waiting staff - with one reader saying the wedding would in fact have cost around $50,000 by her estimation: Rather more than the cost of an average American wedding, which, in 2010, cost $27,800.