Simone enjoys fashion and fashion accessories. She also finds garments to be more about strategy than stereotypes.
Because weddings (theoretically) only take place once in one's life, wedding dresses are a big deal. While many wedding dress designs are classic and generally uniform, there are some highly unique, unusual, and downright ridiculous wedding dresses out there. I've shared some of my favorites below.
Some of these dresses derive their uniqueness from their culture (or subculture) of origin, others from high fashion, and still more from the very eccentric brides who commissioned them.
I hope you find this collection of unusual wedding dresses to be amusing, interesting, and perhaps insightful. Whether the photos and video below inspire you to design your own unusual wedding dress, or just laugh and point, there is no denying that they are fascinating artifacts of fashion!
Unusual Wedding Dress Designs
I'm going to start off this collection of unique wedding dresses by looking at dresses made by specific designers and creative brides. After that, I'll look at interesting wedding dresses that are tied to cultural traditions.
When it comes to simple wedding dresses created by couturiers and brides themselves, it goes without saying that a certain degree of strangeness. Most designers, be they within the old-fashioned couture network, or more modern fashion circles, or even the amateur leagues, design wedding dresses at some point (even if they are just sketches). Most of them are normal—some are exquisite—and some are just plain strange. Here are some of the most notable ones.
The World's Most Unusual Wedding Dress
In my humble opinion, Yves Saint Laurent is responsible for the world's most unusual wedding dress.
I'll never forget the day I first saw it—it was featured as part of a YSL retrospective at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, and it stuck out like a bone-white, fuzzy, dead thumb. I think it's the most hideous "dress" I've ever seen (and from what I heard other museum-goers saying, I was certainly not the only one feeling this way).
A mixture between a sarcophagus, a tea cozy, a condom, and a Russian doll costume, this wedding dress makes some VERY loaded statements . . . though I can't quite be entirely sure what they are.
Theatrical Wedding Dresses
Because wedding dresses have become such charged cultural icons, it comes as no surprise that musical artists and other celebrities have utilized them for performing purposes.
Though not technically used for wedding ceremonies, theatrical wedding dresses contribute some of the most outlandish and fascinating designs to the world's pool of unusual wedding dresses. Between stars' huge production budgets and access to super creative designers, the wedding dresses that have been worn on stage are probably the most strange when it comes to interpretations of modern, mainstream designs.
Wedding Dresses Inspired by Food
Food is beautiful, delicious, addictive, dangerous, nourishing, and without a doubt inspiring. Food can also be breathtakingly beautiful—it should come as no surprise that some clothing designers might incorporate aesthetic elements of wedding cakes, cookies, vegetables, fruit, and other visually fascinating treats into the odd dress or shoe.
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What may come as a surprise, however, is that some designers have decided to just turn food into dresses—wedding dresses included. To your write, you'll see a wedding dress inspired by profiteroles . . . that is actually comprised of profiteroles.
I wonder if they ate it after the wedding. Heck—seeing as the thing weighed ten kilograms, they could have fed an entire wedding party with the dress!
Unusual Wedding Dresses With Crazy-Long Trains
Many young brides are drawn to at least some sort of train for their wedding dresses—they bring a sense of history, regality, and romance to the ensemble and allow the wearer to flaunt sumptuous fabrics, lace, and beadwork.
The Valentino wedding dress pictured to the right offers a great example of wedding dress train showboating. The intricate lacework is far too precious to touch the ground!
Perhaps the most famous unusual wedding dress with an incredibly long train is that worn by Princess Diana in her epic royal wedding. At 25 feet long, that particular train reached ridiculous lengths, but its designers, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, were only catering to the fairy tale wedding visions of both Diana and her adoring public.
What makes that dress in particular so unique is not only the incredibly long train but also the almost cartoon-like extent to which it exaggerated almost every traditional feature of a wedding dress. In addition to the train, the shoulders, skirt, and veil were also exaggerated and theatrical.
Wedding Dresses Meet Subcultures, Themes, and Locations
As I mentioned earlier, many dresses are tied to subculture, and one reason why I love subculturally-affiliated wedding dresses is they can be ANYTHING! Take, for example, hardcore nerds who decide to have a Star Wars-themed wedding. Their wedding dresses can be as elaborate as those worn by Queen Amidala!
Even more mainstream folk can opt for crazy wedding grab by having a themed wedding (e.g., Prom theme, Belle Epoque theme, Under The Sea theme, Zombie theme . . .). Themed weddings rock!
The setting of a wedding can also lead to some very unusual costume choices. Pictured to the right is a snapshot taken of a wedding ceremony at Burning Man, an annual arts festival that takes place in a remote Nevada desert. As you can see, the unconventional setting and event enable not just the bride, but EVERYONE to wear insane outfits (as is clearly evident with the bridesmaids).
Unusual Wedding Dresses Tied to Traditional Culture
Each traditional culture has its own unique form of dress. I think we only see them as unusual because we're all starting to dress the same.
Seeing as we're all adopting a sort of borderless uniform—both in wedding chapels and in everyday life—let's take a break to celebrate some unusual wedding dresses from other traditional cultures—and one modern one, too!
Shinto Wedding Dresses
Shinto Wedding Dresses
Some of my favorite wedding dresses are Shinto wedding dresses, which I would imagine may seem very unusual to some, as they are hardly the white, beaded standard we are so accustomed to.