What is taffeta?

Taffeta is a crisp, smooth plain woven fabric made from silk and has been around since 15th century. It has a fantastic shimmer to it that captures the light. Perfect for evening gowns and wedding dresses.

Historically, taffeta was made in Italy and France for wealthy European nobles and royalty. Today, most good quality taffetas are made in India and Pakistan, although top end taffeta is still made in Italy, France, UK and Russia.

Fun layers and ruffles (and, yes the meringues)

Taffeta is shiny and smooth and can hold it’s shape. It can add structure to the dress in the form soft meringue like layers, ruffles and drapes. The nature of the fabric suits a ball-gown or a-line style. Modern taffeta wedding dresses often have a bit of the skirt slighted hitched up to one side revealing a decorative underskirt in taffeta or tulle. It also looks great wrapped around the bodice in a mermaid style, with decorative detail around the waist.

Modern taffeta wedding dresses

Taffeta can be used for the whole dress. The bodice is usually fitted with taffeta material criss-crossed and wrapped around the body, with a simple long skirt down to the ground. It’s chic and extremely elegant. Add a silk bow or decorative belt with crystals and antique pearls or add off the shoulder sleeves for a more modern look.

Two-piece

We are finding that designers are experimenting more two-piece wedding dress designs. Having the bodice made from a different fabric (such as lace) and yet still use taffeta or tulle (or both) for the skirt. It adds a lovely contrast between the two fabrics and echo’s Grace Kelly’s wedding dress.

Go shimmering minimalist

Taffeta is such a beautiful fabric, why mix it with another? There are some fabulous minimalist, classic styles with simple straps, deep v-necks, fitted bodice and beautiful long plain skirts. Another beautiful thing about taffeta is that you can include hidden pockets into the skirt of your dress, making a formal wedding dress, little less formal and fun.

A royal fabric

Many famous women have worn stunning taffeta dresses over the centuries such as Marie-Antoinette and Henrietta Maria. The most recent and the famous was Princess Diana’s taffeta wedding dress, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. Who can forget that and its 25 foot train? It certainly lived up to design brief of being dramatic and memorable.

Taffeta wedding dresses worn by the rich and famous

Princess Diana – taffeta wedding with 25 foot train by David and Elizabeth Emanuel
Grace Kelly – wedding dress with lace and taffeta by Helen Rose
Jacqueline Kennedy – Ivory silk taffeta wedding dress by Ann Lowe
Dita von Teese’s – purple taffeta wedding dress by Vivienne Westwood