Over the years, Judd Waddell has gained a reputation as a creator of timeless gowns. His architectural background aids in giving his collections a clean, structured look to fit the classic bride. Judd reveals his inspirations behind his gowns, tips for bridesmaids and a fun fact about himself. Hint: It involves fluffy cats!
1. According to your Kleinfeld biography you went to school for architecture. Do you feel that your background as an architect translates into your designs?
"Absolutely, and in many ways—most of them important but unglamorous. Architecture stresses two things that are so important in any sort of design and particularly in fashion design: proportion and the appropriateness of materials to their use. Although the former speaks for itself I would add that I am always thinking about the height of REAL brides as opposed to my models when determining the drop of a waistline, the width of a strap, etc."
"The former is a bit more subtle in that I try to choose fabrics that will suit the construction of my dresses in the best possible way without overburdening the wearer. For example I prefer to use one layer of a beautiful, rich charmeuse than three of a lighter quality as one will flow more gracefully with the body."
2. What or who inspired you to become a designer? When did you know you wanted to design for bridal?
"The great designers of the early to mid twentieth century, particulary Vionnet and Balenciaga were my inspiration. I kept finding myself attracted to their work when I would take time off from Architecture History studies and wander over to the Fashion History section (two short shelves) of my college library."
"I didn’t think I did want to design wedding dresses. I was offered a wonderful opportunity while working for Carolina Herrera (another inspiration). Once I started design bridal I was hooked, though. I love the purity of it."
3. What type of bride are you designing for?
"Oh dear, all the clichés apply. Though I must say that I really do believe my brides are seeking a timeless look. They also tend to have qualities of refinement and understatement. I like to think that they also have a sense of humor…"
4. You worked on the wedding dresses for the film The Object of My Affection, starring Jennifer Aniston. Since Jennifer Aniston is recently engaged, what do you think she should wear as a second-time bride?
"A lace column with a sheer back would be great. Nothing too grand, lace for tradition, sheer back to add the flirty factor. No veil, but some kind of accessory in that famous hair, maybe a headband."
5. You once designed a line of bridesmaids dresses for Jim Hjelm…What advice do you have for brides on how to dress their bridesmaids? What styles are the best for most body types? Should they reflect the brides personality at all?
"Ah, Brides beware! You want the dresses to complement your overall “look” but be careful that they are flattering to the bridesmaids—after all they have to wear the dresses. And who wants a p—-d-off bridesmaid bringing you down on your day? Compromise, pick your battles!"
"As to styles, there is really something for everyone now. Currently, I’m liking short dresses better than long: they have a more playful, insouciant quality. Even for evening weddings. I do however, have a pet peeve which is that I don’t like black for bridesmaids. I know people think it’s a practical color and it is, but so are chocolate, navy and deep purple if you are going for dark. And I think those colors are more flattering to most skin tones. Conversely, I’m crazy about the coral and turquoise trend. Fun, up colors that just look like a good time."
6. Tell us something about yourself that your brides would never know.
"This is so embarrassing but I’m nuts about big fat fluffy cats. And, no, I don’t have one. So basically I’m a sort of feline voyeur. Pathetic, really."
Meet Judd at his Kleinfeld Trunk Show on March 18th and 20th.
– Stephanie Storslee