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J. Crew's Head of Bridal Design on an Alternate to Wedding White

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Classic Americana-label J. Crew changed up the bridal world nearly a year ago by opening its first bridal boutique on tony Madison Avenue. The multi-level wedding emporium offers brides-to-be (as well as bridesmaids and attendees), a one-stop-shop for pretty much everything that they'll need for that special day—from wedding gowns to bridesmaid dresses to pre-wedding cocktail frocks to veils and accessories to even denim. Oh, and they serve champagne, too. Tom Mora, head of wedding and special occasion design, declined to tell us how much champagne is typically quaffed during a gown-buying session, but he did take the time to chat with us via email about dress inspiration, suggested non-white gown colors and his thoughts on Oscar de lan Renta's mom-free wedding frock shopping stance.

Are there any famous brides or muses that you have in mind while designing dresses for the J. Crew bridal collection?
I think it's sort of a compilation of really elegant woman that I have always been obsessed with.

What type of bride do you design for?
Our bride is uncomplicated, confident and classic. She loves things that transcend trend.

How do you see brides utilizing the "one-stop-shop" specialty of the boutique?
It's great for a bride. She can come find a beautiful dress for herself, a veil, shoes and an amazing beaded sash to compliment her dress. We have incredible encrusted sashes that we did with Jennifer Behr and carry the elegant and timeless jewelry from Miriam Haskell. Then she can pick dresses for her bridesmaids!

What would you suggest for a bride who wants to forgo the traditional white wedding gown? What colors would you suggest?
Color is tricky...I think a bride-to-be should imagine looking at her wedding photos from now and what she would think then. If she really does want a color I would stick to something soft like a blush.

What is the most outlandish request that your shop has received from a bride to be?
The J.Crew girl is pretty traditional, demands are usually on the small side.

On average, how many advisers does a bride-to-be bring with her?
I would say one to three but I've seen up to ten!

Oscar de la Renta suggested on the Martha Stewart Show that a bride not bring her mother along when wedding dress shopping. What's your take on that?
When I saw my mother's face when my sister came out in the dress that she eventually picked, I think we would all say that it was a very special moment.

· J. Crew Bridal Says "I Do", Opening Its Doors on Madison Avenue [Racked NY]
· Denim and Satin at a Wedding? If J. Crew Says So... [Racked NY]
· All Weddings Week Coverage [Racked NY]
· J. Crew Bridal [Official Site]