Welcome to 2019, Mr. Banks!
There is nothing as timeless as the story and wardrobe of Father of the Bride. Of course, the original 1950 classic with Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracey is iconic—but Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer’s 1991 remake will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Gen Xers and older millennials. From its iconic cast (Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, Martin Short) and their unforgettable one liners to the over the top swans and Annie’s lace sneakers (she was so ahead of her time!), Father of the Bride gives us eternal inspiration whenever we tune in.
In fact—we’ve viewed the film so many times that along the way we’ve uncovered some insidery facts. For one: Steve Martin’s character’s name, George Stanley Banks, was a nod to the original as Tracey’s name is Stanley in the film.
Also, Father of the Bride was Kimberly Williams first film, and she had a hard time filming “the blender” scene. Williams told People that she couldn’t cry on cue, and after hours and thirty to forty takes she got so upset that she couldn’t cry on demand, that she started crying. Charles Shyer called, “Action!,” and the rest is history.
Another aspect of the film that we always find ourselves coming back to is that San Marino style and the panache of every single perfectly pulled-together outfit. From Annie’s swingy little black dress post-Italy to George’s “nah-vy blue” Armani tux, the fashion lives on.
To relive Father of the Bride in all of its stylish glory, we talked to the film’s costume designer, the iconic Susan Becker (who also did costumes for St. Elmo’s Fire and another can’t miss Diane Keaton movie, Baby Boom), to get all of the Father of the Bride fashion details—like how Martin Short wore Hermès vests as Franck Eggelhoffer . . . a very reasonable look for a wedding planner of his magnitude, if you ask us. Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell us more about Annie’s long-sleeved wedding gown and what inspired this look?
“The wardrobe always starts with the script! Nancy and Charles’s script takes place in Pasadena, and it’s a winter wedding with a young beautiful bride. It was cold and Southern California is usually thought of as sunny and warm, but we made the wedding dress have long sleeves and a demure high neck.
We camera-tested many different white fabrics—from peau d’soies and duchess satins and decided on a shade of white that felt young, fresh, luxe, and classic. We dyed and hand beaded the Belgian lace. The dress is essentially a boned, constructed strapless dress with lace sleeves and the top is covered in the lace. There are covered buttons down the back. The train and veil are trimmed in the lace of the dress. We had doubles of the train so it would always look perfect during the filming.”
What about Annie’s wedding shoes and baubles?
“The shoes are sneakers made by Nike covered in the same lace as her dress. The bride was wearing sneakers as a special poignant nod to her father because he owned a sneaker business! The bride also wore Mexican gold and pearl earrings—we thought they looked beautiful on Kimberly and slightly original yet classic and delicate.”
If Annie was a bride in 2019, would you have altered her gown at all?
“Maybe lower the neckline?”
We love the swingy little black dress Annie wears when she tells her parents she’s engaged. Why did you dress her in that?
“It was a combo of innocent sophistication. An ‘Audrey’ classic. Respectful. Serious and excited. Mature and innocent. What is better than a LBD!”
George Banks’s tuxedo is another real style moment in the film—from his vintage tuxedo in the supermarket hot dog scene to his Armani tuxedo actually being navy blue. Did you design his tuxedo too?
“Steve’s tux was actually Armani! His ‘vintage attic’ tux was three multiples rigged to rip with sound effects. How great and hilarious is Steve!”
Diane Keaton’s wardrobe is epic in the film. What was your inspiration? Can you tell us more about her mother of the bride ensemble?
“Diane, although a great style icon, is first a great actress! So as Nina, mother of the bride, it was a combination of Diane playing Nina mother of the bride! Diane wore a pearl beaded jacket and silk satin camisole, and it felt so right—a combination of tailored, special, sophistication, and comfort for Diane. She looks beautiful in whites and creams, and she ‘stood out’ at the wedding.”
We love the suits Nina and Annie wear when they meet Franck. In 2019, do you think they would have worn something similar? Did you design those looks?
“Perhaps in 2019 they would be dressed similarly or slightly less formally. It’s a special and important meeting the wedding planner!
By the way—I couldn’t resist and costumed Franc in Hermès vests!”
Any thoughts on embracing the classic style of Father of the Bride for our own weddings in 2019?
“I have advised and designed so many weddings for women: brides, mother of the brides, and it always comes down to the specific desires and thoughts of the individuals. A good thing to keep in mind is you’ll have to look at the pictures in years to come!”
Below our modern take on Father of the Bride fashion if we were to re-imagine it for today.