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This was over in Tudor City, on a friend’s terrace, which holds 200 people. It was just an incredible day. The wind took her veiling and wrapped it around the two of us. The sun was right, the weather was right and it was a great time.

I thought it was a cheap way to have a wedding, honestly. And it was really different. The guests were trying to guess, “Which model is he going to marry?” as the models kept coming out.

I met June when she came into the studio to collect her money from doing a show. It was just something magical when she walked in. They say you shouldn’t flirt with your employees. But this was just something that happened. I was deeply in love with her.

June didn’t want a typical wedding and she didn’t want a typical dress. She wanted something very special and didn’t want any of the dresses I had designed previously. So we did a special dress for her that didn’t look like a typical wedding dress.

The sides were open all the way down to the waist. A cowl front and a cowl back. It draped like a handkerchief and it was a slim, easygoing dress. She’s wearing a long scarf, and a florist that I know painted the butterfly on it, and it just flowed down the back.

We were together for about six months before getting married. I just felt it was time to do it. I was 27.

We were married a year and a half. We just had different visions. It was a bitter divorce. It was a very special time in my life and I wish it had lasted.

I still have a little thing here [points to his heart] for her. It’s something I never quite got over.

Read “At Show’s End, He Married the Model ” (Sept. 22, 1970)
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By Lisa Birnbach

Poufs, shoulder pads and embellishments were part of the 1980s ethos. “Too much was not enough,” to paraphrase Mark Twain. And that was just for cocktails. Bridal couture took it to a higher level, if you can imagine. Consider the overwhelming influencer of the era, Lady Diana Spencer, Vieste Rosa Vieste Simulated Pearl amp; Crystal Teardrop Earrings rqh4Ngcaw
, in “the wedding of the century.” Her train was 25 feet long, or about the height of a two-story building.

Wedding gowns of the decade frequently had lacy bibs on their bodices and high necklines. Any one would have made a luxurious bedspread for a California king. Shoulders emphasized with pads the size of those worn by fullbacks kept us upholstered.

Hair was similarly large. There were curls and tight perms, often heralded by feathery bangs, which no veil could completely obscure. At the time, of course, the froufrou look just felt right. But now, those of us who married in the 1980s know this to be true: Our wedding fashions made us look like Hummel figurines.

When I became engaged in 1987 , I wanted to bypass a big event and have a tiny family ceremony at my parents’ house. Thus, I didn’t need a gown at all, just a simple white dress. Hard at work on a book I was terrified I would never finish, I committed all of two hours to finding one.

My mother and I didn’t go to any of New York’s bridal salons — not the department stores, nor to Kleinfeld’s. We went instead to Martha, a kind of dowager Park Avenue designer dress emporium that no longer exists. On this particular day, Carolina Herrera was having a trunk show, with models.

What we saw was encrusted with sequins and paillettes and large full skirts. Then a model came out wearing a white silk sheath with large jet black epaulets. It seemed that if those epaulets could be removed, what was underneath might work: utterly simple, low key, even rewearable. After a serious conference, Martha and the designer agreed to desparkle the dress. As the frock was now completely plain, my mother insisted that I also get it in a long version, with a large silk taffeta skirt for the larger wedding reception. I was happy with my choices; I thought they were elegant and timeless.

My two daughters do not share this opinion. I had held onto the Herreras in case either of them wanted to wear them one day. It’s unlikely. “So ugly and boxy,” one said. “The shoulder pads are terrible,” said the other. “It did nothing for your figure either.”

In the 1980s, career women like me didn’t feel powerful the way our daughters do today. Body-consciousness wasn’t something we did. And when I see my friends’ wedding photographs from that decade, they were usually wearing something more Miss Havisham-esque than my austere white chemise. Or so I thought. A second glance at the silhouette of my dress would make anyone think, “That’s so ’80s.”

Read “Lisa Birnbach, Author, To Marry in September” (July 19, 1987)
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Book Reviews

Jane Ciabattari

By Elizabeth GilbertHardcover, 304 pagesViking AdultList price: $26.95

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Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert's delectable, intimate 2006 memoir of her yearlong quest for peace after a bitter divorce, launched her into the literary stratosphere (7 million copies sold internationally; Julia Roberts is playing her character in the movie). Gilbert, now 40, became a voice for her generation of women: "I don't want to be married anymore," she wrote, and women around the world vicariously partook of the beautiful brown-eyed younger Italian men, the double mozzarella pizza, the ashram prostrations and traditional Balinese healing of her year abroad.

Happily, the sequel, Committed, retains Gilbert's winning voice and also benefits from an apparently hard-won new level of realism. As the book begins, she is still happily in love with Felipe, the Brazilian-born Australian citizen she met in Bali during memoir No. 1. He too, has been through a painful divorce. Their vow never to marry, she writes, "cloaked the two of us in all the emotional security we required in order to try once more at love."

Committed begins with a sudden shock. At the Dallas airport, returning from a trip abroad, Felipe is detained, jailed and deported by a Homeland Security officer. For Felipe to have permanent visa status, he advises, "The two of you need to get married."

From that point on, Gilbert's smoldering ambivalence toward marriage and the strain of maintaining life in exile churn up emotional conflicts at every turn. Gilbert uses this unsettled time to explore marriage and divorce from all angles and presents her findings as a grab bag of theories, facts, studies and cross-cultural interviews (the women in a Hmong village howl with laughter when she asks what they believe is the secret to a happy marriage), some more intriguing than others.

Elizabeth Gilbert's first book, a collection of short stories called was published in 1997 and won the Pushchart Prize.

Elizabeth Gilbert's first book, a collection of short stories called was published in 1997 and won the Pushchart Prize.

Shea Hembrey

The most moving passages are Gilbert's family stories. Her 91-year-old grandfather warns Felipe that he'd better be a survivor "because this girl has burned through quite a few of 'em already."

In a moving conversation, her mother speaks of giving up a career to raise her children. Her grandmother describes buying herself a fur-collared wine-colored coat with her own savings. After she married, she cut up the coat and used the material to make a Christmas outfit for her firstborn daughter. The image of the women in her past cutting up "the finest and proudest parts of themselves," and giving them away, haunts her.

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