|Courtesy of Della Curva|
|Lisa Litt, owner of Della Curva, with a bride|
Oh, the horror of being a big bride in a skinny-bride world. Bridal salon owner Lisa Litt and her boyfriend, Burt Warner, are standing in Litt's newly opened store, Della Curva, on the second floor of a Tarzana mini-mall, contemplating wedding-dress injustice. "This is how they're forced to try on dresses," Warner says. He holds a gown against his chest, drapes the hanger around his neck and holds his arms out, palms up like Jesus on the cross. "This is what they had to do."
Litt also owns Lili Bridal, which is on the first floor and is mostly for regular-sized brides. Della Curva, however, is different. It is, as Litt and Warner say, "a game changer." It is Southern California's first plus-size bridal salon — for big girls only.
Traditional bridal apparel runs small, with size charts stuck in the 1950s, even as retailers like the Gap and J. Crew have completely altered what it means to be a size 2 in 2013. Even worse, bridal stores typically carry wedding gowns only in sizes 8, 10 and 12. You try on a sample and then special-order a dress in your size — assuming the designer even makes your chosen style in plus sizes. Most don't. A bigger girl usually can't even get the sample dresses on her body.
"We've heard some horror stories," Litt says. Some big brides have been forced to choose from dresses shoved in the corner of a store, or in the basement. Or they've resorted to Chinese knockoffs. Ordered from a website, the dress arrives with pieces unsewn. Or with pins left in. Or shrink-wrapped. Or with a fishy formaldehyde smell that can't be removed. Or made of a terrible fabric bearing no resemblance to the online photo — a classic bait and switch.
And snobby sales associates — they are a separate subcategory of awful. At one store, they tried to sell a girl a dress that was barely big enough to cover her thigh. Another bride was flat-out ignored. "The sales associates were fighting not to help her," Litt says.More »