The Fifty Shades of Grey Guide to Wedding Season

When I think of Fifty Shades of Grey, my mind immediately jumps to fetishwear, whips and chains and neckties used as restraints. But chic weddings? Not so much. Spoiler alert: It turns out, Christian Grey is indeed the marrying kind.  

Earlier this month, I was invited to New York City for the DVD and BluRay launch of the franchise’s newest instalment, Fifty Shades Darker. Upon arriving at the gorgeous new Whitby Hotel in Midtown for the party, I was greeted by a handsome gaggle of “ManServants,” male models in Eyes Wide Shut-style masks who stroked my ego with compliments and kept the champagne flowing.  At one point, I came face-to-face with author EL James, the richest author in the world, who thanked me and told me she “didn’t mean to” when I congratulated her on her insane accomplishments #goals.

I also got to chatting with costume designer Shay Cunliffe and head of makeup Rosalina Da Silva about Anastasia’s look. With wedding season upon us, and a pretty huge engagement in the Fifty Shades saga, I wanted to know how they maintain Ana’s allure while in more, ahem, formal situations. Being a guest at a wedding presents the opportunity to have fun with formalwear, but must be done in a way that respects the bride as the star of the show. Here are their pro tips on turning it up, Fifty Shades style.

Invest in Fancy Footwear

After we both lamented skyrocketing prices for beautiful heels, Shay told me she’s never spent as much time considering the sex appeal of shoes as she did for this movie. “Every scene starts out dressed but it ends up in a sexual moment,” she says. Her favourite pair in the film were some black strappy Jimmy Choos that Anastasia wears to dinner with Christian. “She removes her panties under the dinner table at his request, so I knew we were really, really going to see the shoes. Even the way the foot sits in the shoe has sex appeal.” Always a bridesmaid, never a bride isn’t so bad when you’re in fabulous shoes.

A Flattering Cut Goes a Long Way

Anastasia is definitely not the most sartorially sophisticated woman, preferring basics like striped tops and ankle boots, although Shay assures me her style evolves in the next instalment as she becomes more confident in her personal and professional life. At the masquerade ball she attends with Christian, Anastasia wears a satin sheath silver gown custom made by Monique Lhuillier, best known for her wedding dresses, that flatters her figure while respecting her demure personality. Learning what cuts and styles work best on you is the most important stepping stone to perfecting your formal look, even if you don’t have access to a French designer.

Consider Your Underpinnings

Shay and I are both on team lace bra, with our girl Anastasia preferring options by Agent Provocateur and Stella McCartney. “They both really let the breast be breasts,” says Shay. “There’s a terrible fashion right now in bras, which disguise the shape of the breast, I don’t understand it. You know the sort of foam. What the hell is that!” While we may not all have Anastasia’s enviable wardrobe of racy lacy things, Shay advises maintaining a relationship between your clothing and your underwear, particularly at formal occasions. “It looks great,” she says.

Work on Your “Natural” Beauty Look

Rosalina is all about skincare, especially for brides. “People start thinking, oh the venue, oh the church, oh the dress,” she says. “When you’re getting married, if you have the six months before you get married, plan to have good skin.” She recommends getting monthly facials and consulting a professional to find a good regime leading up to the big day. And for brides and guests alike, a lighter hand and focusing on playing up your best features is her strategy for weddings, and for Ana too. “Look the best you feel, always make yourself look great. A tinted moisturizer for a foundation always looks natural and get lipstick that you love, and if you don’t like the intensity of the colour, just mix it with a little bit of lip gloss.”