By Bill Ernst
These sites will make your prom, pageant, and social occasion gown shopping a breeze
Prom Gown Manufacturers
So many gowns, so little time. With prom season rapidly approaching, and the time to choose a gown shrinking, you are about to have the options available to you greatly expanded. This article hopes to both broaden your choices by presenting web sites with hundreds of gowns to choose from, and to narrow your options by presenting only the nation's leading designers. By the time you are finished reading this article (and visiting the web sites), you should have a good idea of the type of gown that you are interested in.
Maybe you have already visited www.promtime.info and gotten an overview of what style of gown you like. The PromTime web site displays all of the gowns you see in the 2004 Fashion Showcase. When you click on the gown you like in the Fashion Showcase, it will take you to a page where you can obtain contact information for that manufacturer. The manufacturers who have their own websites have a link on the contact page that you can "click and go" to visit their site. At some point you're going to choose that one special dress... and that is where these sites come in.
Click on the underlined web address or the photo of the web page to visit that site.
Alberto Makali www.albertomakali.com
Before you are able to enter the Alberto Makali site you must first have the latest Macromedia Flash 6 plugin installed. A link is provided on the splash page. Once inside the site you are presented with several options: "The Collections," "Company Info," "Regional Representatives," "Show Schedule," and "Links." Click on "The Collections" and the site comes to life with fashionable animation which is organized into four categories: Blouses, Evenings, Sportswear, and Outerwear. All of the areas load quickly with thumbnail size images so you can see the exclusive collections at a glance. Clicking on any of the thumbnail images displays a very large, detailed photo of that style. You can then browse through the entire collection at this larger view. The site features its showcased fashions within beautiful haute couture locales.
At the time of this review, the much anticipated 2004 collection was being updated. When the new changes do occur, a store link directory for consumers will also be included.
Alyce Designs www.alycedesigns.com
When you first enter Alyce Designs' web site you are presented with seven different collections to choose from. At the very top of the page is "Alyce Prom." This is surely where you will want to start if you are looking for a prom gown, but don't feel limited to just that collection. Depending on your taste, you could find a gown appropriate for prom in any of their collections.
The gowns for all of Alyce's collections are presented in the same, fast-loading and user friendly manner. Clicking on any gown at the top of the page will display it quickly in the larger viewing area beneath it. You can print out a picture of the gown you desire and take it to a local retail store to find out the color choices and size options. Finding a local retailer is made easy by clicking on the "Find a Store" button on the main menu page. Simply select the state you live in from the pop-down menu, and it will then display a list of retailers in your state arranged alphabetically by city. If the retail store has a web site of their own, that link is provided along with an e-mail link.
Attitudes by Debra www.attitudesbydebra.com
Attitudes by Debra's web site features their entire 2004 catalog and over 230 of their gown designs. The extensive thumbnails are large enough to get an idea of the style, and clicking on the thumbnail takes you to a much larger photo.
�he site also features a store listing organized by state. Simply click on your state's name and see all the retail store listings for that state. If there are no retailers in your area or none close to you, Attitudes provides a "super link," i.e. retail stores where you can special-order your dress and have it shipped to you.
Avanti designs www.avantidesign.net
Avanti designs' elegant and simple web design puts the emphasis on their gowns. The main areas are "Evening," "Special Occasion," "Informal," and "Bridal," which link to Avanti's parent-company web site Private Label by G, featuring their Ginza bridal collection.
Overall the site is very orderly. For example, in the "Find a Store" area, once you select your state, the results are returned in alphabetical order based on the city's name. Also present is the phone number, and a MapQuest logo which, when you click on it, will open a new window with a detailed map showing you where to go.
The coolest feature on the site though, has to be the digital postcards. You can send your favorite Avanti Design dresses to anyone who can receive email! When you click on a dress that you like, click on the "send as digital card" button. Just click on it and enter a friend's email address, and they will be notified that an Avanti Design digital postcard is waiting for them. It's free and easy, and a perfect way to share the perfect outfit.
Claire's Collection www.clairescollection.com
The web site for Claire's Collection has long touted the many gowns they have designed for celebrities. After the splash page Flash animation, Cindy Crawford is the latest Supermodel to don their gowns, and the first of the many Hollywood elite to be presented in Claire's gowns on the site. They are pictured on Hollywood's elite at such prestigious events as The Golden Globe Awards and The 2003 Emmy awards. Their designs are also worn by the hostesses of such TV mainstays as The Price is Right, Entertainment Tonight, and Wheel of Fortune.
Claire's Collection includes many other areas of interesting content including "Fashion Tips" which provides good advice on such topics as their bridal gown philosophy, upcoming color trends, and an impressive array of their pageant gowns on winners and celebrities. In their "The Dish" area, you'll be able to read their take on celebrity fashion trends.
To see all of Claire's Collection fashions, you'll want to click on "The Gallery" area. Here you can click on page after page of their designs. The "Fashion Show" area will let you view gowns from runway shows in an animated format that presents several images at a time. To see live motion, click on their "Video" link, which features a video of their fashions. You will need windows Media Player to view this video.
Landa Designs www.landadesigns.com
Landa's site features their many and varied lines, such as Pageant, Special Occasion, Social, Bridal, and Bridesmaid. Cir� is where you'll find the Landa prom designs. There are plenty of gowns to choose from in this line. The gowns are conveniently grouped together in small photos which represent pages from their catalog. These thumbnails can then be clicked on to view larger photos of the gowns as well as style numbers, a drop-down menu with the color options for each style, and size options. This page also features "size picker," a handy chart to help you decide which size is best for you. It even gives guidelines for determining your best fit for a particular type of dress.
Their store list is one of the speediest store-finders around. Arranged in frames, a click on your states' abbreviation will instantly pull up a list of all the retail stores in that state.
Le Gala Prom www.legalaprom.com
Le Gala Prom is a division of Mon Cheri Bridals. The new site for the Le Gala Prom line features a fresh "today" look featuring eight different collections.
Clicking on "LeGala Prom" will take you to a new page where you can see their latest prom designs. This page features thumbnail size photos of the gowns with style numbers. It even has a handy "Select a Style" pop-down menu that will let you navigate directly to a specific gown if you know the style number. If you don't know the style number, simply scroll through until you see one that you like, and clicking on it will bring up a larger view which also lists the colors, sizes, and fabrics that are available for that particular design.
Their store locator has a list menu for both the U.S. and Canada, which are searchable by state or province. If you find a store carrying the line you like and they have a web site, the site provides a link on the listing page.
| Maria's Collections by Putros Couture www.mariascollections.com |
Maria's Collections is the prom division of Putros Couture. Their gowns are featured in fairly large thumbnail images, even on your initial look at them. Each gown is pictured with the style number under it. The site's larger images pop up in a new window, accompanied by style number, color, and size options. Credit applications and order forms are also available online in PDF format. If you would like to receive a free catalog, simply fill out their online form.
| Mystique www.mystiqueprom.com |
Mystique is the prom division of Bonny MT. The first look you'll get of Mystique's gowns are the upper-torso thumbnail images you'll see on the "gowns" page. These images are a nice size to see detail and make your selection. When you see the gown you prefer, and click on it for a closer view and more info, you will be greeted by an image that is about 5 inches by 9 inches showing the gown in great detail. This page also features the style number, fabric options, color options and available sizes. It also has a link conveniently placed underneath to find a store near you, or you may also request a catalog.
Party Time www.partytimeformals.com
Upon entering Party Time Formals web site you are given the option of viewing the Prom/Pageant line, the Princess Collection, or Suits which appear in the "Select Catalogue" pop down menu. If you already know the style number of the gown you want, you can also go directly there at this time. The Prom/Pageant line alone features 140 items. The Princess Collection holds another 51. Clicking on a gown you like will take you to a new window which lists the style number, style description (name), available sizes and colors, as well as a size chart.
Once you find the gown you are looking for, go to the "Store Locator" to find a retailer in your area. The stores are organized by state, with cities and phone numbers listed for each retailer.
PromTime.info is a division of Pageantry and PromTime magazines. The main part of PromTime.info is a direct reflection of the showcase, presenting the evening wear as it appears within the magazine. When a web site visitor clicks on a particular page or featured design, the gowns will display according to their respective manufacturer for easy reference. After you discover the dress of your dreams and wish for contact and purchase information, simply click on the manufacturer's name, and then, if you really, really, like the gown, look for store information to purchase the gown by being directed to the manufacturer's personal site by clicking on their company name, which is a url link to their home location.
In addition to the fashion showcase, you may find all of the major prom articles from the publication(s), including hair styles for the big night, makeover makeup tips, and staging advice for producing the perfect event, whether a prom or pageant. Also, a PromTime checklist is included so you don't forget a thing while planning your perfect evening. PromTime.info should be your number one source for all social occasion events.
Studio 17 www.studio17.biz
Studio 17 is a division of Tiffany Designs. The "Fall 2003 - Prom" collection features over 100 photos. Each style shows a front and a back view of the gown.
Clicking on a thumbnail of each style will take you to a very large photo of the gown (approximately 7 inches by 9 inches), with the style number and colors displayed on each.
The Crown Collection www.thecrowncollection.com
The Crown Collection is the pageant division of Bonny MT. The Crown Collection has much the same look as Mystique's site, including the upper-torso thumbnail images you'll see on the "gowns" page. These images are a nice size to see detail and make your selection. When you see the gown you prefer, and click on it for a closer view and more info, you will be greeted by an image that is about 5 inches by 9 inches showing the gown in great detail. This page also features the style number, fabric options, color options and available sizes. It also has a link placed under it to find a store near you. You may search for the store by either your city, or state.
Tiffany Designs www.tiffanydesigns.com
Tiffany Designs is an exclusive line which is distributed by specially selected retail stores. Like Studio 17, Tiffany Designs Collection features over 100 photos with a front and a back view of the gown for each style shown. Tiffany also offers a unique store finder. After you select your state in the list menu, it offers a second menu so you can tell it which city you are in. This is an easy way to find the location nearest you.
Clicking on a thumbnail of a style will take you to a very large photo of the gown (approximately 7 inches by 9 inches), with the style number and colors displayed on each.
Other areas were "Frequently Asked Questions," and "Online Services." The "Online Services" area is for retailers only. This is a powerful service for retailers and allows them to check inventory, place orders, and check confirmations.
Victor Rossi www.victorrossi.com
Victor Rossi presents elegant, yet functional designer formal and evening wear appropriate for prom, pageants, and many other formal occasions. Victor Rossi presents his catalog with large sized thumbnail images which let you click to see a larger view.
�Clicking on "Designers Corner," Victor gives a run-down of Fashion Tips with what to look for in 2003 from colors and celebrities to watch, as well as which accessories will be hottest. This page also has a link to the "VR Web lounge" a collection of links, pointing you to everything from news and weather to the best fashion sites.
The "Design Center" features an online form requesting your personal details and measurements. Victor can then create a custom gown for you from the design of your choosing. It also features an 18-point measurement chart with illustrations telling you how to measure each area.
The above sites, along with the www.PromTime.info web site, are wonderful places to search for the gown of your dreams. A good thing to do when you visit these manufacturers' sites is to print out the page of the gown you're interested in and take it to your local retail store. This printout, with the gown photo, style number, sizes, and color choices available, is a great way to ensure you get exactly the dress you want for your next big event.