Herrera’s “Twilight” Moment: Creating Bella’s Gown

Carolina Herrera has been expanding her empire to a new generation of fashionistas by dressing starlets like Jessica Alba, Jordana Brewster and Camilla Belle. But her latest creation could make her the Bella of the ball for the younger set.

The 72-year-old Venezuelan designer is the mastermind behind what could become the most copied wedding dress of the century: the bridal gown worn by Kristen Stewart’s character Bella in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I.

Carolina Herrera Twilight Dress

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer specifically asked Herrera to create the dress, which was handmade for Stewart to wear in her on-screen wedding to her vampire fiancé, Edward Cullen

“I was of course inspired by Stephenie’s description of the gown in the book, but I added the touch of Herrera and also took into consideration the personality and the style of the bride,” Herrera tells British Vogue. “A wedding dress is both an intimate and personal for a woman—it must reflect the personality and style of the bride.  Bella’s dress is romantic and filled with a timeless sophistication, very similar to the character. In a way, this dress served as a symbol of the character’s coming of age and introduction into womanhood.”

Carolina Herrera Twilight Dress

It took Herrera and four seamstresses more than six months to create thedramatic crepe satin and French Chantilly lace dress, which features 152 buttons on the back and 17 on each sleeve. But it only took a second to make an emotional impact on Stewart.

“In the initial fitting when Kristen put the dress on and looked in the mirror, she was very moved,” says the designer. “In that moment she was not an actress or a character in a film, she was a bride, and a happy one at that.  It is always very important to make the bride happy, of course, and in this case I was delighted to do so.  It was a very special moment for both Kristen and the character of Bella to share.”

Herrera’s classic and sophisticated wedding gowns have been worn by some of the world’s most stylish brides, including Renee Zellweger and Christina Hendricks. So what inspired her to work in the Twilight zone?

“Being a big follower of The Twilight Saga, I was very flattered to be a part of this fantastic project,” says Herrera. “I read the books and saw the first film and have been a fan ever since.  You can’t walk down the street and run into someone who doesn’t know what Twilight is anymore, whether it be the books or the movie.  Our bridal collections always possess a timeless elegance and sophistication and I found the same elements in Stephenie Meyer’s descriptions of Bella’s dress.”

The floor-length handmade gown—complete with a Bardot neckline and short train—will be sold at Herrera’s boutiques in New York, Los Angeles, Bal Harbour and Dallas starting in January 2012.