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  • Writer's pictureDiana Eden

This one's for you, Santa Barbara fans!

A fan asked me today what my favorite moments were on “Santa Barbara” and who my favorite stars were. Though there were many, the actress who came to mind immediately was Sidney Penny. She was so easy to design for! Not only did she have a lovely body to clothe, but she was so down to earth and adventurous and open about ideas that I had. That is always such a treat! Sometimes I want to design something a little different from the norm, especially when it comes to wedding gowns, and though the producer always has final approval on designs, it always helps when an actor is willing to go along with some crazy ideas.

I have found that bridal gowns tend to always look the same (strapless, full skirts right now) and on both “Santa Barbara” and “Passions”, I wanted my wedding gowns to be unique. I didn't always succeed - sometimes the fans hated what I did, but more about that later!

“BJ” and “Warren” were to wed on the final show of “Santa Barbara” and we were to shoot on location at the gorgeous Ritz Carlton Hotel at Laguna Niguel on the California coast. We filmed in December, and though all the actors were in formal wear, the icy ocean breeze was whipping up the bluff, and we were all freezing! I had wanted to do a 1930's themed gown for Sidney and I had actually found an authentic 1930's dress that I liked in a costume rental house. But I wanted to add my own unique touch, so I designed a white velvet coat to go over the gown and a "Juliet" cap with silk flowers for her hair. Sidney's face and bone structure allow her to wear things close to her head, and she just wasn't a big fluffy veil type! Needless to say, she looked amazing. As she approached her groom, a small breeze picked up the train of the coat and gave the whole outfit some movement. I was standing just off-camera going "yes! yes!"

Another successful wedding gown on Santa Barbara was the 1940's inspired gown for "Julia" when she married "Mason" for the umpteenth time. Nancy (Grahn) told me she liked the 1940's silhouette, and since in the 1990s, when this was being filmed, wide shoulders were still in style, this wasn't too much of a stretch. But to make the somewhat masculine silhouette more feminine, I made it of silk chiffon, with a long sheer cape attached at the shoulders that I hoped would billow in the breeze. I've never been big on tulle veils, at least on camera, as sometimes I think they overwhelm the actress' face, which is important to see.

At least my fictional brides don’t have the wedding day nerves of a real bride! For them, it’s all in a day’s work.

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