A Marchesa Gown That Costs Less Than a Pearl: Georgina Chapman’s JC Penny Collaboration Review

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A Marchesa Gown That Costs Less Than a Pearl: Georgina Chapman’s JC Penny Collaboration Review

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While the award season may be over, it’s hard to forget about the beautiful couture gowns that graced the red carpet at the Golden Globes and the Oscars.  All young Hollywood ingénues know that a spot on the best-dressed list can help put them on the map.  And when Joan Rivers or Ryan Seacrest asks the highly anticipated question “Who are you wearing?” the name on many stars’ lips is Marchesa.

marchesa red carpetUnfortunately, Marchesa’s exorbitantly high prices keep these dream gowns just that — the object of dreams.  While Marchesa does have a “lower” priced diffusion line, Notte by Marchesa, its price range upward of $600 is still inaccessible for many.

Luckily, Georgina Chapman has partnered with JC Penny for the launch of Pearl, her rolling capsule collection (launching in monthly installments).  I went to JCP to see for myself if the Pearl Georgina Chapman of Marchesa line was worth the hype.

JCPpicstitchIt’s important to remember that a collaboration with a mass-market retailer like JCP means the designer has to settle for lower quality fabrics in order for the dresses to be affordable.  You get what you pay for, and the quality of the dresses varies.  Overall, the line is very nice but certain pieces are made better than others.

A punchy, short, passion-red dress immediately caught my eye ($110).  The dress was certainly visually, interesting with its embroidered rosettes topped off with a girly pink bow, tied around the waist.  However, when I tried it on, it looked like something that the character Elmo would wear to a cocktail party.  It seems like Céline isn’t the only high-end brand to find inspiration from Sesame Street.  This dress was fun, but ultimately a bit too theatrical for me.

red picstitch

From left to right: A passion-red dress by Pearl, $110, Jessica Szohr in Notte by Marchesa.

The true jewel of the Pearl line is a breathtakingly beautiful, frothy blush colored tulle gown ($250).  The skirt of the gown is delicately spun, and the bodice is well made.  Although it is made of polyester, the gown is signature Marchesa and close in design to actual runway looks. This dress is Cinderella-moment worthy.

blush gown

From left to right: Marchesa RTW S 2011, Pearl for JCP, and Marchesa Bridal F/W 2012.

The line also features a simpler, strapless column gown ($110) with an embellishment detail on the bodice. It comes in both rich blue (see bottom left) and pale nude hues.

blues picstitch

A retro-inspired robin’s egg blue cocktail dress (see top right) ($110) won me over for being both well made and wearable.  The ballerina meets ‘50s lady-like glamour dress has delicate straps and a ruched bodice with a classic Marchesa tulle, appliqué with blooming rosette detail.

Finding the right dress from this collaboration is a little like trying to find a precious pearl in an oyster, but the hunt is well worth it to own an (affordable) Marchesa piece!

-Augusta Greenbaum 

Images courtesy of Thebudgetbabe.com,Catwalkqueen.tv, Myfashiondiary.com, Breakingcopy.com, Thedailybeast.com, Style.com, Jcpenny.com, Weddingstylemagazine.com, and Fashionindie.com.

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