The Story Of Heavy Metal’s Most Famous Wedding Dress Look
Much like the rest of us, pop music loves a beautiful wedding, complete with unique dresses, accessories and wedding headbands.
Beyonce’s beautiful dress in Best Thing I Never Had, Katy Perry’s ludicrous number from Hot N Cold and the dress that made indie band Panic! At The Disco chime in with a sense of poise and rationality.
Even in the world of heavy metal, where the favoured colours are black and red, you see a lot of love for weddings, to the point that Billy Idol made a song called White Wedding.
However, whilst there are a lot of beautiful, unique and sometimes completely strange dresses in the music pantheon, arguably the most famous dress in a music video was worn by Stephanie Seymour for what was at the time the most expensive music video ever made.
The famous silhouette of the dress, its frilled bridal train contrasting with a relatively simple mini dress design became highly influential in the wider wedding world and several costume dresses have been made since with that same silhouette.
Use Your Illusion
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world was Guns N’ Roses, who were not only incredibly successful but somewhat infamous for their rebellious attitude and indulgent lifestyle, giving them a dangerous reputation.
It may therefore seem surprising that such a famously sleazy band would have a powerful ballad that needed an elaborate centrepiece wedding dress, but the origins of the 1992 song date back almost a decade, to a short story about a troubled rock star, and a 21-year-old singer and pianist struggling in Los Angeles.
The short story Without You by Del James tells the story of a rock star who had recently lost his girlfriend and all of the memories he had of her, finally playing the song he wrote for her as his house was consumed by flames.
This story became the inspiration for a grand ballad called November Rain, written in 1983 by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose but would only be released in 1992 alongside a video that cost $1.5m to produce and presented a dream wedding counterpointed with a funeral and a dark lonely night.
A large part of that expense was building a chapel in New Mexico, which was used as the backdrop for one of guitarist Slash’s most famous guitar solos. However, the other major expense was a Carmela Sutera-designed wedding dress worn by Mr Rose’s then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour.
It cost $8,000 at the time, featured a chapel-length veil and an A-line skirt, and the initial shot of the camera panning up to show the dress is one of the most famous visuals associated not only with the song itself but Guns N’ Roses the band.
It is a striking, provocative look, one very much of its era, but also one that highlighted the versatility of the white wedding dress.
What happened to the dress is unknown; Mrs Seymour and Mr Rose broke up shortly after getting engaged, and it is possible that the dress is in the possession of Geffen Records, the producer of the song and the music video.