Pretty Little Liars ended this week with Aria (Lucy Hale) marrying Ezra (Ian Harding) on the series finale, and to prepare for the moment, a reputable wedding dress designer was naturally solicited to help out with the gown. The show’s costume designer Cameron Dale tells The Knot that the wardrobe department was given adequate notice by series creator and executive producer I. Marlene King about the pending nuptials, and started pulling together the looks for the big moments well in advance.
“Fans have been following Aria’s style for seven years and I couldn’t drop the ball on her biggest fashion moment yet,” Dale says in an exclusive interview. “I first spoke to Lucy about what she imagined for Aria. We decided on a slim silhouette and we both wanted something ultra romantic with sleeves. I immediately thought of Claire Pettibone—no one does romantic like she does.”
Designer Claire Pettibone tells The Knot that Aria wore the Ariel Gown from her Gothic Angel Collection. “I was inspired by the ornate almost over-the-top details of Gothic cathedrals, and combined embroidery, sequins and beading along with metallic gold lace to create this gown,” Pettibone says. But although the inspiration was quite elaborate, I always want my brides to feel relaxed, and never over-done, so despite all of the textures and embellishments, the dress still feels very wearable.”
The piece was comprised of French lace and sequined silk embroidery, and featured an illusion neckline along with a bedazzled belt at the waist. The sleeves, equally unique and ornate, were crafted of tulle and gold Guipure cuffs.
“Almost every Claire Pettibone dress I pulled for our fitting had sleeves,” Dale says of the 30-plus pieces initially selected from Pettibone’s collection. “Lucy and I weren’t exactly sure of color and we were open to different slim silhouettes but we knew we wanted a gorgeous sleeve. Aria’s style has always been adventurous and I think the voluminous sleeves with all of the intricate detail and lace were a beautiful statement. Ezra and Aria have been through so much and we wanted a dress to speak to their love. The vintage feel of the dress is timeless like their love.”
Pettibone says she’s pleased with the outcome. “Lucy as her character Aria looked amazing!” she tells The Knot. “The gown was perfectly tailored to fit her, which is so key for any bride.”
The team paired Aria’s gown with drop earrings from J.Crew, “which is always so reliable for great costume jewelry,” says Dale. “Her veil was custom made by Erica Koesler who has a beautiful studio near Warner Brothers where we shoot. I also wanted a simple veil since, again, the dress was so elaborate.”
The bridesmaids—Alison (Sasha Pieterse), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer (Troian Bellisario)—all coordinated in navy gowns of different styles. “I could never put them in the same dress. I went straight to Reformation. They are such a crowd favorite!” says Dale. “I knew the girls would love their dresses and most were already familiar with the line. Reformation’s dresses are sexy and they have such flattering styles.”
Then came the issue of what color would properly correlate to the characters’ personalities. “The show is so badass [that] I couldn’t put the girls in any color too feminine like pink or purple!” Dale continues. “Navy just felt right. We also tried gray and red, but Marlene ultimately picked navy and I was glad.”