Olivia Culpo said she didn't want her wedding dress to 'exude sex,' sparking a debate about modest gowns

Olivia Culpo said she didn't want her wedding dress to 'exude sex,' sparking a debate about modest gowns
  • Olivia Culpo told Vogue she didn't want her Dolce & Gabbana ceremony gown to "exude sex in any way."

  • The dress divided social media users, with some saying Culpo pushed a "conservative agenda" with it.

  • Culpo wore two other dresses on her wedding day that weren't as modest.

Olivia Culpo's wedding dress is causing a stir online.

The former Miss Universe married NFL player Christian McCaffrey on June 29 in Rhode Island, a little over a year after they got engaged.

Culpo wore three custom Dolce & Gabbana dresses throughout her wedding day, including a simple ball gown for her ceremony.

But the gown became controversial after Culpo emphasized its modesty in an interview with Vogue.

Culpo and Dolce & Gabbana did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

Olivia Culpo said she didn't want her wedding dress to 'exude sex'

Culpo's three Dolce & Gabbana wedding dresses each had a distinct look.

She wore a long-sleeved, crepe ball gown for her ceremony with button detailing on the sleeves and back. It also had a high neckline that ensured her torso was completely covered.

Culpo wore an off-the-shoulder, empire-waist dress with a rosette on the bodice for much of the reception.

At the end of the night, she changed into a mini-romper that was overlaid with a sheer bubble skirt for a more fun look.

Culpo told Vogue's Elise Taylor that she didn't want the ceremony dress she wore "to exude sex in any way, shape, or form" because of her views on marriage.

"It's a covenant," Culpo said. "It's the beginning of the rest of your life — and it's the union and bond of two people forever."

Culpo added that she "wanted something that felt as serious as that commitment" and for the gown to suit her church ceremony. She also thought the dress would fit McCaffrey's idealized vision of her.

"When I think about Christian and what he loves and the moments that he thinks that I'm most beautiful, it's absolutely in something like this: timeless, covered, and elegant," she told Vogue.

The internet was divided on Culpo's modest dress

After Vogue published photos from Culpo's wedding, social media users quickly voiced differing opinions on her ceremony dress, with some praising the look and Culpo's comments about it and others critiquing the gown.

"I love her style," one user wrote. "But this dress is a lot of nothingness."

"This dress is stunning, but I especially love the respect it shows to what a wedding really is," another commented.

"People are not having an issue with the dress. It's her own contradicting statements. Why is she trying to push for a CONSERVATIVE and her next look she is without half the clothes," someone else wrote.

On July 1, Kennedy Bingham, a bridal creator who frequently reviews celebrity wedding dresses, made a video about Culpo's ceremony gown that went viral on TikTok and Instagram.

In the video, which had over 5 million views on TikTok as of Monday, Bingham said Culpo was wearing a "beautiful, simple, elegant dress." However, she added that Culpo's comments to Vogue about why she wanted her dress to be modest were problematic.

Bingham did not respond to a request for comment from BI.

"There is nothing wrong with wanting a modest wedding dress or just modest attire in general," Bingham said. "But the way that she was talking about this went beyond just wanting something modest for herself and pushing this idea of what she thinks all brides should look like."

Bingham said she thought Culpo was pushing a "conservative agenda" in her interview with Vogue, saying her statements implied she thought all brides had to wear modest dresses to take marriage seriously.

Bingham also said Culpo's dress had "no personality," contrasting it with celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lily Collins, who wore more intricate, modest wedding dresses.

She also brought up Dolce & Gabbana's past controversies with racism and homophobia, questioning why Culpo would choose to work with the brand.

"It's very clear that this was not a wedding," Bingham said. "This was a conservative campaign."

Culpo and her husband responded to the video

Culpo and McCaffrey commented on the video, calling Bingham "evil" for her statements.

"What an evil thing to post online," McCaffrey commented on Bingham's Reel. "I hope you can find joy and peace in the world, the way my beautiful wife does."

"Wow what an absolutely evil person you are," Culpo commented on Bingham's TikTok. "I hope no one ever tears you apart in this way because it's extremely hurtful. I love this dress and it was everything I wanted and more."

Olivia Culpo and Christian McCaffrey in 2023.
Olivia Culpo and Christian McCaffrey in 2023.Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Bingham also said in her TikTok that Culpo looked like she had eyebrow lamination and lash extensions, to which the former Miss Universe responded: "Also, no I do not have eyebrow lamination or lash extensions. I'm sorry that infuriates you."

"I pointed out your designer has a long history of homophobia and racism and your words push a harmful standard of misogyny and you're upset about the lash comment?" Bingham responded.

Culpo's dress might be part of a resurgence of traditional wedding gowns

Culpo's ceremony dress is a departure from recent wedding fashion trends, as many brides have gravitated toward sheer or heavily detailed gowns.

Jackie Avrumson, a bridal stylist who has worked in the wedding industry for 25 years, told BI that more daring gowns became mainstream as brides looked for alternatives to the strapless neckline, finding inspiration on sites like Pinterest.

"Brides just wanted to get away from the 'traditional' look and create something that felt a little bit more modern, which led to a little bit more sexy," she said.

However, Avrumson said she's seeing a resurgence of popular bridal trends from the 1980s and 1990s.

"Now, we're seeing more sleeves, we are seeing the square necklines, we are seeing drop-waist ball gowns," she said. "We are starting to steer away from the fitted dresses and going back into the A-line and the ball gown dresses."

"I don't know if it's necessarily modest, but I think a little bit more traditional," she added of the trend.

Brides have also been embracing convertible gowns, which often allow them to wear different looks throughout their wedding day, including a mix of conservative and more daring outfits.

"I think it's really a moment for the bride to be able to wear everything that they can possibly wear as a bride and check off all those boxes," Avrumson said.

In that sense, Avrumson said Culpo's wedding looks were on trend, as her three dresses each had a very different tone.

Avrumson said thinking about Culpo's experience in the public eye can also shed light on how she might have thought about her wedding dress.

"She's a person who has been looked at and judged her whole life," Avrumson said, adding that Culpo may have thought a simple, modest dress ensured the fact that she was getting married was the focus of the day.

Despite her back and forth with Bingham, Culpo reiterated that she loved her dress in another Instagram post about her wedding gown shared on Wednesday.

"One more for the dress of my dreams," she wrote. "Thank you @dolcegabbana for executing my vision perfectly. I cried the first time I tried it on. From the very first sketch, this was it for me. My dream dress."

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