NEW YORK — Here comes the … march of the wedding gowns for Bridal Fashion Week.
From boho chic to traditional ball gowns, models dressed as smiling brides took Manhattan this month for a trade show of their very own following the fall cycle of womenswear runway around the globe.
“Bridal week is definitely happy,” said Keren Craig, who comprises half the brand’s design duo with Georgina Chapman. “It’s all about love.”
The two put their brides on a white platform, letting natural light from huge windows drench their romantic off-the-shoulder gowns in fit-and-flare silhouettes, among other shapes adorned with floral embroidery, and Chantilly lace underlays in subtle blush and nude tones.
They drew inspiration from Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn. Her gown, woven with flowers, played out in long strands of petals, floral threadwork and cascading draped bustles.
There was a lingerie feel in sheer and transparent elements combined with constructed corsets and lace bustiers.
“What we do see now is the bride is going more in the direction of wanting plunging necks, a little more sheerness, an easier dress,” added Chapman in a joint interview with Craig. “Not just necessarily the traditional big ball gown.”
Nowadays, Craig added, a bride often searches out more flexibility for her big day, such as a detachable cape they put on a high-low skirt that lent a modern touch.
“They want to transform their dress easily without actually having to change,” she said.
As for color, some designers are going bold. Not these two. They stuck to muted, traditional tones.
“We haven’t done any black yet,” Craig smiled, “but never say never.”
The designers behind this Eurocentric brand are sisters from Barcelona, Yolanda and Cristina Perez. And this time around, they had their brides draped in gold, with a motif of spikes of wheat wending through the details.
It was their haute couture Studio Collection inspired by the Victorian Age and the work of 19th century masters: Van Dyck, Rubens, El Greco. The designers carried the artists’ heroines and dreamers into rich laces, organza, embroidered tulle and hand beading done in florals.
Many of the gowns were show pieces with huge bulges in places few brides would care to emphasize, but others were beautifully crafted in lushly laced wearable column silhouettes.
Two had unusual brocade and beaded backs. A third in gold had heavy Victorian shoulders atop long sleeves.
“The presence of the wheat is so important. It’s the line that connects the collection,” Yolanda explained in a joint interview. “The gold is a new color for a bride.”
Wheat, they said, symbolizes growth and fertility.
Can the gold be worn in church?
“Yes, absolutely,” said Cristina.
The sisters dressed Kim Kardashian’s sisters as bridesmaids for her 2014 wedding to Kanye West and Beyonce wore one of their delicate white bridal dresses when she collected one of several statues at the MTV Video Music Awards last August.
It’s a big year for Lhuillier: Her 20th year in the fashion industry, in fact, and for bridal she took a look back through her archives in search of where she’s been and where she wants to go.
And her latest bride? Well, she’s a breathless, excited ingenue with tousled hair who could practically wear her wedding gown to bed.
Lhuillier deconstructed gowns into sheer, embellished negligee styles with layers of tulle and delicate lace in come-hither shades of white, cream and blush. Some of her gowns came in deeper shades of coffee, gold and fawn.
“This year, I was so nostalgic looking back,” Lhuillier said in an interview. “I was really enjoying looking through the years. There’s a little sentiment but also a move forward in a little color, some necklines that are a little more exaggerated. I was thinking how to make bridal new and exciting again.”
Among the more interesting details were some standout backs. One crossed like a sports bra but came in lace with silvery sparkles on a sleeveless drop-waist gown that hugged the body until it gave way to a full tulle skirt. Another had sheer sleeves with floral details with a round, open back in the color of a latte.
There were other sleeve moments. One floral-applique, lingerie-inspired gown plunged into a sexy V at the front and included sheer asymmetrical sleeves open at the shoulder.
Evoking her past, Lhuillier included dainty little ribbon belts.
“I did a lot of soft lace dresses from the very beginning and newer version of that for today,” she said. “It’s all about sophistication and real romance.”
Caftans for your wedding? Badgley Mischka asks, why not?
They created three in their latest bridal collection and insist they’re just as good for walking down the aisle as they are for the reception or other wedding weekend events.
All three are shades of white with embellished V-necks. They’re clearly not for everyone but would fit into just the right destination or beachy wedding. And they could also be easily reused.
Caftans are a big part of the couture business for Mark Badgley and James Mischka.
The two offer bridal looks at a range of prices, from custom and couture to highly affordable. Care with cut and extra touches are evident throughout. Royal white and blush were the main palettes.
In the lower priced line, the Belle line, the company has introduced more bridal separates that — like the caftans — could be incorporated into a regular wardrobe, including an elegant pair of pleated palazzo pants paired in the showroom with a sleeveless beaded top that had a touch of fluttery feathers at the bottom.
The top would be perfect with a pair of jeans after the wedding.