Bridal trends will forever and always evolve depending upon the time, seasons and era. Think back to when our grandmothers and great grandmothers were getting married; my Nana wore an extravagant organza dress whereas my mother opted for a sleek silk slip dress with a lace overlay. When it was time for me to get married and start my wedding dress hunt, everyone told me that I would just know when I came across the right dress. Sure enough, they were right! I had been searching for weeks, trying on gorgeous dresses but didn’t get that “feeling” until one day it hit me when I tried on “the one”. The one for me was a Monique Lhuillier shift dress. I saw myself in the mirror and just knew I was meant to wear it on my wedding day. My grandmother, mother and I each chose to wear a dress that was indicative of the time period we were married, one being in the 50’s, the other in the 70’s and mine in 2004. These days, I feel as if designers are paying homage and pulling inspiration from every era. They are taking the best bridal trends from each century and reinventing looks while adding their own personal touch to their creations.
We are all familiar with New York Fashion Week but did you know that twice a year there is a Bridal Fashion Week? Fashionistas fly in from all over the world to see the latest bridal trends showcased by their favorite designers. This year, I was able to attend New York’s Bridal Fashion Week and it was incredible. I was thrilled to be a part of it and witness firsthand the hottest bridal trends while catching up with some fabulous bridal designers. It was such a different experience than attending New York Fashion Week as it is much more relaxed and interactive. I am now convinced that working in the bridal fashion industry is the coolest job. This Bridal Fashion Week, I was invited by four designers to see their latest creations and learn about the hottest bridal runway trends. Each show was completely different from the other, some being more formal while others were more interactive. I loved the fact that each show was very indicative of the designers’ style and personality. You can learn so much about a designer by taking the time to look at their latest creations. Each show was a unique experience and I truly enjoyed attending all of them and meeting the incredible designers behind the bridal masterpieces.
The glamorous designer Hayley Paige decided to spice things up a bit this year and instead of hosting a traditional fashion show, she opted for an interactive presentation with a 90’s theme. Hayley is this absolutely stunning and bubbly designer based in NYC. She was glowing in a hot pink jumpsuit that was of course, designer by her. She was so kind and walked me through her latest collection, piece by piece. She had all of her gorgeous dresses displayed on racks where you could get up close and personal with each design. There is something so nice about being able to actually feel the fabric and see the intricate details of each dress.
Hayley decided to bring the dresses to life by having a live photo-shoot going on in a separate section of the studio. Not only could you see the dresses up close but you could also see them on the models as they were shooting for the upcoming look book. Seeing these dresses on the rack and then watching them come to life in front of your eyes was truly a sight to see. I felt as if the collection had an amazing range and selection for every bride. There were romantic pieces, sleek, puffy, short, long…you name it, she had it! She even had a pink and blue gown as well as a fun sequin robe for bridesmaids that said “Bride Squad” on the back. Super cute and super chic.
Can you believe Hayley started her bridal line when she was only 25 years old? She learned to sew and crochet at a very young age and eventually started designing her own dresses to wear to school dances. After college, she started a company with a close friend called “Something Borrowed” which was essentially a bridal accessory rental company. After starting Something Borrowed, she contacted the CEO of JLM, a house of bridal brands, and sure enough, Hayley made her way on board and launched her own bridal collection by July 2011. It was so exciting and inspirational to hear about Hayley’s’ story! If you haven’t seen any of her pieces, make sure to check them out. They are absolutely stunning and must-see brand for every bride-to-be!
After the Hayley Paige presentation, I attended the Morilee by Madeline Gardner fashion show that was located in a beautiful loft in Soho with the who’s who of the bridal industry in attendance. I was so excited to have a front row glimpse of the latest in bridal trends. This show was much more like a runway show you would see at NYFW, however, the setting had more of a boutique feel due to the location. The runway was lined with a beautiful arch of fragrant roses that created a gorgeous ambiance.
Morilee has been established for over 50 years as one of the leading brands in the bridal industry. Madeline Gardner is an award-winning designer who has created some of the most stunning feminine dresses in today’s bridal market. This is the ideal line for the modern, sophisticated bride-to-be looking for and elegant dress with impeccable quality, fit and feel. Morilee by Madeline Gardner is the ideal collection that mixes both luxury and contemporary designs, giving the line a truly universal appeal.
The Lazaro presentation was next on my list and I couldn’t wait to see what the designer had in store for me to see. This was one of my favorite presentations especially because I have been following Lazaro since back in the day when I was thumbing through bridal magazines for my own wedding. I was thrilled when I received an invite to this particular event. Lazaro was so interesting because it was a mix of both a presentation and mini fashion show, which made it one of the most interactive shows I have ever attending.
There were models walking down the runway wearing Lazaro’s latest dresses, but at the same time, you could look through the racks on each side of the runway that were filled with his latest designs. Imagine being able to closely look at the dresses while simultaneously watch the models walk down the runway wearing the same dress you are looking at on the rolling rack. You could even request a model try on a particular style that you were interested in seeing. I absolutely loved the concept of this particular presentation/show. It was also wonderful to be able to meet Lazaro, the creative genius and another leader in the bridal industry. In summary, Lazaro’s collection is a mix of timeless elegance with a hint of modern glam. All of the dresses are truly enchanting made from some of the most luxurious fabrics. He can truly design the perfect dress for any bride!
I also attended the Allison Webb presentation, which took place in the same venue as Lazaro. It was so fun to go back and forth between the two rooms and view the collections. Although it was in the same venue, the vibe and presentation was completely different. Unlike Lazaro, there was no runway; just a gorgeous model in front of a branded wall wearing incredible dresses by Allison Webb. This was such a chic, sleek and clean collection with a modern and sophisticated vibe. Her entire collection embodied elegance with clean lines, delicate embroideries and exquisite laces. All of her dresses are handcrafted with the purpose of amplifying the bride’s natural beauty. I absolutely love this concept and the fact that Allison Webb’s dresses are truly timeless pieces that are beyond polished while offering a sophisticated look.
After seeing the shows and presentations, I did notice quite a few similarities in terms of bridal trends. There are numerous trends current happening in the bridal world but here are some of my personal favorites and the ones that stood out to me the most:
- Detached Sleeves: This is such a fun trend that appeared in all of the runway shows I attended. This is basically the evolution of the off-the-shoulder wedding dress trend. I personally think it is brilliant because it gives the bride the option to wear the dress with or without sleeves. There are so many brides that want to stay a bit more covered up and modest for the ceremony but they also want the freedom to move around when it comes time to hit the dance floor. Designers are still intent on showing off the brides’ shoulders but also giving them the option to take the sleeves on and off. Each designer had their own way of incorporating this trend into their collection; some sleeves were bouffant while others were slinky and/or lacy. No matter the design, the idea behind the detachable sleeve is amazing and ideal for any bride.
- Mid-Length Wedding Dresses: This whimsical trend came straight out of the 50’s and offers a fresh take on a vintage look. This is the perfect example of a cyclical fashion trend; what was once old is now new! It was so interesting to see shorter hemlines on the runway and I personally think it is the ideal way to show off a fab shoe on your big day. This is also a fun, modern yet classic dress for any bride looking to show off a little more skin.
- Cascading Bows: Bows are no stranger to the wedding-dress circuit but this season, there is a new take on a classic trend; the cascading shoulder bows. They were absolutely everywhere this season and I LOVED it! The bows often took place of a tie and in most cases, “cascaded” all the way down the back of the gown. This was such a beautiful trend seen throughout New York Bridal Fashion Week and I was beyond impressed. One trend I found particularly interesting was the “Next generation Butt Bows”. This is exactly the way it sounds; large over the top bows on the dresses derrière. In many instances, the model would be walking down the runway, wearing a stunning wedding dress and when she would get to the end of the runway and turn, the whole crowd would be in awe by the fabulous bow draping down the back of the dress. The big bows worn in the eighties were reinvented for modern brides this season and it worked! They were actually very flattering and accentuating the waistline making the dress look even more beautiful. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this particular trend but I was pleasantly surprised.
- Princess Capes: Forget about the veil or train and channel your inner Snow White by wearing a fairytale like princess cape. Whether your dress is long, midi or mini, the look of the cape is magical. Designers incorporated the cape into their collection in some capacity and it was beyond chic. This look was all over the runways and I bet every bride, come winter, will be wearing a cape!
- Shades of nude and pink: I have definitely seen a light pink dress before and have always thought it was a cute idea as an alternative to the classic white wedding dress, but the stand out look for me this season was the nude-toned gowns. I wasn’t quiet sure what to think about them when I read about the trend but seeing it in person completely changed my perspective. This trend took the cake! The hue really offered a feminine sexy updated look to the stark white gown. This look was the stand out trend for me this season! I have a feeling this romantic wedding-dress trend is here to stay for quite some time.
Experiencing New York Bridal Fashion Week for the first time was truly incredible. Not only did I love seeing the magical wedding gowns but it also brought back such a sense of nostalgia. It reminded me of the romantic days I spent looking for my own wedding dress; that special feeling all came back to me. My advice to any bride-to-be looking for a wedding dress is to not stress! Enjoy the process and try on as many gowns as you want and don’t worry about finding the “perfect” dress. I can assure you that you will immediately know when you try on “the one”. When I put on my wedding dress, I shed a tear, looked at my maid of honor and said…this is it, this is the one!