Rather than partake in the new nationwide pastime of bemoaning the economy, bridal designers have jumped into the new season with ingenuity and, in some cases, razored prices.
It’s debatable just how recession-proof the wedding business is. Several bridal executives noted wedding budgets are being tightened, brides are saving up and buying closer to the actual day and the ongoing popularity of destination weddings is now even more appealing from a price standpoint. In regards to the latter, many resorts are offering special rates or promotions due to Americans’ reluctancy to get on a plane, and out-of-town weddings tend to generate more declined invitations due to the cost of travel.
For brands that only do bridal, taking a straight-to-it strategy is essential. But even designers with an array of products are diving into the category with gusto and elegant touches, knowing many women will spend several thousand dollars for the perfect dress. And those four- or five-digit purchases could certainly help compensate for all the sweaters, perfume and “It” bags shoppers have refrained from buying in recent months.
Event planner David Monn, who last week transformed his West 27th Street offices into a wedding showcase, seemed to capture the market’s can-do outlook. “I am tired of people talking about doing things on the cheap. To say what you can’t have only solidifies things. That is obvious. The question is: What can you do differently?” he said. “I have always believed what Richard Gump said, ‘Good taste costs no more.”
Vera Wang slashed select price points by 40 to 50 percent, serving up a new opening retail price point of $3,600 compared with $5,500 last year. Needless to say, retailers’ jaws dropped, Wang said, and then many wrote orders. But her top five selling styles, in terms of dollar sales, are still from the high-end Luxe collection. In fact, the most popular styles retail from $8,500 to $13,900. Ultimately, Wang wants brides to be allured by the design of whatever dress appeals to them, not the price tag. The same is true of the other products she designs.
“The same amount of thought goes into every line I do. I do that out of respect and respect to the fashion industry. I always try to think intelligently,” she said.
For her April 5 show at Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship, Carolina Herrera created “an homage to classic painters” such as Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Gustav Klimt and Jacques Louis David by designing dresses inspired by fashion featured in their art. Herrera described the extremely detailed process as “fun and interesting,” despite the task of modernizing what in some cases was 18th century work. Naming each of the 12 gowns after an artist and preparing for the show made for an amusing atmosphere in Herrera’s showroom. “Someone would say, ‘Where is Diego Velasquez?’”
As for the current state of affairs in the U.S. and abroad, Herrera said, “There is a bigger challenge. You have to be creative and be sure you want to show something special.”
After his show last week, Oscar de la Renta said his overall business is doing “extremely well,” so his bridal business is not serving as a buoy. “You just have to do your best even though the economy is difficult. It is not insurmountable,” he said, adding happy occasions such as weddings give shoppers reason to indulge.
Monique Lhuillier made the most of The London Hotel’s penthouse by showcasing her bridal collection, a new bridesmaid line and just-released licensed bedding. She set the retail prices of the bridesmaid dresses at between $250 and $390 with cost-conscious consumers in mind. Not wanting to undercut retailers that carry her more expensive wedding gowns, the designer decided to sell the bridesmaid dresses solely on her Web site for the time being.
To give buyers a glimpse of her bridesmaid dresses, Lela Rose showed her wedding collection at her bridesmaid dress store at licensor the Dessy Group. Having only been in the wedding business for two and a half years, Rose said she is pleased with how the business is developing. “People like having the wedding collection and the bridesmaid collection. It gives more heft to the brand,” she said.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty