ATLANTA — Brides are choosing color more often for their gowns, but the hues are subtle, according to retailers at the VOW New World of Bridal market held at AmericasMart here.
Ivory and white are still big sellers, but brides are also opting for blush, nude, champagne, pink, serenity blue and even the darker latte with a lacy overskirt. Patrice Catan, co-owner of Catan Fashions, Strongsville, Ohio, said, “Colors are on the upswing, but people still like to see white.”
The trend away from traditional church weddings continues as brides choose gardens, barns, plantation homes or water settings. “Everyone’s trying to do something unique for their wedding,” said Katie Ward, owner of Bliss Bridal, with one store each in Fair Hope, Ala., and New Orleans.
Another top trend is an interesting back, whether it’s low cut or has crisscross straps, and brides want shorter veils that don’t distract. Other trends are illusion tulle necklines or backs; lots of floral as appliqués on dresses or edging on veils; trains, and sheath silhouettes. Dresses are still primarily strapless or sleeveless, but off-the shoulder and sleeves — cap or long — are offered, too.
“General apparel trends float over into bridal,” said Morgan Ramage, fashion manager at AmericasMart.
AmericasMart celebrated its fifth year presenting VOW by creating a wooded grove wedding scene for its runway show, a nod to a fifth wedding anniversary’s traditional gift of wood. The mart also offered educational seminars addressing current issues such as diversity trends, i.e. same-sex or bicultural weddings; cross merchandising, and connecting with Millennials.
The show added 18 exhibitors, including Badgley Mischka Bride, Justin Alexander and Watters. Kaye Davis, vice president of fashion business development for Atlanta Apparel, AmericasMart, said that buyer attendance, national and international, was up. “We continue to get more and more brands so that buyers have a wide selection in bridal,” she said.
Adrianna Papell Platinum showed its first collection, which is for spring. The line is designed for the “romantic bride,” said Karisa Perrone, designer for House of Wu, which is manufacturing the collection. The dresses are primarily white, and focus on fabric, such as Chantilly lace.
Justin Alexander has color in its spring collection and will have more for spring 2018, including pastel lavenders, peach, pale gray and pale blue in various hues, said Jad Baghdadi, designer. The brand has five lines, each representing a different look or price point, such as earthy-bohemian in Lillian West or vintage in Justin Alexander.
The bridal industry continues to be strong. Ward, whose Bliss Bridal stores are doubling their sales, said, “It’s a recession-free business.” Elodia Perches Adamson, owner of Bridal Novias by Elodia, El Paso, Texas, said her sales grow every year. “We never stop learning, and that helps us tremendously,” she said.
Adamson said she bought sheath, ballgown, mermaid and A-line styles to cater to different tastes.
Bridget Moore, owner or K&B Bridals, Bel Air, Md., said her sales increased about 15 percent last year. Her store is about equally split between ivory gowns and color. Her trends include bohemian, as well as lace in different patterns, such as geometric and floral. She added that she wants more options for pantsuits for same-sex weddings. “We have brides who don’t both want to wear dresses,” she said. “Manufacturers need to catch up.”
Catan said that strapless is taking a back seat to sleeves, and headpieces include sparkly side clips. Fewer veils are being worn and they’re usually shorter and worn further back on the head. She added that floral is more popular in the South than in the North. And bridesmaids will wear sparkles and sequins next year.
Cindy Schlagel, owner of The Bridal Connection, Longmont, Colo., said her business is a challenge because of competition from e-commerce. “However,” she added, “bridal is a strong industry.”