NEW YORK — The arrival of last weekend’s long-awaited springlike weather seemed perfectly timed for bridal market, which offered an array of diaphanous gowns.
This story first appeared in the April 16, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Vera Wang set the pace by posting a 90-second video on her site, depicting a quartet of brides in Madame Grès-inspired gowns roaming alone through a Long Island estate. The designer, who built her business in bridal, has dedicated half of the space in her new Beverly Hills store to the category.
RELATED STORY: Watch Vera Wang’s Video Here >>
Jenny Packham started and ended her Friday night show at Industria Superstudio with a plus-size model to draw attention to the launch of a plus-size collection.
Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig tried something new, too, seating guests at their show at round tables laden with Marchesa bridal-related stemware and other finery. Guests also left with Marchesa stationery from Wedding Paper Divas and Revlon by Marchesa beauty tools. Harvey Weinstein helped keep actress Jamie Chung company at the brand’s show Friday. (The “Sucker Punch” and “Hangover II” actress, who is newly engaged, appeared not to be playing any designer favorites. The day before she tweeted a photo of herself with Monique Lhuillier as a thanks for getting a preview.)
Carolina Herrera’s Friday night show had more of a convivial vibe as well, with waiters passing Champagne and hors d’oeuvres before the first model took to the runway. Called to Spain last week for Puig’s 100th anniversary, the designer left president Caroline Brown to welcome guests. The spring collection highlighted layering, lace treatment and silk silhouettes. There were also plenty of hidden accents such as supple corseting, handstitched seaming and laser-cut motifs. Herrera placed a greater emphasis on the design of the backs of the gowns with plunging lines and elegant appliqués.
See the Spring 2015 Bridal Collections Here >>
Angel Sanchez presented an ultrafeminine collection. “A lot of people have said this is my most romantic collection. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I like to think of myself as a modern designer,” Sanchez said during his presentation last week.
Intricate lace, beautiful matte floral embroideries and a playful point d’esprit had a vintage air, inspired by bridal magazine covers from the Fifties and Sixties. Sanchez said as a child growing up in Venezuela he learned to draw by tracing over the magazine covers that belonged to his mother.
To remind editors of its many styles, Oleg Cassini, a label that is sold exclusively at David’s Bridal, held its first show in several seasons at the Plaza Athénée.
Designer Michelle Ravare launched the Christopher Whyte label, an Old Hollywood-inspired bridal collection embellished with beaded crystal, pearls, thread work, stones and fur. Another relative newcomer is Victoria Kyriakides, who divides her time between Athens and New York designing customized wedding gowns. Having launched her collection last year, the designer sells to a handful of stores with retail prices ranging from $4,500 to $9,000. She described her spring line as “a poetic expression of fresh couture with precise attention to detail; elegant, flowing silhouettes that are fashion-forward yet transcend time.”
RELATED STORY: Busy Bridal Market Week Schedule on Tap >>
Mark Ingram, whose signature New York boutique is a favorite with fashion-minded shoppers, had his own stationery news to share — the debut of Mark Ingram Papers for Dempsey & Carroll. He commissioned Sarah Singh to create the watercolors for the writing paper.
Ingram was energized by designers’ spring collections, especially Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa and Peter Langner. “It was as though this winter was so severe we all wanted to celebrate something beautiful, even the choices of colors reflected that. Monique had that gorgeous minty blue, and Peter had all those frosted colors,” Ingram said.
Refined on-the-shoulder gowns — triggered two years ago after Kate Middleton wore a long-sleeve Alexander McQueen wedding dress — were a major trend. Ingram also gave Naeem Khan’s, Jenny Packham’s, Mira Zwillinger’s and Inbal Dror’s bridal collections high marks.
But one element of his business that he is not so high on is the ever-shrinking lead time brides-to-be are giving themselves. “It is a much shorter cycle. They are shopping six months before their weddings. People aren’t engaged for long anymore. It used to be at least a year, but everyone has busy schedules now,” Ingram said.
Camille Russler, who has owned Ever After in Miami for 12 years, enthused about the abundance of soft, sensual deconstructed dresses for spring. “Each designer really kept a sense of their own signature. Vera Wang’s film was very on point as to who her customer is. Oscar showed us lots of new necklines, Carolina’s use of layering lace and embroideries was really beautiful,” said Russler, naming Ines diSanto, Reem Acra and Ulla-Maija as a few other favorites.