Byline: Emma Jordan

NEW YORK — Traditionally worn by Chinese brides, red has emerged as a strong color for this season’s bridesmaids dresses, according to several vendors.
Fabrics for spring are predominantly silk, which will extend to a silk and wool blend for fall. Style trends are short or just below the knee, while tops accentuate the shoulders with spaghetti straps or strapless altogether. Originally seen as a fall color, red has graduated to year-round popularity.
Negating the traditional wedding look makes for a more interesting and wearable look, said Vanessa Fox of her eponymous New York-based label. Fox said her red and white toile dress booked well for spring, as did plaid looks for fall. Fox offers 40 styles that can be mixed and matched by color and fabric, while still keeping a consistent look among the bridal party. Fox gowns run between $275 and $400 wholesale.
New York-based Thread offers designs that are contemporary enough to be worn as a bridesmaid’s gown or cocktail dress. Some pieces are sold at Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman as cocktail dresses. Thread dresses wholesale for $175 to $350.
“You can have fun with your wedding and not be tied to traditions,” said Beth Blink, co-designer and owner of Thread. “We try to help the brides stay out of the pits of falling into the tacky wedding thing. Pastels are totally worn out and people are looking for fresh, new colors, such as oranges, fuchsia and reds. We have also seen a lot of brides [choose a champagne colored gown] with the red, which makes an unusual color palette and is a great mix for flowers. There is also a lot of dual tones for fall, with amethyst, ruby and sapphire.”
Sharon Raab of New York-based Simple Silhouette said brides have more options now.
“The great option that brides have now, which I don’t think they had 20 years ago, is that they can choose the color and length and then whoever [in the bridal entourage] doesn’t feel comfortable can amend the style,” Raab said. “It is absurd to put seven or eight people with different figures in the same color and style and have them stand next to each other.”
Wholesale prices for Simple Silhouette run from $255 to $350.
At Vera Wang, an emphasis on collaboration is important when outfitting a bride and her bridesmaids. There must be a mutual respect, Wang said.
“Most weddings are choreographed as a whole,” said Wang. “And today most brides are very considerate of her bridesmaids and the bridesmaids should respect the wishes of the bride. There are weddings where the bridesmaids wear what they want, but that is a minority and usually for informal weddings.
Wang said she has always offered red for bridesmaids, but that more feminine colors that fall in line with current fashion trends are booking well, like lavender. Bridesmaids dresses at Vera Wang wholesale for $140 to $190.
Political and economic factors do not appear to have dented the bridesmaid market. Besides age being a considerable factor in wedding extravagance, it seems more people are tying the knot faster following Sept. 11, according to Blink.
“I think the wedding is still remaining an important thing that is happening,” she said. “People are getting married quicker or engaged faster, as family and friends are that much more important.”

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