BREAKING TRADITION: The Houghton bride has never been a conventional one. A cross-check of any of Katharine Polk’s past bridal collections demonstrates her preference for alternative, boundary-pushing, laid-back styles for atypical brides who prioritize fashion over tradition. For her upcoming spring presentation, to be held on April 16 during New York Bridal Week, Polk will continue to shake things up with a buy-now-wear-now event hosted in a private, four-story town house on East 64th Street. In addition to making sense from a business perspective, Polk explained that it suits the needs of her clientele with a more immediate retail experience. “Our bride isn’t buying a wedding dress a year in advance; she’s not that girl,” she said. “She’s no drama, no fuss. She doesn’t want to come in and have the whole traditional experience of coming in with eight people [to try dresses on]. And we do design custom dresses, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a totally different mentality. Our girls are more about the fashion.”
The show will be open to the usual buyers, editors and influencers, but also to a select number of bridal customers: beginning April 6, the first 100 brides to request a ticket via firstname.lastname@example.org will get entry to the presentation and be among the first to shop the styles. Polk’s spring collection will include 16 gowns — each offered in customizable variations — and clients who order straight from the runway can expect a turnaround of 12 to 16 weeks, or even sooner. “We’ve turned bridal gowns around in as short as two days,” she said. “We make everything in New York…so if a girl is getting married as soon as possible and we can physically make the dress in time, we will.” Other accessories, such as bodysuits made in collaboration with intimates label Commando, hand-embroidered chokers, belts and stockings will also be available for purchase.
Polk, who also opted out of a traditional runway show for her ready-to-wear during last month’s New York Fashion Week in favor of a more intimate presentation at her studio, said she’s merely reacting to the disruption within the industry. “The business changes, and you have to be nimble and think ahead in terms of what works for you and your business,” she said.