NEW YORK — In black tie at a recent preview of Truly Zac Posen at the Academy Mansion, the designer spoke emphatically about the draping and fittings that went into developing the label for David’s Bridal.
The party celebrated his official foray into the bridal market, but he joins a league of other designers, such as Naeem Khan, who aren’t afraid to use ready-to-wear techniques to win over ever-discriminating brides.
Tossing tradition aside for spring, Carolina Herrera showed her first collection of short white wedding dresses. Designed for weddings, rehearsal dinners or post-wedding farewell brunches, the assortment still had plenty of the designer’s details, such as feather trims and moonstone embellishment. “It can be for the wedding or after the wedding. A lot of girls are changing [into a second dress] after they get married, so I thought I also had to change,” Herrera said.
Vera Wang also broke away from the crowd by offering something individualistic — in this case, an all-pink collection that covered the shades from coral to peony. “Think pink and the irony of pink and all those shades for winter,” she said.
Whether it be their increasingly fashion-conscious brides or the nearly instantaneous dissemination of trends, designers are more inclined to work some of their rtw magic into bridal collections. While none are about to abandon traditional brides, they are designing more stylish and considerably lighter dresses as well.
After his runway show at Kleinfeld, Dennis Basso said, “For me, what makes bridal great is that you are creating every young girl, or not-so-young girl’s, red-carpet moment. In the end, the wedding is a huge production but it’s really about the dress.”
Noting brides are more willing to wear sleeves or low-back dresses, Basso said that red-carpet thinking has given him more of a poetic license to design bridal.
Badgley Mischka is also seeing more fashion-minded brides, including those shopping in their new Upper East Side boutique. Mark Badgley said, “Our bride always comes to us for a dose of glamour. We’re seeing how ready-to-wear and red carpet influence bridal.”
“In the last couple of years, the business got too over-the-top,” Angel Sanchez said. “We want to return to more of a minimalist silhouette. So many brides are trying too hard to show off their bodies. To me, that is not elegant.”
Shifting toward more two-in-one dresses, he noted how a featherweight lace bolero on a mannequin could be removed and the wearer would have the A-line dress beneath it. Versatility and airy fabrics like crinkled organza have helped Sanchez to open more accounts in Asia.
The bridal category has also been a gateway, so to speak, for Oscar de la Renta’s international growth, especially in Japan, Korea, China and the Middle East. The company’s entire bridal sales account for less than 10 percent of the business, but they are rapidly growing, according to president Alex Bolen. Three years ago they were only about 1 percent of the total volume.
“Bridal is a great way to introduce people to the brand,” he said.
Referring to de la Renta’s atelier as “very much a laboratory,” Bolen said techniques are often transferred to rtw and vice versa. Another version of the ivory silk A-line gown that the actress Kate Bosworth wore for her wedding earlier this year, for example, will be offered in an assortment of colors
Lela Rose said that certain techniques used in her rtw are also being used for her wedding gowns, such as pleated chiffon, which appears in ivory lace. “We want to show details that worked in ready-to-wear and bring them to the wedding collection,” she said. “There is more of a fashion sense in the wedding collection. It’s not as much about beading and opulence. One thing that makes us stand out is that we like to look for fabrics that are not necessarily ones you would expect to find in wedding gowns.”
Rather than focus solely on the bridal market, Houghton designer Katharine Polk zeroes in on fashion magazines. Showing her collection in her West Chelsea space, she noted that each dress has pockets. Although one gown with embroidered flowers required 80 hours of work, they are all meant to be “very easy — just zip and go without having to put too much time into deciding.”
Named after Katharine Hepburn, Polk said she often tries to imagine the actress’ relaxed chicness when working on her label.
David’s Bridal showed off its bridal collections in a downtown loft. Vice president of bridal design Robert Barnowske pointed out that more “collapsed” silhouettes, spaghetti straps and less-embellished styles are appealing to more brides. “I don’t think there are a lot of girls who want to wear dresses that wear them or that weigh a ton,” he said.
With 300-plus stores, including its first London boutique, the Conshohocken, Pa.-based retailer is making a concerted effort to give each of its eight collections a more definitive style. A tea-length Oleg Cassini gown, for example, offers a more contemporary and lighter version of a dress Cassini made for Jackie Kennedy to wear to a dinner at Versailles.
Given the wide age gap of women getting married (for the first, second or third time), the chain wanted to make sure its collections suited an array of shoppers with options beyond the standard strapless ballgown dress, Barnowske said.
As a model appeared in a relaxed pastel Galina dress, he said, “We were inspired by the girl getting married on her rooftop in Williamsburg.”
But collectively the company wants to cover the gamut. “We want to cater to someone who is getting married in a beach house or at a more formal affair with tons of Champagne,” Barnowske said.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye