Meghan Markle’s choice of wedding gown when she married Prince Harry wowed some and underwhelmed others, but it also tapped into a growing trend — minimalism. Her understated Givenchy dress by Clare Waight Keller had nary a frill with its bateau neckline, although her l-o-n-g veil was trimmed with lace depicting flora from each of the 53 Commonwealth countries.
The look was “perfect for the anti-princess bride,” says Lori Conley, David’s Bridal senior vice president of product and design. It was also reflective of what’s becoming popular. “Chic brides are looking to have the gown’s silhouette, draping and unique details be front and center in lieu of bling,” Conley says.
At North Fork Bridal in Wading River, owner Lindsay Finter is feeling the minimalist movement, too. “It’s a modern, clean vibe for girls who aren’t into embellishment. Some brides, she says, choose to amp up a plain front with a sophisticated back. “It’s unexpected and sexy, like whoop-de-doo when you see the back. That’s where the party is.”
Moreover, “the dress isn’t wearing the girl these days,” says Rachel Leonard, editorial director of The Bridal Council, a nonprofit membership organization that represents the luxury bridal industry.
Not that boldfaced romance is dead when it comes to bridal looks. There are plenty of big, blown-out ballgowns, although today’s are airier. with more fluid fabrics. “Being comfortable and not being bogged down in a big, old dress is important,” Leonard says.
At David’s bridal, “Floating layers of tulle and organza allow these gowns to be feather light but still full of drama,” says Conley. And Finter adds, “There are still plenty of princess gowns. Some brides think, ‘this is my moment to go big.' "
Other nods to romance include classic all-over lace (perfect for barn and vineyard weddings out east, Finter says), along with 3-D embellishments — especially blooms generously scattered about on the gown. Necklines have changed (it’s so much less about strapless) and while there are still sexy plungers, there’s a resurgence of off-the-shoulder styles along with boat necks (thanks, Meghan) and high cutaway necks.
And there’s more color appearing in the bridal arena. “We definitely have a lot in ivory, but some people are drawn to champagne, pink or moscato,” Finter says. “People are hesitant at first, but find it warms the skin beautifully.” Likewise, at David’s Bridal there are pale color washes including one showstopper in lavender.
Bottom line, says Leonard, the parameters for buying a wedding dress are all about the bride. No one trend is for everyone. Just choose something that reflects you.” And then say, “I do.”
5 NEW TRENDS
1. Halos, headbands, veils
Much like Meghan Markle’s royal headdress — a diamond and platinum bandeau tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth — regal accessories abound in the bridal department. “There’s definitely an influx of woven vine kind of looks that give a flowery crown appearance,” says North Fork Bridal owner Lindsay Finter. Rachel Leonard, editorial director of The Bridal Council, said she is also seeing “subtle vine halos,” along with sparkly combs, wraparound headbands and even fresh flowers worn in the hair. There’s also a renewed interest in long, dramatic cathedral veils. “Meghan’s veil, being so ornate, will definitely push that trend, too,” Finter says.
Beyond white and ivory: Gaining popularity this season are wedding gowns in blushy shades and pale washes (and in a few cases color blasts) that really change up the classics.
Deceptively simple: Unembellished, sculptural wedding gowns can have as great an impact as their frothy counterparts. Evidence is the gown of Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex.
4. New necklines
Once ubiquitous, strapless styles are being taken over by looks that offer a touch of old Hollywood glamour — like off-the-shoulder or high necklines.
Bridal designers apparently believe in the sleeve and are showing more modest looks that offer arm coverage.