The Reluctant Bride

Danielle Frankel Bridal Spring 2020 – Photos

The most notable takeaway from New York Bridal Week Spring/Summer 2020 is the way it increasingly echos ready-to-wear. Bridal wear designers (most of whom ready-to-wear design collections) are intent on challenging the status quo, breaking away from the classic and the predictable and aiming at the less traditional, less formal, and more contemporary.

Oscar de la Renta Bridal Spring 2020

Many of the freer spirited, nontraditional offerings presented during the course of this past week have broad appeal far beyond a wedding, and will not only speak to a customer who is looking for something to get married in, but someone who is looking for special pieces for a wide range of occasions, including the red carpet.

Danielle Frankel Bridal Spring 2020

Quite frankly, there were offerings so nontraditional and surprising, the bride runs the risk of looking as though she would rather be doing anything else – or being anywhere else- than standing in a stuffy hall or a house of worship, getting hitched lol.

Phuong My Bridal Spring 202 photo courtesy

The trend is for less (or no) embellishments but more of a focus on cut, shape, and silhouette. Unsurprisingly, since impeccable tailoring has been one of the most significant trends for fall 2019, it was also prevalent in the recent bridal collections.

Phuong My Bridal Spring 2020 photo courtesy

Instead of white or ivory, there’s been the surprising use of color, from the palest pastels to red. You can’t get less traditional than a red hot red wedding dress.

Phuong My Bridal Spring 2020 photo courtesy

While there will always be brides-to-be who want that dreamy white gown that is unmistakably bridal, many are looking for versatility; a return on their investment. It makes perfect sense that if you are going to spend well into the thousands, you should be able to wear something more than once; hence the emphasis on separates that can be taken apart and worn in many different ways for many different occasions.

The reality is that the divorce rate is high these days. But even if there’s no happily ever after with her groom, hopefully, the bride will find happily ever after with her choice of outfit for the big day.

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about bridal wear without mentioning Vera Wang whose Spring 2020 collection marked the beginning of her 30th year in the business. The award-winning designer has always thought of bridal as fashion, and she continues to push the envelope and evolve. She is going after the millennial bride who is looking for something otherworldly, couture-like in craftsmanship, and an alternative to the traditional wedding gown.

Vera Wang Bridal Spring 2020

For her “flower mad” collection that was all about “freedom” and “enchantment,” Vera chose the enchantingly lush Enid A. Haupt Conservatory within the New York Botanical Garden, as the venue of choice. Needless to say, florals were used in several highly artistic ways, and Vera wanted to emphasize the “deliberate randomness” of the designs which were a result of the surprising mixes of flowers, shapes, fabrics, and colors.

The result is that each of the dresses has a different angle and a different perspective and looks as gorgeous from every side. Vera’s divine no color pastels are hard to describe; achieved through the creative layering and veiling of tulle.

Vera Wang Spring 2020 Bridal

One standout was the “Aster” smoke gathered French tulle gown, detailed by a hand-draped train, plunging V-back, exposed corset, smoke silk organza punch flowers, and arm tie details with sky and slate hand-cut silk organza flowers under the skirt. The Cannes Film Festival is approaching (it runs May 14th through the 25th). I could easily imagine seeing this, or one like it, on the red carpet. How fabulous would this look on the always amazing Cate Blanchett!

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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