Off the Runway & Down the Aisle
As evidenced at this past fall’s New York Bridal Market, the latest designer wedding collections have a little something for everyone. Lace, shimmer, color, trains, sleeves, capes, shrugs, illusion fabric, keyhole backs—this season’s selections truly offer more variety than ever to brides on their quest for the perfect dress. But one trend dominates: versatility. Above all, brides are looking for ways to “change it up” over the course of the wedding, and express themselves with multiple looks, rather than a single statement gown. And designers are responding to their style demands…beautifully.
This season, “Designers are paying a lot more attention to sleeves,” says Kim Vo, of Now & Forever Bridal Boutique. Among her personal favorites are the “dream catcher” sleeves featured on Hayley Paige’s “Lumi” gown, which have “a romantic yet sexy vibe,” as she describes. “These sheer long sleeves, combined with a V-neckline bodice and open keyhole back, really capture the essence of sweet femininity, but with a touch of edginess.”
At Ivory Bridal Atelier, assistant salon manager Shelby Elder says she’s struck by the range of sleeve options available to this season’s brides. “I see Rivini playing with a lot of off-the-shoulder and full-lace sleeves, while Reem Acra has shown really beautiful ‘bell’ sleeves. The ‘bell’ sleeve gives more of an airy, Bohemian look.”
In love with a sleeveless wedding gown style, but still keen on covering up your arms for your traditional ceremony? No problem, Elder notes: “We make custom, detachable sleeves and build-ups all the time. A build-up is a piece you can have your seamstress create for you in alterations that can give you as much coverage as you want. Then when the time is right, you can un-snap the piece and have more skin showing for the party!”
For 2017, “Wrap trains and detachable trains are offering the versatility that brides are looking for in a gown,” says AJ Ruley, vice president of sales and marketing for Weddings by Debbie. “These trains give brides a secondary look, and let them shed some of the layers, so that they can really enjoy their receptions. We have noticed that Stephen Yearick has been at the forefront for this look, but other designers such as Enzoani and Pronovias have incorporated the look into their new lines.”
Add-ons such as boleros and shrugs are a favorite of Houston brides in any season. Not only do they give the bride a chance to add her own special touch to her gown, but they allow for two different looks on one very special day.
Joan Pillow, owner of Joan Pillow Bridal Salon, is particularly excited about the “overskirts” accompanying a variety of gowns in the latest Monique Lhuillier collection. “These overskirts allow the bride to have two unique looks for her wedding, while she is still able to enjoy wearing her gown” for the entire event, she notes.
At Brickhouse Bridal, lace “toppers,” capes and capelets are favorites for 2017 brides looking for a little bit of covering, and a lot of personality. As for particular styles, vintage-inspired accessories and capes top the list of must-haves, and “the one accessory we are all swooning over is the cape-veil—a dramatic alternative to the traditional veil,” says salon owner Starla Flake.
New to Now & Forever’s designer lineup, the Legends Romona Keveza collection offers “a great selection of lace blouses from fitted illusion to off-the-shoulder three-quarter or long sleeves,” Vo says. And “Hayley Paige has many amazing crystal-embellished boleros, which allow a balance of sass and sparkle!”
If anything is popular for 2017 at Weddings by Debbie, it’s “color, color, color!” Ruley notes. “We love flesh tones, such as the blushy-nudes as well as the champagnes, and the shades of gold.”
Elder is an admirer of Lazaro’s “3705” design—a shimmer fit-to-flare in a shade that is “almost in between blush and gold—it’s a new tone I have not seen before.” Another of her favorites is “Gala 803” by Galia Lahav, which “plays with blush and silver—it’s amazing!” At Brickhouse Bridal, gowns in “soft blush shades, with organza and horsehair trims, are on the top of our list for 2017,” says Flake.
Visit any Houston bridal salon, and you’ll find gowns in colors you might not expect to see in bridal. Along with blush, you’ll find racks dappled with light blue, gold and even black—a daring but dramatic choice for the bold bride.
“We are loving all the new laces that designers are using in this season’s collections,” says Ivory Bridal Atelier’s Elder. “They have started to venture out of the norm, and are using more unique, Art Deco-type laces.”
At Joan Pillow, demand is high for gowns that feature “some lace but not all lace,” Pillow says. “Romona Keveza has this in her new collection,” which includes lace bodices with illusion necklines that border the shoulder with lace, paired with skirts of silk crepe. “This is just such an elegant look,” she adds.
Organic touches, inspired by nature, continue to captivate brides, going into 2017. Brickhouse Bridal’s Flake says that, “After seeing the ‘runway darlings’ of 2017,” she’s certain that loose, earthy updos, and braided hair “intertwined into vintage headpieces,” paired with soft, natural makeup, are the styling trends that are best suited to her brides this year.
Also popular for 2017 are intricate metallic “hair vines” that can run down the length of a long braid, and minimalistic headbands, tiaras and combs, featuring delicate metal leaves, flowers and branches.
Over at Now & Forever, nature’s influence is taking a decidedly glamorous turn. Vo points to a “floral crystal bodice that’s seen throughout the Christos fall 2017 collection, whether paired with a tulle ballgown skirt, slinky chiffon, or represented in a figure-hugging fit-and-flare silhouette. She also loves the expression of flowers in Kenneth Pool’s latest 2017 collection, featuring “an elegant floral-embroidered tulle ballgown with a beaded belt.”