—Rich, luxurious, elaborate: That’s the formula for exciting bridal accessories this year even as bridal dresses experience some price revisions. Look for lots of bows, silk rosettes, beads and gemstones as well as tulle and embroideries to give accessories a command performance at bridal runway shows.
IS THE BRIDAL MARKET – long thought of as recession-proof – suffering from the global economic downturn? Poll bridal manufacturers and you still don’t get a definitive answer. Some say business is just fine. But the majority do admit that the recession is having some effect on business, specifically on the way brides think and buy.
Among the changes: Bridal couples are buying closer to the wedding day. Many are tightening up on their overall wedding budgets. And, there’s been a jump up in the number of destination-weddings being planned, apparently for cost-savings reasons.
At the same time, many top designers report sales of their dresses are still brisk, especially among upscale customers. But there still are changes being made, particularly at the source or manufacturing level. For example, many bridal dress companies are branching out, offering bridesmaid dresses coordinated with their bridalwear. That multiplies sales almost immediately. Also, prices have frequently been adjusted to appeal to a more frugal customer.
FRUGALITY IS STRONG AT THE RETAIL LEVEL AS WELL. BUT YOU CAN ATTRACT THOSE MONEY-SAVING BRIDES TO YOUR STORE BY OFFERING TOP QUALITY ACCESSORIES AT REASONABLE PRICES:
- Bridal gloves give elegance and finish to the bridal outfit. Consider these beautiful satin and lace sheet fingerless gloves with rich embroidery and faux pearl embellishment.
- This luxurious satin wedding clutch bag will give any ensemble a Park Avenue look. The flap features a satin-covered ring that gathers the fabric with fashionable flair. In white for the bride and colors for the bridesmaids.
SOME COMPANIES ARE experimenting with special services to attract customers. And many are adding expensive embellishments and elegant touches to the bridal dresses to warrant prices that frequently rise into the thousands of dollars.
J. Crew, the retail outlet that has been flying high on publicity generated by Michelle Obama (who wears Crew clothes), is not only selling bridal dresses in its stores (until now, they were sold online only), but it is offering such perks as complementary expert consultations on wedding dresses, bridal party outfits, and honeymoon clothes.
WITH THE ECONOMY IN ITS PRESENT CONDITION, Designer Caroline Herrera says the Bridal Industry is confronted by a major challenge. “You have to be creative and be sure you show something special,” she asserts.
Many designers are further romancing their collections to give them extra “buy-me” power. For example, Herrera’s latest bridal presentation was titled “a homage to classic painters,” and included fashions featured in the art of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Gustav Klimt, among others.
—And, designer Junko Yoshioka has teamed up with astrologer Susan Miller, creating a grouping of bridal dresses inspired by astrological signs.
Short Bridal Dresses?
WITH ALL THE BROUHAHA about price, elegance still holds sway in the Bridal Field. Donnie Brown, the star-setter from TV’s reality show, “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” even thinks the spurt of recent activity in shorter wedding dresses will peter out, claiming that:
“Most brides want something formal.”
Brown says, however, that ballerina styles are gaining in popularity, and sheaths are always in style for women “with perfect figures.” As for those short bridal dresses, Brown admits they have their place.
Many brides are choosing to wear shorter bridal dresses for engagement parties, as well as for after-the-wedding reception wear. The big plus here is that it increases the total bridal sale!
JEWELRY IS THE ULTIMATE IN BRIDAL FORMALITY! WHAT IS BETTER THAN SPECTACULAR CRYSTAL AT REASONABLE PRICES?
- This remarkable wedding set features a white 5mm faux pearl necklace supporting a pear-shaped pearl drop falling off a diamond-shaped top with embedded sparkling crystals. Matching earrings with stunning pearl drops.
- Clear Austrian crystal and white pearl necklace set has adjustable length and matching long drop earrings. Trendy yet timeless!
STYLISTICALLY, BRIDAL DRESSES are certainly not suffering from design cut-backs. As designer Vera Wang declared, “The same amount of thought goes into every line I do. I do that out of respect to the fashion industry.” And, as one bridal event planner noted, “Beauty isn’t about something that comes with a price tag first.”
New looks in the bridal field include more dramatic styles — the kind that evoke “Oooooh!” from wedding attendees. Skirts are very full, in a traditional bridal manner. Tulle is abundant. Delicate overlays often give a delicate, almost dreamlike impression. Huge bows are among the major embellishments, seen on the shoulder, at the waist, and elsewhere.
A NEW USE OF COLOR is also hot in the bridal field now. While dresses tend to remain bridal white, there is interesting use of color to give greater dimension and add to the formal mood. A lovely empire-waisted white lace dress by Oscar de la Renta features a pale pink silk satin underskirt. And a very formal large-skirted dress with elegant train by Platinum is accessorized with a pale peach satiny bag.
In a stunning outfit by Vera Wang, mounds of white tulle overlay a pale peach bridal dress skirt, while shoulder interest is heightened by bows of white and matching peach.
Accessories also play into the color exposition. White and black necklaces are particularly handsome with the new bridal dresses, especially riveting when worn with strapless dresses or the very popular small shoulder strap dresses such as one by Monique Lhuillier and Reem Acra.
YOU CAN MAKE COLOR WORK FOR YOU IN ASSEMBLING AN EXCITING BRIDAL COLLECTION WITHOUT A HIGH PRICE TAG:
- For the very modern bride: Multistrand stunning black glass pearl bracelet. Stretch for easy fit.
- Gorgeous wedding earrings with Romanoff elegance feature dramatic colored stone (such as faux emerald) set in gold plated frames with long, slender ivory pearl drops. Wow!