SALES OF BRIDAL GOWNS and accessories held fairly strong in the first half of the year, racking up a record far better than general street fashion. Still, the recession has had an effect on this usually robust market segment, as seen at many top runway shows internationally. Basically, bridal wear has gotten simpler. Very lavish, expensive gowns have given way to more modestly designed dresses. Much of the luxury-look fashion characteristic of bridal wear has been taken over by accessories.
–Beautiful pearl and crystal gloves, stunning statement necklaces, highly embellished handbags, and bracelets studded with (usually faux) gemstones are giving today’s bride all the glitz and glamour she needs!
A key example of this trend could be seen at the latest Barcelona runway show by the well-known Spanish manufacturer Pronovias, as the company put forth its newest bridal collections for 2010.
—Several fashion reporters referred to the dresses as “conservative” or “sober,” both of which were actually true.
At the same time, however, the collection was still a statement of fabulous, fashion forward creations. Beautiful ivory creations were plentiful, and the modern look of straighter, simpler lines came through strongly. This was a different, but beautiful, exposition.
Slimmer, Pared Down Shapes
Overall, the silhouettes were slimmer, shapes were essentially pared down. There was admittedly an absence of glitz, reflecting the quieter look spreading across the entire fashion field. Traditional beading was replaced by fabric used as design, as one retailer put it, not embellishment.
Huge, big bridal skirts were generally absent. “The caught up ball skirt are fine for the early to mid 20 year olds, but we have more demand for slimmer silhouettes for destination weddings and outdoor bridal events,” said Karen Jones, owner of Gowns by Design in Pennsylvania.
“We’re seeing a lot of older, over-30 brides,” she added, “and they’re beyond the big skirts.”
There were more than 250 designs in the collection. A poufy, hitched-up ballgown was particularly handsome, but seen more as a classic than a new, demanded style. A number of skinny, body conscious dresses with heavy draping, and other trendy features such as ruching, ruffles, and strapless necklines were style leaders.
The influence of First Lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural dress was present in several very beautiful one-shoulder gowns.
MORE THAN EVER, BRIDAL DESIGN GAIN SOMETHING AND SOMETHING FROM RICH AND CLASSIC ACCESSORIES. HERE ARE SOME TO CONSIDER:
- Satin and sheer lace bridal gloves with embroidery and faux pearl add elegance to today’s simpler dresses.
- Classic faux pearl bridal bracelets with sparkling crystals are stunning wedding day jewelry pieces.
EMPIRE BRIDAL STYLING IS HOT! Plus, the classic design is invariably being decorated with plenty of bows, lace, and fabric flowers to emphasize a standing feminine mystique, especially now, in the wake of less elaborate bridal gowns. The lush beading, pearls, crystals and embroideries of former, richer seasons, however, are gone. But, as we said before, that doesn’t mean these dresses lack for design magnificence.
–For example, look at this stunning dress by Valentino: It features small cap sleeves and a boat neckline, a straight skirt and a conservative, Queenly train. It is elegant! A strapless bridal dress from Costura had a deep pink ribbon under the boson, with a straight skirt and filmy chiffon over-skirt. Again, elegant!
Most of the models wore their hair pulled tightly back in fashionable buns with small but ornate bridal hair accessories.
One Danish retailer said that she was buying more than usual because a number of competing stores in her community had closed their doors as a result of the economic turndown. However, she said:
“Customers with money still exist – there are just less of them.”
Among her purchases were several slim and straight bridal styles.
Sales Are Up
Pronovias reports an increase in bridal sales of about $ 7 million (at the current exchange rate) over a year ago. And, these figures are more or less the same at other international bridal sources. Keith Lurie, Pronovias’ national sales manager for the United States and Canada said, “Crisis or no, girls are still getting married and more of them are wearing my gowns.”
STILL, SIMPLER DRESSES RARELY STAND ON THEIR OWN. MOST DEMAND MORE INTRICATE, ELEGANT ACCESSORIES TO ESTABLISH THE OVERALL BRIDAL LOOK. THE GOOD NEWS IS: YOU CAN FIND THESE PRODUCTS AT REMARKABLE PRICES! LOOK AT THESE:
- Ivory faux pearl necklace in gold plating with crystal studded four-leaf clover design. Matching earrings are also available.
- Glass hand-knotted pearl necklace and earrings set has the weight and feel of costly, real pearls.