Editor’s Picks: Unconventional Bridal Fashion Representative of the Changing Industry

Image courtesy of Naeem Khan

The bridal fashion industry has changed considerably over the past decade, due in part to the influence of social media. Just a few years ago, the vision was one of white webbing lace, pooling silk on crystal heels, and trains made of silk trailing a carpet of petals. Today, there is not one singular vision of a wedding day. For a bride, wedding fashion has traditionally served as a symbol of hyper femininity wrapped in a draped white bow. However, with the legalization of same-sex marriage and a wider acceptance of gender identity, weddings reflect the couple’s unique personalities and a vision that is entirely their own.

Image courtesy of thedreamstress.com

Wedding dresses are most commonly associated with the color white; however, this long-held Western tradition has become saturated with a technicolor array of different aesthetics and values. In her article for INSIDER, “The Bizarre Reason why Wedding Dresses are White,” Chloe Pantazi revealed that the color association supposedly originated from Queen Victoria’s decision to wear a white lace and silk satin gown when she married Prince Albert in 1840. Since then, white has been regarded as an appropriate wedding color, with an 1849 issue of Godey’s Lady Book reading, “Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.”

Clearly, this view is an outdated depiction of womanhood as a symbol rather than a person. So, what is a wedding dress if not white or traditionally structured? Today, it is simply a dress a bride chooses to wear on her wedding day that makes a statement about her culture, unique aesthetic, and personality. For this article, Fashion Reverie focuses on unconventional bridal fashion picks that showcase the changing bridal industry.

Image courtesy of Andrew Kwon

It’s a Nice Day for a Not-So White Wedding

Across the runways and in store windows, it is increasingly common to see wedding dresses of all different hues. As more brides turn toward creating a unique vision for their day, a simple white color palette does not suit everyone. Some women choose blush pink to represent romance and elegance, while others choose black to fit their gothic look. Designer Andrew Kwon’s chic chartreuse-colored gown from his “Dreamer” collection represents marriage as a renewal, like the blossoming of spring flowers. According to Andrew Kwon, the “Diana V2 Gown,” among other gowns from the “Dreamer” collection, “connects to the idea of place—the rolling hills of Provençe, the green mountains of Monaco, the skyline of Manhattan. Demure pastels—tart chartreuse, muted aquamarine, and easy buttercup—enliven with civility and connect back to nature.” With its layers of sage tulle, this gown is for the bride with an outdoor wedding venue filled with greenery and whimsy!

Image courtesy of Danielle Frankel

Say Yes to the Two-Piece Set!

It is important for brides to feel their most beautiful on their wedding day. Traditionally, beauty, femininity, and elegance are synonymous with large circular gowns carrying long trains in a princess-like style in Western countries. However, many brides do not feel like themselves in dresses, so the two-piece set is an increasingly popular option. Designer Danielle Frankel’s “Mollie” coat and pants set features a lace silk overcoat with lace-trimmed pants adorned in floral appliques, which depicts this trend. According to their website, Danielle Frankel’s pieces are designed “With a respect for nostalgia and tradition, but a forward and directional approach to a modern woman’s desires,” a philosophy made clear in the way she reframes the conversation around gender norms to create clothing that is new, fresh, and modern.

Image courtesy of Naeem Khan

Cocktail Hour all 24 Hours a Wedding Day

At the same time that many brides are opting for two-piece sets, many are swapping out long traditional dresses for short party dresses or cocktail dresses. This shift is in line with the fact that many modern weddings are abandoning traditional ideals around formality. A long dress has long been regarded as the most formal type of dress, while a cocktail dress (or shorter) should be worn during “cocktail hour,” just before the evening begins.

These fashion rules are becoming less important to consumers, so many brides no longer feel the need to wear certain types of dresses at particular times of the day. Naeem Khan’s “Amadora” dress from his spring 2022 bridal collection perfectly illustrates this trend. Short, feathered wedding dresses have been so popular over the past year and are worn best by the bride who values glamor as much as they value fun!

Image courtesy of Reem Acra

Camp Meets Church

Some modern weddings are less formal; however, others are campy and so playful that they are anti-serious. Dresses from designer Reem Acra’s “Love and Dreem 2” collection perfectly marries a sense of playfulness and elaborate over-the-top fashion for a campy wedding day. The dress is campy in its traditional silhouette; however, its overly romantic sentiments scattered over the skirt and the adornment of child-like hearts and bows hint at a sense of humor in the design. This dress is perfect for the bride who is a playful maximalist looking for editorial-esque wedding day photos!

Image courtesy of PatBO

Vogue per Venue

With increased personalization and unique wedding aesthetics, the venue can vary. Many couples choose to have their weddings in unconventional settings, which calls for unconventional bridal fashion. The days of dragging a heavy dress through the sand are gone on a hot summer day. Brands like PatBO are creating bridal fashion suited explicitly for these venues, which is why a PatBO two-piece set rounds out Fashion Reverie’s unconventional bridal fashion list. This two-piece, off-white fringe set is not anywhere near a traditional wedding dress, yet it is ideally suited for a beach wedding which underscores the trend in bridal fashion aligning with the couple’s overall wedding vision.

—Tessa Swantek

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