What We Saw at New York Bridal Fashion Week


After a derailed spring-summer season because of the coronavirus, New York Bridal Fashion Week was held Oct. 7 to 9, with fashion designers hosting virtual presentations over Zoom to showcase their new fall and winter 2021 bridal collections.

The focus of this bridal fashion season? Effortlessly chic looks like midi-length dresses and sleek minimalist gowns that befit a low-key micro wedding, as well as glamorous gowns for brides planning for later when it’s safe to have big celebrations again. The new virtual format for this Bridal Fashion Week, facilitated by the Bridal Council X Pullquest and the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Runway360 digital platform, was an example of how fashion designers are embracing technology to connect with brides. Here are some highlights from the latest bridal collections.

The ballerina is the new princess bride. From delicate shoulder straps to tiered crinoline underskirts, the ballerina influence is a fresh take on the traditional princess bridal look. Blue Willow by Anne Barge debuted a charming, 3-D floral-embroidered ball gown with a floor-length circle skirt. Kelly Faetanini showed a scoop-neck, A-line dress with dainty double shoulder straps, subtle embroidery and hidden pockets. Galia Lahav’s entire collection, which was directly inspired by famous ballet dancers, featured graceful ball gowns with shirred-tulle, corseted bodices and dresses with draping skirts for full-on prima ballerina drama.

Versatile gowns that transform with detachable pieces have become a bridal favorite and removable sleeves in particular are both practical and fashionable. Designers have updated the detachable sleeve by making them a finishing touch to a strapless or sleeveless gown. Eisen Stein paired a mermaid gown with long, fitted sleeves that are styled to give the illusion of an off-the-shoulder neckline. Anne Barge dressed up a fit-and-flare gown with tulle poet sleeves. Ines by Ines Di Santo cleverly matched sheer balloons sleeves with a tulle cape that accompanies a modified trumpet gown that flaunts an embroidered, illusion bodice.

It’s always exciting to see new necklines, because they give brides who don’t want a strapless gown more options. This season designers like Grace Loves Lace and Marchesa brought back the 1950s wide-set shoulder straps — which offer a bit of coverage while showing off the bustline — to detail sleek, minimalist silhouettes for a contemporary look. Amsale added artful hand-painted and re-embroidered tulle shoulder straps to an embroidered tulle gown.

A take on the side cleavage trend we’ve seen many A-list celebrities wear on the red carpet, the peekaboo side detail on wedding gowns creates a sultry look in an elegant way. An architecturally influenced column dress from Anne Barge features illusion V-side cutouts and a square open back. Ines Di Santo showed a sophisticated, seamed trumpet gown with vented open sides. And Lihi Hod kept the peekaboo detail demure and romantic on a soft, belted A-line gown embellished with 3-D petals.

With micro weddings all the rage, brides are choosing less traditional wedding day looks and midi- and mini-length dresses have become a popular choice. Designers hit the mark this season with chic cocktail party-inspired dresses that go from prewedding event to the main celebration and after. Allison Webb showed an Alençon lace midi dress with an oversize removable bow. A waltz-length dress shown by Romona New York featured an on-trend halter neck and a flowing skirt that’s perfect for dancing all night. Naeem Khan’s new collection included a festive strapless and fringed mini.

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