romanticism and bridal suits: how vintage bridalwear is being reimagined


illustration: allison sewald

As the world begins its exit from the COVID-19 pandemic, many are eagerly returning to large social events, and with summer quickly approaching, wedding season is hitting its peak. From postponed to delayed weddings, 2022 and 2023 will mark the return to fuller-than-ever wedding celebrations, and the fashion world is equally thrilled to showcase bridal garments and accessories. 


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Earlier this month, New York City hosted Luxury Bridal Fashion Week from April 6 through April 8, implementing a hybrid model of both in-person and virtual shows. This hybrid model parallels the ways in which brands are catering to the post-pandemic bride, as they provide easily accessible digital images and collection videos on Instagram. Some couture brands have even created a new name for their bridal collections, such as Georges Hobeika with Georges Hobeika Bride, Marchesa with Marchesa Bridal and Zuhair Murad with Zuhair Murad Mariage. This distinction allows the brands to take an omni-channel approach to reaching their consumers, while simultaneously developing the growth of their bridalwear. 



From the New York runways, the luxury bridal collections captivated audiences through a combination of returning to vintage styles and approaching bridalwear from a modern perspective. A testament to classic simplicity, the silhouette of the slip dress, brought to its fame by Carolyn Bassette-Kennedy in the 1990s, served as the basis for many of the looks, especially in the collections of Lela Rose and Elizabeth Fillmore. Additionally, the many designs on the runway, particularly from brands like Elie Saab, Amsale and Monique Lhuillier, embraced the familiarity of romantic puffed sleeves and ballgown skirts. In a return to vintage details, all lace gowns and corsets paraded the runway, paying tribute to the early 1900s, as well as the Victorian Era. 


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Less traditional on the runway included the trend of the bridal suit, including the designs of Rosie Assoulin, Scorcesa and Safiyaa, which perhaps exhibits the influence of the pandemic on the bridal industry. Not only do these styles provide more comfort to the bride, an especially desirable aspect of garment serviceability after the pandemic, but they also reflect a more sustainable approach to bridal wear, as they can easily be worn again, either together or as separates paired with other pieces. Aesthetically, the bridal suit approaches bridalwear in a non-traditional way, demonstrating yet another element of duality within fashion that dances between the lines of masculinity and femininity. 



With a diverse variety of styles on this year’s bridal runway, bridal designers demonstrate their incredible ability to cater to the personality of each bride. As designers continue to blend the traditional with the modern, they push the boundaries that once limited the expectations of what bridalwear consisted of. Their commitment to redefining the meaning of beauty within bridalwear will certainly make 2023 weddings dazzling and unforgettable.  


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