New York Bridal Fashion Week Highlights: Pearls, Dresses and Lingerie

With this year’s wedding boom, 2022 is seeing many more weddings — and, with it, many more wedding looks.

“At minimum, many brides are asking for three: a chic dress or pantsuit for the rehearsal dinner; her statement gown for the wedding day; and something totally unique for the after-party,” said Sarah Swann, the chief creative officer of Amsale. “She doesn’t need to choose just one style for her big day. She can express her personality throughout the entire event.”

New York Bridal Fashion Week, which took place Oct. 11 to 14, reflected this year’s festivity, with storied brands expanding and new lines making their debut.

Kelly Faetanini unveiled her flagship store in SoHo, while Madeline Gardner, the longtime creative force behind Morilee, showed her own couture collection. And a fresh crop of designers offered brides more options, including a wider range of choices from the plus-size brand Eloquii.

At mostly in-person events, designers showed a diverse array of glamorous looks, with plenty of texture and embellishments, along with accessories and convertible elements like detachable sleeves and skirts.

But it wasn’t just about wedding-day choices. Many designers presented looks that could take brides from their bachelorette party to the post-wedding brunch and honeymoon.

Here are some highlights from the latest bridal collections.

Is this the rise of the goth bride? Designers seemed to think so. “Brides today are definitely asking for more color and the most popular nontraditional shade is black,” said Sharon Sever, the head designer at Galia Lahav. Arava Polak’s off-the-shoulder, floral embroidered tulle gown with a corseted bodice was dreamy in black. Reem Acra accessorized a regal ball gown with a black tulle wrap. And Sophie et Voilà paired a flouncy mini dress with a black puffed bolero.

No longer relegated to buttons, pearls are as chic as when Coco Chanel made them trendy in the 1930s. From pearl-themed bridal showers to pearl-detailed wedding receptions, the “pearlcore” trend is currently big in bridal. This season designers debuted gowns lushly detailed with the opaque gem — both large and petite — in a fresh take on the sparkly crystals and beads that customarily adorn wedding dresses.

Rivini showed a pearl-laced tulle ball gown with a stylized bow in the back. Dana Harel sprinkled pearls throughout her new collection, including a strapless, silk-tulle mermaid dress with a diagonal-pearl design. And Christie Nicole showed a French lace column dress with a scalloped-pearl pattern.

Because a wedding gown should look as beautiful going as it does coming, designers paid special attention to the back of the dress. This season many took inspiration from Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s wedding slip dress and added a draped cowl back. Alexandra Grecco showed a silk crepe, bias-cut gown with an open cowl back. Amsale’s cowl-back slip gown featured a chapel-length train. And one of GALA by Galia Lahav’s newest silhouettes was a soft trumpet gown with a low back and dramatic cowl.

Designers took bridal bling to the next level with real gem and gemlike adornment. In Claire Pettibone’s range of romantic silhouettes, she draped the back of an embroidered A-line dress with a detachable 18-karat gold vermeil necklace featuring a 19-carat pink amethyst. Yolancris trimmed a tulle A-line gown with iridescent beads, making it look like it’s dripping in diamonds. And Grace Loves Lace debuted a slip dress made of an innovative luminescent Lycra with detachable diamanté detailing, so that you can “trash the dress” in the pool or ocean without ruining it.

Borrowing from one of the edgiest ready-to-wear trends today, bridal designers laced-up bodices à la sexy lingerie, offering a cool girl vibe for a beach wedding or a slinky standout in your wedding wardrobe. Costarellos’s collection featured a draped georgette gown with a cutout bodice and front slit. Willowby showed a sleek-silhouetted gown with an asymmetrical twist. And Scorcesa added silk mikado trousers to his bridal range paired with a structured bralette.

The joy of celebrating is back, and to get brides in the champagne-popping mood, designers showed off nontraditional dresses in various colors that are perfect for a fancy bachelorette party or the wedding after-party.

“We’re noticing that brides really want to switch it up from their main bridal look and set the tone for each particular event,” said Christy Baird, the creative director and the founder of LOHO Bride boutique in Los Angeles. “Some of the popular trends are unique takes on unexpected embellishments with feathers, crystals and sequins.”

Liz Martinez presented a long-sleeve, chiffon column dress in white festooned with feathers and crystal-dotted 3-D floral motifs. Katherine Tash’s new collection features a glass-bead fringed gown in simple, yet slinky silhouette. And this season, Ines Di Santo’s showstopping look wasn’t one of her breathtaking ball gowns, but a chandelier-inspired cocktail dress lavishly draped with a mix of sparkly and jewel-toned crystals.

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