What We Saw at New York Bridal Fashion Week
New York Bridal Fashion Week, which took place April 11-14, featured spring and summer 2024 collections with styles to suit every whim and fancy, from sheer and corseted gowns to figure-flattering silhouettes and statement minidresses. And for the first time since the pandemic all of the presentations were in-person.
This season also brought out several newcomers, like Esé Azénabor, who showed her first bridal runway collection at her recently opened Madison Avenue flagship boutique, and Nardos Imam, who held her first bridal runway presentation at the Plaza hotel.
Throughout the runway shows and presentations, designers acknowledged that many brides want more than one look for their wedding day, and offered ways that might be achieved without resorting to multiple dresses.
“Since bridal gowns can now be seen all over social media, brides are wanting something different that makes their wedding gown more unique,” said the designer Monique Lhuillier. “Matching boleros, detachable sleeves and overskirts are quite popular, allowing brides to transform their look from ceremony to reception.”
Here are some highlights of what we saw.
Sheer and Exposed Corsets
Madonna had it right with her iconic “Like a Virgin” look in the 1980s. One of the biggest bridal trends this season is the return of sheer and exposed corseted bodices. Now updated to be less boudoir and more bridal chic, this visible snatched-waist construction concentrates on giving an hourglass shape. Liz Martinez presented a beaded tulle sheath detailed with peekaboo corseted bodice. Alyne showed a corded lace gown with a daringly sexy, sheer corseted back. And a romantic, fit-and-flare lace gown by Lihi Hod featured a semi-sheer exposed bodice.
From dainty embellishments on bodices, straps or veils to exaggerated stylized knots that trail into a train, bows offered pops of details throughout the collections shown this season. Amsale’s new collection included a silk ball gown with a taffeta off-the-shoulder, oversized bow that doubled as a Watteau train. Kelly Faetanini presented a fit-and-flare gown with a plunging back and detachable bow that draped into a train. At Rivini, an asymmetrical off-the-shoulder gown was accented by a couture-esque bow detail.
Column and Sheath Silhouettes
The star dress silhouettes are column and sheath styles, with top-to-bottom contouring. “Many brides are loving these figure-flattering gowns for the ease and lightness of not having to bustle a train,” said the designer Sareh Nouri. “But they can be worn with a matching cape or detachable overskirt that doubles as a train and transforms the look when removed.”
The Sareh Nouri collection included a draped column gown with a knotted tulle cape. Monique Lhuillier turned classic Chantilly lace into a fashion-forward, high-neck sheath with long, puffed sleeves and a layered corset. Reem Acra showed a majestic sheath with crystal-embroidered detail and a detachable half skirt.
Many brides love the idea of a strapless gown, but the neckline can often be ill-fitting, uncomfortable and cause an exaggerated bulge under the arms. Enter the peaked bodice, which provides additional support and cleverly smooths problem areas for a more polished look. Dana Harel showed a sleek A-line dress with a sexy slit and lace-trimmed neckline. The cool-girl Australian designer Chosen by Kyha added couture touches to a minimalist gown with a draped neckline and corseted bodice. And Anne Barge went the architectural route for a peaked neckline on a jacquard trumpet gown.
Boleros and Lace Tops
Gowns offering multiple looks with removable layers and detachable pieces were a focus of bridal fashion week. “It’s such a great way to stay true to your style and the dress you fell in love with while showcasing it in so many fun and functional ways,” said Sharon Sever, the head designer at Galia Lahav.
The bolero, reimagined from the late 1990s and early 2000s, has made a comeback with a streamlined fit and luxe fabrication. And the layering of the sheer lace top gets its inspiration from ready-to-wear. A strapless modified A-line gown from Arava Polak featured a delicate, detachable high-neck lace bodysuit. Blue Willow by Anne Barge showed a classic plunging sweetheart ball gown layered with a 3D-embroidered mock neck top. And Galia Lahav’s new collection included a 3-D floral-appliqué tulle trumpet gown with a matching high-neck bolero.
Little white dresses abound this season, offering brides more second-look options for their reception. Some designers took the bridal minidress to the next level with showy ruffles, festive feathers and flirty micro skirts. Esé Azénabor showed a structured minidress with a floral-appliqué and long-sleeve tulle bodice accented by cascading ruffles. Kim Kassas Couture paired the on-trend, exposed-corset bodice with feathery fringe and a short, flared skirt. Nardos presented a strapless, bell-shaped minidress that combined floral lace and a feminine bow with a fun twist.