The classic wedding dress will always have a place in our heart. There is a canon of amazing designers who, season after season, turn out gowns that meet the criteria of what a wedding dress ‘should’ be – beautiful, timeless, and white. But for this post, we have decided to focus our attention in a new direction. If the last year has taught us anything, it is that the terms ‘normal’ and ‘traditional’ no longer apply and wearing what makes you feel alive, joyful, and of course gorgeous is what really matters. And if there is a day to wear something that allows you to truly live it up and express your best self outside and in, it is on your wedding day.
Operating with this avant-garde philosophy is a group of bridal designers and labels, both emerging and lesser known, who make wedding attire that is best described as cutting-edge, fresh, and inspiring. Their creations speak to the fashion-forward bride who lives for the moment and isn’t afraid to shake things up a little, or a lot as you will see.
Alexandra O’Neill established her New York-based luxury womenswear label Markarian in 2017. Markarian is the name of a radiant group of galaxies, so it’s no wonder that O’Neill’s designs have a starry Hollywood legend feel about them, but filtered through a modern day lens. Feminine silhouettes with clean lines and special flourishes such as statement bows, ruffles, delicate lace, sequins, feathers, and voluminous sleeves define her ready for the aisle way collection, which includes gowns, mini dresses, pant suits, tops, and skirts.
If Cleopatra were to get married today, we can only see her wearing Cucculelli Shaheen down the aisle. The New York-based label is headed by husband-and-wife team Anthony Cucculelli and Anna Rose Shaheen who met while working for Diane Von Furstenburg. Drawing from global influences and diverse work experiences, they create bridal looks for the present day goddess that are glamorous, powerful, and sophisticated, yet feel delicate and serene at the same time. Exquisite beading, luxe lace and chiffon, floral and celestial motifs, and ultra-feminine silhouettes underscore their collection of gowns, mini dresses, and capes.
The need-to-know-about designer topping everyone’s bridal wish list is Danielle Frankel. After cutting her teeth for Vera Wang and Marchesa, Frankel established her namesake label in 2017. Since then, she was a 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist and has seen her dresses worn by celebrity brides Erin Foster and Zoe Kravitz. Channeling the essence of ‘new romantic’ in look and feel, Frankel’s creations are a breath of fresh air for the woman who wants to challenge conventional wedding attire with style and emotion. Proving that a bride can be both cool and elegant, Frankel’s designs feature strong silhouettes, superlative tailoring, and a melding of masculine and feminine details – think simple, clean lines, shiny silk and velvet, paper-thin chiffon, and unique accents such as satin cord and leather belts, and sinuous statement sleeves.
Suzanne Harward first emerged on our radar when bride Holly wore an unforgettable dress by the designer for her Real BB Wedding at New York Botanical Garden. Working since 1975 in Melbourne, Australia where she is based, Harward’s aesthetic encapsulates ethereal romanticism for the modern era. Her label’s collections have only just become available in the New York within the last few years. Harward’s designs are marked by soft feminine silhouettes, which take shape in sumptuous fabrics adorned with delicate lace overlay and intricate floral appliqué.
When Erdem launched its new bridal line right in the middle of the pandemic, many questioned the timing of such a major move. But just one glance at the beloved British fashion label’s aptly titled ‘White Collection’ reveals that designer Erdem Moralioglu knew exactly what he was doing. His collection is not full of fanciful gowns made for an extravagant wedding event. Rather, he is making designs that reflect the current reality where marriages are taking place in quieter, more intimate settings. The allure of Erdem’s bridal looks lies in their simplicity and understated beauty, which is sure to live long into the happily ever after – these timeless dresses can be worn on the most important day of your life as well as all the special days to come.
This new group of bridal designers fully understands that the wedding dress carries immense symbolic meaning to the woman wearing it. Their daring, playful, and eye-catching take on traditional wedding attire could not have come at a better time as age-old conventions of how to think, look, act, and feel in all facets of life are being broken down by the minute. What these beautiful collections all have in common is that they inspire brides to dream without limits and take each step down the aisle with style and confidence.