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Brides are spoilt for choice this season with an endless array of styles and silhouettes, which have been crafted by visionary designers who are willing to push the boundaries of what is considered modern bridal wear. From jumpsuits to shimmering metallics, Jacinta Walsh speaks with Melinda Hassett from Mel Rose Couture and Helena Karkovic from Helena Couture Designs about the latest bridal trends gracing runways across the globe.

Something Blue…………………………

Until 1880, colourful wedding dresses were not uncommon in western society, but it was the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that altered the course of bridal fashion forever. The Queen believed white was the most fitting hue for a bride and as such inspired the wealthy to follow suit, thus setting the illustrious trend for the century that followed.

If the Spring 2019 Bridal Fashion Week is anything to go by, we’re about to see a departure from tradition as a resurgence of vibrant bridal wear hits runways across the globe. Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Ultra Violet, featured in designs

across several collections, including beautiful lavender creations by Jenny Packham and Hayley Page. Vera Wang also introduced purple throughout her collection, which paired delicate nude gowns with plumes of colourful tulle. “This season will see the addition of soft purple and blue hues to the pastel palette, which has gained popularity with brides,” says Hassett.

Blush pinks remain strong favourites among brides as they are suited to a variety of skin tones and will soften facial features, more so than the traditional stark white wedding dress.

All In The Details……………………

While ball gowns are steadily making a comeback, many modern brides are opting for body-hugging silhouettes that feature intricate details. “Jacquards, Italian cloqué and modern brocades will be the focus of this season,” says Hassett. The vintage-inspired aesthetic is perfect for brides who are searching for an opulent finish to their gown.

As seen in Zuhair Murad’s latest collection, which featured sequin, jewel and crystal beadwork that’s reminiscent of the 1930s, detailed bodices are also on the rise. Similarly, three-dimensional embellishments, such as floral appliques, are a romantic touch to any gown. Used sparingly or as a feature on your dress, floral appliques will enhance the dimension of your gown to create a dynamic wedding look. “I love detailing that meanders down the dress,” says Karkovic. “Our brides go for detail because many will never have the chance to dress up like this again.”

If you’d prefer to take a more subtle approach, a detailed back is a great way to include lacework, embroidery, cut outs and geometric patterns, without detracting from the front of the dress.

Keep It Simple…………………………

At the recent Royal Wedding, Meghan Markle divided critics with her understated bridal gown. The Givenchy creation was criticised for being too simple, while others praised its timeless elegance, which suited Markle’s renowned effortless style. “The simple, elegant lines, which were uninterrupted by detail, showcased her natural beauty,” says Hassett.

The Duchess of Sussex certainly set a new trend, as the presence of minimally embellished dresses on the runways of New York cannot be denied. Designers are opting for clean lines and precise tailoring to accentuate the purity of simple fabrics such as silks, satins and crepes. The 90s-inspired look involves off-the-shoulder, long-sleeved or high-neck gowns, as well as strapless and halter styles for a more modern approach.

Despite Bridal Fashion Week taking place prior to the Royal Wedding, many designers took the opportunity to showcase how they would’ve styled Markle, had they been commissioned to do so. Monique Lhuillier paid homage to the new Duchess with an embroidered lace gown entitled ‘Majesty’.

Together Forever………

It was only a matter of time before coordinated accessories transitioned their way into bridal wear. Designed with the intention of being worn together, veils and capes were stitched with the same beaded detail or lacework as the accompanying gown, which perfectly completed the look. “While brides in past seasons have shied away from the veil, this season will see its return,” says Hassett. “Long, elegant veils with embroidery, lace and celestial embellishment are proving to be particularly popular.”

There is a sense of drama that a long veil creates – it’s perfect for lavish photo shoots and to trail behind you as you walk down the aisle.
However, the best part is that they’re removable! Unlike lengthy, heavy trains, veils create an elegant effect, without the effort of having to carry it around all day.

Sleeve It To Me………

Sheer chiffon sleeves add a romantic touch to cleaner silhouettes, while detailed lace sleeves are ideal for brides who long for a vintage aesthetic. “There is a quiet elegance that comes from the addition of sleeves,” says Hassett. “They can be simple, delicate, dramatic or ornate.”

While prominent in commercial fashion, bell sleeves have also made their way onto the bridal fashion scene. This billowy, boho-chic look complements more relaxed styles, but will also work with modern, form-fitting dresses or as a stately touch to a fuller ball gown.

Sleeves are the perfect accessory for a winter bride; they will keep you warm all day and all night, no matter what weather Mother Nature bestows upon you on your wedding day. Evolving from the off-the-shoulder trend that has proved popular over the last few seasons, detachable sleeves are also in vogue. As the sleeves can be removed, this gives you the option to change your look throughout the occasion. For example, you may want to transform your look into something flirty for the reception, while still remaining conservative for the ceremony.

Shimmering Metallics..

If you wish to add a touch of opulence to your gown, metallic embellishments are the answer. The high-shine additions are perfect for brides who love all things glitz and glamour. Popular metallic choices include silver, which suits fairer complexions, as well as rose gold – the perfect complement to blush pink tones. Metallic accents will photograph beautifully, as they will perfectly capture the light and will ensure that you shine on your wedding day!

“There is a resurgence of hair ornamentation, including crowns, tiaras and combs,” says Hassett, who recommends including a metallic hair piece for a chic bridal look.

Jump In……………………………..

If you’re at a loss when it comes to choosing your wedding gown, then perhaps you aren’t looking for a gown at all. Garnering a fan base among modern brides around the world, jumpsuits and wedding suits are a sleek departure from the traditional bridal silhouette. Two pieces are a great option for fashion-forward brides who prefer a unique bridal look for their wedding day, or perhaps your event just calls for something a little less extravagant than a puffy gown.

Jumpsuits are also a perfect option for brides who are looking to wear a secondary ensemble at their reception. Pants will leave your legs unstrained and ready to boogie the night away with your partner, because nobody likes to be restricted on the dance floor! Wedding dresses can be quite heavy, so if you’re not an avid follower of the mantra ‘beauty is pain’, then perhaps it’s time to jump on board the jumpsuit bandwagon.

Much like wedding dresses, jumpsuits are becoming more versatile in their designs. Viktor & Rolf paired cropped, three-quarter-length trousers with a simple structured bodice, while mohawk-laden models sported Naeem Khan’s skin-tight metallic jumpsuits, which were fitted with tulle capes for a rocker edge.

Sultry and Sheer…

If you’re at a loss when it comes to choosing your wedding gown, then perhaps you aren’t looking for a gown at all. Garnering a fan base among modern brides around the world, jumpsuits and wedding suits are a sleek departure from the traditional bridal silhouette. Two pieces are a great option for fashion-forward brides who prefer a unique bridal look for their wedding day, or perhaps your event just calls for something a little less extravagant than a puffy gown.

Jumpsuits are also a perfect option for brides who are looking to wear a secondary ensemble at their reception. Pants will leave your legs unstrained and ready to boogie the night away with your partner, because nobody likes to be restricted on the dance floor! Wedding dresses can be quite heavy, so if you’re not an avid follower of the mantra ‘beauty is pain’, then perhaps it’s time to jump on board the jumpsuit bandwagon.

Much like wedding dresses, jumpsuits are becoming more versatile in their designs. Viktor & Rolf paired cropped, three-quarter-length trousers with a simple structured bodice, while mohawk-laden models sported Naeem Khan’s skin-tight metallic jumpsuits, which were fitted with tulle capes for a rocker edge.

Capes And Capelets

While bridal capes and capelets have appeared on runways in past seasons, they’ve certainly come into their own this year. This trend is
the perfect accompaniment to a dress that’s inspired by yesteryear; the delicate material is lightweight and won’t detract from the statement piece – your dress.

In place of a train, capes will trail behind you in the most stylish fashion, which will create spectacular wedding photos. “A dramatic cape also allows for a variety of beautiful photographic moments,” says Hassett. Similar to almost any bridal fashion trend, capes can be worn in many different ways. These stunning accessories can be plain, embroidered or encrusted with gems, which can remove the need for additional jewellery. They’re also available in a variety of lengths to suit dresses of all shapes and sizes.

Images courtesy of Helena Couture Designs

The Beauty of Bespoke

More than ever, brides are looking to purchase custom-made creations rather than buying off the rack. Bespoke designs may be preferred by brides who seek a dress that is tailored to their unique body shape, thus enhancing their best assets. “My brides love the custom fit that our gowns give them, as well as the individual details, whether they be minimal or more intricate,” says Karkovic.

By investing in made-to-measure options, you are also supporting local 
businesses. Instead of sourcing gowns from overseas, you’re ensuring the longevity of Australian designers and bridal houses across the country. “Future brides will start to look for labels and brands created under the one roof,” says Hassett. “Bespoke and limited-edition designs will see brides embracing the opportunity to wear something that reflects their personality, while still supporting their local designer.”

While finding the perfect dress can be tremendous fun, it can also 
be stressful. Remember that no matter which style you decide to choose, as long as you’re happy with your overall bridal look, nothing else matters!