“The Bride Wore A Dress By No-one”
It’s one of the sassier lines in the Sex And The City series, exclaimed in jest by Carrie’s friend, Anthony Marentino, when she shows him and Charlotte the no-label wedding dress that she found when out shopping at a vintage store.
Once upon a time, it would have been a New York-level scandal to wear a dress that didn’t denote a designer’s label. Vera, Monique, Jenny. The tribe of designers, whose surnames are no longer required, hailed as the best in wedding dress couture. And although they may be regarded by some as the greatest, they’re not now the latest to make their mark on the scene.
More and more frequently brides are choosing something a little more bespoke and unique for their wedding day garments. Independent dress designers, vintage finds and customised attire are leading the way on the dress side of things. Having a big, and instantly recognisable, name sewn into the back of your gown is no longer such a pull for brides. Instead, having something that really reflects their overall look, fashion-sense and general lifestyle is much more of an appealing find. Cost always comes into the decision-making process, as well as the personalised feel to their outfit. If a small, independent designer can craft something that only they will be able to wear on a day in their life when this really matters, then that beats the allure of an association with a well-renowned fashion house.
Before weddings got big, and we’re talking really big; ‘Mr Big’, the number one choice a bride was faced with during the wedding planning process was which dress to choose. It was the ultimate in wow-factors, and the detail that was destined to leave a lasting impression on male and female guests alike. However, nowadays, brides are taking stock of how their venue styling, food, cocktails, and entertainment work together to produce a day that really reflects who they are. All of these other elements mean that the dress no longer has to retain it’s position on the podium, and so brides can get a little more creative and a little less concerned with social approval. All in all quite a good swap!
Don’t get me wrong; the big design houses are still going strong - after all, the market for brides wanting a more traditional style dress hasn’t died out. However, if you’re after bridal separates - the very 2017 fashion of opting for a top and a skirt rather than a complete dress - or something a little more colourful (think tie-dyed / dip-dyed) then closing tabs on pages like Pronovias.com could be the best decision you make.
Take two of the suppliers in our shop, for example. This Modern Love Bridal is a bespoke bridal wear label which designs and handmakes dresses to die for. The brains (and skills) behind the brand, Anna Bosworth, uses only the finest materials including silk, lace and tulle to craft the dress of your dreams. Luna Bride handmakes beautiful and ethical wedding dresses for the modern bride. The collection “dances with magic and mystery” and is designed to make fairy tales come alive.
The care, attention and hours of concentration that goes into making a dress just for you - made to measure - to your exact body shape and specifications, is unrivalled by the tailoring of a ready-made wedding dress to fit your proportions. And you receive it all for far less than a designer gown simply because it is a dress by “no-one”.
Although, we know for certain that the creators of these astonishingly versatile and breathtaking brands are so far from nobodies. They are the brave and talented vigilantes changing the shape, offering, and expectation of the bridal market. And we love it! Ten years ago, wearing a tie-dyed dress would have been something of a fashion faux-pas. However, judging by the amazing critical response from the audience at the Lucy Can’t Dance fashion show earlier this year, colourful dresses are now not only accepted; they are coveted.
The most pinned wedding dress of all time comes from the highly-acclaimed bridal brand Grace Loves Lace (an Aussie creation put on the UK map by Millie Mackintosh when she wed Pro Green back in 2013). And however in-demand they are now, they began as a small and relatively unknown independent label. As reported on their website: “The journey of GLL began in 2010 after searching (unsuccessfully) for THE dress.” It started as a family business, and just grew and grew. Growth for a small business is fine, and ultimately their aim. And what’s not to love? With growth comes a bigger team, more retailers and stockists, and a greater collection which is bound to have something that you will just love. As long as the brand remains true to their original ethos and continues to offer their customer what they have always wanted, a small supplier turning into an iconic name is the stuff of magic. Grace Loves Lace is possibly the ultimate in boho bridal but they remain clear in who they are and they design for - “She’s a modern bride with a romantic heart and sets her own high standards; she walks to the beat of her own drum”. Grace Loves Lace wanted to change the bridal industry. Not only have they unquestionably done this, but they have also paved the way for new designers and independents to follow in their confetti-lined trail.
If Sex And The City was rewritten now I have no doubt that that line, and the title of this blog post, would be removed from the film. Yes, Anthony Marentino is a sassy and snobbish event planner himself, but these days even the high-end wedding planners of the world know that there ain’t nothing wrong with an independent label wedding dress. Wearing Vivienne Westwood on your wedding day was once a sign that you were up there with those brides who had ‘made it’. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case, and it would come as no surprise if the big name brands fell behind the innovation and flexibility of the younger designers on the scene in the next few years.
So, brides of ‘17, ‘18, ‘19 and beyond. I implore you to take a look at the bridal scene with a fresh pair of eyes. Look past the tried and the tested. Do some digging and find out who the upcoming dress doyenne is near you and at the very least arrange a consultation. You may never know how damn good you look rocking a bridal tuxedo until you put one on and strut your stuff. Ladies, this is your time; now dress like you know it’s true.