The year 2017 represents many things to different people. For some, the end of 2016’s much hyped and controversial election proves cause enough to anxiously await the arrival of the New Year. Both Blondie and Depeche Mode are set to release new albums. Perhaps most interestingly (at least in the minds of brides-to-be) is the year’s heavily anticipated shift in bridal fashion.
Forbes estimated in 2012 that the wedding industry is a $40 billion empire in America. In 2016, Forbes reported that the South Asian bridal industry is closer to $100 billion and still $60 billion if bridal jewelry is removed from that equation. As with any growing industry, evolution is necessary in the world of fashion. The year 2017, however, may be the year of the bridal fashion rewind. Both, spring and fall 2017 runway looks seem to be inspired by a hippie generation, or perhaps a second wave neo-hippie generation. This isn’t surprising considering we are a nation fresh off the cusps of the departure of America’s first African American president, possible nomination of our first female president, the BLM movement, and the overwhelming adoration of a Brooklyn-born socialist who made politics cool again. They had Woodstock, we have Coachella. We millennials are no strangers to riding on the vintage coattails of our much cooler predecessors and this year’s bridal showcase is no exception.
The New York Times recently released an article on these fashion forward and reverse trends. In it, it was noted that today’s brides are clamoring to a more independent, free-spirited, and non-traditional approach when it comes to all things weddings. Gone are the days of the crisp white princess gown and in is the return of indie vibes, outdoor ceremonies, and shamelessly non-traditional bridal attire. The Times article referenced Manhattan based bridal boutique, Stone Fox Bride, which has been catering to the non-conformist bride since it launched in 2012. The company features a self-proclaimed, “Anti-bridezilla showroom,” and a plethora of vintagy bohemian gowns, jewelry, and shoes.Stone Fox may have been ahead of its time in thinking, because now many of the same concepts are transcending the local boutiques and making a solid segue onto the runways and couture.
In April of this year, Harper’s Bazaar featured a piece on some of the Spring 2017 bridal runways.Indeed, the designs were full of white alternatives, eccentric florals, sheer lace, and over-sized bell sleeves. If you’ve ever felt you were born in the wrong generation and missed out on all the grooviness, the time has come again-so-to-speak. J.Mendel was featured first with gown alternatives such as pleated full-length skirts paired with long sleeved, turtleneck blouses. Vera Wang followed with somewhat more traditional simple gowns, but paired with calf-high black gladiator heels. Naem Khan followed with bead-work reminiscent of doorway beads, except gorgeous ones you could proudly wear. As the slideshow went on, many trends kept popping up.
• Long sleeves
• Bell sleeves
• High necklines
• Creams/off-whites/ and bold colors
• Skirt and shirt combos
• Pants and pantsuits
• Tiered ballerina length skirts
• And lots of lingerie inspired looks, including full-length straight-lined silk gowns which were neither loose nor fitted, but looked exactly like the best thing you want to wear to bed. These gowns could seriously transfer right from ceremony to honeymoon with no change required.
Marchesa showcased daringly deep vees, while other labels favored necklines high enough to eliminate necklaces. Carolina Herrera showcased a cropped pantsuit with a long, classic veil, as well as a full-length, crisp, collared shirt-dress. Lela Rose celebrated a peplum top paired with trousers, and many designers chose either off-white, or not even close to white, colors for their brides. It seems the most consistent trend among designers for 2017 bridal couture is non-tradition.