The upcoming Fall 2022 bridal collections optimistically envision a hopeful future, while simultaneously looking back in time — to the Regency Era, the mod '60s and even the grunge-y '90s. After all, having a unique take on a classic wedding look, to celebrate everyone's individual style, is very right-now.
Designers have taken a look inward the past 18-plus months, too, and interpreted the new appreciation we have for nature and the outdoors, as well as all the fictional, cultural and historical content we've binged to feed our minds and imaginations. Again, there really is something for everyone, whether you're looking for something short and sassy for a civil ceremony (or second look) or want clean shapes. But it all feels exceptionally celebratory and big this time around, through exuberant volume, bold color-play and imaginative embellishments that practically take on a life of their own.
Bridal designers channeled their creative energy and curiosity into arty looks that play with inventive asymmetry, origami folds, portrait-style shapes, sumptuous embellishments and sculptural silhouettes.
Monterrey, Mexico-based Nadia Manjarrez based her collection (made in Mexico by an all-women team) on Kintsugi, the Japanese art of lovingly repairing porcelain using precious gold or silver to bind the broken pieces. Amsale's playful and modern aesthetic, by designers Michael Cho and Sarah Swann, showcases innovative plexiglass floral appliqués, enhanced by delicate beading and embroidery. Elizabeth Fillmore's film noir "After Hours" theme features opulent bejeweled ornamentation on a slip dress. Influenced by architecture, Peter Langner contrasts a raffia-style weave and delicate ruching, while Brussels-based Valentine Avoh combines light quilting on figure-celebrating corsetry.
Speaking of much-anticipated sequels: Katharine Polk revived her cool bride line Houghton, featuring reworked classics like Regency-ish mini-dresses with draped cap sleeves and a corset, detachable puff sleeves and trouser suit-set.
LIVELY GARDEN PARTY
Nature elements remain bridal mainstays, but this season, flora-and-fauna appliqués practically come to life in celebration of a new era. Taking inspiration from a William Wordsworth poem, Temperley London meshes lace embroidery with fluttering tulle florals, Marchesa looks to the John Singer Sargent painting "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" for blooms cascading down a mermaid silhouette and Peter Langner covers a spaghetti-strap gown in vibrantly colorful and fluttering butterflies.
FLORALS IN BLOOM
Evergreen (sorry) garden motifs also receive the super-sizing treatment. Germany-based Kaviar Gauche's In Bloom collection has an exaggerated sculptural blossom on the bodice, and Viktor & Rolf Mariage updates its floral signature with handcrafted satin and organza mountain flowers growing up a T-strap back. Colombian designer Francesca Miranda pays further homage to nature, using upcycled organza and tulle for the hand-made flower appliqués.
BOLD COLOR STATEMENTS
An infusion of color, be it stunning solid hues on luxurious fabrics and textures or vivid floral patterns, feels quite befitting for this extra-celebratory spirit.
For his sophomore collection, New York-based Andrew Kwon plays with out-of-the-box, nature-referential hues, like mountains of Monaco-inspired chartreuse and sunny buttercup yellow, on heavenly layers of tulle and organza. Lagos-based luxury line Atafo, a favorite of Nigerian celebrities, combines regal gold embroidery and beading on a romantic blush pink. Halfpenny London ups its signature separates options with a voluminous watercolor-painted ballgown and detachable fluted sleeves, which can also be converted into puff-shapes with pretty ribbons. Sheila Frank decorates a fit-and-flare silhouette with saturated floral, while L. Wells Bridal does weddings skater-style with matching lilac and pink separates for couples.
BLACK (AND WHITE) TIE
According to Google, black is the most searched for color for wedding dresses. For those not ready to fully commit, touches of onyx add a classically modern feel to this season's designs. For his follow-up Scorcesa collection, Charles Dieujuste celebrates his heritage, taking inspiration from the picturesque 18th-century countryside of Haiti's Mole Saint-Nicholas and his New York City home. A playful crop top and long skirt elegantly contrasts with a sash tied diagonally from the waistline, while a bandeau-topped jumpsuit feels majestic with chapel-length train flowing from the back. Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand KkCo recently launched a bridal line, featuring an adorable polka-dotted veil and dress set, while Houghton and Vera Wang Bride offer black floral appliqués to edge up a white gown.
Ruffles dominated the collections this season, from oversize, undulating waves to streaming single curves to fluffy layers of tulle to ribbon candy-like swirls. Los Angeles-based Odylyne the Ceremony's ethereal, fairy tale-esque ruffle tiers and gossamer-sheer puff-sleeves pay homage to the cult classic film "Valerie and Her Week of Wonders." Brazilian brand PatBo and Barcelona-based Yolancris speak to the boho beach-bride with lively flounces, while Viktor & Rolf Mariage and Kaviar Gauche turn ruffles into opulent flower beds on ballgown skirting.
The '90s continue to rule, with varying interpretations of the square neckline, whether on clean silk mikado — like Halfpenny London's sleeveless and long-sleeve column gowns or lush brocade or Anne Barge's A-line silhouette from her '30s-inspired collection. Playing with layers, Sareh Nouri adds a fluttery sheer crystal-dotted caplet over a column, and Sachin & Babi a ballgown-skirt over a cropped-trouser jumpsuit.
Mutton sleeves (often detachable), power shoulders and crystal embroidery reminiscent of Princess Diana's 1981 wedding gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel dominated the collections — but with modern, pared-down interpretations. For Verdin Bridal, Gustavo Nunez even counts the People's Princess as a muse for his The Royal Collection, featuring lush draping and strong, '80s-style puff sleeves. New York City, by way of London, Yemi Osunkoya celebrates 30 years of his luxury couture label, Kosibah, with the aptly-named Treasure Collection; his Duchesse satin oversize puff-sleeves mermaid gown, with majestic lace paneling and horsehair trim, feels fit for a royal.
LUXE RUCHING AND DRAPING
After three seasons on hiatus, Theia returned to the shows with a Greek gods-inspired collection. Aussie beach bride-favorite Grace Loves Lace and Francesca Miranda add romance to slip silhouettes with draped bodices. Ethereally-ruched tulle give literal and figurative layers to corsetry from Andrew Kwon and Dana Harel. Cut-out looks from Lihi Hod and Francesca Miranda's The Gloria also receive the Aphrodite-touch with dreamy pleats and overlays.
Bridal designers definitely put a bow on it: Reem Acra's strapless A-line dress covered in literal embroidered statements ("you and me forever together") in her Love and Dreem collection (cute!), Halfpenny London's detachable oversize accent to be worn at the waist or back or over one shoulder, Scorsesa's pretty black style cinching the waistline of a silky wrap dress and Vera Wang Bride's triple-showing.
Pant and skirt suits have become a wedding mainstay, whether for more relaxed ceremonies, second looks or reception options. But this season, designers enjoy taking tailored silhouettes to another level. Sheila Frank and Temperley London layer button-up robes like suit jackets, while Kaviar Gauche, Rivini and Lihi Hod add puff-sleeves, flounce hems and, of course, bows to crisp trouser sets. Toronto-based Ines di Santo even launched the Suited by Ines di Santo collection, inspired by her mother's Italian heritage, with looks made in the traditional tailoring process of "Alta Moda," including a chic blazer-dress for that something blue.