FROM A SHOT OF COLOR TO A DRAMATIC REAR VIEW, the newest crop of dresses offers more opportunities than ever to showcase your unique sense of style. “Every bride is looking for that wow factor,” says Kenneth Pool, design director at bridal house Isabelle Armstrong. “They all want to have their red-carpet moment.” Here’s the latest on which wedding gown trends, styles, silhouettes and details will have you turning heads on your walk down the aisle.
It used to be that wedding gowns came in just two hues: white and ivory. These days, more brides are specifically asking for a dress with color, says wedding gown designer Sareh Nouri. “Brides want to wear something that’s different from what their friends have worn, and choosing a dress with color is one way to do that,” adds Tara Nattini Fiore, president of Isabelle Armstrong.
Popular tones include blush, champagne, gold, pale rose or pink and peach. “We’re also working with a very, very muted shade in the lavender family,” she says. Especially coveted right now are wedding gowns featuring colored linings that provide a hint of drama. For example, a white or ivory lace dress with a champagne or pale-pink underlay can add a modern element to an otherwise traditional dress. Another bonus: “With lace, when there’s a pop of color underneath, you can see the details better from far back, and the dress photographs better,” adds Nouri.
Whether it’s lace over lace; lace over silk or satin; or multiple tiers of tulle, layering fabrics is one of the biggest trends right now. “We’re seeing a lot of gowns with different types of lace layered on top of each other to create beautiful dimension,” says Erika Bamonte, special orders coordinator and assistant buyer at Castle Couture in Manalapan. “Many gowns also have a delicate, beaded net overlay. Layering can take even the simplest silhouette to a whole new level.”
Also of-the-moment: Embroidered lace, textured fabrics and hand-beading. “I’m doing a lot with embroidered fabrics and hand-beading,” says Nouri. “I’ve used them before but they’re getting a really big reaction from brides right now.”
“Sleeves are definitely in,” says Nouri. “I have a lot of brides who love the very traditional, romantic look of sheer sleeves.” Long lace sleeves certainly evoke a regal, princess-inspired image. Think Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton for inspiration. Though both royals wore long sleeves, cap sleeves and three-quarter length are also popular right now.
And sleeves can work beautifully on a variety of silhouettes. “Whether it’s a ball gown or a form-fitting lace gown, brides are loving the look of sleeves,” says Bamonte.
The top—often cropped or with cutouts—and skirt combination is not for every bride, but it’s definitely a style you can expect to see as you browse through the racks. “Two-piece gowns are very popular on the West Coast right now and are slowly gaining popularity here,” says Bamonte.
“The ones we’ve been seeing have very flowy, romantic skirts, which are perfect for a destination bride or Jersey Shore bride who is fashion-forward,” adds Bamonte.
“I’ve always felt that the back of a wedding dress is one hundred percent as important as the front,” says Pool. Brides too are paying attention to the flip side and seeking out gowns with a “wow” back. One of the most current ways to add drama to the rear view is with a deep, plunging back. “Brides want the back as low as it can go without being vulgar,” says Pool.
Though bare backs are having a major moment, illusion backs—often with lace or very sheer beaded or jeweled fabrics—as well as eye-catching details such as keyhole backs are also hot.