Pop-up bridal market Melange de Blanc showcased a selection of international brands including Watters, Marchesa, Dany Tibet, Truvelle, and Untamed Petals, at Center415 in New York City to coincide with New York Bridal Fashion Week. There were traditional gowns in shades of champagne, ecru, white with tonal embroideries at Eve of Milady; a quietly rebellious spirit emerging from the tones of bordeaux, forest green, scarlet and navy at Watters; while an alternative to beading could be seen in the hand painted hems at ZB Couture and breezy floral prints at Savin London. There were transformable gowns at Evan Hirsch for the bride who wants individual looks for ceremony and reception without having to change; and delicate head pieces created by Halima Grine, who trained in millinery and hand beading in France. Taiwanese sister duo Nicole + Felicia known for their celebrity clientele were betting on the romantic allure of acres of tulle; charming embellished bows and beaded skull caps were proving popular according to Columbian jeweler Zawadsky; and Bride branded hoodies, track pants and other cool-girl staples by Bridemerch offered the bridal party fun outfits in which to await the arrival of the glam squad. To dissect all this and better understand the trends that will dominate bridal for spring 2024, FashionUnited spoke to Christina Wettstein, Co-Founder and Director of Brand Strategies of Coterie White and Melange de Blanc.
What criteria must brands meet for inclusion in Melange de Blanc?
Our goal for Melange de Blanc was to have a broad range of brands, something for everyone, without oversaturating any one category. We’re really mindful of how many brands are coming from any one country, for example, too many Lebanese designers. We'd rather have two designers with different price points. For us, the market starts for retail from $1,500 up to $15,000. Likewise for accessories we want to make sure we have a nice range for everyone, to have one or two of each vibe/aesthetic, say, something floral and something more over the top.
Are weddings back to where they were pre-pandemic?
Absolutely – there were more weddings last year than I’ve ever seen! Weddings are definitely back and reimagined, but I think the way this new generation of brides is shopping for dresses has changed and they have shifted the categories they want to spend money on. Millennials all want to be different; they care a lot about the quality and construction of the dresses.
What insights from buyers or designers are noteworthy for spring 2024?
Luxe but classic Chantilly lace is in, pearls remain a staple and more muted 3D elements have been important for buyers so far. Designers are creating very elevated looks and amping it up with gloves or removable sleeves to provide a more versatile look. Buyers are asking for beautiful hand beading and embroidery, traditional laces and a lot of satin. Mikado is always a great structured and clean fabric, but we have seen an uptick in satin, it's back again in a big way.
Are there particular gowns or silhouette trends that are standing out?
This season is all about a modern, romantic but traditional bride and this is from gowns to accessories. In terms of silhouettes, we are seeing a reemergence of Basque waists which are incredibly flattering, box pleats, and more opaque looks - less sheer than in seasons past. Another big trend that continues to gain traction is the second look. Brides are loving the LWD (little white dress) where they can show their personality on their wedding day. We are seeing lots of ostrich feathers, scattered pearls, and beading. If a bride is torn between two vastly different dresses when buying her wedding gown, the LWD is a fun way to incorporate whatever look she chose not to go with.
Are there alternative embellishments to beading or a more minimalist aesthetic emerging?
For the last few seasons, we have seen a huge infusion of hand painted fabrics and 3D floral trends, something we still see a bit of. But now, I think the traditional bride is coming back – fewer sheer dresses and more lined dresses. We’re seeing more architectural, well-crafted gowns this season.