From fairytale princess gowns to feathery mini-dresses, bold skinny trouser looks and showgirl sequins, Bridal Fashion Week had something for brides of every size, shape and style inclination.
White reigned, as did classic silhouettes to please the most traditional bride. For everybody else, there were splashes of color, plenty of fluttery floral applique and sparkle, sparkle, sparkle.
Highlights from the Spring 2017 collections:
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO FOR KLEINFELD
After a smaller, capsule collection for the famed bridal shop, Siriano teamed with Kleinfeld again on a broader range.
His show stopper was a pricey pink ombre ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and skinny straps. As an evening wear designer, Siriano said bridal was a natural fit. He created in a range of sizes up to 24 or 26 — and a range of price points from about $3,500 to about $19,000.
Noting most dresses can be modified, he showed a lot of sleeves. There were long lacy ones on a column gown and a structured, off-the-shoulder pair in satin, embellished with tulle and strings of pearl.
One of his mermaid gowns included cascading ruffles. He used four tiers of ruffle at the bottom of a white, tailored suit jacket with matching boot-cut trousers.
Siriano also offered a range of hem lengths, from well above the knee in an appliqued mini to a fitted tea length with an ornate high neck and dramatic train.
In a backstage interview, Siriano said he's enjoying his first full push into bridal with the 27 pieces for Kleinfeld after focusing most of the time on evening.
"But the customer is so different," he said. "There's not as many rules. You can get away with trying new things, doing new things. It's a little fantasy dream world."
And what will Siriano wear when he weds his longtime boyfriend, Brad Walsh, at their Connecticut house this summer?
"I don't know. Literally we've got nothing," Siriano laughed.
INES DI SANTO
This was a **** runway dominated by sheers holding lots of floral creations in place. Romance meets sensuality is how the Toronto-based designer likes it.
While many of her looks were fit for royalty, complete with extra-long trains, she also ventured into over-the-top. An ultra-short hem with just one long lace sleeve had tulle skirting that skimmed the floor in back and leggings mismatched with floral embellishment, offering the appearance of one bare and one covered.
Spring itself was her inspiration this time around.
"The flowers, the garden, the beautiful trees, the sky, the sun," Di Santo said in an interview.
There were other vibes, in a sleeveless illusion Palazzo romper, for instance, with an encrusted bodice and dramatic detachable bell sleeves.
"I went very soft, romantic. You can see through the layers of the lace, the legs, the tulle," she said.
Like other designers, Di Santo included fit-and-flare looks along with sheaths, A-line silhouettes, halter necks and princess ball gowns.
Her backs and necklines were often illusion style, offering a barely there appearance. She included open bolero jackets for brides looking for a little cover, along with detachable skirt options for those who want to change up the outfit for the reception.
At the core of any bridal collection, Di Santo said, is how the dress speaks to budding love in marriage.
"It's so important," she said. "You can live without many things but you cannot live without love."
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
Designer Peter Copping is making his mark gradually at the storied Oscar de la Renta label, with a mind toward both preserving his predecessor's legacy and modernizing the label in his own way. In his bridal collection, Copping included some looser shapes — not everything was cinched tightly at the waist, princess-style — and even some short bridal gowns.
"I was thinking of the different women who are brides and the different ways women can get married," Copping said in a post-show interview, "because it's not always the same rules or traditions that people are looking for. So I think it's important within the collection to have a good cross-section of dresses, some short, some big columns, a real mix of fabrics."
Indeed, some of the gowns featured the sumptuous, extravagant embroidery for which the house is justly famous, and others featured much subtler embroidery for a more modern look.
"I think it was really just having a complete range of dresses," Copping said. The most striking were two short numbers, a nod to the popularity (and danceability) of shorter lengths, even if you can afford the big princess gown. "Yes I think it's popular," Copping said of the shorter length, "and I also think it's very relevant for rehearsal dinners, where a woman can still feel bridal the night before."
A highlight of the de la Renta bridal show is always the impeccably attired little children modeling flower-girl designs. "Having children here reflects what a real wedding is," said Copping.
And then there was Barbie.
Guests were sent home with the de la Renta Barbie doll, wearing a strapless white lacy column gown with a light blue tulle overskirt — something blue, of course. And in case you were wondering, under the skirt were some teetering white heels. No flats for this miniature bride.
For a bride looking to be just a bit daring, visible boning in corseting lent a uniqueness to some of Acra's fitted bodices.
There was an abundance of drama in ultra-long trains and encrusted sheer overlays. And Acra, too, offered a variety of sleeve options, including a web design on a snug pair that ended just above the elbow. The design, almost twig-like, was carried through to the rest of the full-skirted look.
Many of her dress tops were molded at the chest, bustier style, while she played with the lower halves. And some of her silhouettes fit tightly across the rear, sprouting trains where some brides may not feel entirely comfortable sporting one.
Acra put a twist on other trains, creating them to detach and also be used as veils. And she went for laced-up backs, both high and plunging, on some dresses.
In an interview, she called the collection "very airy, very light." Indeed, the stage lights during her show shone right through some of her dresses.
For the edgier bride, one who might appreciate the James Bond music Acra used for her show, she offered an unusual embroidered illusion gown adorned with pearls, white jewel stones and metal grommets.
Today's brides, she said, "have to have fun," adding: "She can't stress out about her wedding. Enjoy the ride and be the bride!"
There were lingerie-inspired elements here, too, with a touch of color in rose, pistachio, antique ivory and caramel. There were pops of fuchsia in bloom applique fitting for the outdoor garden where she staged her show.
Lhuillier decorated some organza gowns with hand-painted floral designs in asymmetrical layered tulle and silk organza. Deep necklines were prominent, with simple slip dresses offered along with bohemian gowns of lace and sheer skirts. Lhuillier also used corset bodices paired with cascading tulle skirts.
The collection felt like a chic romp, complete with high slits for a run through nature.
"My woman this season is in love and care free," Lhuillier said in an interview. "A little bohemian but just carefree."
The only clear trend in bridal these days, she said, is the need for designers to present more options.
"My core bride is somebody who loves femininity, she loves tradition but with a modern twist. And she wants something interesting with a lot of details," Lhuillier said.
There's definitely more fashion involved than when she began in bridal 20 years ago.
"One of the main reasons I got into the bridal business was when I was a bride in 1994, looking for a gown, I thought the options were so limited, and there was not a lot of fashion ideas," Lhuillier said.
Her bride doesn't want to be weighed down, however.
"She wants to look effortless," Lhuillier said. "But she wants to feel **** on her wedding day."
Are we all romantics on our wedding day?
"For me it's a really happy business," Lhuillier said. "We all are romantics deep down inside."
Associated Press writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-melbourne | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth