Tuesday, October 27th 2015
A late night flight with sweeping views of a glittering skyline and an almost palpable energy felt from every glimpse outside my window… landing in New York City is always a breathtaking experience. With a small team flown over from Australia (and now excitingly, an expanding one on the ground in NYC!) we were excited to see what magic would unfold this season for the Fall 2016 Bridal Shows.
As I've witnessed the traditional bridal world shift and be reinvigorated with fresh influences, I went in with the expectation of being mesmerised by one unexpected gown after another, particularly after the Spring shows earlier this year. There were certainly some incredibly beautiful pieces weaved throughout the shows, and entire collections that completely blew our minds, but I couldn't help but feel that some played it a little too safe. At times it seemed that collections were designed to be everything to everyone, ticking off a checklist of silhouettes from mermaid, sweet heart necklines and dramatic ball gowns. And I know as brides exposed to so many external creative influences, you crave more than that.
When it came to highlights for us, besides some of the breathtaking shows we witnessed, this season we really felt drawn to the boutique labels and up and coming designers that we've fallen in love with lately, not all of whom held runway shows but collections we explored in person. The raw passion, energy and fresh enthusiasm these designers expressed in creating pieces that were a true extension of themselves and the gaps they saw in bridal, was infectious. The collections felt deeply and innately inspired. The thought process behind them was intricate and the results were truly breathtaking. From Odylyne's magical gowns in mercurial palettes referencing the nostalgic Never Ending Story, to Naeem Khan's Frida Khalo inspired collection rich with extraordinary embellishment, drawing upon South American muses and bygone American icons, Houghton's unexpectedly cool play on tomboy styling underpinned by soft femininity that felt a bit Kate Moss meets Penny Lane, and Costarellos's ethereal dreamscape of lace and unique mixing of unexpected fabrics and laces. The designers going their own way stole our hearts this season. Each piece was diversely different, with threads of commonality cleverly weaved throughout the entire collection to tell a beautiful and captivating story.
From dress highlights, to whimsical beauty trends, refreshingly non bridal shoes and re-imagined accessories that infatuated us this season, we've put together a wrap up of our NY Bridal Week highlights and ideas you can draw upon for your own wedding, and piece together to tell your own unique story…
Bridal Trends & Highlights:
Accessories: White Highlights
Beauty: The New Braid
Bridal: Dramatic Embroidery
Bridal: Ethereal Silhouettes
Wednesday, October 21st 2015
Heading backstage in the final hour before a new collection is unveiled is always a privilege. Besides offering the ultimate sneak peek, it’s the opportunity to unhurriedly look over each creation. The runway show itself often no more than five minutes in length, these dresses, sometimes months in the making, each pass by in mere moments, a beautiful blur, with their movement or silhouette stealing the attention down the runway. But for a handful of designers like Inbal Dror who really ‘own’ unbelievable embellishment, a closer look feels not only like a privilege, but a necessity.
While models hair was swept into sleek, feminine topknots (elongating necks but also showcasing best the necklines of each gown), we took in the amazing embellishment we found waiting on racks. Unrecognisable without bodies inside, most dresses we fell in love with twice that day…once for their fabrics and detail, and then again, as they came to life on the runway, transformed into completely different silhouettes of dreamy tulle and mirages of slinky sequins. Romantic, daring and in so many ways, unexpected, we found ourselves dreaming of a Winter wedding that looked a bit like this…
Following the show, we were lucky enough to catch up with the designer quickly to learn a little more about this latest collection and her love of New York.
Inbal Congratulations on a spectacular show…
Thank you so much!
Tell us about your inspiration for this collection… the colour palette was really unusual and really beautiful
Thank you, thank you! My inspiration is from the brides, i mean they’re really passionate about fashion, so when i try to start to build each collection, not just a particular dress i start in my mind with what is passionate and the silhouette of the bride. So I think the full inspiration in this is the freedom of the creative and because of this I am shooting in New York the catalogue because you know New York is with all the people and all the colours…and I love to mix colour, because I think it’s very unique and very not boring!
Yes you know when you come to a wedding and you see the bride and you see the same all over…ok so what you want to design is to see something that you never see, so when you see her you cannot stop talking about her, and you’re like ‘wow’!
Do you have a particular woman in mind who you design for? Who is your muse?
I always think about strong women…always. And then I think that all the women, all over the world are strong. Because when you’re in the house and you’re dressing kids and you’re doing all the things…it’s a hard life too, for me! So I think about strong, I think about goodness, beautiful, because you know that we are the women - most beautiful! And I think about all of this, and the little things that I think that the women and the brides want…they like the details because you know we are women, and all, each thing of our homes, of our kids, of our husbands is beautiful to us, we look for beauty in everything, so because of that I like the details, I like the colour…..
Your favourite thing to do in New York City when you’re here?
Oh my god (much laughing) - to eat!
Thursday, October 15th 2015
Just when we were starting to tire of the expected bridal silhouettes, safe designs and concepts that, if we're brutally honest, felt a little uninspired at some of the shows, we walked backstage into Naeem Khan. It was everything we were craving from bridal, and nothing that we expected. Drawing from diverse reference points, the story that unfolded was one of South American muses and bygone American icons, dramatic styling and quietly dramatic dresses.
Arriving in suspense knowing this would definitely be one of the stand out shows, I walked around completely in awe, feeling so privileged to experience and photograph the intricacy and extraordinary craftsmanship behind this collection before the show began. And besides the incredibly breathtaking pieces hanging on racks, something that struck me was just how refreshingly hands on, enthusiastic and completely immersed Naeem himself was in every detail backstage. So much so that had I not been familiar with the designer already, I'd mistake him for any one of his incredibly talented team who were passionately working away, clearly living and breathing the designer's vision. I observed absolutely no hierarchy within this creative team between designer, assistant or model, just pure heart and soul poured into every detail, but with effortless ease. It felt like a celebration, as apposed to the frantic preparation that usually unfolds. There was a knowingness that this collection was truly something special, and it was a magic that you could feel backstage.
Revealing some of the most beautiful casting we saw all week, each model possessed a uniquely quiet confidence and watchful gaze - a little reminiscent of Frida herself. Standing impossibly tall in vertiginous heels, each pair of feet were carefully strapped into metallic platforms or lace pumps, shoes mirroring the decade or silhouette inspiring each gown.
Hair was pulled into sleek side braids framing a face tinted gently with blush and bold brows, black lashes and a red stained lip. In an incredible extension of styling, models sported dramatic oversized earrings in pale tints with pearlescent stones and decadent fringing. Paired with equally oversized floral crowns, the effect was extraordinary - a bold statement of South American femininity and a refreshing departure from anything expectedly ‘bridal’.
When the show began, there was an energy in the room & a reaction that mirrored my own when i first set eyes on the collection. It was beautifully unexpected, luxe, conceptual, creatively inspired… it was a show that shook up everything we know as bridal and pushed creative boundaries. There was an implicit understanding that we were all witnessing something magical and entirely unique, that felt so timely at the end of Bridal Week.
Afterwards, we sat down with Naeem who over a post show tequila discussed the collection with such down to earth honestly, explaining the challenges of juggling ready to wear and bridal. Naeem described the difficult headspace he was in after just having finished his Ready To Wear collection and with only a few weeks before the Bridal collection deadline, flew to India to design the collection in just 3 short weeks! Taking with him his key team, (who he describes more like a large family, such is their intimate understanding of him and his vision) he recalled designing and sketching on the plane, drawing upon his textile, background once on the ground, and a knowledge of how things come together and how fabric behaves, allowing him to work quickly on a collection, that on closer inspection should by all accounts have taken months!
In fashion, art and design, it seems there's nothing more powerful than simply creating innately and instinctually from your heart. And for Naeem this is exactly how he approaches his work. Explaining to us that just a few short seasons ago he took a gamble on a bridal collection that ignored anything that felt commercially safe, these pieces were designed only for himself, drawing directly from what inspires him. This unwavering approach has certainly paid off, with a collection rivalling some of the most established bridal designers, and loved by an audience who were just as refreshed as we were to see something a little more daring, and a beautifully refreshing take on bridal.
See our runway pictures of the Fall 2016 collection on The LANE Style Guide.