Bridal trends are constantly changing, but traditional styles will always be in vogue. Here, Tijan Biner speaks with Eva Tomala of Eva Tomala Couture about her couture process and why there’ll always be room for timeless, classic gowns in the world of bridal fashion.
Image Credit: Euro Photography
Self-described as traditional, Tomala is renowned for her sleek, sophisticated style. “I like to follow tradition … with a bit of drama,” says the creative director, who favours refined silhouettes reminiscent of the glamorous styles of yesteryear. However, as the fashion industry evolves, many brides-to-be are opting for more modern, out-of-the-box bridal designs. Based on recent runway shows, those walking down the aisle in 2019 can expect everything from feathers and capes, to bustier tops, slip dresses and tailored suits. While these trends will certainly appeal to some, classic and traditional styles have been in vogue for decades and show no sign of slowing down.
The modern-day bridal trends we know and love have evidently been inspired by previous eras, such as the Roaring Twenties and the 1960s. From high necklines and empire-line waists, which were quintessential trends of the 1900s, to metallic embellishments and floral daisies from the 1970s, could it be that the bridal fashion industry is reverting back to tradition?
This year, vintage-loving brides will be spoilt for choice as 20s-inspired gowns re-emerge on runways across the globe. Think fringe, low waists and sequins, as well as linear and sparkly dresses with shorter hemlines that can even be re-worn on other special occasions after the wedding. “Vintage gowns are classic for a reason,” Tomala says. “They’re beautiful, romantic and feminine, and they complement the female figure perfectly.”
Similarly, multi-tiered skirts, cathedral trains and full-length veils – iconic styles of the 1980s – are set to make a comeback, as will sleeves in all sorts of styles and lengths. Whether you opt for long, fitted or gigot sleeves, they’re a practical yet elegant addiction to a spring or early summer wedding.
A Family Affair
For brides who have a taste for tradition but are also keen on trying a new trend, recreating or revamping a family member’s wedding gown is ideal. “A wedding is a huge event for the entire family,” Tomala says. “Each bride starts to create a history of their own, and revamping elements from their mother’s or grandmother’s wedding will bring a piece of family history to their day.”
Whether you incorporate pastel hues to modernise your mother’s wedding dress, or embrace your great-grandmother’s vintage lace by adding subtle hints into your own gown, there’s a multitude of ways you can transform a vintage silhouette into a contemporary gown that reflects your own style. Alternatively, Tomala suggests wearing a veil that’s been passed down from previous generations. “One of my clients will soon wear her great-great-grandmother’s hundred-year-old veil – that will definitely make her wedding look very unique and special!” she says. “It’s a great way to honour the women in your family, while also [paying homage] to your ancestors.”
Behind The Seams
Tomala says she’s seen an influx of modern-day brides-to-be opting for bespoke gowns, compared to their off-the-rack counterparts. “More young brides are beginning to appreciate couture designs and want to ensure that what they’re wearing on their wedding day will be unique and personal,” she says. “Couture fits the body perfectly – it’s made to measure and expresses the unique style and individuality of each bride. Through mass production, we often lose individuality and personal touch.”
It’s evident that bridal couture design is a labour of love. Couture designers such as Tomala offer a tailored service that allows you to make as many amendments as you’d like until you’re entirely happy with the finished product. “During the initial appointment, I’ll listen to what the bride is
expecting from her wedding day and how she wants to look, and we discuss whether the style she has chosen is the best for her figure,” she says. “I then create a design of the dress, and we choose the fabric and decide on any special features. The next step involves making a toile out of calico and, from there, we can start fitting. During the creating process, we have a chance to change some elements, such as the neckline or lace alignment. Each gown will have individual features and a special touch – it’s all the little things that make a dress unique.”
The Melbourne designer puts her heart and soul into every stitch, and while the process is exceptionally complex, she couldn’t imagine herself in any other industry. “It’s a privilege and an honour for me to be involved in such an important day in brides’ lives,” she says. “Each dress is a creative and inspiring adventure for both of us, and seeing the final creation is very satisfying. I love my job!”
When asked about the styles and trends she expects to see this year, Tomala strongly believes that classic silhouettes are here to stay. “I don’t expect to see any big changes, however I do expect more traditional gowns,” she says. “Wedding fashion is hugely impacted by tradition, religion and culture, so changes are slow. Traditional styles will always be more popular.” Further, as with all great parties, there’s always an after party, so she says it will become commonplace for brides to slip into something more comfortable for the reception. “The biggest change I can notice is that it’s becoming more popular to have an elegant ‘going away’ dress,” she says.
Finally, Tomala advises brides to stay true to themselves throughout the entire planning process and not lose sight of who they are. “Be yourself,” the designer says. “If you [stay true to] yourself, you’ll feel good!”