The Bridal Fashion Forecast
Despite a shaky start to the 2020s, bridal fashion has continued to thrive, with daring designs and intricate details that encompass both modernity and elegance. Here, Kirrily Ireland speaks with Olivia Waters, owner and designer of Olivia Waters Couture, to discuss the evolution of wedding gowns and what bridal fashion trends we can expect to see over the next decade.
Photo by: Allie Claire Creative
Before looking to the future, there are plenty of current fashion trends to enjoy now, especially if your wedding date is nigh. Over the last few years, Waters has noticed bridal fashion take on a somewhat unanticipated change – in that it hasn’t changed very much at all. “It’s surprising but the development of social media and the ‘Pinterest bride’ has meant that fashion styles for brides have stayed the same for a lot longer than what they previously have.”
Recently, the designer has seen brides fuse traditional and modern designs to create an entirely new look, including geometric lace providing texture and character. Accessories are also quite popular at the moment, from belts to necklaces, making for the perfect finishing touches. “I’ve loved the comeback of the true corset in wedding gowns like the traditional underpinning styles of Dior,” Waters explains. “Not the lace-up corset-style gowns. It allows a bride to go strapless without having to hitch the front of the gown up every five minutes.”
Speaking of pesky strapless dresses, the rise in sleeves has Waters excited about new design possibilities, “be it bishop sleeves, fitted, [or] off-the- shoulder”. Incorporating sleeves gives a bride more variety when choosing her gown, and more comfort, particularly in cooler months. Luckily, now that this trend has become increasingly popular, brides-to-be have more options for an ensemble that suits the season, their taste and style.
While fashion continues to evolve, if you love what’s trending right now, never fear. “I think the variety of fabric textures that we have seen over the past few years [such as] all-over sequins will stay around for a little bit longer,” Waters says. “But the minimalist bride style is definitely going to stick around [too]. I think that there are some brides who love the idea of simplistic style to
match their everyday life where they allow accessories and styling to do the talking, [while] others love the fun and flirty standout gowns. There is always going to be a mix of the traditional and modern. Couture allows for that.”
Back To The Future
According to Waters, this minimalism movement is going to play a huge part in bridal fashion in the coming years, as we move away from heavy lace that has dominated over decades past. “Sometimes an all-over lace dress can really overpower the entire look of the day and be quite heavy,” the designer says. “Lace dresses can hide poor workmanship as well. It takes great skill and care to be able to create a minimalistic style with perfect stitching.”
Since “fashion styles come around in cycles”, you might recognise this minimalistic trend, which boasts “stunning fabrics with clean lines and square necklines”, from twenty years ago. “The 90s vibes from the simple gowns are coming back,” Waters says. “[Whether] it’s a sleek silk sheath gown or a beautiful satin ball gown, the embellishments on these gowns will be stylish and elegant.”
Moving away from gowns altogether, the bridal jumpsuit offers a chic alternative. “I believe that there is always someone who is keen on a bridal jumpsuit as they can be very flattering and so easy to wear,” the expert says. “I think it will continue to grow overseas but I feel that in Australia it will take a bit longer to take off.” Watch this space.
If the last year has taught us anything, it is that technology is the future, something the bridal fashion industry has really embraced. “I love the idea of technology playing a part in shopping for wedding gowns, it’s truly already being done and it’s something we are working on,” Waters says. “I think that the idea of trying on gowns is always going to be a major part in purchasing gowns, but there are some people who just know what they
want and want it now. That’s where shopping for a gown online saves them time and it’s also a way of saving money.”
The rise in online shopping will be a benefit not only to brides-to-be, but also bridal fashion businesses. “It keeps the business’ overheads down as madeto- order gowns … are another sustainable way for brides to purchase gowns,” Waters explains, highlighting the difference between an off-the-rack choice. “These gowns aren’t hanging around for years on-end waiting for someone to purchase them.”
Along with technology, sustainability will make a larger appearance in bridal fashion over the next decade, since it is not just a trend, but a necessity. “Sustainability is one of the reasons I’ve created the new range from fabrics purchased [off] previous designers and made from recycled materials,” Waters says. “There aren’t as many fabrics available in Australia that have been sustainably sourced, so I think it will take a little bit of time to take off here. But more and more brides are of the age group who are more environmentally-friendly and are keen for gowns that represent that [specific] part of them … There are also more brides who are purchasing second-hand wedding gowns online from women who don’t want their dress to just sit in the cupboard. The stigma of wearing someone else’s gown isn’t as taboo as what it once was.” Of course, second-hand gowns can always be altered to suit current trends and fit like a glove, so you can still have the best of both worlds.
From older styles making fresh comebacks to minimalism having a strong influence, underpinned by sustainable attitudes, there is much to anticipate in the future of bridal fashion. Keep your eyes peeled, for that perfect dress might just be around the corner.