2008 Bridal Fashion Designer Trends


Photo by Coppersmith Photography

What makes the perfect wedding gown? There are so many factors to consider: it needs to be traditional for Mom yet sexy for you and your fiancé (without being too sexy). It should be trendy and timeless all at once. It should utilize the latest pull-it-in-corset. It should give the impression that you’re entering the room on a cloud. In short, a great wedding aisle entrance should be as eye-popping and gasp-inducing as a Hollywood starlet walking down the red carpet on Oscar night, and of course just as fleeting.

When it was time for The Wedding Guys to comment on bridal fashions from their industry’s New York Bridal Market event, picking out favorites for 2008 was based on the sigh factor.

“We decided to select whatever made us sigh, say ‘Oh my God that’s amazing!’ or, as our friend Ingrid says, ‘Yummy!’†comments Wedding Guy Bruce Vassar. “In today’s world of bridal gown shopping there is no reason a bride can’t be-one-of-a-kind, truly a original, because it’s all about individual style. Right?â€

In the past, it seemed that most brides wanted simple yet elegant, a dress unique and different from their friends’ or sister’s gowns, and yet when it came time to buy, they would settle for the same thing. A-line gowns showed up again and again.

“Up until this past year everything seemed like a sea of sameness, with nothing really rocking the boat or creating waves,†says Wedding Guy Matthew Trettel. “Until now, and we are loving it!â€

Get ready, future brides, this could rock your stilettos off!

Sexy sheath silhouettes, glamorous ball gowns, stunning goddess styles and flirty flare! Brides today have the best of both worlds, with a mix of traditional and trendy literally sewn into design concepts.

“What we saw on the Spring 2008 bridal runway in New York City is what we’ve been predicting for two years,†Vassar says, adding with a laugh, “OK, besides pleats.â€

The gowns are mysterious, romantic, and feminine, with a strong sense of self-assured confidence.

“Goodbye to the plain A-lines with no embellishments and hello to sparkle, flash, a little bit of daring, and a high level of sophistication and exclusivity,†Vassar says. “After all, what bride wants to see her dress on another bride at another wedding?â€

Designers this season seem to have a flirting obsession with the waistline–drop, empire, or natural. “You name it, we saw it!†Trettel says.

Sensually flattering drop waists extend to satin or multi-layered chiffon skirts. Lace or cutout lace drop waist fit-and-flare gowns sit atop voluminous clouds of tulle, creating an illusion of a sophisticated socialite or sassy glamour girl rather than a princess swallowed in tulle. Layers and layers of tulle interchange with layers of ruffles and bows.
“It may not be the infamous ‘butt bow’ of the 80s and 90s, but we are seeing a return to the bow in a quiet gentle embellishment, or as an introverted detachable bow on the back shoulder cascading into a cathedral train,†Vassar says.

The empire waistline was a resounding success at this year’s bridal runway show, evident in the style of Empress Josephine with an elegant flowing empire waist gown of silk chiffon, encrusted with beautiful gems and hand-beadwork, truly a work of art. The dramatic draping of fabric and the intricate placement of subtle petals or silk flowers has also made a resurgence.

“Most brides tended to avoid the empire waist gown in the past because, well let’s be honest, they said it made them look pregnant,†Vassar says. “This year’s designers have really taken that into account. So not to worry, brides in these empire waistlines will be looking quite slim!â€

And how do the Wedding Guys respond to those who argue that the traditional gown will always have a place at weddings?

“The traditional gown is a true test of time,†Trettel agrees. “But that time is up! Today we are moving away from basic satin traditional gowns and moving into more ethereal gowns of soft fabrics, airy, dainty and embellished with ribbons and embroidery, inset with stones and beading in an array of colors and textures.â€

Short dresses, bubble skirts, and layered bubble skirts are in again, bringing back the classic look of the 60s.

“It’s that whole freedom of movement, the ‘style show’ look of Breakfast at Tiffany’s,†Vassar says. “These gowns are simple yet elegant, with fabrics unique to the touch.†Sometimes less can be more, he points out, and when you have a beautifully stylized gown you really don’t need all the embellishments.

“But you do need to have beautifully textured fabrics,†he says. “Think deep plunging backs and necklines–a very pretty, sophisticated urban look.â€

The mermaid style returns this year with slight modifications from past designs.

“The introduction of the fit and flare design makes the dress less form fitting and easier to move around in,†Trettel explains. “Tulle and chiffon ruffles create a fabulous petticoat under the skirt, and a fishtail train keeps it perfect throughout the evening, elegant and graceful.â€

Wedding gowns weren’t always traditionally white. Queen Victoria put the wheels in motion when she wore a white gown to her 1840 wedding. Before that time, brides wore a rainbow of colors on their special day. The color trend is making a comeback. Last year the shades were espresso, gold and silver. This year brides are looking pretty in pink, blue, lavender and green.

Vassar comments, “It’s all about personal style. And let’s be honest, how many gowns today are really white? Most are ivory or champagne because most complexion just don’t look good next to white.â€

There is so much to choose from as far as color, necklines, fabric, and design that today’s brides can get married looking exactly the way they want.

Shoes can make or break the perfect gown. Consider the fabric, color, style, comfort level, and hem line before buying wedding day shoes.

“A minimum three-inch heel helps the bride carry herself better,†Trettel says. The taller a bride stands, the better her posture is, so she isn’t “all slouched over looking like she’s pushing a cart at Target,†according to Trettel.

Gloves made of organza and chiffon ruched around the forearm have been all rage since first appearing on the market, much thanks to trend-forward Monique Lhuillier. From wrist-length gloves to opera-length gloves, the right glove can add refinement to the overall look.

“Gloves were never supposed to make an arm look like a skinny mannequin arm,†Vassar says. “Avoid the Spandex look.â€

Today’s cutting-edge bride finds unique uses for jewelry, such as wrapping her arm in pearls or having pearls embroidered right onto her gown. And if she wants to stick to a more conventional look, the ongoing jewelry trend is simple, classic, and understated. Fewer, more formal pieces of high quality wedding jewelry–such as diamonds and pearls–never go out of style.

When it comes to hair accessories, the tiara has tarnished and is no longer the popular accessory it once was. Instead take into account aspects of the gown to accessorize the veil. Look for ruffled fabrics, pleated bars, and yes, even small bows. Short veils such as the French tulle are airy and angelic, and elaborate cathedral-length veils are formal and majestic. Wearing a veil gives wedding guests a vision of a beautiful silhouette, illuminated in a sun-lit aura, that makes the entrance of the bride truly a mystery!