Forever yours: A slow fashion handbook for the modern bride
With a new wave of conscientious designers reforming the canon of bridalwear, the frivolous notion of a ‘one-time wedding dress’ has become the subject of much scrutiny. Causing a distinctive turn in the tide, the eco-conscious, contemporary bride is now favouring everlasting designs over short-term ensembles – with some even looking to ready-to-wear fashion for practical investment pieces which will see the light of many days. However, like never before, many brands are forming a material defiance against non-sustainable bridalwear choices. Throwing away the conventions in favour of an everlasting love, these contemporary brands on our radar are all unified by their commitment to slow fashion and a design-led approach to styling.
As though they were the result of a magical incantation, Luna Bea stitches each gown with an air of lightness and awe. Dedicated to the preservation of centuries-old couture techniques, the British studio has immortalised the fairytale magic of once-upon-a-time through advanced sustainability and eco-conscious construction. A truly ethereal balancing act, all its fabrics are personally selected from cruelty-free, organic and vegan sources – championing materials like English lace, peace silk and vegan bamboo. From custom silk buttons and whisper-thin lace, to hand-hemmed gowns and scalloped edges, Luna Bea is the graceful result of heritage meeting modernity.
For BON BRIDÉ, saying the ‘I-do’s are not the only commitment they want you to make. Like a rich and layered harmony of musical instruments, its varied collection of designs are all anchored to one notion – endurance. Aiming to unite each contemporary bride with one distinctive piece (not just for walking down the aisle, but also for life afterwards), these relaxed, too-cool-to-care gowns carry ‘characteristics which reflect our day-to-day wardrobe.’ Hammered silk and heavy crêpe are punctuated with removable pearls and contemporary cutout panelling, making for a clever selection of versatile, slow fashion designs which can easily absorb into your everyday.
Ethically made in the UK, Miller White works with organic resources such as cotton, denim and lace in order to ensure the only footprints left behind are those down the wedding aisle. However, despite its pledge to serious sustainability, Miller White is distinctively fun in its approach to the contemporary bride. With quirky references which signal popular culture influence (such as the glove and column dress worn by Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, cascading lace which harks to Priscilla Presley, micro two-piece suits à la Princess Diana and the square necklines of Audrey Hepburn), Miller White manage to bring lightness to each piece – and, in turn, to the planet too.
The OWN Studio
Much like us, The OWN Studio are also locked in a battle against the ‘wear it once’ perspective of wedding shopping – a conflict in material morality which they remedy with a selection of adaptable, slow fashion designs. Pledging a ‘sartorially sustainable’ approach, their styles are relaxed and quietly luxurious, making it impossible to deny their permanent residence in your wardrobe. A flowing selection of column silhouettes, clean lines and careful layering, these simple designs are anything but one-dimensional, promising a myriad of restyling opportunities.
Creative Director Florence Cools worded it best with: ‘It’s curated, it must last a lifetime.’ Championing artisan techniques and exceptional fabrics, La Collection transcends the ever-changing landscape of trend-based design, instead existing in an artistic spectrum of slow fashion, investment pieces. With historical threads of tradition running through each collection (such as nods to the drapery of the Ancient Greek peplos dress, the low silhouettes of the Roaring Twenties and masterful kaftans inspired by traditional Middle Eastern wear), those who choose La Collection are able to escape the time loop of one-time bridalwear through the power of the past.
As though adding a slice of the South of France to your wardrobe, Jacquemus is the poster boy of a simplistic vision and a sunny sartorial temperament. Synonymous with considered sizing and playful proportions, which is far from unexpected considering the iconic Le Chiquito bag, Jacquemus’ pieces can easily translate into a laid-back bridal vision. Best suited for spring and summertime affairs (with touches of corn or lavender for a truly editorial adaptation of his ready-to-wear), breezy linen pieces such as the La robe Camargue and the knotted La robe Bahia are opportunities to adapt the ‘white dress’ criteria into a new realm of relaxed styling. For an evergreen two-piece suit, combining tailored designs such as the twisted La chemise Capri shirt and a floor-length skirt like La jupe Novio can form a dimensional outfit, which will then seamlessly integrate into your closet for moons to come.
Taking an architectural approach to bridal design, it’s no wonder Solace London describes its creations as ‘modern futurism balanced with timeless minimalism.’ Carefully engineered like the skyscrapers in the sky, Solace London’s varied collection of gowns, separates and jumpsuits all share one thing in common – a precise approach to construction. Displaying astute techniques such as box plissé pleats, ruffled panelling and sculptural sleeves, each piece manages to reframe classical beauty in a new, futuristic sphere – forming an equilibrium which moves its designs away from bridal cliches and into the contemporary bride’s sweet spot of timelessness.
Through a marriage of contemporary Scandinavian design and French couture principles, Cecilie Bahnsen offers a truly modernist take on the classic wedding dress. Led by the signature puff gowns (which are a tactile treat realised in layers of tulle, cloqué cotton and silk), the label recharges traditional and romantic design tropes via today’s contemporary current. Drawing on the craftsmanship she acquired during her time at Erdem and John Galliano, Cecilie Bahnsen’s eclectic approach positions the label as a real fashion front runner – meaning a wedding gown from the Copenhagen-based label will also serve your wardrobe for many seasons to come.
Like a treasure trove of vintage-inspired pieces, RIXO is known to tuck a tangible sense of wanderlust and storytelling between the seams of its easy breezy designs. And now the London-based label has expanded its magical touch to a collection of antique-style bridal wear, with each piece telling a tale of old school glamour and cinematic romance. Like flicking through the sartorial history textbook, the collection presents 1940’s silhouettes with gathered busts and puddle trains, feathered ‘60s shift styles and broderie anglaise creations which call on Prairie design sensibilities. It’s clear that RIXO has an inspired ability to add fresh nuance to archival design – a unique position which could evolve into post-nuptial partywear with some clever touches, such as a colourful bag or an adjusted hemline.