Getting Married? You’ll Want These Bridal Designers on Your Radar

Getting Married? You’ll Want These Bridal Designers on Your Radar

Bridal has its mainstays, and you’ve undoubtedly heard their names before–multiple times. That voluminous textured ball gown with a corseted bodice is most likely a Vera Wang creation, and your dear friend’s silk faille A-line gown adorned with hand-cut lace, or another’s perfectly-tailored, sculptural mermaid is most likely an Oscar de la Renta or Carolina Herrera. Oh, and that hand-embroidered tulle confection your college roommate wore to her nuptials in Tuscany? That was likely Valentino, Elie Saab, Monique Lhuillier or Marchesa.

But, bridal’s more recent collections have proved especially exciting for the bride seeking something unexpected–from a designer she’s never heard of. These vertitable new kids on the block have ushered in a more competitive, dynamic, and diverse bridal fashion scene for those looking to stand out from the Chantilly-clad pack. No matter what your personal style, these new talents (who hail from the U.S. and the world over) are driving the of-the-moment bridal conversation, offering twists on the traditional staples we’ve grown accustomed to. Introducing: bridal’s new guard.

Danielle Frankel doesn’t want ‘bridal’ to be considered a curse word in the fashion industry. “I’m looking to bring all of the fashion-forward elements of ready-to-wear to the bridal experience,” she says. “I want to give women something that I see them looking for, but that they’re not finding–simple pieces that are technically beautiful, and investment pieces that you can carry beyond the wedding.

Frankel is all about taking the best parts of getting dressed–layering, styling, personalization–and applying them to bridal, with signature pieces like jackets, layering shirts, belts, gloves, jewelry and unique separates taking center stage. Her first collection debuted with major buzz, and her Collection II introduced a capsule sold exclusively on Net-a-Porter. Recently, Frankel introduced Objet, her jewelry and accessories collection designed to accent and style her signatures. Says the designer, “I want to challenge brides to take it one step further. My bride understands that being cool can also be classic.”

Sleek, chic, and cosmopolitan, Carly Cushnie is bringing her signature sexy silhouettes to the aisle. The bridal industry is jam-packed with new names (this story alone is case in point), but Cushnie brings an unadorned, no-frills take on bridal that the city hall, downtown and minimalist bride will undoubtedly be attracted to. Those looking to show off enviable frame, skip lace, and opt out of all things over-the-top will immediately find a style (or five) that speaks to them. And even those who opt for a romantic, princess vibe down the aisle may find something with Cushnie—the brand’s debut bridal range is full of options for the after party.

Ethereal—yet modern. Markarian is for the demi-romantic; the bride who embraces the dreamy quality of party dressing with a metropolitan sensibility. With draped slip dresses for the modernist and Victorian-inspired necklines and skirts for the romantic, this New York-based brand has options for the minimalist and the avant-garde bride looking to make a statement. Expect feminine touches, like ruffles, lace, tiers, and pouf sleeves throughout; this brand believes in special touches for special occasions.

Husband-and-wife design duo Anthony Cucculelli and Anna Rose Shaheen met while they were designing at Diane Von Furstenburg in 2005, and then took their talents to Italy, where they designed for Roberto Cavalli and Pucci. They returned to New York City to create a made-to-measure eveningwear and bridal range that feels equal parts cosmopolitan and globally-influenced. If you’re after super-luxe embroidery, sleek shapes, and personalized details (like including your names, wedding date, star signs, and more into the beadwork of your look) this is the brand for you.

Downtown NYC-based designer Meredith Stoecklein is all about keeping things simple, easy-to-wear and versatile. The designer consistently references her grandmother and her five sisters, whose elegance and singular personalities inspired her first collection. Her second season took notes from the ease of the Italian Riviera, and her third (pictured here) marks her entrée into a hybrid offering of bridal-meets-ready-to-wear, inspired this time by her childhood riding horses. From statement necklines to chic minis, each look speaks to a different bride and celebration, from a cosmopolitan’s loft party to a low-key vow exchange on the beach. Like some other key names on this list, LEIN isn’t intended to speak only to the aisle–Stoecklein’s goal is to have her brides in her pieces long after the big day.

It’s always nice to see a familiar face. The designer that Lady Gaga turned to for years as a stylist and creative collaborator is now a designer in his own right, known for his sleek, sophisticated, sharp, and minimal silhouettes. Now, thanks to Moda Operandi, Maxwell is bringing his signature aesthetic and perfect fit to 5 exclusive bridal styles, including a voluminous ballgown, stellar jumpsuit, a sleek sheath and a cocktail midi.

Imagine everything you love about wedding gowns: gossamer tulles, delicate laces, innovative silhouettes, delicate beading. Now imagine it all on offer in one line, with a level of cohesion that’s become a rarity in bridal, with even the top labels aiming to design something for every bride. In her most recent collection, “Day Dream,” Israel-based Dana Harel is doing what her Israeli counterparts aren’t always nailing: romance–without being super sexy.

Athens native Christos Costarellos merges the ease of the Mediterranean with the construction, attention to detail and fabric quality of a Parisian house. Often utilizing multiple laces to create one single silhouette, this designer is never looking for the easy way out when it comes to designing for his beloved polished bohemian. Imagine discovering new details in each fitting and up until your wedding day–from hand-cut, fluttery appliqués to a softly frayed hem, or a soft puckering atop a single tier in your skirt. This is the brand for those who are torn between going barefoot on the beach or airing on the side of something more refined.

The Middle East has long been known as an epicenter of glamour, and Beirut-based Ashi Studio caters to the area’s most opulent. With a keen eye for innovative, architectural silhouettes and intricate embroideries, this label has been praised for their Couture bridal by those in the know–but it hasn’t yet received the love it should stateside.

With a rise in the brand’s celebrity fanbase–SJP, Zendaya, Lady Gaga and Whitney Port have all worn the brand–and a capsule of Couture bridal available out of their Lebanon-based studio, we’re hoping more and more American brides, with a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for the innovative, take notice.

Neoprene mesh ballgowns and horsehair trimmed tops are only some of the innovative, modernist details designer Toni Maticevski has used in his inventive riffs on wedding wear. He’s catering to brides for bespoke gowns in his Australia-based atelier, but is also catering to those seeking his pieces worldwide, with an e-shop fit for the undeniably modern bride. Maticevski experiments with shape and scale consistently–but rarely embroidery. It’s all about the shape and scale, always creating something that feels undoubtedly new. For the bride whose a mainstay on the gala circuit or has been a bridesmaid one-too-many times (and requires a bridal gown that feels like a departure from her black-tie uniform), this is a brand that should be on your radar.

Bridal is chock-full of lace, embroidery, beading, and appliqué, but for the minimalist bride, options are…minimal. Sophie et Viola attempts to create the wow-factor bridal requires, but with a modernist slant, focusing on sleek, clean, standout silhouettes without the fuss. Consider this label if you’re after capes, drop-waists and watteau trains that feel more interesting in their execution than overwrought. Opt for the designer’s custom offerings should you be looking to mix and match specific elements of the line, or create your own bespoke bridal look.

An Aussie designer famous for his knack for shape and volume, Alex Perry is better known for his chic and sweet cocktail looks and red carpet wins down under. Per his past seasons, expect well-crafted volume, expert cuts, nipped waists, top-notch craftsmanship and unexpected fabrications. The best part? As you walk down the aisle in one of Perry’s show-stopping looks, your ‘maids can drop jaws in his killer cocktail numbers.

Royal Wedding mania is real–and everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Pippa Middleton and Meghan Markle have made it chic for brides to consider covering up. Gowns that leave little to the imagination are a feat of fashion engineering–but they can leave little room for actual design. Chana Marelus, based in Israel’s Bnei Brak, an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community just outside of Tel Aviv, answered the call of her conservative clientele: those with a religious, customary need to cover up–but wanting to do so with the style and taste level of the Paris runways. In her bridal and evening range, sleeves and high necklines are a given; so is jaw-dropping beadwork, stunning long trains and impressive texture plays. With the silhouette options slightly limited, Marelus experiments with color, beading, texture, and detail–expect a perfect fit, dramatic capes and skirts and details that hearken to Haute Couture.

Stints at Dior, Galliano, McQueen and Giles (and a degree from Central Saint Martins) prepared British designer Hermoine de Paula for her foray into bespoke bridal. Her flair for “romantic surrealism” in both her prints and her design motifs results in sheaths that surprise upon closer inspection. Think a scatter of fabric petals on a bride’s train, a wreath of pastel blossoms framing a keyhole back, or a sentimental line of poetry or your wedding date threaded into your waistline or cuff. Consistently inspired by the flora and fauna of English gardens and the countryside, expect motifs that look and feel equal parts luxe and organic. Looking to find this label stateside? LOHO Bride recently added them to their Los Angeles stock.

Family business Yolan Cris was launched by Barcelona-based sister duo Cristina and Yolanda, who manage the design and business behind the brand respectively. The sisters grew up in a bridal salon–their mother owned a gown shop in Spain–and so they understand as well as we do how over-saturated the wedding world has become. The sameness of bridal fashion can make anyone go ivory blind and this label seems to understand the importance of creating gowns with personality, intention, and a point of view. Yolan Cris is packed with polarizing styles that pack a punch and instantly speak to an individual, an aesthetic. You won’t be starved for options with this brand, both their bridal and evening collections are expansive, but minimalism is in no way part of their vocabulary. The one through line? Each gown is designed with unexpected fabrics, never-before-seen laces, brocades and silks and delivers a fresh point of view to the bridal mix.

Designer Kate Halfpenny channeled her years styling and designing custom pieces for the red carpet for her London-based bridal range, which is focused on real women’s bodies and the crosshairs of vintage inspiration with a downtown, effortless sense of British cool. With celebrity credits that include Kate Moss, Halfpenny London’s line is designed to be styled by and for each individual bride, allowing them to mix and match separates and layer pieces until they’ve found their ideal look. With a wide range of well-priced options to choose from, this line is slowly becoming a go-to for laid-back brides seeking an effortless look and feel–and just added an exclusive range for Net-a-Porter to it’s vast array of offerings.

Name sound familiar? Probably because Savannah has a very famous sister–but her line is most definitely not in the spotlight due to her VIP family tree. Miller is best known for a bohemian aesthetic with a designer pedigree, having honed her skills in the ateliers of Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson. After creating a line in collaboration with Sienna, Twenty8Twelve, and her own countryside nuptials, Savannah sought to offer something different and exclusively for the bride. Her latest collection, dubbed Isolde’s Dream, is making waves for the low-key, boho set and is only her third to market.

Australian designer Suzanne Harward has been creating bridal looks in Melbourne since 1975, but has recently landed on American soil with stockists in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, and Dallas. Her collections offer something for every bride, and with a current point of view, she merges trend-driven concepts with a keen understanding of her diverse clientele. Expect a merge of clean lines and a neo-Victorian vibe, offering a series of short, high-low, sheath, A-line, fit and flare and ball gown silhouettes with details like chic cut-outs, textural fabrications, 3D appliqués and micro-pleating that feels fresh, fashion-forward and sophisticated.

Minnesota-based Caroline Hayden knows her clientele; she launched her first collection, Fall 2016, after years of designing bespoke ready-to-wear, evening and bridal in the midwest. Separates are key to this collection’s cool factor, where silhouettes gain visual interest, versatility and dimension with each added capelet, vest or pleated-collared blouse. Her smart fabrics are as intelligent as her multi-piece looks, which encourage brides to find ways to wear their special-day separates post-wedding.

Designer Stephanie White’s Los Angeles home base and fashion background come together in Odylyne The Ceremony–a bridal and bridesmaids collection that is equal parts California cool and desert bohemienne. With an indie affinity for fabrics that are outside the bridal box, like laces with celestial motifs, White draws from her dreamy inspirations like theatre, art history, poetry and music to create equally romantic silhouettes complete with super long trains, statement sleeves and cool capes.

With a background styling for international fashion publications, designer Donatelle Godart knows what it takes for brides to have an inherent sense of style. Infusing her Parisian je ne sais quoi into each silhouette, Godart consistently channels 70’s vibes, turning to David Hamilton and Jane Birkin for inspiration. The fabrics are always luxe despite the brand’s accessible price point, and unlike lines that focus on slips and bias cuts–these actually flatter on a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. Think “laissez faire, French girl vibes with a little bit of Ossie Clark thrown in,” says experienced bridal shopper, bride-to-be and editor Olivia Fleming.

Introducing: the Aussie downtown it-girl. One Day taps into the irreverent cool and effortlessness of Abbot Kinney, Paris and SoHo for easy, chic looks with a dose of glamour. Geared toward the bride who wants something “a little less bridal, a little more modern,” One Day seeks to break the rules–while remaining undeniably wedding-day appropriate.

If you’ve hit your local bridal salons and department stores and find that most gowns are far too stuffy, stiff or overwrought for your taste, this brand gets you. Fine fabrics are this Barcelona-based brand’s forte, spinning multi-ply charmeuse, chiffon and silk tulle into slim sheaths and fuller skirts that feel equal parts low-key and traditional. Delicate touches like a frayed edge or a wider weave in their fabrics feel special, not unfinished, and design details that amplify comfort (like ballgowns that are actually separates in disguise) are hidden throughout the brand’s range.

Ever dream of having a celebrity seamstress work her magic on the gown you’ll wear down the aisle? Asked and answered. Samuelle designer and founder Sam Walls has created a truly bespoke Brooklyn-based line where every order is handmade to the client’s most-detailed measurements, unlike most brands which are made-to-order but certainly not made-to-measure–despite what most salons will allow you to believe. Sam has experience tailoring in the ateliers of fashion’s bests, creating gowns worn on the red carpet and in some of history’s most memorable fashion photos. Her personal aesthetic is undeniably ethereal, with custom-dyed fabrics (don’t be surprised if your champagne tulle gown has an aubergine lining hidden beneath its layers for depth in tone), hand-cut appliqués and draping.

Shapewear is typically the plight of most brides leading up to a first fitting (along with shoes and overall anticipation), but what if it was already built into your gown and taken off your to-do list? Lihi Hod’s got some designer pedigree from her time in John Galliano’s atelier in Paris (circa Dior) and has taken that know-how to her cutting table. Each gown is lined in a fine stretch-mesh, and hidden separates are secretly bodysuits that smooth your curves and ensure expert fit. Body-shaping aside, Hod’s aesthetic is Euro-bohemian, easy-going yet elegant. This designer walks that fine line of cool girl with a Couture-feel, understanding each bride’s desire to find the balance between timeless and trendy.

In 2014, when Pinterest took over the wedding-planning industry and gave brides a reason to spend each weekend in bed with a cup of coffee plotting for their dream dress, there was one gown that was pinned to more boards than any other: Paolo Sebastian’s ballerina-inspired gossamer gown, dubbed Swan Lake, broke the Internet. Ever since, this Australian designer has never wavered from his delicate embellishments and romantic aesthetic, delivering bespoke bridal and Couture-quality creations each season. Most of his collections are eveningwear and in color, but almost all of it translates seamlessly to the aisle when made in ivory or a pastel upon request.

Don’t be so quick to lump together designers from one part of the world–be it the French wave of downtown cool, Americans’ obsession with separates, or the Israeli fondness for second-skin illusion fabrics and sexy silhouettes. With that said, Anya Fleet would like you to acknowledge that these Israeli designers–all different in their own rights–appreciate some of the same things when it comes to design: quality fabrics, top-notch construction and high style. Her designs range from the truest bohemian to prim and proper (think high collars and 50’s skirts), but her detail-oriented aesthetic and expert fit will likely keep fans coming back post-wedding for her super-luxe eveningwear.

There’s a new wave of gamine, Parisian cool sweeping the bridal world and key names on this list like Rime Arodaky, Donatelle Godart, Laure de Sagazan and Elise Hameau are at its helm. Elise is probably most definitively festival-chic of this wave of bridal Frenchie it-girls, with her effortless slips, kimono jackets and knits in tow. For those who may brand her as too boho, note that her line has elements of edge–the designer tends to pair all of her looks with bed-headed hair, a French fringe and stiletto lace booties.

Inspired by exotic cultures, nomadic travel and “the romance of bohemia” paired with a nostalgia for eras gone by, Bo & Luca should be your go-to for easy styles that don’t skimp on special details. Think sexy, effortless, slips with a thigh-high slit, beaded sheaths with sexy, open backs and an overall ease that perfectly suits a garden, beach or woodland affair. Based in Australia and with a flagship in Cape Town, it’s no wonder why this brand designs for the no-fuss bride with a dreamy sense of adventure.

A princess bride meets a modern day free spirit in all of Ersa Atelier’s designs. In their Bucharest-based atelier, the story of a gown “always begins with Once Upon A Time…but takes place in present tense.” The sister design duo, Gabriela and Cristina Antonescu, came up through the fashion ranks in Romania side by side, apprenticing for seven years before opening their atelier. Romantic details like sheer overskirts, mock necklines, sheer insets and subtle uses of color set this line apart from its counterparts.

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