Brides looking for inspiration only have to look at the Irish designers showing at London Fashion Week this weekend for new ideas
Richard Quinn and Simone Rocha both showed dresses ideal for the bride or members of the wedding party. They were very different in style and silhouette, but both designers created a dynamic of desire and explored a romanticism while remaining true to their own aesthetic.
Richard Quinn devoted 40pc of his show to a bridal theme and sent out 18 different looks at the finale segment of catwalk show, which was a thrilling visual treat.
Richard had many brides in this head, from the sexy bride in the body hugging satin dress with conical bra top, worn with long opera gloves, to the more demure bride who likes to be covered up head to toe but is happy to introduce the dramatic surprise of ostrich feathers floating out from the dress and anchored by crystal beads.
Bridal contrasts abounded. Hourglass strapless dress, super short sequinned mini dresses, long column dress with big taffeta roses on the neckline and asymmetric gown worn with over-the-head veil.
For me, the drop dead gorgeous look was the strapless dress in guipure lace worn over a draped Bertha and where the exaggerated hip padding added to the striking feminine silhouette.
The ‘Bertha’ is a design feature that accentuates a woman’s shoulders and viewing the dress close up, we could really appreciate how the gleam from sheer, pearl-toned organza created a wonderful contrast with the textured lace.
By his own admission, Richard Quinn likes to generate an emotional reaction in his audience and he certainly did that as first we leaned back in our seats, first to take the bewildering retinue of Amazonian models and then instinctively we leaned forward to get a better view of those elaborately embellished fabrics and gowns with trains, all handmade in his studio in south London.
Backstage, Richard told me: “We did a few brides before and we had a really great reaction to it. We have a huge couture business now so this was a real opportunity to show what we can do.”
The fabrics included a white embroidered flower with beads in a strapless mini dress with pants and there were lots of ideas for silhouettes for guests and indeed mothers of the bride or groom, such as the 1950s-style collarless coat with ivory lace on black and chic bracelet length sleeves, all the better to show off your gloves.
Simone Rocha has form when it comes to making bride’s hearts beat a little faster and she does it so well. There have been crisp white broderie anglaise, sexy sheer tulles offering a glimpse of flesh and all then layered deliciously with her pearls, from tiaras and earrings to crocheted bags and, of course, her signature pearl orb bag, a best seller at Havana in Donnybrook, her exclusive Irish stockist.
I know lots of brides who are still pouring over the romantic images from her AW20 collection, with shimmering oyster silk satin with crystals, white broderie anglaise with pearls and diaphanous tulles.
In her new AW23 collection shown on Saturday night, there were lots of looks for that Rocha girl who likes to invest in a dress or accessories for her wedding that she will use again.
And now that Rocha has introduced menswear since last season, there are options for the guys too, especially the gender fluid white lace separates with scalloped end and Simone’s playful riff on beaded sailors’ collars which dip into a deep V at the back.
A striking full length white lace dress was accessorised with seed pearl drop earrings and a shell clutch bag.
Simone explores lots of contrasts, so from a slim silhouette, she moved to the full skirted white organza dress with silver embroidery a tulle and lace slip dress covered with crystals.
I thought her three gold lurex looks at the opening of the show were just perfect for mother of the bride or groom territory, or for guests too. The dress and two coats are investment pieces that you will love wearing lots after the big day and with each wear, it brings back memories.
And for the bride who just wants a simple slice of Rocha magic on her big day, her pearl barrettes and earrings are an affordable starting point.