Fact: Not every bride dreams of marrying in sprays of lace or acres of tulle in front of an audience of hundreds on a far-flung beach. Many of us want to get married without the drama; and with the dream hassle-free wedding comes a hassle-free dress, which allows you to get down to the serious business of actually enjoying the day. From mini hemlines to sleek layering, crochet gowns to edgy cocktail styles – modern wedding dresses are geared towards a lifetime investment, rather than a one-time wear. Here, Vogue curates your ultimate modern bridal edit, in line with the best of 2019’s runway trends.
The modern mini
As seen at: Christopher Kane, Alexa Chung, Tomo Koizumi
Crossing ‘four-metre train’ off your wedding dress hit-list can be a liberating move, especially when a mini offers the same sense of drama as a full-length gown, minus all the fuss. Your muse? French stylist Lolita Jacobs, who married her creative director husband, Jean-Baptiste Talbourdet-Napoleone, at St-Tropez’s city hall wearing an abbreviated shirt dress (fastened all the way) and flats. For decorative minis, look to Christopher Kane’s AW19 catwalk, where panelled white lace offers edgy romance; or New York Fashion Week’s rising star, Tomo Koizumi, for a crash course in attitudinal texture (modelled by Emily Ratajkowski, whose slicked-back hairdo will also hold fresh appeal for the bride that doesn’t do flounce).
Elsewhere, Alexa Chung’s pre-fall collection boasts a strapless dress that’s completely timeless, providing a straightforward canvas that allows you to get playful with the veil/hair/make-up. Work it with bare legs and kitten heels in the summer, or add tights and a barely-there pump in plunging temperatures.
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The layered wedding dress
As seen at: Jacquemus, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander
If you live in tailoring, your wedding day needn’t be the moment to force yourself out of your comfort zone. A starched tunic or sculptural midi-dress works particularly well with smart slacks, as proven by the all-white looks on the AW19 runways at Jacquemus, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander, which read as a masterclass in modern minimalism. Tip: Pick a tailored trouser that pools over luxurious leather slippers or concealed high heels (to cheat a little extra height).
The edgy cocktail midi
As seen at: Simone Rocha, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, JW Anderson
There’s a reason why midi dresses are so popular among wedding guests – they work in any situation and are universally flattering (see Simone Rocha’s puff-sleeve gown). Brides take note. On the catwalk, Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s pencil dress (complete with ultra-simple bows) provides groomed yet edgy elegance, while JW Anderson’s intelligent styling makes the case for a decorative bridal knee boot – both would be bright options for inner-city nuptials.
As seen at: Mugler, Oscar de la Renta
While you’re busy convincing your closest friends that you want a low-key celebration, there may be a (big) part of you that still wants to make a dazzling entrance – only in the most modern way. Where marabou trims feel a little passé, swishy fringing has a more timeless appeal, which will come into its own on the walk down the aisle/beach/garden. Ideal in warmer months or sunnier locations, the fringed wedding dress is great for brides who don’t want to bother with a veil. Lastly, take a glance at how the look was played on the Mugler AW19 runway – a slick of red lipstick goes a long way.
The crochet wedding dress
As seen at: Gabriela Hearst, Asai
The down-to-earth appeal of crochet wasn’t lost on actress Raquel Welch during her 1967 wedding to producer Patrick Curtis – and without wanting to mention the word ‘bohemian’, the delicate knit wedding dress will appeal to anyone who’s thought about saying ‘I do’ barefoot, or at most, wearing lace-up leather sandals. The new crochet gowns from Gabriela Hearst and Asai (which work well if you’re a natural accessoriser who likes to layer jewellery) show more than a hint of skin, and there’s something distinctly freeing about that. Pair with a hand-tied belt for the bonhomie of the original 20th-century hippie kids.
As seen at: Alexander Wang, The Row, Ann Demeulemeester
Perhaps the best part about choosing a wedding look is that you get to do you, only a little bit more elevated. Which is where the trend for the casual wedding gown comes in. Alexander Wang’s column dress takes its cue from the kind of T-shirt that you might ordinarily wear out to brunch, while The Row’s scoop neckline does zero-drama with a couture finish. Ann Demeulemeester’s bridal vest dress goes one-step further in that you could run it through a cool-wash cycle at the end of the night. If elegant comfort is your M.O., look no further.
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The modest gown
As seen at: Valentino, Tom Ford, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
It’s easy to see why Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was a fan of the modest gown. Take away the underwiring, corsetry and embellishment, and you have the new luxurious wedding dress silhouette that taps effortless simplicity. The long-sleeve-plus-high-neck formula we spotted at Valentino, Tom Ford and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, works year-round for (relatively) instant polish; plus no need for any risky last-minute spray tans either.
Scroll down to see more AW19 dresses with understated appeal…