The brief slice of time in April set aside for bridal fashion is, quite often, not that exciting. A wedding dress is a wedding dress is a wedding dress; bridal fashion is iterative. There is only so much one can do with tulle, taffeta, silk shantung, and satin before every dress starts to look the same.
I am not married and have never put a wedding dress on my body, but I am the age where I have sat through enough bridal gown appointments to feel like I have. On its own, a wedding dress is less than enthralling; what makes a dress spectacular is the person inside the dress, who is expected to glow and gleam and twinkle with love, joy, and the promise of a life spent with someone they actually really like, and maybe even love. If you’re happy when you get married, you’re going to look happy in whatever you’re wearing. The dress is merely the vessel for the expectations.
Amsale Aberra, the designer behind Amsale, died on April 1 after a battle with breast cancer. The gowns at her final show embodied the philosophy that simple is almost always better. As Robin Givhan at the Washington Post notes, Aberra’s designs were the proverbial breath of fresh air in the 1980s and ’90s, when bridal fashion tended towards tulle, big skirts, ballgowns, and riotous taffeta—Disney princess shit crossed with Dynasty’s power shoulders and dramatic flair. Aberra’s simple sheaths predated Vera Wang, who started her business in 1990, four years after Aberra started hers.
“She really was a trendsetter in the business,” Mara Urshel, co-owner of Kleinfeld, told WWD. “She was the first one who really introduced very classic lines, beautiful clothes and getting away from all the old traditions of lace, beads and everything that really wasn’t modern anymore. She really created the modern wedding dress.”
Absent any excessive furbelows, frills, or distractions, Amsale’s collection was more of the same—classic looks for an expensively classique bride.
In stark contrast to 2017's reality TV princess vibes, Reem Acra’s bridal confections are somehow ethereal and harsh at the same time—the kind of thing one would wear for dancing around a maypole if said maypole was actually some sort of Jeff Koons art installation about the Wicker Man. What I’m saying is—they’re not bad, but they’re not great either.
Now we’re cooking: Naeem Khan! What are these garments! This is the direct OPPOSITE of my previously-stated sentiment that a dress should be simple, to better showcase the love, happiness, and dewy complexion of the bride. Live out loud, I say. Follow your bliss.
These dresses are VERY busy, VERY sheer, and honestly, kind of fun? I don’t know! I’m not saying that I’d walk down a metaphorical aisle in the look on the left or in the center, but I’d consider the look on the far right?? Maybe?? Simplicitt has its place, but if you really want to be A FUN BRIDE, then why not strap yourself into some illusion netting and floweres and live it the fuq up!!
Or maybe this, from Alon Livne, is the answer. Simple, yet extra. A slit to the vagine. A hat that says “I’m a bride but I also care about sun protection and I have an affinity for Gloria Swanson.” I’m here for this! Everything else, goodbye!