Isabella and Benson
Markovina Vineyard Estate, Auckland, NZ
Isabella is a proud NZ born Sāmoan model and opera singer living in London who…Read More
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a 2022 bride, whether planned or inadvertently–in which case find solace in that you’re not alone—it’s an exciting chapter to be embraced. While planning during uncertainty can be frustrating, the extended time can be a great opportunity to carefully consider all the elements of your special day, without pressure, like your dress.
While bridal trends are always evolving, the environment of the past year has paved the way for fresh eyes, ideas, and perspective, and in turn, emerging trends. Intimate gatherings, AKA ‘minimonies’, has led to a shift towards a ‘new-age’ bride. The demand for pieces that break the mould—think two-pieces and pantsuits—continues to surge. However, in contrast, the desire for a traditional wedding dress remains stronger than ever. Whether you’re a modern bride or one who’s dreamed of their princess dress since day one, a wedding is an adventure to anticipate with optimism, befitting of a standout dress to match.
Early October marked the most anticipated event on the wedding industry’s calendar: New York Bridal Fashion Week. Pivoting amid the pandemic, it was a show unlike its predecessors, encompassing both in-person and virtual showcases. In line with the event was Melange de Blanc, a bridal market reimagined, held over three days in New York. The pop-up market served as the epicentre of trends and releases, highlighting the work of the most skilled bridal designers across the globe. “At a moment in time when brands are struggling, in-person events are rare, bridal fashion is changing and human connection is hard to find, Melange de Blanc is bringing something truly one-of-a-kind to the industry,” as Forbes Magazine summarised it. While we can’t deny the last 12 months have made us hesitant to look ahead, something about an event like Melange de Blanc inspires hope. Surrounded by creativity and inspiration in all its forms, we’re inclined to see a brighter future—one filled with special moments to treasure for years to come.
In equally exciting news, Hera Couture was not only one of 43 designers—a feat in itself—but the only New Zealand designer to showcase at Melange de Blanc. Uniting buyers, designers and brides, it’s a one-of-a-kind showcase of trends, that truly highlights the sheer talent and love that goes on behind-the-scenes of the bridal industry.
Off the back of Hera Couture’s debut, founder and head designer, Katie Yeung, weighs in on the biggest trends set to hit in 2022. From all the forthcoming trend predictions, one common thread we can deduce, is that wedding dresses seem to be an outward reflection of the times we are living in.
Expressions of individuality
No matter the bride’s style, the overarching prediction for bridal trends in 2022 is individuality. Self-expression and personal style through bridal fashion will dominate next year and beyond. “With the world feeling precarious, bridal trends are focusing on more choice to give woman back a sense of control in an environment, which otherwise feels unpredictable,” predicts Yeung.
A silver lining if you will to the turbulent year gone, is that brides are more confident – they’re seeking out options that reflect their own style and they want design input. This is why Hera Couture’s Avant Garde collection was born. “The manifestation of my artistic heritage through design, fabric and construction. I have created this range to combine concepts of tradition and freedom by acknowledging what has come before, while celebrating individual expression,” explains Yeung.
Confidence to try new things
Following on from the above, brides are becoming increasingly more confident in themselves and willing to try new things. Practicality and versatility reigns supreme. Brides want a wedding wardrobe that can take them seamlessly from ceremony to after party. Layering with an overskirt or jacket, like the Louvre Jacket and matching Cigarette Pants, encourages brides to change up their look on the day. If you’re looking for your investment to go the extra mile, these options can easily be worn again too. Double win.
More is more
You’ve waited long enough for your dream day, so why not go big and bold? One of the notable trends to emerge from Melange de Blanc reflects our intense desire for celebration right now. So, understandably, large celebratory statement gowns are having a resurgence in popularity. “Hollywood award ceremonies and the Met Gala are pushing boundaries in formal fashion and influencing the bridal market by creating once in a lifetime looks,” believes Yeung. Exaggerated volume, unexpected colour palettes and puff sleeves are among the looks inspiring Hera Couture’s collection for 2022.
Romantic ball gowns
Expect to see luxe fabrics and intricate details, which exude royalty and glamour. From figure flattering corsets and bustiers to fuller skirts and whimsical petticoats, which give the illusion of floating, these styles appeal to the romantic in all of us. This dreamy edit also plays with light through reflective beads and sequins that sparkle, while embroidered lace adds a hint of grandeur.
An ode to the 80’s, reimagined with a contemporary spin, the puff sleeve is back bigger than ever (pun intended). These supersized sleeves enjoy a different treatment to those of yesteryear thanks to considered refinement. For the fashion-forward bride, you’ll be drawn to dynamic silhouettes, which can be added to practically any design—gowns, two-piece sets and suits—in transparent organza, pleated tulle or full-length beaded lace. The possibilities are infinite. Gone are the days of compromising on comfort for style, detachable statement sleeves provide form and function, as well as versatility allowing you to have more than one look on the day.
Colours and prints
Soft sweeps of uplifting colour and vintage-inspired floral fabrics are flooding Pinterest boards. Think shades of lavender, pistachio, and dusky blue for an ethereal and painterly look that’s truly unique.
Less is best
Minimalism surprisingly counters the maximalism trend we expect to see in the upcoming season. While this may sound contradictory there are important ways in which they cross over. Bridal gowns can draw on both by mixing and matching elements for a curated and enduring design. Slip dresses can be paired with statement sleeves or pared-back skirts can be elevated with a dramatic veil.
“With minimalist design, craftmanship is essential,” stresses Yeung. “For ball gowns, this means using stunning satins, architectural elements, and origami folds to celebrate impeccable tailoring in a contemporary manner.” Streamlined silhouettes don’t mean plain though. This is where luxurious fabrics come into play like silk and Hera Couture’s signature Mikado fabric.
The bridal suit
Calling all power brides – this trend is for you. The best part about your own wedding? There’s no dress code for you. In fact, you don’t even need to wear a dress. If you love the nod to both nonchalance and power that a two-piece brings, consider wearing a wedding suit, like Hera Couture’s Verona Suit. Modern and understated elegance unite in single or double-breasted suit styles, with a variety of flattering pant cuts. From the office to dinner parties, tailoring has dominated womenswear over the past few years, and its entry into bridal only further cements its popularity. A suit also prioritises comfort so if you’ve got a case of walking down the aisle nerves, you’ll at least feel a whole lot less restricted.
Think veils are all much of a muchness? Think again. Veils come in many shapes and styles ranging from a face-framing shoulder-length to a floor-skimming 2.10 metres, to embroidered and pearl-adorned. Whether it’s through added texture or multiple tiers, the diversity of veils on offer enables you to showcase your personality. Capes and jackets are another way to accessorise and refresh your look throughout the day.