Designers put new twists on Victorian lace, ’80s puff sleeves, vintage prairie dresses and hot pants.
Reboots and revivals are so now when it comes to movies and TV shows, so why not bridal trends? The Fall 2020 runways revisited decades throughout the centuries from Victorian-era lace to ’80s music video-ready shoulder poufs, but designers gave updates to the classics, not only to feel fresh, but also for today’s brides to put their own stamp on their wedding day look — or looks, because wedding weekends are a thing now.
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Thanks to royal wedding afterglow, clean, minimalist gowns remained popular, along with long sleeves (solid or lace), but details reign supreme this season: florals that practically come alive, sumptuous embellishments, an assortment of compelling sleeves and straps, plus, next level bridal pants — tapered, wide leg and hot. Below, enjoy the 11 best trends from the Fall 2020 bridal collections.
Fairytale Blooms and Vines
While floral is a perennial — see what I did there? — wedding dress theme, the nature motif really bloomed this season. (Sorry.) From 3D appliqués to beaded lace to gorgeous embroidery, petals and leaves ethereally fluttered with movement and practically came alive right before your eyes. Viktor & Rolf Mariage introduced sculptural wisterias to its garden signature and Theia delighted with micro-crystal and bead embroidered vines. Kate Halfpenny of Halfpenny London took inspiration from birds’ nests in her garden and enlisted her mother to hand-cut gossamery silk taffeta flowers from offcuts she’s saved from past collections. Maybe it’s also the universe sartorially reminding us to appreciate — and preserve — the beauty and joy of nature.
Pearls are having a moment right now in pop culture (see: Maddie’s winged eyeliner on “Euphoria,” Michelle Pfeiffer’s opulently outfitted figurative ice queen in the upcoming “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”). Bridal designers incorporated the exquisite gems in distinct but consistently stunning ways, from a dusting on soft flutter sleeves at Amsale to a double-layer epaulet at Anne Barge to a sumptuous back panel of pearls atop a billowing bow at Carolina Herrera.
Reinterpreted Puff Sleeves
Reflecting the fashion runways, the puff sleeve dominated the bridal collections for the upcoming season and spanned the centuries for inspiration. Sophie et Voilà put a modern twist on the Elizabethan-era voluminous sleeve; Vera Wang gave Victorian leg o’ mutton shapes a grunge twist; Rime Arodaky revisited ’80s excess with a music-themed collection of exaggerated poufs (the “Duran Duran” is a highlight) and Zoe Kravitz bridal biker shorts designer Danielle Frankel reinterpreted late 19th century empire waist gowns with futuristic deconstructed shoulder puffs.
Modern Prairie Ruffles
Bridal designers put a wedding specific spin on the street style and runway prairie dress rage: Theia’s Frida Kahlo-inspired fuchsia dream with silk organza ruffle tiers, Lela Rose‘s lively point d’esprit tulle with a single flounce and Sahroo‘s collared duster robe to layer over crisp trousers (or hot pants; more on that below).
21st Century Vintage Lace
Along with florals, lace remains a bridal mainstay, but evolving from a boho Coachella aesthetic to a contemporary interpretation of vintage silhouettes that feel anything but staid. Laure de Sagazan’s high-neck and short-sleeve French lace crop tops and skirt combos feel very Parisian cool girl (the brand’s South of France beach vacation-themed presentation added to the vibe). Russian label Edem gives a delicate Empress Josephine-esque empire waist slip a rebellious element with an inventive miix of embroideries.
Romantic Shoulder Draping
Retro-influenced draping off-the-shoulder enhances the popular silhouette with romantic allure from past decades. Anne Barge and Carolina Herrera channel Grace Kelly with elegant minimalism, while Mira Zwillinger’s languid tulle layers feel very “oops, the straps just fell, but I look amazing, so leaving it this way.” Plus, Savannah Miller‘s asymmetrical swoop offers an alternative to the classic slip dress.
’70s-inspired Flutter Sleeves
The ’70s inspired flutter offers a range of aesthetics and effects this season. Soft lace ruffles at the shoulder (or off) bring a free-spirited, carefree vibe to a flowing A-line tulle skirted gown by Willowby by Watters or Eisen-Stein. But, fluted three-quarter sleeves by Sophie et Voila or structured layers at the shoulders by Valentini Spose on a minimalist palette feel chic and precise.
No Limit Corsetry
Corset interpretations also run the gamut for Fall 2020. Of course, you have the sexy exposed boning, illusion panel gowns by Mira Zwillinger and Galia Lahav, while Amsale and Lela Rose offer a demure spaghetti strapped versions of a lacy slip. For his debut collection for White One, Zac Posen reinterpreted his signature red carpet bustier with a clean, sculptural ballgown, while Danielle Frankel topped a voluminous tulle bubble high-low gown with a pretty punked out silk satin cone bra.
Fall 2020 counters the deep plunge, off the shoulder and strapless necklines with the high-neck halter or sportier silhouette. If you’re looking for more support or coverage at the bodice, a reason to show off the result all those burpees you’ve been suffering through or just prefer a fresh athletic feel, try the sleeveless, high-neckline. Plus, you have your choice of skirting silhouettes — from A-line to ballgown to slip — and adornments, from minimalist, like at Alexandra Grecco, to all the embroidery and beading.
Metallic sparkle glimmered on the Fall 2020 runways in a spectrum of ways: from gold beaded fringe perfect for boomerangs to stunning crystal and gemstone embellishments to party-ready sequins at Aussie-label Chosen by One Day to delicate gilded embroidery for perfectly catching the light. Can’t think of a more versatile look to take you from ceremony to after-party.
The New Bridal Pantsuit
At this point, pantsuits, jumpsuits and otherwise dress alternatives are also part of an essential bridal wardrobes, so designers really leaned in for options this season — from tailored tuxedo sets to lively separates to French lace overalls to Sahroo’s recyclable glass crystal crop top and tap pants (to be worn with a dreamy robe of your choice — or not).
Top and homepage photo of the Lela Rose Fall 2020 bridal runway show: Nina Westervelt/Courtesy of Lela Rose