By LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Vera Wang’s latest bride is feeling a touch of baroque romance and Naeem Khan’s is ready for an after-party worthy of Studio 54.
During a recent round of bridal shows in New York, Wang showed her Fall 2018 collection via appointment and dreamy, black-and-white look book shot by famed fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier in the Jardin du Luxembourg, a Paris garden created in the early 1600s by Marie de’ Medici, the second wife of King Henry IV.
Khan staged a runway show in his cozy garment district atelier, complete with huge disco balls and a dance party at the end with models dressed in minis sparkly with gold and silver sequins and crystals. But those were just half the story. Other looks by Khan are intended to please all his brides, from Japan to Dubai, New York to Nebraska.
A few highlights from bridal week:
KHAN GETS POLITICAL
He embraced his global bride in opulent and edgy looks with dramatic lace capes and shoulder bows with long fluttery ends to the floor, only these models walked to ’60s standards like the counterculture Buffalo Springfield hit penned by Stephen Stills known for this line: “I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.”
When the slow walkers disappeared, the party began with a finale of dancing models in metallic beads, fringe and ostrich trim that put a smile on Khan’s face as he greeted guests on his front row.
“We need a party to change our minds from all this craziness of what’s going on in America,” he told The Associated Press in a backstage interview.
Khan apprenticed for Halston in the ’70s, working with Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor. He’s also tight with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, whom he dressed often. He wanted to say something about today’s times under President Donald Trump.
“I feel that we are going on a journey with our political situation where it doesn’t look very right, and we don’t have strong leaders who can really take the bull by the horns and make things happen. We’re still divided,” he said. “All the music is from the time when it was Vietnam, it was rebellion. We got the music to say we are part of what’s going on right now.”
Khan finds bridal a challenge because, he said, “brides always think of themselves in a certain way,” usually princesses.
“Each dress is important on its own. It’s not one story like ready to wear. You have to really create a collection that caters to all different women of the world,” he said.
WANG IN THE GARDEN
This bride from Wang wears bushy fur stoles and corset bodices. One of her new gowns has a peplum made to look like garters.
In Wang’s Demarchelier-shot look book, her models wear large, loose feathers on their heads, their hair long and wavy, and with heavy black eyeliner as they take to the 6th arrondissement garden, palace in the background.
“I was awarded the Legion of Honor in February and having lived and studied in Paris it was my personal connection to the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter that made me choose the Jardin du Luxembourg as my location,” Wang said. “The Jardin du Luxembourg has always been a very special place to me.”
She displayed the gowns in her showroom and let guests touch her finely crafted fabrics and trims. One, a light ivory ballgown, had long sleeves with macrame lace to the skirt. The skirt was stiff and gathered in the baroque style above the waist.
Wang did Marie proud with that one.
On other gowns, Wang used the quilting style of trapunto. It’s puffy and padded and produces a raised texture. She created trapunto on a silk corset and gartered gown of buff and ivory in an A-line silhouette, along with the front of a soft white silk crepe ballgown that had long sheer sleeves and Chantilly applique.
“I feel it was a fashion statement for this season. The silhouettes and detailing of the dresses inferred a certain sense of scale and modern romance. Our clients create all sorts of weddings, but this collection was intended to create a sense of importance and celebration.”
Sometimes, Wang’s skill comes in the tiniest details. She put a fishnet pattern of lace over a floral lace for a little extra oomph on one gown.
MARCHESA LOOKS BACK
The collection this time around draws on the brand’s heritage and Marchesa brides through the years.
Design duo Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman showed a lot of layering and transformable looks, ballgowns that turn into cocktail dresses, for instance, romantic all the while.
“We were looking at the nostalgia aspect of getting married, the romance behind it,” Chapman said in an interview. “There’s also a very dreamy aspect, a haziness.”
They threw in some little capes over strapless gowns for brides that need to cover up. And they used an engineered corded lace paired with Chantilly underlays.
The two showed the second season of their lower-priced Notte bridal collection as well, with some beachy and more Bohemian gowns for destination brides.
“All of our fabrics for Notte we work in-house and are bespoke, too,” Craig said.
INBAL DROR BOTH ORNATE AND LEGGY
This is one bride not afraid of the sexy.
High slits, sheer skirts with nothing but matching high-waisted undies underneath, sheaths with trains and removable overskirts, and a finale off-the-shoulder gown with embroidery made to look like feathers set this Israeli designer apart.
Inbal Dror both embraces tradition and tosses it on its ear. Her V-necks were lower than low, as were plenty of her backs. Sparkly stone embellishment was all over rather than just a smidge. One heavily encrusted low-cut body hugger included a huge white bow at the waist.
Yet, she told the AP, her bride “still looks noble, she still looks delicate like in the past.” Dror said her brides “look strong, more feminine. This is the signature of my designs.”
Those designs included a strapless, fully sequined tulle ballerina dress with a short asymmetric kicky Can Can hem.
Dror mixed nudes with milk whites, blush and powder tones, with touches of silver and rose gold. And, of course, ivory.