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Bridal Trends Through the Decades

June 5, 2019

We talk about 'traditional' wedding dresses, but it's amazing how much what we refer to as 'traditional has changed over the decades.

 

Bridal fashion evolves much slower than everyday clothes so we don't notice it, however, although we don't really notice it, wedding dresses have changed a lot over the last seven decades.

 

I decided to look back to the 1950's and see how much bridal fashion has evolved since wartime and rationing ended.

 

Rather than focussing on royalty, famous people, editorial and the silver screen,  I wanted to also include real people, so I asked people that I know if they'd be happy to share their wedding photo's. I was overwhelmed with fantastic pictures, and love how it tells the story in a much more 'real life' way.

 

I decided to start with Grace Kelly who got married in 1956. Her dress still influences bridal trends now, and is a great place to start this story. Rationing ended in 1949, and the utility scheme in 1952, meaning brides were much more free with their choice of dress.

 

My Aunt Lorene married my Uncle Peter in 1959, and you can see that a few years on, bridal fashion hasn't really changed much. This is a strong look of the fifties.

 

Even 6 years later in 1965 Susan wore this classic dress and veil, which is not dissimilar to the outfit in the previous picture. From the early fifties, well into the sixties bridal fashion didn't change a great deal.

 

However of course, by the late 60's fashion had moved on a lot, bridal fashion was now catching up and changing too. Priscilla Presley looks iconic in this dress and veil when she married Elvis in May 1967. She looks less formal, and I think this is the era when wedding dresses started getting more 'fun'.

 

 And just to prove this wasn't only for the wife of the 'King', Jeanette got married just over a month later in June 1967, this photo shows that fashion led bridalwear was worn by 'normal' women by this time. I love this photo, the bridesmaids, the hair, everything is fantastic!

 

My mum made her own dress when she married my dad in 1970. The high neck and long sleeved silhouette continued throughout the seventies, you didn't see much flesh! Mum made her own dress, and this was something that was very common at this time.

 

Here's Mary in 1970, also wearing a dress she made herself. I'm loving the wide sleeves.

 

The high necks and long sleeves continued throughout the seventies. By the end of the decade the clean silhouette which emerged from the 60's had changed, ruffles and frills are the new big trend, which continues into the 1980's. Gill is marrying Andrew here in 1978.

 

And welcome to the 80's! Can we talk about bridal fashion without talking about Princess Diana. She inspired brides for a decade when she wore this iconic dress in 1981. Sleeves are getting bigger, and look at those ruffles!

 

 Cindy Crawford models some bridal fashion here and I don't quite know what to say! Unfortunately I can't find the exact date here, but this editorial picture just epitomises all that was bad from the 80's! Sometimes I think 'less is more'. Much much less!

 

My lovely friend Cressida shows here in 1989, that you can do a frilly 80's look and still look nice. You can see from the silhouette that over a decade styles didn't really change too much.

 

Until the 90's, when a bit of glitz came along. Whitney Houston looks a bit OTT in this number, but it shows that nineties brides weren't shy to a bit of beading and decoration.

 

I can't write about nineties brides without thinking of Muriel Heslop. I think muriel would be honoured to be featured in the same blog as Princess Di. (Ok, I now she's not real!) 1994.

 

Steve and Jenny got married in 1997, and finally the OTT eighties and early nineties designs have gone. A much cleaner silhouette, not a ruffle or bow in sight!

 

 Victoria married David Beckham in 1999 in this strapless corseted dress. Strapless was a trend that was everywhere throughout the noughties, I'm sure she wasn't the originator, but she certainly helped enforce this new shape.

 

 In 2007 my friend Angela enters her wedding ceremony here in her elegant understated strapless dress, it's such a classic shape that this photo could have been taken this year. Finally less is more!

 

I'm not sure less is more is something you can relate to Carrie Bradshaw, but her Vivienne Westwood gown in 2008 influenced puffball hems for a while. That little bit of bling is something that we saw in the late noughties and throughout the 2010's that followed.

 

And here's that bling. My friend Emma is wearing a dress in 2009 that shows not just the bling that became so popular, but another big trend of the late noughties, lots of ruching.

 

The 2010's saw a massive vintage influence. Vintage fashion had been on trend for a while, but it was Candy Anthony who brought it to bridalwear from her beautiful OXO Tower shop. This instantly took off as a massive trend which is only just fading. Along with the fifties silhouette and shorter hemline, lace took off in a big way.

 

In 2012 I had the pleasure of making Laura's vintage inspired wedding dress when she married Dan. Illusion necklines are the biggest trend of the 2010's and I don't see them coming to an end any time soon, just getting more intricate and elaborate.

 

 My friend Liz got married in 2015 and her dress is right on trend with the allover lace, and (although you can't see it), beaded belt, and of course, the illusion V neckline.

 

 And that brings us to 2019. The biggest emerging trend is the 'naked' dress, a combination of lace and nude lining. This dress by Grace Loves Lace is a beautiful example of what I think is the biggest trend this year.

 

I can't show any dresses I'm working on for this year, but I'm looking forward to being able to soon.

 

So it's 2020 next year, a new decade. What bridal fashion will it bring us, what do you think will be next?

 

Simple and sleek? Colour? A totally different silhouette? Something re-emerging from the past?

 

With Climate change reversal being the biggest issue of our time, I'd like to see a shift in fabrics and more local production. A move away from synthetics, and a shift towards natural fibres and less structure.

 

I'd love to know what you think is going to be the big trend for brides of the 2020's?

 

 

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