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Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed to…. Party?

Engaged couples are reexamining how their wedding day can bring a sense of revelry to their families and friends after an emotional rollercoaster of a year. Fashion will play a large role in sparking joy, according to a new report by global fashion search platform Lyst.

“Following a year of uncertainty and cancelled plans, we predict a significant shift towards partywear and maximalism as brides, grooms and guests will be making the most of being able to finally celebrate big life moments in person,” said Morgane Le Caer, Lyst content lead.

Fashion players like Selfridges want in on the action. The London institution announced this week that it’s been granted a license to host weddings at its Oxford Street store. There, in a fourth-floor wedding chapel, diehard Selfridge shoppers can say “I do” by selecting one of three wedding day packages, spanning intimate (with a maximum of four guests) to lavish with drag icon Jonny Woo serving as the officiant. The department store also offers an “Earth Lovers” package that includes a one-to-one Resellfridges appointment to find their vintage or rented wedding outfits.

Though sustainability was a greater focus in the bridal category in 2019, Lyst’s data shows that people want to kick up their heels and celebrate. “With show-stopping dresses, bold suits, statement accessories and high heels once again making their way into everyone’s wish lists, it’s becoming clear that if 2020 was the year of the Zoom wedding, 2021 will be the year that’s bringing the after party back,” Le Caer said.

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Driving this party atmosphere is the number of newlywed couples who plan to celebrate their pandemic nuptials with the in-person event they didn’t get to host in 2020. As a result, brides may ditch the formal gowns in favor of untraditional wedding fashion.

With going-out fashion a major theme on the Fall/Winter 21-22 runway, there’s plenty of options to choose from. Lyst said retailers should expect a “big year” for mini bridal dresses, with searches up 170 percent over the past quarter. Embellished pants and rhinestone heels are also in high demand.

The guest list

Well-dressed guests are known to enhance the aesthetic of a wedding—some couples go as far as enforcing color dress codes to ensure the ultimate party pic—but the one wedding fashion rule that has stood the test of time is to never upstage the bride.

The temptation to test that rule, however, may never be greater than it is in 2021. With weddings likely being some of the first face-to-face encounters friends and faraway relatives have with one another in more than a year, guests will want to look their best for their re-entry into the social scene. To make a memorable statement, Lyst’s data shows that wedding guests are opting for bolder pieces and vibrant colors this year.

Searches for items like oversized headbands are up 40 percent. The accoutrement has been gaining traction ever since poet and rising style star Amanda Gorman donned Prada’s red satin headband at the U.S. presidential inauguration in January.

Lyst’s data shows that engaged couples want to kick up their heels and celebrate, and they plan to dress the part.
Jennifer Behr headband WWD

Reformation remains a go-to brand for guests as well. Lyst reported that the Ingrid dress in both celadon and emerald has been added to more than 10,000 wish lists over the past couple of months and is still one of the most sought-after pieces in the category. Interest in blazers dresses is up 181 percent as well.

Other designers in high demand for guests include contemporary labels Khaite, Retrofête and Simone Rocha, which landed on the radar of the masses this spring thanks to a fairy-tale inspired collaboration with H&M.

Lyst’s data shows that engaged couples want to kick up their heels and celebrate, and they plan to dress the part.
Simone Rocha Fall 2021 WWD

Guests who want to flex their knowledge about fashion, however, may want to opt for Christopher John Rogers, the New York designer and upcoming Target collaborator known for his exuberant usage of color and elegant fabrics. Thom Browne, a designer whose suiting has become synonymous with the cast of “Schitt’s Creek,” adds sartorial cred to wedding garb too. Both brands are seeing increases in searches, Lyst noted.

Stream of conscious

The influence of “Schitt’s Creek,” in general, is wafting over wedding fashion. Despite being on the air since 2015, many people discovered (and binged) “Schitt’s Creek” while they were in quarantine. The series ended in April 2020 in classic sitcom wedding-day hijinks for the betrothal of Patrick Brewer and David Rose, who was dressed in a Thom Browne skirt suit.

Lyst’s data shows that engaged couples want to kick up their heels and celebrate, and they plan to dress the part.
Noah Reid and Dan Levy in “Schitt’s Creek” CBC / courtesy Everett Collection

Since then, searches for “men’s wedding skirts” have increased 26 percent year-on-year, Lyst reported, with Thom Browne’s pleated skirt among the most-wanted styles.

“Bridgerton,” the Netflix sensation that inspired scores of corsets, square necklines and costume jewelry late last year, is now also romancing the bridal category.

Lyst’s data shows that engaged couples want to kick up their heels and celebrate, and they plan to dress the part.
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Harriet Dynevor in “Bridgerton” Courtesy of Liam Daniel/Netflix

“More and more brides-to-be are opting for 1800s-inspired dresses and accessories,” Lyst stated.

The show, which centers around siblings looking for love in London high society, has resulted in rapidly increasing year-on-year demand for bridal corsets, up 291 percent, and empire waist wedding dresses, up 133 percent. The show’s opulent costuming is also leading to an uptick in embellished headpieces, up 156 percent.

For eternity

While sparkly hair accessories add to the dazzlement of a wedding day, couples are searching for more timeless pieces for their engagement. In the fine watch category, the term “engagement watch” is on the upswing.

Terms such as “couple,” “engagement” and “wedding” have started to appear more frequently over the past year, resulting in a 42 percent increase in searches for time pieces including these descriptors.