Carrie Bradshaw might have been the blueprint, but the Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang gowns that reigned over top tier weddings of yesteryear are being replaced. For the It-girls and fashion editors tying the knot in 2022, unique gowns are in and custom designs from independent designers are king.
Such was the case this Halloween, when former Vogue editor Tish Weinstock married stylist Tom Guinness in a Gothic extravaganza at Belvoir Castle, Rutland – cheered on by supermodels Kate Moss and Adwoa Aboah.
Stalking down the aisle at the ‘gothic black tie’ dress code affair, Weinstock imbued ghoulish glamour in a bespoke gown made of antique Normandy lace. For her dream outfit, she enlisted the help of Notting Hill-based vintage clothing dealer Jane Bourvis, whose boutique is a mecca of archive dresses and offers one-of-a-kind bridalwear made by hand.
The beauty editor swerved high heels, and instead opted for Miu Miu’s silk ballet slippers – the shoe of the AW22 season – and embraced Miss Haversham style with a long trailing veil. “It’s basically based on Morticia Addams, who is my style icon, obviously!” Weinstock told Vogue of the look.
Her other wedding get-ups (four frocks in total) included vintage gems: a see-through, archive AW09 John Galliano gown sourced from online retailer Shrimpton Couture, and a bias cut, beaded dress by the same designer when he worked at Dior, found at US vintage dealer Timeless Vixen.
A standout, however, was a custom gown by the fast ascending London-based designer Conner Ives. “Was absolutely honoured to have made one of Tish’s bridal dresses for her wedding this past weekend,” Ives wrote on Instagram. “One of my favourite things I’ve made in a while. Thank you Tish for the love, trust and wedding of the century” he continued, and welcomed others to contact him for further bridal inquires.
He is one of a number of independent fashion designers who, having made their names on the runway, are leaning into the high end bridal market. Following a blockbuster year of weddings, the list of chic set approved names to wed in has grown.
Upcoming French designer Clio Peppiatt is one of the newest - last month she launched a bridal line following a flurry of custom requests. The designer’s intricately embroidered beaded frocks have earned her fans including Jorja Smith, Lila Moss and Kim Kardashian, and interest in her one-off bridal pieces has begun to boom.
“I saw a massive influx [of orders] particularly in the last year,” she says. “Our bespoke bridal was never something we actively advertised – it grew very organically so launching bridal was more of a reaction to the demand.”
Her debut wedding collection ranges from strapless white column dresses with delicately embroidered hidden meanings (“subtle motifs of love and luck throughout the ages,” she says) through to crystal covered jumpsuits perfect for second party outfits.
Importantly, you can make each your own. “So many of the pieces can have small customisations such as dates, initials or star signs. I hand draw all of these little touches,” Peppiat says.
She joins designers with bridal offshoots who are more familiar from the London Fashion Week schedule. Richard Quinn has been a favourite at society weddings since the surprise launch of a bridal sector at the end of his September 2019 catwalk– all satin trains and latticed pearl embellishments.
“It was a natural step after we had lots of private orders of runway looks people wanted in white for their big day,” Quinn says now. “Each dress is a work of art for the bride, embroidered using the finest Taroni silks.”
He was the choice for Tatler’s Beauty & Lifestyle Editor Lily Worcester last December, and offers a one-to-one custom experience allowing clients to have their say. “The bride-to-be works directly with me in London. We have meticulous fittings and sampling with our couture team in the atelier,” he says.
Christopher Kane is also synonymous with a wedding done well. Having launched a dedicated bridal line back in June 2020, he designed Lena Dunham’s three wedding dresses in 2021, and was worn by Vogue’s Fashion Features Editor Laura Hawkins, who picked his long sleeved lace and feather trimmed dress for her city wedding this May.
“They’re not like anything else on the market and that’s the unique selling point. The silhouettes are influenced from recent fashion show collections and archive,” Kane says. “Not for the faint hearted, it’s for brides who love to show off their confidence and body.”
Simone Rocha remains a mainstay for the picture perfect days - she was stylist Rachel Bakewell’s selection for her Tuscany wedding in July - while make-up artist Celia Burton opted for one of Molly Goddard’s white tulle gowns to say her vows this October.
For the more daring brides, though, Rotate, the Copenhagen-based label designed by duo Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimarsdottir who launched bridal in April, remain a go-to. “Untraditional, daring, exciting and yet utterly timeless” is the goal, the pair say.
They are wholeheartedly enamoured by the fashion girl wedding - who is the ultimate It-girl bride? “Bella Hadid,” they say, promptly. “Elegant, intelligent but daring, bold and sexy.” In other words, the wedding day assignment du jour.
The best fashion girl wedding dresses:
Lace Gown, £1,995, christopherkane.com
Lanao Ivory Satin Ruffle Dress, £1,195, 16arlington.co.uk
Agyness Dress Ivory with Blue, £3,800, mollygoddard.com
Clio Peppiatt, Heart Column Dress, £1,250, cliopeppiatt.co.uk
Dorthe Dress, £3,574, ceciliebahnsen.com
Nunni Dress White, subscribe for restcoking, rotatebirgerchristensen.com
Diamond Cut Out Bridal Dress, £1,195, galvanlondon.com