There was a church wedding with a Madonna soundtrack, a sit-down tea at a fancy Midtown hotel, and yards and yards of tulle and trains at April bridal fashion week in New York.
Several dozen designers hosted the media and buyers for appointments or put together runway shows and presentations for the twice-yearly celebration of bridal dressing, this time featuring looks for spring 2020.
She outdid herself, filling every seat in Midtown’s huge and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church, expanding her guest list to include regular brides.
This collection, a mix of modern mini-dress, shorts looks and more traditional gowns, had a simple celebratory sentiment: Thank you.
Acra was inspired by a message to God she wrote in her Bible 40 years ago, back in 1979 at age 17: “Thank you God you have given me more than I deserve. You have given me more than beauty, you have given me the power to make beauty. Thank you.”
In return, she gave us adorable flower girls in pink holding bedazzled faux candles, messages of love emblazoned on bodices, live singers belting from the audience and at the front of the church, and a Madonna soundtrack driven by “Like a Prayer.”
Her church runway was adorned with huge arches of red, pink and white flowers, adding to the fun.
“I wanted to empower all women because I had to empower myself when I was 17 years old,” she told The Associated Press after the extravaganza. “It was a celebration for all of us human beings.”
She doesn’t often appear personally for private presentations at her bridal design studio, but this time she did. And her couture looks in muted colour, visible boning and draped silk tulle lit up with outsize floral embellishment she used magically.
Her statement blooms came at the collars, on sleeves, as petticoats and as corsages. There was deliberate randomness to her collection, intended to surprise from all 360 degrees. There were long trains and delicate pieces that trailed from the upper arms. Looks in blueberry, pistachio and the lightest of mauves were mixed with blushes and whites.
For ready to wear, Wang goes heavy on the blacks and greys, to the chagrin long ago of fashion powerhouse Anna Wintour.
“But then I come to bridal where everything should be white. I always can’t stand it,” Wang said. “I just have to mess it up. That’s the rebellious streak in me.”
This was her 59th bridal collection, and she said it’s important to her to reinvent. She’s been experimenting with colour for bridal for a while now.
“It’s really a collection based on a certain freedom, but to get that freedom takes incredible technique,” Wang said.
INES DI SANTO
Fairytales, dreams, clouds, Ophelia. These are just a few of the things that inspired Di Santo’s collection.
She attached a flowing, floral-printed cathedral train to a bandeau and mini-skirt with feather accents, worn with long bell sleeves. One trumpet gown was embellished with silvery stars and came with a bottom done in pleated circles. A strappy backless satin gown was shown with a romantic little tulle stole that fluttered behind, all in white.
“The dress is more than a dress. It’s a personality,” she said. While she included traditional white, Di Santo isn’t afraid of patterned and colour bridal gowns.
“Color is very important for me. Different patterns, different silhouettes, describe who we are,” she said. “I love colour. Being Italian, we love colour.”
Di Santo treated her guests to tea at the luxurious Baccarat Hotel in Midtown, walking her models through intimate tables as the crowd sipped and nibbled on finger food.