Bridal Fashion Week, hosted in New York this month, saw a number of first bridal collections. LaPointe and Eloquii are established fashion brands that presented bridal for the first time. They showed alongside new bridal brands like La Chenille presenting their first-ever collections.
The bridal market has grown by around 4% this year, valuing the market at $27 billion in the U.S. and $61 billion globally, according to industry analyst Tecnhnavio. Meanwhile, the number of weddings occurring in the U.S. continues to increase, with 2.6 million weddings expected this year, a 62% jump from 2020.
Brands have seen that data play out in their interactions with customers. Eloquii CEO Mariah Chase said the brand has been tracking the growing demand for bridal fashion ever since “white dress” became one of the top-searched terms on the brand’s site last year.
Eloquii, which was acquired by Walmart for $100 million in 2018, caters to women sizes 14 and above, whom Chase said are underserved by the bridal market.
“In the wedding market, there are very few brands that offer elevated bridal styles online for sizes 14-plus at accessible price points, and we want to change that,” she said. “In addition, [in focus groups,] our customers were very vocal that brides need an entire wedding wardrobe, not just a memorable look for the wedding day itself.”
Chase said the actual design process for bridal didn’t require changes to Eloquii’s existing process. The clothes are designed and cut on the same fit models Eloquii uses for all of its clothes. But Eloquii introduced new accessories in the collection, including belts, garters and gloves, all in extended sizing. Those items were fit on the same fit models as the rest of the collection. The collection is sold exclusively on Eloquii’s website and run from $49-$900.
Marketing the bridal collection is a different story, however. Eloquii CMO Kristen Campolattaro said the brand is working with influencers who are in wedding planning mode right now, like Vanessa Camille (24,000 Instagram followers) and Kristine Thompson (500,000 Instagram followers). It also held a launch party to celebrate NY Bridal Fashion Week. Eloquii’s February 28 bridal collection announcement post on Instagram is the brand’s most-watched video to date, with 180,000 views. It’s also its most-liked post of the year with more than 12,000 likes.
Brands like Eloquii are entering a bridal market that looks very different from the pre-pandemic era. For one, brides are changing up their timelines. Alexandra Macon, founder of the bridal editorial and e-commerce site Over the Moon, told Glossy that brides used to buy their dresses many months in advance. But since the pandemic began and brides-to-be have become more mindful of last-minute changes, cancelations and postponements, they’ve started to shop closer to the actual wedding date.
The 12-year-old luxury brand LaPointe — formerly named Sally LaPointe after its creative director, before a DTC-focused rebrand in 2020 — also launched its first bridal collection this month. The collection, which debuted at NY Bridal Fashion Week on October 11, to caters brides who want to wear something unconventional. LaPointe said she wanted to bring something unexpected to the category.
“The collection features feather blazers, cropped tops and pantsuits,” LaPointe said. “Brides are seeking alternatives to the expected and traditional world of bridal, and this collection was designed for the new bride who values quality but is not afraid to experiment.”
LaPointe said the increased demand for bridal fashion across the industry caught her attention, plus her existing design style felt like a good fit for bridal. LaPointe is known for her focus on monochromatic looks, and the idea of designing an entire collection in white was appealing to her. The collection will be sold DTC.
“The brand has become synonymous with color-driven, bold, monochromatic pieces,” LaPointe said. “But bridal is a new phase for me as a designer.”