Meet Robert Barnowske, David’s Bridal Creative Director. This Parson’s School of Design graduate has worked with David’s Bridal for the last five years to oversee the White by Vera Wang Collection — a line that all us budget-enthusiasts are well-aware of, as it brought the top name in white gowns into a price-point attainable by a larger audience. He is now the Creative Director and VP of not just White by Vera Wang, but the newer Truly Zac Posen collection. Barnowske recently visited St. Louis, and I was invited to a one-on-one tour of the store, led by a man who sees the dresses from idea to completion. For those of us getting married soon — or daydreaming of future nuptials — he offered to share some of the top trends in bridal attire.
[Barnowske pictured with the Strapless Tiered Tulle Ball Gown, White by Vera Wang, $1498]
Timeless, classic looks are back in style, Barnowske explains. This includes trains, veils, lace — picture a plastic woman on a white cake and her outfit is probably perfect. But what are the specifics? Let’s get to the nitty-gritty.
Strategic seams | Can we talk about how sexy this dress is while maintaining some coverage? That’s because of the “sensual seaming,” he says, noting the femme lace that really takes it over the edge. [Lace Trumpet Long Sleeve Illusion Neck Gown, Truly Zac Posen, $1350]
Sleeves | This dress brings us to our next point: sleeves. Brides are looking for more than strapless, and options are available.
Over-the-top embellishments | Love tulle? Try nearly 100 yards of it. More into beading? Grab a dress with some 50,000 pearl-like seed beads. Go big or go home. [Strapless Lace Sheath Gown with Pearl Beading, $1650]
Illusion necks and backs | This standby is sticking around. It’s a comfortable way to show a little skin, and it offers a great backdrop to beading and the like. Vera was the first in bridal to use stretch illusion fabric, he explains, so expect to see it on dresses for many weddings to come.
Colors | Maybe white isn’t your color. Champagne, ivory, and other hues that still look traditionally bridal are available, and might be more favorable or flattering. [Long Sleeve Lace Trumpet Gown, $1450]
Sashes | This is hardly new, but Barnowske says sashes also aren’t going anywhere. Tie at the natural waist for the best effect; any lower and it might slip out of place.
Pockets | Can I get a squeel from all lady readers who obsess over pockets, much like I do? Whether you want to hide your phone or put your hands somewhere to keep from fidgeting, pockets are always the answer — and they now come in bridal. [Tank Satin Ball Gown with Cartridge Pleating, Truly Zac Posen, $1150]
While all these trends have accompanying expectations — sleeves for winter, ball gowns for black tie, so on and so on — Barnowske picked up a particularly heavy dress and mentioned he once had a bride-to-be select it for a beachy event. Does sand and satin sound comfortable to me? Not in the least. But was it my wedding? I was most touched by the emphasis on inclusion while I visited the store: all weddings, price-points, and sizes are welcome, and the dress is for the bride, not the wedding. I believe that’s permission to do whatever we want, straight from the horse’s mouth. Grab the Champagne; that deserves a toast.