It’s my favorite time of year again. Partly because Fall is finally here, and I’m all about those turning leaves, and pumpkin spice everything because that’s how America does Fall. But mostly because of NYBFW, or New York Bridal Fashion Week.
NYBFW is basically the time of year when all the bridal designers showcase their newest collections for 2015. You watch shows, meet with designers and sales reps, scope out the new collections, and even discover new designers and up-and-comers.
This is the entrance to The Knot’s sponsored Bridal Fashion Week this year at the Metropolitan Pavilion.
I saw a lot of designers and visited a lot of showrooms but one of my favorite experiences of NYBFW is always going to the JLM Couture Showroom. I’m always excited to come here because I know the new collections are gonna knock me off my feet, and…I know there’s going to be a free lunch. (Why is food so exciting?)
If you don’t know JLM, they are a bridal design company housing bridal lines Jim Hjelm, Alvina Valenta, Hailey Paige, and Lazaro. Which, if you don’t know them either, (and I wouldn’t expect you too if you’ve never been wedding dress shopping), are big designer names always at the forefront in the bridal world known for creating innovative gowns, with simultaneously timeless and romantic aesthetic.
Despite my love for gowns and lunch, it still took a lot for my Mom to get my sister, Tara, and I up that morning. We always do NYBFW together, it’s kind of our thing. My Mom owns a bridal salon called Mary Me Bridal in Orange County, California so we go mainly to seek out the best gowns for our salon.
Of course we were running late that day. We threw on our preplanned outfits (because let’s get real we knew this would happen), and ran out the door. Didn’t bother to grab breakfast because along with a free lunch, they also have free breakfast. Bless their souls.
All three of the Healy girls at The Knot Gala; an end of bridal week party for all those a part of the bridal industry. This year it was at The New York Public Library.
We scurried through the showroom doors in our slightly-coordinated-mainly-black-themed ensembles, and made our way to our first stop. Alvina Valenta. Regardless of our tardiness Katie, the Alvina Valenta rep, was happy to see us.
As each gown came out, we could see a common theme. Sexy, goddess-like silhouettes. High slits, chandelier beadings, low backs. I could see this on a young sexy bride, at an exotic gypsy-like bohemian beach wedding. A major trend for young LA ladies getting married these days. It calls to mind boho babes like Erin Wasson. With her tousled beach waves, sun-kissed skin, and general free spirited energy, I can definitely see her rocking one of these dresses.
After the show ends they brought out the gowns for us to review, make notes, and decide what will best fit in the store. Being that there’s three of us this decision becomes a lot easier because there is always a tie breaker. My Mom is the business-mind, always thinking about what will be financially-smart. My sister, Tara, is the fashion student, studying to be a designer, so she’s always thinking about what’s innovative, what will put us ahead of the competition. And I suppose I’m the middle ground. I love fashion as much as my sister, it’s a mutual love we never get tired of sharing with each other. But I’ve worked hands on in my Mom’s salon a lot more than she has. I know what we have and what we need.
After locking in our decisions, we were on to Jim Hjelm. We hurried to stand in line at the room next door to get good seats. That’s another good thing about spending the day at the JLM Showroom, everything is in one place so I know I can wear my best heels without semi wanting to chop off my feet. A major plus for any girl in New York. This show I was particularly very interested in seeing, because after years designing for Jim Hjelm the original designer Francesca left the company and went on to become the creative director for Monique L’huillier. In her place JLM instituted relative newcomer Hailey Paige. Hailey’s been designing at JLM for a few years now and her lines “Hailey Paige” and “Blush” have taken off.
Dress after dress you could see her youthful influence on the line. This dress in particular I loved. As soon as it came out, I turned to my Mom and gave her that giddy smile I do when I need a certain dress in the salon. Aside from the fact that it hits some major trends this season (sleeves and illusion necklines), it also just embodies that classic fairytale bride with a modern touch. I feel like I could see this on a very feminine type like Kerry Washington, Rose Byrne, or Lea Michelle. I’m a very visual person, and when I see a gown that provokes my imagination I know it’s a great gown. Here, I can imagine the cascading rose embroidery complimented by a romantic outdoor garden reception. I can see a warm sunlit background picking up the rich oatmeal tulle of the skirt. I can see the sheer floral appliqué sleeves contrasted against the arms of the grooms dark wool suit. Excuse my day dreaming. I, too, cannot stand that I am such a hopeless romantic sometimes.
Also, side note…this. It’s an embellished ostrich feather bridal coat, and I mean…come on. As soon as I saw it I knew it wouldn’t be in the salon (California weather doesn’t really call for a lot of coats) but can I least borrow it? Or try it on? Confession: I secretly tried to try it on after it was brought out at the end but felt awkward when everyone was staring at me. Guess it’s not exactly appropriate “bridal show etiquette”.
The next show, was premiering Hailey’s personal lines, as I said before, “Hailey Paige” and “Blush”. Hailey Paige was definitely speaking to me, in all it’s bohemian rockstar glory featuring fringe, leather, studs (yes you read that right, and yes this is a bridal line). Looks like this one below I could definitely sign up to rock out in like….tomorrow. I have an affinity for that time period between the 60-70s and this is the thing of 60s-70s dreams. I can’t help but think of the famous Bianca Jagger bridal suit in her wedding to Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. I want to see this on a badass rockstar boho bride, even if it’s just for the rehearsal dinner or the bachelorette party. How awesome would that be?
But despite the alternative factor of the Hailey Paige line, the gown that really spoke to me…after everything I saw that day was simply this number from HP’s Blush line.
I can’t help myself around vintage inspired bohemian gowns, especially when they have sleeves. I feel like Penny Lane would wear this if she ever actually marries Russell Hammond (see Almost Famous). I love the unique pattern of lace, as they put it “perfect for the bride who thinks they don’t like lace”. I also love the leg of mutton v sleeve and the simple yet sexy open back with cross tie detail. Now that I think about it, can Cameron Crowe make a sequel to Almost Famous where Penny and Russell get married? Imagine the Band Aide bridesmaids! Is it too late?
In any case, the JLM showroom never ceases to deliver every year. And these are just a few of all the gorgeous gowns I saw that day. I can’t wait till the gowns come in the store so you all can see them slash try them on in person! Shoot us an email if you want an update at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, stay tuned for more bridal fashion galore from yours truly