Bridal trends 2011/12: The finishing touches
Bridal trends are taking inspiration from celebrities and royalty alike and jewellery choices are adapting to match. Kate Donovan finds out what pieces will be on wedding wish lists
The true romantics among us have probably always had ideas of what they want their wedding day to be. Church setting -tick; big white dress - tick; Whitney Houston warbling her way through the first dance - tick.
While some elements remain timeless, other decisions are made based on what works in the here and now, and the finer details, such as jewellery choices, will no doubt reflect current trends.
The fairy tale wedding continues to be a good news story for jewellers, with the finishing touches playing an increasingly important role in making a bride’s wedding day special.
“A bride meticulously plans every last detail of her outfit and this includes the necklace, earrings, hair decoration and bracelet,” says Demelza Rayner, editor of Attire Bridal magazine. “Individuality is key, so we are finding that jewellery has become increasingly flexible in its use.
A brooch, for example, can be worn however the bride chooses - whether clipped to a shoe, worn as a waist sash, pinned to the bodice of a gown or even as an accent to a shoulder strap.”
And with many brides slow to shy away from wedding extravagance, the opportunities for bridal jewellery sales are growing. “Some brides are even choosing two wedding dresses - one gown for the ceremony and one for the reception,” adds Rayner. “This allows them to be much bolder in their choice of colour, shape and style of jewellery for the evening.”
When the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tied the knot at Westminster Abbey surrounded by trees, including field maples and horn beams, and with Kate Middleton brandishing a bouquet made of the equally seasonal lily of the valley, bridezillas nationwide were taking note. “Following the royal wedding, soft and subtle [flower] arrangements will prove popular, with many brides focusing on the meaning of the flowers they choose just as much as how they look,” explains Rayner. With lily of the valley apparently holding hopeful connotations, such as return of happiness and purity of heart, the British bloom is likely to prove popular. “For spring 2012 the English country garden will be a key inspiration for British brides, with lily of the valley chosen for its delicate, bell-shaped blooms,” says Rayner.
With that in mind, it’s hard not to immediately envisage the aptness of Shaun Leane’s white gold, pearl and diamond Maybell Collection - the perfect pairing for delicate flower arrangements.
Intricate will definitely be key to wedding flowers, agrees Polly Atkinson, lifestyle editor of Condé Nast Brides, who predicts a “move away from big domes”.
“Shades of ivory whites and cream will continue to be popular, classic and unbeatable. Flowers in these shades never distract from the bride and her dress, which should be the focus,” she adds.
While lily of the valley will certainly feature in floral arrangements for 2012, it is best for a wedding in May, when the English variety is in season. According to the experts, home-grown will be the fleurs de jour for spring/summer 2012 “with quirky mismatches and sentimental finds replacing anything too coiffed and formal,” says Juliet Hutton-Squire, co-founder
of trend forecast website Adorn Insight.
“Delicate meadow and garden flowers, for example, will become a strong design influence, with elegant styling replacing anything OTT.”
Formality is also being given more of a wide berth when it comes to bridesmaid ensembles.
While in the past bridesmaids were likely to be matching from their satin shoes to their drop pearl earrings, individuality down the aisle is no longer shunned. “The bride may decide on a colour and theme but the bridesmaid trend is moving away from anything that hints of matchy matchy,” explains Hutton-Squire. “The fabric might be the same, for example, but the dresses might be cut in different styles to suit the individual personalities. As a result of this shift, accessories are becoming less coordinated and more personalised.”
According to Rayner, colours too are becoming more adventurous, with many brides moving away from classic ivory jewellery to softer tones of blush pink, subtle golds and pretty champagnes. “These shades will also translate into bridesmaid dresses,” she says. Think Breil’s latest offering - the Duplicity collection of bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings made from stainless steel and featuring mother of pearl inserts.
As well as prevalence for what Rayner describes as ‘Cadbury’s purple’ weddings, other alternative colours are also making it onto the canvas. “A vibrant palette of mouth watering hues from jade green and fuchsia to subtle shades of mint and sorbet pink take us into spring/summer 2012,” says Hutton-Squire.
For those embracing the rich hug of purples, amethyst may be the stone of suggestion, demonstrated beautifully in So Jewellery’s Heart Amethyst earrings and pendant. For those seeking something a bit bolder, the Lola Rose grey agate and peacock quartzite or blue sandstone and dumortierite Isidora bracelets will add that blast of colour.
While some traditions are being sidelined, others are being reinterpreted. Lace for example - normally a wedding dress staple - will be a key material for 2012 shoes and jewellery, according to Rayner.
Classic silhouettes of wedding dresses are being softened by the intricacy on accessories. “As the bridal jewellery offering expands and becomes more fashion forward, the delicate elements are being introduced in the form of statement jewellery pieces,” explains Hutton-Squire. “Fine fretwork chandelier earrings and lace-like cuffs, for example, add the soft edge to a simplistic silhouette.”
Crystabelle specialises in bridal hair accessories and jewellery and heavily incorporates stylish lace features into its accessories. Hutton-Squire adds that a vintage brooch may also be an option on which to focus the dress design.
Vintage was given an extra boost in the bridalwear stakes thanks to the celebrity weddings of Kate Moss and Lily Allen, who opted for understated 1920s and 1930s bridal designs earlier this year. Rayner points out too that Kate Middleton’s choice has also given legs to the elegant 1950s shape of a nipped in waist and A-line skirt. “The emerging trend in bridal is now for 1940s-inspired silhouettes, with long sleeves and high necklines,” says Rayner.
“As a result, there has been a great demand for intricate necklaces featuring pearls and beads, along with decorative headpieces and forehead bands.”
While childhood dreams and long-standing traditions continue to drive the choices for many brides-to-be on how their special day will look, jewellery is an opportunity to inject some individuality into proceedings and to embrace the increasingly fashionable flair being flaunted down the aisle.
Hutton-Squire says: “Increasingly, when it comes to her jewellery, the bride wants to be part of the design process to ensure her jewellery not only looks beautiful and makes her feel like a princess on the day, but has symbolic meaning and an everlasting story that can be passed down from generation to generation.”