Embroidery is woven into the very fabric of bridal fashion, from traditional lace florals to pastel butterflies.
“It’s a beautiful way to introduce texture and colors, like pale blue and pink,” says Maura Owens, manager of Elizabeth Johns in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. “We are now seeing lavender coming in for an ultra-feminine princess look.”
A collection by Mira Zwillinger features feminine laces for an unabashedly romantic look. “The gowns are absolutely exquisite, with overlays handmade in Israel,” she says.
Embroidery has also ushered in a resurgence in gowns with sleeves that introduce intricate patterns while allowing the bride’s skin to show through. Cotton embroidery with sequins is adding sparkle to accessories.
“We have girls who are looking for clean and classic gowns, with an embroidered veil that’s more modern,” Owens says.
At Irini’s Originals in Wilmington, Delaware, second-generation owner Niki Renpoulis has teamed streamlined gowns with elaborately embroidered and beaded trains.
“We often combine two dresses, so the bride gets exactly what she wants,” she says.
Elegant, embroidered laces in ivory, blush or champagne can be layered over pastels to create a subtle contrast. A few daring brides are opting for black lace over a nude underlay.
“Nothing is stark white anymore. With an undertone, the laces stand out more. It’s more of a high-end look,” Renpoulis says.
Cathedral-length veils with pearls and embroidery are opulent and dramatic. Gowns with detachable embroidered sleeves allow brides to quickly create two looks, one for ceremony, one for the reception.
“We do a lot of detachable sleeves, either something that comes with the dress or a sleeve that we custom-make to match the dress,” she says.
The finishing touch for the bride as she enters the church or glides off to the reception: a cape accented with embroidery and pearls.