Before the pandemic, the bridal market was booming. Weddings had grown simultaneously bigger and more personal, from epic week-long destination events (requiring not one dress, but multiple) to backyard parties in sneakers. New bridal brands were cropping up every season, and ready-to-wear designers were making wedding capsules of their own. The general feeling wasn’t just that bridal was in high demand, but that it always would be.
Then, of course, that stopped being true. Overnight, weddings were canceled or postponed (and then postponed again), and the high-spirited bridal world went unrecognizably quiet. But today, we’re getting a welcome burst of optimism with Erdem Moralioglu’s first “white collection,” launching on his website and at his Mayfair flagship store.
Why launch now? For one, many brides are crossing their fingers for summer and fall weddings, or at least intimate family get-togethers. Moralioglu isn’t making fanciful ball gowns that demand a party of 400, either. His wedding dresses are the kind you could wear to an outdoor ceremony or a civil service, then rewear again and again: minis in cotton broderie anglaise, embroidered midi dresses with sheer puffed sleeves, an A-line shirtdress topped with an organza cape. “I approached it in a much more casual way,” he explained via Zoom. “But there’s still a formality to it. I thought, how modern would it be to have a cotton wedding dress, but it’s embroidered in Italy with little guipure trims inserted in? I think when something’s really beautifully designed, it has a permanence—it’s something you keep and pass on to your daughter or someone else.”
Fans might recognize a glimpse here and there of past Erdem collections: The shirtdress was inspired by the Victorian gowns of his spring 2019 show, while the long-sleeved cotton mini was cut in the same shape as an orchid brocade dress from fall 2015. Moralioglu also considered the custom wedding gowns he’d made for private clients, as well as the additional looks he designed for their rehearsal dinners and after-parties. Pre-2020, the dresses in this collection might’ve registered as one of those “additional” looks; now, they’re better suited to the main event.
Moralioglu is producing the dresses as ready-to-wear, just like his main line, meaning you’ll buy them off the (real or virtual) rack year-round. (In contrast, traditional wedding dresses are typically made to order and can take months to complete—a hindrance in our era of changing restrictions and general uncertainty.) “You just zip it up,” he says. No fittings, no tailoring, no fuss.
“The needs of someone getting married are different today than two years ago,” Moralioglu adds. “What I like is in all of these pieces, there’s a softness and an ease, which I think feels really modern. There’s often that question of, what feels modern in this world? And I think it’s looking like the most beautiful version of yourself.”