We’re pretty sure we weren’t the only ones on edge on the morning of 20th May, waiting to see what style of wedding dress Pippa Middleton picked out for her wedding to financier James Matthews.
It was guaranteed to have a huge impact on bridal trends across the country – much like Kate’s choice of long-sleeved, lace gown did in 2011. Rumours had been swirling for some time that the future Queen of England’s sister had followed suit and chosen a designer with an edgy reputation.
This was confirmed when Pippa stepped out of her wedding car in a striking lace number designed by Giles Deacon – Vogue magazine described it as ‘classic with a progressive twist’. Deacon’s typical clients include celebrities such as Solange Knowles and Cate Blanchett, and his designs tend to veer towards the more experimental, making him a surprise choice for Pippa.
The designer gave nothing away when it came to how Pippa’s dress came to be, merely stating the bride “has a good eye and knew what she wanted”. The gown was rumoured to cost £40,000 and featured a corseted lace bodice with an unusual high neck, cap sleeves and heart-shaped cut-out detail on the back.
It also featured hand-appliqued silk cotton lace and organza and tulle underskirts – notably different to the more delicate Chantilly lace of Kate’s dress. So with royal fever at a high again, will Pippa’s wedding dress take the bridal fashion world by storm? Jill Eckersley spoke to bridal industry experts to find out their views for Bridal Buyer magazine – you can read the full feature in the September/October issue of Bridal Buyer.
“We loved the jewel neckline with cap sleeves, and will be featuring many more this coming season,” said Justin Warshaw of Justin Alexander, New York. “We love that Pippa paired a traditional lace wedding look with a modern neckline and back detail.”
Find out more about Justin Alexander by browsing their listing in the Bridal Buyer directory.
Geoff Makin of Wendy Makin Bridal Designs, Australia’s award-winning design house, feels that Pippa’s dress is a continuation of trends in bridal which are already making themselves felt all over the world, rather than a style revolution. “Her dress is a continuation of a design style that we have had in our collection for the past couple of years,” he says. “It is continuing the cross-over vintage look, which is making its way into mainstream wedding design, through gowns like ‘Roxanne’ (pictured) in our French collection.”
Discover more about Wendy Makin Bridal Designs by browsing their directory listing.
Here in the UK, Sassi Halford also believes that the keyhole back and cap sleeve combination seen in Pippa’s dress will influence brides’ choices and be popular with current and future brides-to-be. “Pippa’s dress hasn’t directly influenced my 2018 designs,” she says, “but the ‘Hermione’ gown seen in my 2013 couture collection was created with the same design features and has the same timeless appeal.”
Designer Lydia Sayles from Brighton’s True Bride, feels that trends can take time to filter through the industry and that her company hasn’t yet heard much about the “Pippa effect” from their retailers. “We have put in a couple of styles for the new season,” she says. ”I do feel that Pippa’s high, almost Mandarin-style collar and the heart shape at the back will be something people pick up on, also the shape of her dress and the more covered-up look. Of course, straps and v-necks never really go away and lace is back again, although we see more corded lace than appliquéd.
“The colour of Pippa’s sister Kate’s wedding outfit – that sort of neutral, almost nude shade that wasn’t quite pink, also had an impact for bridesmaids as well as wedding guests. So, yes, there has been some ‘Pippa effect’ but nothing quite like the effect Kate’s own wedding had when full dresses and longer sleeves became so popular”
Find out more about True Bride - check out their Bridal Buyer directory listing here.
Retailers have a slightly different take on the “Pippa Effect”. As an example, Joanne from YAP Bridal in Newcastle says that they haven’t noticed a massive ‘Pippa effect’ take place at their boutique. “I’d say that our brides were already beginning to ask for those style features. They are always fashion-forward thinking when it comes to their gowns, and have already been asking us for ball gowns with unique back detailing and capped or full-length sleeves. Which goes to show that Pippa is at the forefront of bridal style too, when it comes to her choice of gown!”
Much the same message comes from Laura Daly of Bellissima Weddings of South Woodham Ferrers in Essex. “To be honest, I think that Pippa has gone with the trend rather than starting one,” she says. “We have sold many similar styles over the past couple of years, with many brides achieving the look by wearing a high-necked jacket that does up at the back, over a strapless lace gown.”
Andrew Pearce from Creatiques in Southsea says that while sister Kate’s wedding dress from 2011 made an impact, his customers have not been coming in demanding Pippa-influenced gowns – although some of the design features are proving popular. “Pippa’s was a traditional, society wedding with a dress to match,” he says. “Girls who come to us do want low backs, and cap sleeves are popular too. We have sold some styles which echo Pippa’s. The House of Mooshki has several dresses with high necks and back detailing. I don’t think we see the same influences today as we did when Princess Diana had designers like Catherine Walker working for her.”
Andrew’s views were echoed by the design team at House of Mooshki, who say that they haven’t noticed much of a “Pippa effect” simply because many of their dresses already include some of the design elements which made Pippa’s dress so beautiful. “We have a lace dress with a mandarin collar, keyhole back and full skirt called ‘Nancy’ and it will be nice to see whether brides will be going for those elegant high necks in future,” they said.
Read even more about royal brides and their wedding dresses in the digital edition of Bridal Buyer.