We’re Living In A Golden Era Of “Cool Girl” Bridal Brands

No princess gown, no problem.

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The Own Studio
bridal look for The Own Studio
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The wedding industry offers a striking reflection of what’s happening with culture at large: buttoned-up, conservative times yield formal affairs, while wilder, more casual moments in history are filled with fly-by-night elopements (see: all the celebrities who married in Vegas during the early 2000s). But if you ask me, the seismic events of the last decade — like, say, two years of on-and-off-again shutdowns and a looming recession — have actually made getting engaged vastly more appealing. The uncertainty we’re living with has turned most ceremonies into more intimate affairs with extra personal touches; meanwhile wedding dresses and attire have never been more unique or, to put it bluntly, downright cool.

In the last year alone, fashion girl favorite brands, including HVN by Harley Viera-Newton, Staud, Hill House Home, Nensi Dojaka, Christopher Esber, and so many others, have all launched bridal collections, breathing modernity into a fusty shopping sector ready for change. “When I was getting married, there were way fewer options to choose from,” Loeffler Randall founder Jessie Randall tells me. She recently introduced a bridal capsule for her brand filled with charming leather bow embellished sandals and clutches adorned with ostrich feathers.

Mytheresa x Nensi Dojaka

One possible reason for this industry shift? The age of those getting married right now. “Our clients are marrying later in life, planning smaller and more intimate weddings, with many couples paying for weddings themselves,” says Lein founder Meredith Stoecklein, who just relaunched her cult favorite bridal brand after taking a lockdown-induced pause on design. As someone who recently became engaged in her mid-30s, this theory resonates with me. I have a stronger sense of who I am than I did a decade ago, and the notion of buying an ultra-formal gown feels misaligned with my personality (and with my 50-person wedding, no less!).

That said, I’m sure I’m not the first one to feel this way: Women have been getting married past their 20s for a long time. So why has there been such a noticeable gap in the market until very recently? “I believe the evolution of marriage and weddings is why historically it’s been difficult for brides to find attire that’s aesthetically different from the traditional look,” says Neous founder Vanissa Antonious, who just added a “Modern Bridal” line to her accessories label in April this year. “Brides are looking for pieces that they can wear again that put more of an emphasis on comfort and sustainability rather than ostentatiousness.”

Loeffler Randall

On the other hand, Over The Moon founder Alexandra Macon points to the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 as a major factor in why it’s suddenly so much easier to find nontraditional wedding dresses. “Brides saw how weddings were downsized and postponed during [that time] and realized that the so-called rules don’t matter anymore, and everything can be rewritten,” she points out. “They have found ways to put their personal stamp on their wardrobe as well as the wedding.”

With this newfound realization — that you don’t actually need to have a traditional gown that requires several rounds of tailoring and that you likely won’t wear again — brands have recognized a lucrative opportunity. “[In 2020 and 2021], both high-end and high-street designers were quick to catch on to the fact that the aisle had become the new runway — fashion shows weren’t happening, but small downsized weddings were,” Macon says. “This ushered in a new class of designers with an expansive price range catering to brides.”

Olivia von Halle

Although plenty of designers have launched bridal to meet the evolving needs of their customers, some of their decisions came from personal places as well. “Many of these brands’ bridal collections were inspired by their founders’ own difficulty trying to curate their own wedding wardrobe,” Macon points out. Take The Own Studio, for example, a London-based bridal label known for its simple, effortless capsule wardrobe. “I was getting married [in 2015] and couldn’t find anything that felt sleek and contemporary. [My co-founder, Rosie,] was a bridesmaid at the same time, and all the shapes and fabrics felt rather old-fashioned,” co-founder Jess Kaye says. “It felt like the bridal industry needed a shake-up. We couldn’t believe there wasn’t something out there to suit more modern tastes.” Around the same time, Stoecklein was tasked with designing a reception dress for a friend. “I was studying design at Parsons, and a friend asked me to design a dress for her to change into after her traditional ceremony dress,” she says. “She wanted a dress that felt like she pulled it from her closet, in white. This was in 2016, and there were not really brands approaching bridal with a ready-to-wear fashion aesthetic in mind.”


Bridal’s new wave is also about far more than dresses. Brands in categories such as footwear, handbags, and accessories are also offering “cool girl” options for brides-to-be. San Francisco-based label Kamperett, adored for its floaty silhouettes, launched a bridal accessory line after clients continued to ask where they could buy the pieces styled in the brand’s shoots. “They are each hand-made by the most talented craftsmen and women, including couture hand-beading in Paris,” co-founder Anna Chiu says of her assortment of floor sweeping organza bows and intricate headbands and crowns.

Of course, there’s also the events surrounding the wedding (and Instagram documentation of them) to consider — even small nuptials tend to involve a rehearsal dinner or welcome drinks, after all. “One thing is for certain, gone are the days of a simple ceremony followed by a reception. Now, weddings across the map are multi-day festivities that stretch over an entire weekend,” Macon says. Designers have undoubtedly noticed this trend and are creating capsule collections to dress brides for several occasions. This was the very premise for Olivia von Halle’s bridal collection, an edit of five perfect pieces to wear throughout the wedding experience. “For years, our classic Coco Pajama in ivory has been a go-to for most Olivia von Halle brides,” von Halle says. “We wanted to take this one step further and create pieces that will have you covered from the getting ready moment, to the bridal party, and all the way to the honeymoon.”

The Own Studio

The move away from traditional bridal wear also means more inclusive price points. (As a mid-30s bride, this is especially appealing to me — I’d rather spend $5,000 on a vacation than a gown.) Take Staud, for example, which launched a budget-friendly bridal collection a couple of months ago composed of 15 pieces ranging from $295 to $795. Or look to Paris-based Ba&sh: It just debuted a bridal capsule this past March with a max price-point of $595. “Our capsule ranges in price so you can mix and match without having to spend too much to find your look,” the chain’s CEO of North America, Desiree Thomas, says. “In the coming years, we’ll continue to see more brides looking outside of traditional wedding brands for something a bit more unexpected and personal. Having pieces she can invest in, and even wear again.”


This ethos of longevity is at the heart of The Own Studio’s capsule collection model. “From our own experiences, and from talking to the women around us, we knew brides-to-be wanted to invest in cool outfits they could wear long after the wedding,” Kaye says. “Our collection of sleek separates can and worn together or separately, and brides really love the versatility.” Same goes for the accessories. “I love that so many people wear our wedding shoes again for other events, and for many many years,” Randall says.

Looking forward, von Halle predicts the bridal landscape will continue to evolve. “We will probably see brides moving away from the most traditional rules and continue to look for more edgy and fun pieces,” she says. This could be through new colors, more daring silhouettes, or even in accessorizing. “Brides are now wearing tailored suits and pencil skirts and are looking for shoes that complement those silhouettes,” Antonious says, citing Neous has seen an increased demand for bridal flats. “I expect that over the next few years, it will only become more open-minded.”

For those recently (or soon-to-be) engaged, continue below to shop TZR’s edit of bridal brands that have their finger on the pulse. From sleek slip dresses and festive separates to architectural heels and romantic hair accessories, there’s enough here to get you through every wedding celebration while completely feeling like yourself.

Christopher Esber
Triquetra Dress
Launched this May exclusively on Net-a-Porter, Christopher Esber unveils his first-ever bridal collection. The capsule has seven pieces, each echoing the brand’s laidback sensuality that relies heavily on deconstructed — but elevated — design details.
Silk Bow
Though Kamperett co-founders Anna Chiu and Valerie Santillo don’t consider their brand to be bridal, it’s still a destination for the engaged. “We still aren’t really in the commercial bridal world; we just focus on our collection and keep our brides in mind as we are designing,” Chiu says. Their ethereal accessory line includes a lovely assortment of veils, floor-sweeping bows, and velvet headbands.
Nensi Dojaka
Cutout Lace Gown
In February, designer Nensi Dojaka (the epitome of “cool girl” style) launched its first-ever bridal collection in partnership with Mytheresa. The 24-piece capsule collection remains true to the brand’s sensuality, but for a wedding scenario.
Hill House Home
The Lace Ribbon Ellie Nap Dress
Hill House Home introduced its bridal capsule in April, offering romantic styles that could work for everything from the bridal shower and engagement party, to wedding day getting ready moments and the honeymoon.
Rosalind Dress
Macon started Over The Moon in 2015 solely as a content site. But after featuring weddings and talking with newlyweds, she learned there wasn’t a one-stop e-commerce destination for couples, so she changed that and launched a small shop on the site. Now, in additional to carrying a number of fashion and lifestyle items, the brand is a destination for beautifully made (and often out-of-the-box) bridal wear.
Cream Embellished Tiered Dress
Self-Portrait has been a destination for nontraditional brides since it debuted its bridal collection back in 2016. Designer Han Chong is known for his signature lace and romantic silhouettes, so his transiton to the wedding market was a natural one.
Teophil Mini Dress
The Ba&sh bridal capsule is well-suited for customers craving versatility, with pieces that can work on the big day as well as the events surrounding the wedding. “Our Ally dress is a great option for the bridal party, and the Wendy is perfect for beach-themed bachelorette escapes,” Thomas says. “For the low-key bride, we even have pieces like our Ben dress to wear down the aisle.”
Shannon Dress
Staud launched its first-ever bridal collection in March, with an assortment of festive dresses, separates, and accessories to wear on the wedding day and all of the fun events surrounding it.
The Own Studio
The Eularia Slip
The Own Studio co-founders Jess Kaye and Rosie Williams bring their love for simple, effortless fashion to brand’s bridal wear designs. “There was no one doing fashion-led bridal wear when we first started. If you didn’t conform to a certain stereotype or want to be a ‘princess’ bride or a ‘boho’ bride, then there was very little out there for you,” Kaye says. Every piece is made-to-measure (meaning they don’t hold stock and don’t start making something until they have the customer’s measurements).
Torin Sequin Feather Dress
Retrofête is made for the modern bride. “Our collection allows girls to slip into something that makes them feel glamorous, confident, and electric while soaking in the moment with their loved ones,” Co-Founder and Creative Director Ohad Seroya says. “I think it was only recently that designers began embracing a more open-minded attitude when it comes to designing bridal.”
Song Dress
London-based brand Cawley just launched bridal, and its craftsmanship and femininity shines through in each piece of the collection. Everything is made to order, including the Song Dress, which is crafted from smooth taffeta and has hand-sewn sterling silver bells that softly ring when the bride moves around.

The Belle One Piece
Just in time for bachelorette season, 437 makes its bridal debut with the Ever After assortment, a 12-piece swim and resort-wear capsule collection. Wear on a weekend trip with bridesmaids and take it along for the honeymoon.
Milo Dress
New York-based label Khaite doesn’t technically have a bridal collection, but that hasn’t stopped nontraditional brides from slipping into the brand’s beautiful assortment of white and cream-hued dresses. One of the newer arrivals, The Milo Dress, is designed in fluid silk charmeuse and features a plunging neckline, strappy back detail, and a bias-cut skirt.
Flower Power Bridal Dress
Most popular for its feather-trimmed party pajamas, Sleeper also made its foray into bridal attire with a chic selection of matching sets, dresses, and accessories, such as gloves and bow-adorned flats.

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