In the wake of bridal wear specialist Collette Dinnigan shuttering her eponymous label in 2014, a new wave of local, non-couture designers have stepped into this niche aisle, providing striking bridal wear at a more accessible price point.
Labels including Michael Lo Sordo and Thurley have been in the bridal business for a while, and they’re now joined by designers like Ellery and Bec and Bridge, who only recently spotted an opportunity in the space. Compared to the gowns offered by local and international luxury couturiers – which often cost upwards of $3,000 – these local designers are offering a refreshing alternative.
Whether you’re looking for classic elegance or a modern, bold statement, here are the local labels to trust on your special day.
Michael Lo Sordo
The Sydney-based designer, best known for his work with silk, has already gained international attention for his bridal-appropriate pieces, which range from $750 to $1,610.
Lo Sordo’s focus is on clean, elegant lines and tailoring designed to skim the body. His plunging gowns and tailored pantsuits made out of liquid-like silks and will appeal to brides going for a contemporary look. Bonus: they also allow for multiple wears.
Lo Sordo is yet to launch an online store, but his bridal designs can be found online at Net-a-Porter.
Kym Ellery’s bridalwear collection for Net-a-Porter is small but bold. Known for her architectural approach to design, Ellery’s pieces are ideal for the bride who wants to push boundaries; these are not your typical wedding dresses. The silk-satin turtleneck gown blends the designer’s signature exaggerated sleeves with a more elegant silhouette, while fans of her ruffles will be drawn to the ruffled crepe gown, which balances bare shoulders with a voluminous silhouette. Prices span $695 to $1,895.
Karla Špetić is best known for her graphic approach to design, but from time to time the Sydney designer delivers bridal-appropriate pieces. Ideal for the woman who loathes traditional wedding dresses, Špetić says her work is a response to demand.
“I found that a lot of customers started enquiring about custom-made dresses or [wanted to] modify existing styles into wedding dresses,” says Spetic. “So it all really started from there. For example, the client that loves an existing design from a collection will usually request a different fabrication or length.”
Bec + Bridge
The Sydney-based label introduced its first bridal-wear collection, The Wedding Edit, in October last year.
“A few girls in the office were either getting married or were bridesmaids themselves, and we noticed a major gap in the market when it came to coordinating a wedding party,” says designer Bridget Yorston, who founded the label with co-designer Becky Cooper in 2003. “How could we have every girl feeling chic and flattered while still having the wedding party look cohesive?”
The line includes 26 dresses (which range in price from $240 to $850), with varying necklines and cuts, including pure-silk floor-skimming gowns with long-sleeved ruffle details, skirt splits and plunging necklines.
Both brides and bridesmaids can shop the entire collection online, and sizes range from six to 14. Pieces can also be made-to-order within a two-to-six-week period.
This luxury Melbourne label is renowned for minimalist, well-designed basics, which come in a predominantly white palette. Despite launching the label in 2015, founding-designer Fiona Myer only introduced a bespoke bridal service earlier this year. Drawing on a luxury Japanese cotton blend fabric, her designs are all about simplicity and perfectly nailing the silhouette.
With its focus on feminine silhouettes and lace, Thurley is an unsurprising addition to this list. The label has been mastering the art of bridal since 2010, and the “Wedding” collection caters to the whole bridal party. Never straying too far from the iconic Thurley aesthetic, this range plays with volume, lace and sculptural design. It’s a great option for brides looking for something playful for their big day.
Prices start at $699 and go to $1,999. Browse the collection here.
And one from across the pond…
New Zealanders Paris Mitchell and Georgia Cherrie founded their eponymous label Paris Georgia in 2015, and quickly made their mark with their refined, luxury basics. Launching bridal wear late last year, the designers offer a bespoke service to customise pieces to suit any bride’s needs. “The service evolved quite organically in response to requests following Paris’s own wedding,” says Mitchell.
Made in New Zealand, these bridal designs are an extension of the duo’s existing body of work, comprising ‘90s-style silk slips and high-waisted trousers. They’re ideal for someone looking for an understated look on their wedding day.