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The Bridal Week That Wasn’t: Why Some Designers Are Skipping the Spring 2021 Season

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The spring 2021 bridal season was set to take place in New York this week, but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. When the Bridal Council made the announcement on March 12, it suggested designers produce video presentations or livestreams, and the CFDA echoed that statement by urging designers to “reformat live shows and presentations scheduled next month to show their newest collections digitally, or in a similar format.” Unfortunately, the timing of it all only gave designers a month to wrap up their collections, develop a new strategy, conceptualize a video or digital presentation, and share it with press, buyers, and customers. It didn’t come as a surprise to hear that many of them couldn’t pull it off.

The biggest hurdle for most designers was simply completing the gowns in time. Lela Rose told us about half of her collection was ready in March, but the other half is still in process and likely won’t be finished until her team is back in the studio. “If it’s possible to do all of this design work remotely, we haven’t figured it out,” she said. “There are so many hands that touch every piece—there’s pattern-making, draping, cutting, tailoring, fabric selection, and even the colors and layers that build up a gown… It seems unrealistic to try and force this process remotely.”

Instead of presenting a smaller collection online this week—“which would [still] require hiring a model and photographer,” she points out, a challenge and expense most brands want to avoid—Rose is waiting until the fall 2021 bridal market in October. “It does feel odd to not be showing new gowns, but we also have an [existing] collection of so many gorgeous dresses,” she says. “I think this time has made me, and others, reflect on whether all of this new, new, new is needed, or is it too much?”

Rose added that she’s offering new customization options for the gowns in her current offering; in fact, it’s possible that brides shopping later this year won’t even notice there aren’t “new” dresses to choose from. That begs the question of whether or not seasonal collections are even necessary for bridal. Wedding dresses are already quite seasonless by nature, and the made-to-measure aspect means brides always have the opportunity to cherry-pick gowns from “past seasons” if they choose.

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