In general, I am suspicious of the wedding dress. In the specific case of the wedding dresses shown at the 2017 spring bridal collections, I think I hate them.
Arguing from the precarious position of never having tried a wedding dress on and being nowhere near getting married myself, I tend to be bored by the gowns I see in bridal collections, which seems odd, because the entire point of a wedding gown is to bring its wearer to her most exceptional. Some wedding dresses are great, obviously—my mom’s, for instance. Kate Middleton’s Alexander McQueen. The Givenchy tea-length Audrey Hepburn wears in Funny Face. The floaty knockout a close friend of mine will wear in June.
But because they are meant for a specific occasion on which people are expected to spend enormous amounts of money, dresses from wedding collections are often much more expensive than any other kind of dress. Despite this, they are often less flattering than any other kind of dress, because solid white is not the best color for anyone, really. And by the looks of these 2017 collections, wedding gowns—so limited by the extreme visual pressures of the day, and by the mysterious idea that every woman would like her waist cinched by an embellished satin belt—are hard to do in an interesting way.
Let’s take a look.
Jenny Packham described her spring bridal presentation as “midwestern fantasy.” I would describe it more as “midwestern surrender,” or “some dresses that are okay.” You wouldn’t think that a gown emblazoned with sequin stars could evoke such a strong sense of despair, but such is the gift of bridal fashion week.
Reem Acra is the master of intricate and flattering sameness, so one assumes that her bridal collections would be at least consistently pretty. Unfortunately, I guess there are only so many times you can reinvent the wheel; these gowns are fussy and extravagant and slightly harsh, like something a person might wear to marry Rob Kardashian.
Oscar de la Renta has a few hits—I love the dress on the far left; the silhouette is simple but the sheen and the unexpected tulle are gorgeous. The dress on the far right is great as well, it looks like something Anna Wintour might have worn to a tart, businesslike ceremony in 1990's Paris. The rest of the collection is some variation on the middle two—fine, perfectly fitted, but uninspired.
Ugh, Christian Siriano. If I see this sweetheart neckline one more time I’m going to have to take three Melatonin and lie underneath my couch. So much poof! So much white! To be honest, though, I do kind of like the dress on the far right. A good pleat will take you far.
If Monique Lhuillier thinks she is going to get away with this foofy nonsense, she has got another think coming! The second-to-left has that Carolyn Bessette simplicity going on, but Monique. The others. Is this an ice skating competition? Is a large baby being christened?
Not everything sucked, however. To cleanse our palates:
Naeem Khan, to my sweet relief, had some really good stuff going on. The middle look is insane and architectural and so interesting—I mean, would I wear it? No, but I am appreciative. The left is my fave, and would make for a near-perfect Desert Wedding Look. The right is simple, but the bodacious fit and the delicate texture bring it right up to exceptional.
Another strong long-sleeved look I love, from Delphine Manivet:
And from J. Mendel, an intricate, adventurous blue column:
Yeah, there are a few standouts. But in general, my takeaway: Boo.
Images via Getty.