During her 20 years in the bridal retail space, Flora Petkas noticed an important customer segment that was being underutilized, at worst, being neglected.
“Once, we were finishing the preparations for the wedding [dress] Decision, the mother comes to me and asks me – secretly, away from the bride, respectfully so as not to take any time from her appointment – ‘Where should I go for myself?’ He never got the right answer.
The wedding dress shopper’s trusted confidante, often the mother (we’re a little late with the translation), can look at off-the-shelf evening gowns in department stores, visit boutiques in person, sift through an incredible sea of options online. Often, though, the offerings are less than encouraging.
“It’s really boring, and I feel very romantic. I’ve done that research,” says Daniela Jasir of Francesca Miranda. The marketing director of a Columbia-based luxury bridal and evening wear house points to another way the industry is catering to this demographic: “The experience is nothing special. And you’re the mother of the bride.”
Never mind that this neglected group of consumers – primarily Gen X women – are ready to spend. In the year In 2018, a study from The Coca-Cola Company and Mass Mutual found that American women over the age of 50 hold more than $15 trillion in spending power. Forbes Referring to the group as “super consumers… the healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation in history.” Still, the group has largely been overlooked by marketers for aspiring millennials and Gen Z.
The bright white space combined with the big wedding boom of 2022 has created a great opportunity for Petkas. She says: “There was this pent-up demand, and there was going to be a lot of weddings.
After two years of pandemic-planning, Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier alum opened Flora in Madison in April. Sharing space (and combined clientele) with bridal brand Anne Barge, the boutique is a destination not only for funky, on-trend black-tie fashion, but also for a luxurious, cutting-edge shopping experience, a favorite of consultants, such as “Mother of the Bride.”
In the year In 2022, we need to address the limited use of vocabulary. Excludes aunts, close family friends and future in-laws. It genders the married couple; And it reduces marketing (and sales opportunities).
“The term ‘mother of the bride’ is no longer useful as cultural norms about not only family and relationships, but gender and identity continue to be redefined,” writes Laura Yanakow, senior fashion strategist at WGSN. – Letter.
Agreeing that the term is “passé” and “outdated,” Petakas is leading the challenge of broader designations such as “event host” and focusing on category descriptors such as “evening wear” and “casual wear.” According to Shelley Brown, the publication’s senior fashion and beauty editor, The Knot is in line with the rest of the industry with its gender-neutral “honor,” “best man” and “best assistant.”
But of course, “a lot of people who consider themselves ‘mother of the bride’ feel very proud the minute they walk in the door,” says Pantora bridal designer (and last year’s “Making the Cut” winner) Andrea. Peter.
“Mother of the bride” seems to be the catch-all term for the formal wear category, which is experiencing a surge in demand and demand in line with the 2.6 million weddings expected this year. In the year As of June 2022, Google searches for “mother of the bride” and “dresses” have peaked, increasing by 20% since 2021. This phrase has been searched for four times more than “mother of the groom” since 2004.
Even so, style choices are only now evolving (and slowly) to meet the tastes and preferences of the increasingly affluent and discerning super-consumer. Vogue and MTV (and later gleaning style inspo from the internet and Instagram).
Petkas “They know a lot about fashion. They have done their research. “I mean 10 years ago [clients would say,] ‘Dress Me’ is what it is. not at all “I have now.”
“Historically, the ‘mother’ vibe is champagne, blue and silver color history and often very traditional – and what I like to call ‘the frame,'” says Peter. Covered with a modest bolero. “Now they’re really working from a place of ‘you only live once’ and they’re definitely sexier than ever.”
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Soon-to-be mothers and guests of honor are gravitating to Pantora bridal designs filled with draped, shimmering fabrics and body-flattering features like sweetheart necklines, high leg slits and peek-a-boo necklines. Petkas customers are also looking for more “body-aware” images. The stigma around what a special guest of the previous generation should wear is growing along with society and his own group.
“They are living their own lives by accepting their bodies and accepting their age. [best] “My own mom wore a strapless full-length Doma Pantora Maids gown for a red carpet event,” Peter said. “Historically, people have wanted to follow tradition, but the most beautiful thing about tradition is that we have the opportunity to create. Our own—and Gen X and Millennials—break the rules. If you break the rules, you can tell your own story.”
Relaxation of traditional etiquette and expectations of couples, as well as a shared desire to celebrate the pandemic-spectacular holiday, may also encourage a less rigid dress code — or lack thereof.
“In the past, there was this idea that the “mother of the bride” dress should be very conservative, muted, low – in some cases, disappointing,” says Brown. “Now people have the freedom to express themselves and not feel like they’re going to fade into the background.”
Petkas says her clients are looking for texture and eye-catching decor as a kind of self-expression to emphasize their importance in the wedding party: “She wants to stand out. She doesn’t want to be just another stranger at an event in a black dress.” Flora on Madison carries high-end designer labels and glamour, from Greek-goddess-meets-red-carpet glam by Athens-based Kostarellos to elegant, sculptural ball gowns by Gemi Maloof.
Galia Lahav design director Sharon Sever understands that “Mother of the Bride” customers were “more daring.” Right now they’re looking for ethereal flowy dresses with a “curve” like statement sleeves, a long dramatic train, and yes, high leg slits. (The Tel Aviv-based bridal and eveningwear house is known for its bold embellishments, soft silhouettes and bath details.)
WGSN’s Yannakou noted that the intent behind traditional offerings is “out of touch” with consumer demographics. “They don’t want to buy for an event and instead are driven by quality and longevity – not only can they be worn again, but they can be interchanged with pieces in their wardrobe,” she says.
Francesca’s Miranda Jasir says her Gen X customers are gravitating toward solid colors in plush silks and taffeta—and not just because it’s a style choice: “It’s a great piece that you can keep forever and style differently. [in the future].”
Beginning in spring 2022, Amis continues to revitalize and dramatically increase the occasion wear offerings by responding to requests from hostesses of honor—typically mothers—at the Madison Avenue flagship. “Wedding guests were struggling with where to buy these fashionable dresses,” says chief creative officer Sarah Swan.
Until this year, Heritage Design House, founded by the late Ethiopian-American designer Amsale Abera, offered a small capsule of evening wear. Due to strong demand – especially for the wedding season – Swann and head designer Mihka Cho expanded the collection from 25 to 50 “statements” for Fall 2022. The updated offering allows guests of honor to express themselves with “exclusive jacquards from Italy,” and eye-catching colors like bold fuchsias and “really bright lime moiré,” Swan says excitedly.
Aspire’s marketing for Fall 2022 also speaks directly to its in-the-know and fashion-hungry target audience with a styled lookbook. Say a gauzy, dramatic light and editorialized photograph, a halter midi dress with a watercolor-like beaded pattern or a shoulder-piercing, wide-leg jumpsuit in rich emerald.
“‘Let’s shoot it in a really high-profile way, so people go, ‘Wow. What’s that? I want to see more,'” says Swann, recalling the creative process. “It also accommodates a lot of people. Let’s design fun dresses that inspire people to come and see them and try them on.”
As a high-profile example, Victoria Beckham made headlines with her slinky gunmetal slip dress with chammering floral French lace embroidery for her daughter’s Brooklyn wedding, a piece from her own collection (which she also wore to Edward Enninful’s wedding). But these days, bridesmaids don’t need to be a former Spice Girl or a world-famous fashion designer to express who they really are (and celebrate a special occasion) with what they wear to their loved one’s wedding.
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