Singaporebrides | Editors' Notes

September 2014

My Week at the New York Bridal Fashion Week April 2014

Late March, I received an invitation from Reem Acra to preview the designer’s Bridal Spring 2015 Collection in New York. I casually forwarded the email to The Boss—as I normally would with joke emails—with three words: Fly me there.

About an hour later, he called—as he normally would to respond to those joke emails—and asked, in all seriousness: “So how much are tickets to New York anyway?”

So I had less than a week to book the air ticket, secure a hotel room, RSVP to more show invitations, and make sure my week was well spent. Now that I think of it, I can’t decide which was more painful – trying to find a hotel room in Manhattan, or the 23-hour journey.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Taking in the sights and sounds

Happily, I managed to scratch many things off my list of must-dos. Make eyes at The Phantom of the Opera himself at The Majestic Theatre, check. Buy a hot dog off a food truck at Times Square, check. Score a cronut at the Dominique Ansel Bakery… still unchecked, because it was sold out when I arrived at 11am.

What about the New York Bridal Fashion Week then? Where are all the soft, floaty gowns and tall, pretty models and champagne and confetti? Hang on, I’m just getting there.

My first show was going to be THEIA’s. Before that, I met Della Giovanna‘s PR, Sasha, for a chat at the Coffee Bean downstairs. It was really exciting to be in New York, watching as the designers reveal their new collection for the season, and meeting the people who were directly involved in the bridal scene that gave us so much inspiration. I was definitely very glad Sasha offered to introduce me to the New York Bridal Market, and to Michelle, the designer behind Della Giovanna, before the whirlwind of shows started.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Before the show New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 So glittery New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 I like that detail on the back New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 A simple portrait neckline with a surprise back design

THEIA’s Spring 2015 show may be a small one, but so much went into the details of the gowns. But then again, I’m a fan girl, so I may be biased. Before the show started, Don O’Neill, the designer behind THEIA, introduced his new White Collection to the crowd. Its inspiration came from his ancient Irish ancestors, the People of Goddess Danu. Legend has it that they live in a magical underworld in the sea, and there have been sightings of these ethereal folk walking in ghostly processions. See Don’s creations in all their mystical glory, dripping with silvery drips of water in his designer feature.

After the excitement from the first show, I took a walk to the Grand Central Station, where I spotted a couple taking their wedding photos. It must have been really common to see wedding couples there, because no one stopped to look, except for a tiny old lady walking by, who exclaimed, “Oh, look at her pretty dress!” to no one in particular.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Wedding Photography in the middle of Grand Central Station

After that, another walk to the Reem Acra show. I did walk a lot in NYC. The subways were very convenient and accessible, but I wanted to take advantage of the cool weather to see as much as I could during my short week there. I have to say, though. Those heels I was wearing weren’t made for walking. If you thought Singaporeans walked quickly, you haven’t seen the streets of Manhattan.

Once in a while, I stopped in my tracks to admire a particular window display of food. Sometimes they were clothes, but mostly food. Like this one.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Cupcake ATM in action!

I had read about it before my trip but I really wasn’t expecting to walk past it. Now, of course we need a Cupcake ATM. Why didn’t anyone think of it sooner? But why stop at cupcakes? Why not coffee? Or cronuts? I didn’t buy one because I am not a fan of cupcakes, but I did go into Sprinkles Cupcakes to admire the colourful cuteness of their goodies.

The Reem Acra Spring 2015 show was at The Crown Building, an elegant 26-floor skyscraper with French Renaissance decor and gilded ornamentations built in 1921, situated right across the avenue from Tiffany & Co. The opening of the show was a surprise; five dancers clad in black slid down the newly polished floor of the runway and grooved away, getting the girls in the audience whooping in delight.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Just a quarter of the studio and turn out New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Models walking too quickly

Reem Acra’s gowns were astonishingly beautiful. The models walked a bit too quickly for me to catch the intricate lace details on my iPhone but you can see them from the designer feature. A lot of different fabrics were used for this collection, from stretch duchess satin, to silk chiffon, to silk gazar. And of course, who could miss the extravagant embroidery and appliqué details? Reem Acra herself closed the show with a dance with the boys down the runway. I really wasn’t expecting that, but I love seeing a designer enjoying herself so much at her own show. See her designer feature for the collection.

There were many shows happening at the same time during the bridal market in NYC. Because I was only going to be in NYC for a few days, I had to plan my time and choose my shows carefully.

I couldn’t miss Marchesa.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Marchesa’s gowns, but the show was just as delightful. It was held in Canoe Studios, one of the largest buildings in Manhattan in the emerging West Chelsea area, which houses many international brand names and overlooks the west side piers.

We were invited to sit at round tables at the back of the studio space. Each seat had a ready flute of bubbly and a cute little cupcake waiting, as well as a set of beautifully designed wedding stationery from a collaboration between Marchesa and Wedding Paper Divas. Of course it made total sense to translate the gown designers’ creations onto print. Nothing feels better than the feeling of luxuriously thick craft paper between your fingers.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Marchesa x Wedding Paper Divas Stationery New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Intricate Chantilly lace

Instead of a normal runway, the models made their way around the tables so we could all take a closer look at the details of the gowns. The Marchesa Spring 2015 had silhouettes for all kinds of brides, but still stuck to their signature aesthetics. You can see draped bodices paired with dramatic ball gowns, or a lace peplum top on a tea-length cocktail dress. Those present were people from the wedding industry, yet you could hear them ooh-ing and aah-ing and holding their phones up to grab a good picture. Just look at how intricate the Chantilly lace details are. Take a closer look at the designers’ gowns at their designer feature.

After the show, I walked to the Chelsea Market via the High Line, which is a linear park built on a section of a disused New York Central Railroad Spur. The repurposing of the park began in 2006, and the neighbourhood, right next to the Meatpacking District, is now bursting with hotels, apartments and lofty office buildings. I really wouldn’t mind working in a building with ceilings as high as these.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Office envy

Anyway, my final destination was Chelsea market, or more importantly, food, and to be even more precise, lobster. The Boss had reminded me that I could still have some fun and spend some money in between work, so what better way to indulge than to have some lobster? It was way past lunch time, but Chelsea market was packed. I decided to grab a picnic box from Lobster Place, and went back up to the High Line Park to sit on one of the benches and enjoy the view of New York from a vantage point.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 The picnic box contained a lobster roll, a soup, a cookie, and a bottle of root beer

Now the Jenny Packham show in the evening was something else altogether. It was held at Industria Superstudio, a photographic and event space that has hosted many other fashion houses. The turn out was huge, and the industrial interior of the studio made the mood really fashionable.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Love the soft silhouette and stunning details New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Huge turn out at Jenny Packham New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Crystal and bead details New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 So many models at this show

Taking inspiration from a series of portraits, known as The Goddesses, photographed by British society photographer Madame Yevonde, Jenny Packham’s 2015 Bridal Collection played with warm blush, caramel, and champagne tones in soft, luxurious fabrics. What made the gowns mesmerizing were the designer’s signature beading patterns in golds, antique silvers and with glittering crystals. Have a look at the gowns in the designer feature and tell me how you could wear one of them and not glide down the aisle feeling like a goddess from a Renaissance painting.

Saturday started really early. The Watters Fall 2014 show was held within the exhibition halls for Couture New York Bridal Fashion Week held at the New York Hilton Midtown. Traffic was zipping madly down the avenues but thankfully, it was just a few subway stations away from my hotel.

Vatana Watters sold her first bridesmaid collection to Neiman Marcus in 1986. Despite being such a veteran in the wedding industry, she has kept one eye on the trends, and the other on her business. The three collections that were being showcased were for three of the labels under her name, which are Watters, Wtoo, and D.I.D by Watters, ranging from upscale, to contemporary styles, to bohemian chic respectively.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Sexy lace back New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Floral lace over blush lining New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Some bridesmaids and special occasion options New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Will playsuits catch on at weddings here?

I like that most of the Watters labels have their own bridesmaids and special occasion outfits that complement the gowns. And the designer’s talent doesn’t stop there. Her other labels include dresses for flower girls, rehearsal dinners, and even for second weddings and mothers. Have a look at Watters’ designer feature for more photos.

After the flurry of gowns, I took the subway back to Herald Square for some last minute (window) shopping. There really is everything there – Macy’s, Sephora, three floors of Victoria’s Secret. I wish I had the time to do more, but just five nights in New York is cutting it very thin. There wasn’t even time for jetlag to set in!

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Finally, some me-time

I took it slow, not spending too much money shopping, and enjoyed excellent food and service at Stella 34 Trattoria on the sixth floor at Macy’s. The interior at the sprawling Italian place is stark white except for some colourful caricatures of Hollywood stars. I sat facing huge bay windows overlooking Herald Square and ordered the Paccheri Napolitana. A nice ending to the whirlwind trip.

But before that, Naeem Khan. I have seen many of the designer’s gorgeous creations on the red carpet and was looking forward to seeing them up close. And see them up close I did.

His studio was just around the corner from my hotel. When I arrived at the venue, the crowd was milling around the lift lobby. We actually waited for quite a while before they let us take the elevator up. I was expecting bright lights and benches, which was the usual at all the shows before, but when the elevator doors opened, it felt like we have stepped into a secret night meeting of fairy queens in a forest.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 The sight that greeted us New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Models looking like heavenly beings New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Jewellery by David Mandel contrasting beautifully with the gown details New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Trying to imagine the kind of work that goes into making these gorgeous gowns

The models were standing regally among floor-to-ceiling birch tree trunks, watching us as we approached them. The markings on the bark of the trees made it seem as if there were thousands of eyes watching us too. What a surreal feeling. The gowns were stunning, and the spotlights made the textures on the gowns stand out even more. Naeem Khan uses very elaborate and daring metallic bullion embroidery, horizontal miuki beading, and laser-cut leather and pearl on the gowns, making them seem almost unlike bridal gowns. Perhaps the closely patterned designs of his embroidered gowns and veils were meant to pay homage to the designer’s Indian heritage. You can see his gowns in all their glory in his designer feature.

The next morning, I made my way to meet Sareh Nouri at The London Hotel, where she was showing her Spring 2015 collection. This was going to be my last preview before I headed back home. It was a very intimate, by-appointment-only session, with a few of us seated on the sofa while Sareh presented her new collection.

New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Look at the amazing three-dimensional details New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Amber (left) and Sareh (right) demonstrating the interchangeable options of her gown designs New York Bridal Fashion Week  April 2014 Sareh’s designs can be as elaborate or as simple

If you’re the romantic kind of bride who wants to have a fairytale wedding, you’ll love Sareh Nouri’s gowns. Putting a modern spin on the princess ball gowns, the collection features ultra feminine ¾ lace sleeves with a keyhole back, portrait necklines with draped ball skirts, and full Alençon lace dresses. You can immediately tell that Sareh was inspired by nature, in the florals that appear on the intricate laces designed by French lace house Sophie Hallette, and also in the satin organza gown named Orchid. Can’t wait to see her new collection.

Gowns like these would make some women want to get married. The editor from another magazine, who sat next to me, certainly found her favourite. “I would wear that if I were to get married again, uh huh,” she whispered, nudging me lightly with her elbow.

Bridal gowns always remind me of wedding feasts, so I was beginning to get hungry. As I left The London Hotel, I glanced longingly at the Gordon Ramsay restaurant, still closed for the afternoon, and made my way to Brooklyn for its famous Sunday Smorgasburg at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The weather was getting warmer, so a lot of us took off our jackets and sweaters as we stood in line in front of all the food stalls and chatted about how we spent our week in NYC. I didn’t get to try the famous Ramen Burger, but I got myself a corndog, a milkshake, and a tan, then headed off to the JFK International Airport.