Photo: Courtesy of Houghton Bride Atelier
So the idea of shimmying into a classic wedding dress makes you cringe... In Manhattan, you're definitely not alone! These NYC bridal storefronts are the key to the non-"basic" bride's heart. From crop tops to caftans, they carry all the awesome pieces you'll need to say "I do" with style.
Houghton Bride Atelier
Houghton is what happens when muses like Katherine Hepburn and Bianca Jagger are channeled in a bridal collection. Stylish, sexy and non-traditional in the most on-point way, designer Katherine Polk's dresses, suits, separates and accessories are strong and confident with a hint of cool-girl chic not present in other lines. Case in point: This season's runway show in a Bethune Street loft channeled a gypsy retreat, complete with weathered white tents, layered rugs, grooms in man bun, and a bulldog mascot to boot.
Polk shows her line by private appointment in her West Chelsea studio.
A breath of fresh air in a very high-priced market, Selia Yang's expansive designs hit a wedding-budget sweet spot of about $2,200 and feature a range of silhouettes that span nearly every bridal style. From the ornate and embellished, to the simple and chic, the common denominator in this collection is Yang herself — she sketches, pins and sews her own creations, forming a unique and well-appreciated bond with her brides. Read real brides' reviews here!
Delphine Manivet's bridal collection has that certain French je ne sais quoi, a just-can't-pinpoint-it mix of playful youth and grace that makes for some seriously stunning bridal designs. Her first stateside atelier on the Upper East Side draws fashionable girls who crave an effortlessly cool and romantic look (think flirty crop tops and full, tea-length skirts, with an emphasis on silk, chiffon and lace), an aesthetic the designer herself says is for girls who "want to look like themselves, but prettier" on their wedding day.
Sarah Seven's collection of ethereal flowing gowns grew a quick cult following when the line launched in 2009. The indie label currently balances bridesmaid dresses and a tight-knit ready to wear collection alongside its distinct brand of wedding dresses, focusing on romantic silhouettes and luxe, fluid fabrics. A recent Sarah Seven runway show at the Gramercy Park Hotel showcased watercolor print hi-low skirts, caftan style gowns and crop tops to rival the NYFW runways — i.e. perfect threads for the brand-proclaimed key customer who "seeks beauty, loves love and drinks champagne at abandon."
Who knew New York's hottest furrier was also an esteemed bridal gown designer? Socialites and celebrities, that's who! NYC glitterati gravitate toward Mendel's fabulously fluid and gorgeously draped gowns for weddings and social events, all giving a stylish nod to notable fashion eras — from Grecian to Deco and Art Nouveau. Not quite sure what your little bridal heart desires? The atelier also is known for creating completely couture designs, which are just as popular for the mother of the bride as they are for avant guarde brides-to-be.