Vera Wang is on the cusp of 30 years in the bridal business–and she’s still up for exploration. In seasons past, that meant a deep dive into the ball gown silhouette evocative of today’s royal wedding mania; or a jaunt into the fountain of youth. But this season, it’s about modernity and color–lots and lots of color. It’s a surprising notion that the inventor of modern day bridal is consistently looking to evolve, experiment and explore–but Vera Wang refuses to rest on her well-deserved laurels.
For Spring 2019, Wang is dipping back into an inspiration that she’s familiar with, and that resulted in a CFDA award in 2005–Flemish painters (think Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring). While the color palette of her 12-piece Spring 2019 Bride collection may seem like it’s derived from a highlight reel of her bridal seasons past (Wang has debuted gowns in nude, black, scarlet, plum, violet and more in bridal seasons past to much industry controversy), this season feels different.
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“This was another experimentation for me within the bridal vocabulary, and I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that, now more than ever, given the state of where most businesses are in luxury, I wanted to feel I could take more chances,” Wang shared exclusively with BAZAAR.com. Those risks, for Wang, meant an emphasis on hand-craftsmanship and revisiting the classic corsets and ball gown silhouettes she’s best known for. “The hand dying and dipping and painting was all deliberate,” she says, “the handwork on all the clothing was very important. Even the use of tulle, and to create the wrinkled tulle…its all all hand-done. It’s the time to bring that kind of handcrafted work back, rather than only present a commercial solution.”
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According to Wang, her techniques may appear to be “piles of tulle,” but given that tulle is a signature for this label, she knows how to work it. Per Vera, it was about “seeing which layers should be layered on top of one another, which colors should go under which layers,” she explained. “It’s way more studied than just a full skirt. Rather than a ballgown or princess tulle–I wanted a sense of movement.”
Wang does best in reinterpreting and reinventing archaic styles and silhouettes into something that feels appropriate for present day–whether it be a regal era in it’s prime (like her collection based off royals in English history or aristocratic Spain) or a riff on Ballet Russe skirts this season. “We technically messed with the tulle; it’s chemically pleated, deconstructed,” says Wang. Those signature ball skirts sit in contrast with “disciplined” corseted bodices. “Things being too precise in the skirt make gowns feel stiff and old fashioned–I wanted texture.”
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Even with her uses of bridal white (or lack there of), Wang is happy to take risks–but the brands use of color for bridal is not unique to this season. The newness for Spring 2019 lies in how the colors sit and work together, while still feeling light, airy and unpretentious. “There is always nude involved–it’s like underwear or skin–mixed with color. Not just one red or plum or purple, but nuances of color,” she says.
And when it comes to embracing a range of color, size, scale, and style, Vera acknowledges her desire to curate diversity, versatility and individuality within the bridal vernacular and fashion as a whole. “Years ago I had same sex brides in ads, I had diversity–not only in age, but in race and nationality, and I think that this casting wasn’t only about celebrating individuality. They’re all different kinds of women with different kinds of skin color, hair, etc. That was very deliberate and part of what made the collection–it’s thematic, and not by accident.”
It seems, per usual, that Wang is not only acutely tapped in to what women want now–but what women will want to wed moving forward. Her thoughts? A mix of “hyper femininity and sensuality,” and a palette of color that didn’t fall flat, where you could “feel the transparency.” This is sex appeal meets saturated color–but don’t fret if you’re missing the standard, classic bridal white. Wang plans to translate all of these looks into shades of ivory, alabaster, stark white and antique white. Rather than stick to the classics this season, Wang explains that along with challenging herself and taking risks, her collection is “less formulaic and meant to strike a chord.” And that it did.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.