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Apparel and accessories

Instagram is influencing bridal market trends

March 28, 2019

Chiara Ferragni wore two Dior gowns. Image credit: Dior


The way that brides- and grooms-to-be plan and envision their wedding has evolved, as social media provides both inspiration and the impetus to achieve Instagram-worthy shots.

According to data from Lyst, in an effort to be on-trend and photo-ready, both brides and wedding guests are spending more on their dresses, with 23 percent of brides opting for two looks for their big day. Meanwhile, social media engagement around nuptials is eclipsing holidays such as Christmas, based on activity surrounding hashtags.

"From hashtag generators to novelty props, Instagram has transformed the way a couple plans for a wedding," said Camilla Clarkson, communications manager at Lyst, London. "Their big day is now considered a peak personal branding opportunity, a time for them to highlight their own unique identity.

"But it isn’t just this ‘Insta-worthy' identity that the channel encourages," she said. "It is also a unique source of inspiration for couples, a place where florists, rings, dresses, venues and caterers, for all kinds of occasions, can be found and compared.

"It’s no wonder that The Knot recently reported an increase in the average time spent planning for a wedding to 13.6 months. When you’re continually comparing so many elements, as well as against those of friends and celebrity influencers, who wouldn’t be driven to an unhealthy quest for perfection?"

Fashion moments

Brides and grooms today take more time to plan their weddings.

One of the key sources of inspiration is social media, as consumers get ideas from other couples through hashtags. This includes both Instagram-famous and lesser known individuals.

For instance, a viral social media post of a bride and her bridesmaids wearing dresses with pockets helped the trend climb. Searches for pocketed gowns were up 83 percent in the last half year, thanks also to celebrity red carpet choices.

The red carpet is also leading to a growth in searches for jeweled headpieces. Actress Rachel Weisz wore a headband fashioned from two Cartier broaches to the Oscars, and searches for diamond headpieces spiked 78 percent the following week.

Instagram post from Cartier

Hot pink is a hot color for guests, while white suits are also gaining traction.

Brides are opting for comfort, as searches for white sneakers with sparkly embellishments or customization are up 61 percent from last year.

The bride’s "something old" may also be her dress, with Lyst seeing a 93 percent lift in page views of pre-owned dresses. The search terms “vintage” and “secondhand” have jointly risen 42 percent, pointing to the circular economy’s potential disruption of bridal dressing.

"Sustainability has recently become a hot topic in the fashion world, and brides haven’t turned a blind eye to the issue," said Morgane Le Carer, insights reporter at Lyst. "Secondhand wedding dresses are appealing for a number of reasons, from the wish to do better when it comes to shopping habits, to the search for a unique, vintage look.

"Of course, secondhand gowns are also a great way to be able to get your hands on the designer dress of your dreams without having to spend all your wedding budget on it," she said. "As searches for sustainable fashion keep growing, the bridal business is undoubtedly going to be seeing changes happen, and I’m looking forward to seeing designers and boutiques offer a more eco-friendly approach to bridal fashion."

One trend for jewelers to take note of is the rise of the male engagement ring, which was worn by music artist Ed Sheeran. Searches for these rings have risen 66 percent year-over-year.

Along with celebrity dressing on the red carpet, consumers are being influenced by famous nuptials both elaborate and low-key.

For instance, Princess Eugenie’s Peter Pilotto gown for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank has inspired consumers to get their own backless dresses, with searches doubling.


View this post on Instagram


The Wedding Dress Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress has been designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, who founded the British based label Peter Pilotto in London in 2007. The brand is known for its innovative textile design, paired with a modern feminine silhouette. Princess Eugenie met the designers when she was co hosting an event in support of the Artemis Council for Women Artists. Princess Eugenie has been wearing designs by the brand for several years, which led to the decision to work with the designers on the dress for her wedding day. Princess Eugenie, Mr Pilotto and Mr De Vos have worked closely together on the design of the dress. The pair undertook archive research into previous dresses worn by Members of the Royal Family and identified a silhouette. During several fittings the dress was developed layer by layer constructing it from the corset and the complex underskirt to the fitted bodice and full pleated skirt. The dress features a neckline that folds around the shoulders to a low back that drapes into a flowing full length train. The low back feature on the dress was at the specific request of Princess Eugenie who had surgery aged 12 to correct scoliosis. The Fabric The fabric was designed by Mr Pilotto and Mr De Vos at their studio in East London and includes a number of symbols that are meaningful to Princess Eugenie as motifs. The symbols are a Thistle for Scotland, The Shamrock for Ireland, The York Rose for England and The Ivy representing the couple's home. Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos have reinterpreted these symbols in a garland of rope like motifs, woven into a jacquard of silk, cotton and viscose blend. Once the artwork was completed, it was translated into a Jacquard weave in the Como region. The result is a very modern looking fabric using a highly intricate weaving technique.

A post shared by PETER PILOTTO (@peterpilotto) on Oct 13, 2018 at 6:14am PDT

Instagram post from Peter Pilotto

Meanwhile, the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has boosted the profile of Stella McCartney. After dressing the bride for the reception, the label launched a bridal collection later last year (see story).

Today, Stella McCartney is among the top three most searched for wedding dress designers.

Ralph Lauren similarly received attention after designing the custom outfits for Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ wedding. Searches for Ralph Lauren wedding gowns were up 906 percent in the day following the wedding.

Vivienne Westwood also gained prominence after Miley Cyrus wore the label’s dress to her low-key wedding to Liam Hemsworth, with searches rising 169 percent.

Dior and Prada were among the luxury labels that got enhanced attention for their role in celebrity influencer Chiara Ferragni’s wedding.

The Blonde Salad founder Ms. Ferragni got married to rapper Fedez, birth name Federico Leonardo Lucia, in September 2018 in an affair that Launchmetrics found created $36 million in media impact value. Dior drove 15 percent of the total MIV, with $5.2 million in earned media (see story).

Millennial marriages

The wedding industry is flourishing, propelled by the growing population of millennials reaching marriageable age.

About one in five couples’ wedding budgets top $1 million, with spend on luxury apparel and accessories part of their plans for their big days, according to a recent report from Fashionbi (see story).

Keeping this modern bride in mind, magazines are changing how they present wedding planning ideas.

As many media companies are closing the doors of established publications due to the shift in content consumption, Hearst is extending its Harper's Bazaar brand into the bridal segment with an innovative business model.

Bazaar Bride is a multi touch-point publication that goes beyond content production and product guides. The subscription-based hub delivers weekly mini-magazine editions on all things wedding related, but also provides interactive services such as masterclasses, deals on partner products, additional Web site content, a members-only video series and other unique resources (see story).