After working in the bridal retail industry for 20 years, Flora Petakas found that a key segment of her customers were at best underserved and at worst ignored.
“When the bride’s dress was completed, [dress] Having made the decision, the mother came to me and asked, in private, away from the bride and not taking any time from her engagement, “Where can I go?” There was no correct answer. ”
The wedding dress shopper’s trusted best friend, often the mother (semantics will be explained later), peruses understated evening wear in department stores, visits boutiques in person, and browses the vast selection online. You can filter the ocean and so on. However, more often than not, the products are uninspiring.
“It’s really boring and very dated. I did the research,” says Daniela Jassir of Francesca Miranda. The marketing director of a Columbia-based luxury bridal and evening wear house points to another reason the industry isn’t catering to this demographic.
Never mind that this overlooked consumer group (mostly Gen X women) is ready to consume. In 2018, a study by The Coca-Cola Company and Mass Her Mutual found that a group of American women over the age of 50 held more than $15 trillion of her purchasing power. forbes We call this cohort “superconsumers…the healthiest, richest, most active generation in history.” Yet this group is commonly ignored by marketers in favor of the coveted millennial and his Gen Z.
Glittering white spaces, combined with the Great Wedding Boom of 2022, created a golden opportunity for Petakas. “With this inadvertent demand, we were going to have a flood of weddings,” she says.
After two years of pandemic planning, Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier alum opened Flora in Madison in April. Bridal Sharing a space with her Anne Barge for her brand (and synergistic clientele), the boutique not only showcases her chic and trendy black tie fashions, but also her valued advisors who are usually featured. It is also the destination for a luxurious in-person shopping experience. as “Mother of the Bride”.
In 2022, we’ll have to deal with terms that feel limiting.Aunties, close family friends, and future in-laws are left out. It sexizes the engaged couple. Narrow your marketing (and sales opportunities).
“‘Mother of the bride’ is a term that becomes less relevant as traditional norms continue to be redefined, not only when it comes to family and relationships, but also gender and identity,” said a senior at WGSN Fashion. Strategist Laura Yiannakou writes on e. – Mail.
Agreeing that the term is “obsolete” and “obsolete,” Petacus tested “event wear” and “occasion wear” as category descriptors while testing broader nomenclature such as “event hostess.” has focused on According to the publication’s senior fashion and beauty editor, Sherri Brown, the knot, like the rest of the industry, is a gender-neutral “honorary companion,” “best person,” and “best man.” I am using “Attendant”.
But of course, “Many people who consider themselves ‘mothers of the bride’ are so proud of it the minute they walk through the door,” said the designer of Pantra Bridal (and last year’s Making the Cut). ‘ winner) says Andrea. Pitter.
‘Mother of the Bride’ seems to continue to be the catch-all term for the formal wear category, which is experiencing a surge in interest and demand in line with the 2.6 million weddings expected this year. As of June 2022, Google searches for “mother of the bride” and “dress” have reached all-time highs, up 20% from 2021. The phrase is searched four times more than her for “mother of the groom” from 2004 to present.
That said, the style choices are only evolving (and slowly) to suit the tastes and preferences of grown-up money and discerning super-consumers. trend and MTV (and later gathering style inspiration from the Internet and Instagram).
“They know a lot about fashion. They do research,” says Petacus. “Having said that, ten years ago, [clients would say,] ‘Dress me up. ‘ that is No what i have now. ”
“Historically, the ‘mother’ vibe was a story of the colors champagne, blue and silver, often very traditional… covered with an understated bolero.” “Now they’re really operating from the ‘you only live once’ place and they’re definitely sexier than ever.”
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Recently, mothers and guests of honor have been drawn to Pantora’s bridesmaid designs, which feature draped gleaming fabrics, sweetheart necklines, high leg slits and peek-a-boo cutouts. Petakas customers also want a more “body-conscious” silhouette. The stigma of “what to wear” special guests from previous generations has also evolved along with society and the cohort itself.
“With body acceptance and age acceptance, they live their lives [best] Pitter says her mother wore a strapless, all-beaded Pantra Maid gown to the red carpet event. Generation X and millennials are serious about breaking the rules. Breaking the rules lets you tell a story for yourself. ”
In addition to traditional etiquette and relaxation of expectations from couples, the collective pandemic-fueled desire to celebrate important occasions may also encourage relaxation, or lack thereof, of strict dress codes. .
“In the past, the idea was that the ‘mother of the bride’ clothing had to be very conservative, understated, and understated. Now, people are really free to express themselves.” , I don’t feel the need to fade into the background.”
Petakas says her clients are looking for some sort of self-expression element (such as texture or eye-catching embellishments) to convey their significance at the wedding party. At her event she wears a black dress. Madison’s Flora covers a range of high-end designer labels and aesthetics, from Athens-based Costarelos’ Greek goddesses and red-carpet glamor to Jemmy Maaloof’s gorgeous, sculptural ball gowns.
Galia Lahav’s design director, Sharon Sever, recognizes that the clientele of “Mother of the Bride” has become “bolder.” They’re now interested in ethereal, flowy gowns with “twists” like statement sleeves, longer dramatic trains, and high-leg slits. Clothing maison known for dazzling embellishments, sexy silhouettes and body-baring details.
WGSN’s Yiannakou said the intentions behind traditional products are also “a far cry” from demographic consumer behavior. “They don’t want to shop for a single event, they are instead driven by quality and longevity. Items that they can wear again and replace with existing items in their wardrobe.” she says.
Jassir of Francesca Miranda says her bespoke Gen X clients are drawn to monochromatic luxe silks and taffetas. [in the future].”
Since Spring 2022, Amsale has continued to revitalize and exponentially grow its Occasion Wear products at its Madison Avenue flagship store, primarily in direct response to inquiries from attendees (usually mothers). . “Wedding guests were really struggling with where to buy these fashionable dresses,” says Chief Her Creative Her Officer Sarasuan.
Until this year, Heritage Design House, founded by the late Ethiopian-American designer Amser Abella, offered a small capsule of evening wear. Demand has been so high, especially for the big wedding season, that Swan and head designer Mika Cho have expanded the Fall 2022 collection from 25 to 50 “statement” looks. Eye-catching shades like bold fuchsia and “really bright lime moire,” Swan says excitedly.
Amsale’s marketing for Fall 2022 also speaks directly to its knowledgeable and fashion-hungry target audience through a stylized lookbook. Garzy, dramatic lighting and editorialized photography captures, for example, his watercolour-like beaded halter midi dress and wide legs exposing his rich emerald shoulders as he jumps and his suit moves. To do.
“Let’s shoot in the highest and most beautiful way so that people are like, ‘Wow, what is this? I want to see more,'” Swan says, recalling the creative process. “It also caters to large groups of people. Design inspiring dresses that people want to come see and try on.”
A high-profile example, Victoria Beckham wore one of her own collections for her son’s Brooklyn wedding in a slinky gunmetal slip dress with shimmering floral French lace embroidery. Updated and made headlines (she also wore it at Edward Enninful’s wedding. ), you don’t have to be a former Spice Girl or a world-famous fashion designer.
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