The Wedding Edition sat down with the women behind Pronovias at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week
What Does The Modern Bride Want?
No one knows the answer to this question more than the brains behind Pronovias Bridal, the international bridal juggernaut which has been ahead of the pack since 1922. ‘And we want to stay that way,’ says the brand’s CEO Armandine Ohayon. ‘I am obsessed with keeping us, not only on trend but ahead of them. It is why we take out inspiration from fashion and not bridal trends. We know our clients are women who look there for their own inspiration, after all.’
We meet at Barcelona Bridal Fashion week, the wedding industry’s main sartorial event, at which Pronovias Bridal is the undeniable heavy hitter. Ohayon is talking with me just hours before the latest collection will be unveiled (ahem) to the public. If she’s nervous, she doesn’t seem it, but why should she be, after all? The woman successfully steered the company through the pandemic and beyond, by keeping her finger on the pulse of what the evolving bride wants.
‘You have to be inside a bride’s mind, to design bridal,’ agrees Alessandra Rinaudo, Pronovias’s creative director. ‘Designing a wedding dress, it is a totally different world to designing ready to wear. An evening gown can be for many special occasions, but a wedding gown is for one day. It is not ‘a’ dress, it is ‘THE’ dress, it is so important to her, and so you design around her, for her.’
Inspired By Global Events
Whilst centred on the bride, Pronovias’s latest collection is nonetheless inspired by global events. Both Ohayon and Rinaudo detail how the freedom to properly travel again, after two to three torturous years of the pandemic, was the starting point for Voyages, their 2024 Haute Couture offering, the invites for which (rather neatly) were mini passports. ‘The world is such a beautiful place and we have been able to experience it again,’ says Rinaudo. ‘That is why the seasons are also an inspiration for the collection; the coolness of winter in the jewels and beading of some dresses, and spring and summer for the bold, big and floral pieces.’
A Brilliant Embodiment Of The Vision Of These Women
Set to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, the catwalk show was a brilliant embodiment of the vision of these women. Rinaudo’s carefully crafted designs took us through ice-cold, sleek and crystal-embellished body-con gowns that shimmered like a frozen lake, through to simple, floating looks with chic fashion-forward cutouts and sheer draped sleeves, right up to floating ball gowns replete with lace and floral motifs, and off-the-shoulder tulle, which danced across the runway like the petals of a blooming summer garden. There was something for everyone – the minimal bride, the glamazon, the traditionalist and the avant garde (see their unfurling petal show-stopper, which transformed into a dazzling bodysuit).
‘That is how you must design a bridal collection, for every type of bride,’ says Rinaudo. ‘We are not just about a mermaid silhouette or a ballgown, it is all about having a wide selection to choose from.’ Said selection also reflects the ever-shifting approach to weddings – frequently necessitating more than one dress. ‘There are ceremony dresses and party dresses,’ she says. ‘It’s more and more common that we are providing multiple looks across a weekend of events for a client, from traditional religious moments to cool, modern events.’
Promoting Femininity In All Its Forms
There were indeed several pieces which fit that description; A-line spotlight grabbers and strapless gowns sitting alongside backless slip dresses which could make for a stunning rehearsal dinner look or afterparty dress. Not only that, but the show itself featured increased diversity in its models. ‘That is a bit of a statement, and I think it makes the show really special,’ says Ohayon. ‘It is promoting femininity in all its forms.’
A Bride Tells Her Story Through What She Wears
This seeps through the Voyages collection, the idea of the dresses not just serving as beautiful creations (though they are certainly that) but as framing devices for the individual identity of each bride. More so than shifting mores and codes and locations of weddings, this concept is what Rinaudo in particular sees as a determining factor in designing bridal fashion today. ‘The modern bride sees her dress – and her wedding as a whole – as an expression of who she is and how she chooses to express her love to the world,’ says Rinaudo. ‘That is what I am responding to; how a bride tells her story through what she wears.’
Rinaudo has a keen understanding of her clients’ needs, as well as nuanced advice for any brides just beginning the journey of finding ‘The One.’ ‘Before you look at anything, really understand who you are and who you want to be on the day,’ she says. ‘Oh, and bring with you someone who you trust and someone who respects you. They will help you really find the right dress.’
When it happens at a Pronovias Bridal store, Rinaudo describes it as the best feeling and the ultimate endorsement of her designs. ‘Each time a bride chooses us,’ she takes a deep breath. ‘I mean wow, it makes me so happy.’
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