Down the Aisle: 4 Brands Pioneering Contemporary Bridal Designs

Delicate craftsmanship, handstitched gowns, silk bows, and lace rosettes urge us to say “I do”. Embracing the beauties of less is more, contemporary silhouettes have enveloped the bridal scene, spotlighting alternative styles and motifs. A creative appetite for lightweight, unorthodox, breathable fashion choices inform the latest bridal trends, powered by explorative textures and design. Here we spotlight the brands to watch this season and beyond.

Sandy Liang

Sandy Liang: photo courtesy of Sandy Liang.

Sandy Liang debuted her first bridal capsule collection in 2022, seamlessly entering the bridal sphere following the designer’s engagement announcement. Intentionally positioning the label to reflect her life, the New York City-based brand follows Liang’s memories and milestones backdropped against the Manhattan skyline. Growing up in Bayside, Queens, Liang notoriously pulls inspiration from the layers of her childhood; whether it’s playful silk bows and Polly pockets or a renaissance painting at the MET, all facets of nostalgia come into place to support Liang’s creative vision. Harmoniously, an underlying layer of humour is present across her work, with a still from Will & Grace and Caravaggio on her mood board—nodding to the lax and playful approach that seeps through all her garments.

Adding that downtown flair to the bridal fashion scene, her debut bridal collection included gowns and veil offerings catering to the alternative bride. In September, Sandy Liang showcased her Spring 2024 collection, which offered insight into contemporary bridal possibilities that aligned bridal attire with everyday wardrobe choices. A contradicting veil and miniskirt combo jets the runway with an exaggerated signature silk bow to tie the look together and offer chic “off-duty” bride synergies. With each piece created by the designer, Sandy Liang redefines the uniform for the downtown princess.


Hai: photo courtesy of Hai.

While designing her wedding dress, the founder and creative director of London-based label Hai, Tess Vermeulen, decided now was the perfect time to bring her dreamy bridal visions to life. Anchored towards honouring the beauty of crafted materials like silk and stretching the possibilities of the fabric through experimentation, Hai creates intentional designs that the wearer can return to more than once. Hai pushes a sustainable notion of continuous use, even if it’s a wedding dress. Uniquely, they are repositioning the wedding dress as a wardrobe staple instead.

A minimal, made-to-order lineup of nine pieces, Hai’s bridal collection holds a piece for every bride or wedding calibre. Nestled between elegant and playful, Hai’s ready-to-wear pieces, like the little silk bags, were incorporated into weddings long before an official bridal collection was released. Hai’s pieces were already favoured amongst brides, making the extension a natural evolution. “We’ve loved experimenting with different styles and really exploring what makes this collection unique to us,” says Vermeulen.

Today, pieces like the Mia dress of Dupion silk offer the signature Hai embodiment. Or pieces like the Lena dress, a sheer, lightweight and romantic lace dress, nod to the vintage bride look. Completing the line are accessory offerings. The Nelly veil is a glamorous two-tier veil featuring a ruffled edge, and the Rosette gloves, made from floral tulle lace, tie the collection together for the perfect touch of daintiness.


&FORLOVE: photo courtesy of &FORLOVE.

&FORLOVE was founded in 2014 by two longtime friends, Angel Spendlove and Lisa Blunt, who hoped to add a splash of rebellion to bridal fashion. Tired of traditional bridal rules, the duo played with the perception of what bridal fashion can look like when challenging the norms—layering authentic style with non-traditional materials like micro sequins and geometric lace. With all production in Canada, the slow-fashion brand sustainably donates a tree through One Tree Planet for every dress sold. It offers a gown that extends its impact beyond the wedding ceremony and with a memory planted forever.

For the 2024 collection, the duo took to the shores of O’ahu, Hawaii. The tropical landscape was the perfect backdrop for the collection, aptly named “Surfrider.” The collection poetically evokes a desire for sun-soaked romance and channels the duo’s admiration with the beach. Offering femininity with an intimate edge, gowns are made from pure silk, shimmering sequins, and crepe-back satin, painting the enchanted image of a beachy bride with her toes in the sand. Iridescent sequins mimic the reflective waters of the sea, and unusual pairings of an exposed back and puffed sleeves make for the perfect masterpiece for a bride wanting something slightly rebellious but elegantly tasteful.


Monvieve: photo courtesy of Monvieve.

Monvieve delivers deeply artistic and visually inclined haute couture collections of bridal accessories like veils, headpieces, and headbands. Delicately crafted and fresh off the couture runway, Monvieve pulls inspiration from global subcultures and merges veiling, millinery and couture textile arts to reveal captivating and emotive pieces.

Entirely handmade in Italy and France by master artisans, Monvieve’s underlying philosophy is originality. This ethos enacts a level of intentionality and deliberate detailing that elicits imagination. With pieces revealed during Paris Couture Week, their headpiece collection of veils revisits horsehair and delicate materials with distinct old-world Italian craftsmanship. Misty colourways of blushed ivories and pale metallics offer tulle in breathtaking arrangements to exude sophistication. The timelessness of the pieces extends beyond modern elegance and is meant to be viewed as an artistic heirloom passed down through generations.