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    John Guerrero

    "I don't want to over intellectualize it," Vera Wang tells me as she delves into the detail and influence behind her latest bridal collection. I urge her to press on—bridal design, after all, isn't usually conceptual or overwhelmingly inspired, and is rarely considered beyond its marketability. Fortunately for fashion lovers and brides worldwide, Vera Wang isn't a merchandiser. "Nobody needs me to do that," she says. "I hopefully bring an artistic point of view, a freedom, and [this season], a lightness and a bit of mystery."

    The Spring 2020 bridal collection marks the beginning of Vera Wang's 30th year in bridal, and she's shared an exclusive first look of the season's 16 new gowns with BAZAAR Bride. While most tend to bring back their brand's signature styles in an anniversary year, it doesn't seem that Wang is content with just looking at the rearview mirror as she celebrates the upcoming milestone. Rather than simply recycling her own archive, Vera Wang's bridal point of view is consistently evolving.

    The designer speaks with the sophistication of an art historian, complemented with the irreverence of a renegade. "It's flower mad," she says. "This season is about enchantment. The dresses all have very different angles, which you cannot capture entirely in a [single photograph]. Each dress has different perspectives and volumes from every angle, and a deliberate play on asymmetry. It’s a more cubist, Picasso point of view, and about looking at [the clothes] from 360 degrees."

    Wang and her atelier used florals in a myriad of ways, rather than as simple appliqués. Hand-crafted blooms double as collars, sleeves, arm bands, petticoats, peplums, and corsages—all in different colors and scales. "It’s a blend of silhouettes, fabrics, colors, flowers," she says. "There's a lot of design freedom in the randomness, but it's deliberate randomness. A lot of the tints of the dresses are achieved through veiling and layering; we used veiling as [a method of] discovery, where you're seeing the bodices through tulle...its more of an unveiling, like a blossom."

    One could easily dismiss florals as an overused inspiration in weddings and bridal, but Wang used it to delve deeper into a more free-spirited take on wedding dressing. The collection sits in contrast to her royal-inspired Fall 2019 collection, which incorporated gilded laces, regal collars, and tiaras set askew atop austere head-to-toe looks that were a "riff on formal portraiture...a groovy royalty; Camelot meets Elizabeth II."

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    Vera Wang Bride Fall 2019
    Courtesy

    In a world where brides are purchasing multiple looks and changing one or more times per event, Wang examines an aesthetic this season where one gown can showcase multiple personalities. "No matter where you are—in front, behind, from the side—the gown contrasts in texture, tonality, and proportions." Simple it is not, but this collection feels effortless all the same.

    When asked where she feels she fits into the bridal world after almost 30 years, Vera Wang is keen to continue evolving, pushing boundaries, and thinking of bridal as it should be considered—as fashion. She is immediately reminded of her best friend's daughter, who opted to wear her Zoya gown down the aisle, a flaming red and hot pink ball gown with a plunging neckline, rather than any traditional ivory confection. "I'm looking for girls that should be in this millennium...raised to be modern, be herself, and think for herself. Her idea for her wedding gown is a bit of a 'fuck you' in the sweetest of ways. I think women deserve other alternatives, real care, real thought, real quality, not the status quo—and not what merchandisers want."

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