It’s no secret that the bridal market has long been dominated by some very particular names. But over the past few years, Danielle Frankel has quickly become a rising star in the category, known for her sumptuous and elaborate but unfussy wedding gowns and bridal creations, all of which are thoroughly modern while still giving off that certain romantic and elusive je ne sais quoi that brides seek out.
Perhaps that’s why shoe designer Manolo Blahnik chose to work with Frankel on his latest collaboration, partnering with Frankel on a series of silky sleek heels to complement her equally luxe fall ’21 bridal collection.
As wedding season finally begins to ramp up again, the bridal designer caught up with FN to talk about the collab, designing wedding gowns with a ready-to-wear mentality and how brides are looking to dress now.
How did the collaboration with Manolo Blahnik come about?
“We met before the pandemic. Things slowed down a bit once we were in lockdown, but as we were developing the new collection, we reengaged and the timing seemed right. So many of our clients look to Manolo for their shoes, so it seemed like a very natural partnership for us and I think given their craftsmanship and the aesthetic it really felt like we were both on the same page in terms of what we wanted the styles to look like.”
How did you choose the silhouettes and details of the shoes?
“I really wanted to play with texture and color and technique. My clients are gravitating towards texture in the new (fall ’21) collection. There are crystal chains, and we added these pearl anklets. They were ways for us to merge our two labels. I didn’t want to go that classic route with the shoe that everyone else wears. I wanted to do something that was appropriate for us and for our point of view and perspective.”
Why did you move to a ready-to-wear calendar for fall ’21?
“Bridal Week in April 2020 was the fashion week that wasn’t, so we really missed a full year. When we came back to the studio, we started designing something new, and that’s what fall ’21 is. It is by far our most successful and strongest collection. Our clientele are women who are getting married, that is who is purchasing from us for the most part. But the garments are definitely leaning more towards a ready-to-wear and evening wear aesthetic. You don’t have to be a bride to wear the collection. But if you are getting married, it’s a really fresh take on what bridal could look like and I think that’s why we have been able to succeed at a difficult time, because we have this very specific aesthetic for brides.”
What is the mindset of today’s bride?
“We hear so much of, ‘We are going through with the wedding, regardless.’ It’s a time for her to get dressed, she is still very much having a wedding — even if it’s just going to City Hall. That woman still wants to feel like a bride.”
How have brides changed since the pandemic?
“I’ve noticed a lot more flexibility and willingness to purchase virtually. Before the pandemic there was a lot of hesitancy on making a remote order. Now a lot more people are open to it. We take our appointments in so many different ways and I think it’s helped us. People are (also) open to color, more than ever. Silhouette wise, we have a specific thing that a woman will come to us for, whether it’s a sleeve silhouette or a backless detail. I think there is consistency with that. But people are open to trying new things that maybe they weren’t open to before.”
Do brides still want to wear heels?
“That will not go away! Maybe the beach bride got rid of (their heels). But I think people are definitely still sticking to a heel.”