10 Australian Bridal Designers We Love

Fashion Week

Aussie labels are having a moment with modern-day brides, here’s why

As someone who spent three years in the bridal industry, I tend to become a very popular date come engagement season. Friends and acquaintances seek me out for lunch or dinner under the pretense of "picking my brain" and getting my "expert opinion." And while topics usually include inquiries into whether I think mailed wedding invitations are necessary in our digital age and which side I'm on in the band versus DJ debate, most recently, the question that has come up among my bride friends has been one I haven't answered hundreds of times: What do I think about Australian designers?

Relative newcomers to the wedding fashion scene, Australian bridal designers are currently having a moment Stateside, particularly with millennials. Avant-garde and ahead-of-the-curve in comparison to the traditional-leaning American and European designers, Aussies are appealing to brides who want to march down the aisle to the beat of their own "Canon in D," in dresses that fulfill nuptial requirements without screaming, "I am a bride!"

"Australian designers offer gowns that steer away from the traditional all while keeping it bridal," confirms Giselle Dubois, co-founder of Manhattan's Spina Bride that carries Australian favorites like Dan Jones and Lola Varma. "Our brides really appreciate that and have commented positively when comparing [Australian designers] against the industry."

There is also the fact that the designs, in keeping with the country's easygoing way of life, are also no-fuss in silhouettes and styles, which is appealing to a growing number of wedding couples who are now looking to have more laid-back weddings, ones where they may lose a formal sit-down dinner in favor of passed hors d'oeuvres and a local food truck. "I think that Australian brides have always leaned non-traditional and fashion-forward, so typical bridal gowns just never connected for them. Big ballgowns don't translate to outdoor/beach weddings, so the designers there really listened to that and got inspired by that woman," says Christy Baird, founder of California's LOHO Bride salons that carry Aussie labels like Bo&Luca and Suzanne Harward. 

When asked why they're suddenly popular in the State, she points to social media: "Once Instagram came out, it became easier for American women to idealize this vibe. This resulted in more stores taking interest in carrying Australian designers, so now they're more easily accessible!" And while Baird's accurate, in that Down Under bridal designs have always been around, they're still a novelty in the States—which can also explain their current appeal with an age group that prizes a one-of-a-kind aesthetic over a popular one. "Australian designers are not oversaturated in the [Stateside] market, they are not easily available. The cool bride likes the adventure of seeking out their dream dress. She is looking for something her friends have not worn, something less traditional, a statement piece for her special day," says Dubois. "Australian bridal style is fashion-forward, cutting-edge, and seeks out the cool bride," says Dubois. Only now the cool bride is seeking it out too.

With the current generation more mindful of the need for sustainable fashion, modern brides also don't see the point of a dress that will be worn only once, walking away from princess gowns of marshmallow proportions and looking for sleek dresses that are wedding-appropriate rather than wedding-specific. Baird points out that Australian designers, inspired by ready-to-wear, typically buck all sartorial traditions—and invite their customers to do the same. "We've seen a lot of this in Aussie RTW, so it makes sense that we would see the same resonate in bridal," adds Baird, who currently has her eyes on Australian RTW designers like Dion Lee and AQAQ. 

In addition to being fashion-forward and unconventional, Australian designs are also meticulously made. "The types of silhouettes that these designers create, in combination with the fabrics, is so hard to achieve. They use top-quality fabrics and their workmanship is amazing," says Dubois. Baird seconds that sentiment: "I think it's that mix that's harder to accomplish than you might imagine—cool factor mixed with flattering cuts done at high-quality," says Baird. "That combination is dynamite, and our girl really strives for that!"

So, in short, to answer the question posed to me earlier by my friends, I love Australian bridal designers. Particularly, the 10 brands in the gallery, below.

Lola Varma
Described by Baird as "the new cool kids on the block," Lola Varma offers elegant, sleek gowns and fashion-forward separates and styles, like a sheer pussy bow blouse paired with a maxi skirt, long-sleeve dresses with high necks and exaggerated flared hand detailing, and asymmetrical off-the-shoulder gowns with intricate draping. "They are killing it in separates and they get that It Girl who wants to define herself with styling over the flash," adds Baird.

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video]



Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.