“You don't alter Vera Wang to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera!”— you might have heard this line from the iconic 2009 movie Bride Wars. Well, Kate Hudson’s character wasn't lying. Among bridal designers, there are those whose names are known by every bride. Gowns by Vera Wang, Zuhair Murad, and Elie Saab can't be in or out of trend - they are bridal fashion itself. Below, we tell you everything about the beginnings and the rise of the 8 most prominent bridal designers.
Following graduation from Sorbonne, designer Vera Wang began working at Vogue magazine. She started her path as an assistant to the fashion editor, but at the age of 23 became a fashion editor herself. This incredible experience helped young Wang to further develop her creative skills and gain more knowledge. To pursue her long-time dream of designing, Vera Wang eventually left Vogue to work at Ralph Lauren. There she designed accessories for the legendary fashion label. In 1989 Vera Wang created her first wedding gown. Fun fact: she designed it for herself, unable to find the right one for her own upcoming wedding. Soon after, Wang launched her eponymous label. And that was a turning point in the designer's career. In the blink of an eye, Vera Wang’s dresses became a symbol of bridal fashion. Her creations are loved by celebrities such as Meg Ryan, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Kate Hudson, and Kim Kardashian. Vera Wang’s designs can be spotted in various movies and TV series, from the Bride Wars to Sex and the City and Gossip Girl.
Monique Lhuillier’s journey also started by designing a dress for her upcoming wedding. She couldn’t find any stylish gowns, so took everything into her own hands. Monique used her fashion degree not only to create a dream gown for herself but also the attire for her relatives and bridal party. A year after the wedding, the designer registered her own brand and opened her first retail store. Monique’s first bridal collection made a splash at Fashion Week. Lhuillier’s designs are the embodiment of femininity and sensuality. Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Swift, Blake Lively, and other A-list celebrities are among the brand's clients.
From his early years, Zuhair Murad dreamt of designing beautiful clothing. At the age of 10, he started sketching dresses and has never left a pen ever since. In 1997, the Lebanese designer opened his first atelier in Beirut. Four years later, Zuhair Murad presented his couture collection for the first time during Paris Haute Couture Week, winning the hearts of fashion critics. Zuhair Murad was behind Jennifer Lopez’s 2012 tour costumes. The singer often names Zuhair Murad as her favorite designer, choosing his gowns for major events like the Met Gala. In 2022 the designer created a dress for JLo's Las Vegas wedding.
It was Carolina’s socialite grandmother, who introduced a future designer to the world of fashion. The two often traveled from Caracas to Paris to attend Paris Fashion Week Shows. In 1981, a year after moving to New York, Carolina Herrera launched her own clothing brand. However, her first bridal clothing line only saw the light six years later. Laconic and minimalist gowns created by Carolina Herrera soon became popular with women all over the world. Carolina Herrera's dresses were seen on Jacqueline Kennedy and Michelle Obama. The designer inspired many artists, including Andy Warhol. Charmed by Herrera, he created a few portraits of her. The most iconic one pictures a young Carolina with lush red lips and an elegant up-do.
British designer Jenny Packham studied Fashion at Solent University before graduating from Saint Martin’s School of Art. Though the designer presented her first collection in 1988, she gained recognition much later. In 2006 Jenny showcased her designs during Milan Fashion Week, and soon after her career skyrocketed. Packham was named one of the most stylish fashion designers of the year. Jenny Packham has dressed everyone from Hollywood stars to royalty. Her most famous customers include Angelina Jolie, Kerry Washington, Kate Winslet, and Kate Middleton. Jenny draws inspiration from vintage items she finds at flea markets all over the world.
Reem Acra grew up surrounded by fashion. As a young girl, she enjoyed watching her grandmother craft handmade silk flowers. Inspired by her, Reem started designing her own unique items and fell for working with delicate fabrics. Soon Acra’s friends began asking her to create beautiful outfits for them too. Reem presented her first collection after graduating from the American University in Beirut, where she was a member of a fashion club. Acra decided to continue studying fashion in New York and then in Paris. Before starting her own clothing line, Reem worked as a luxury interior designer. She held her first show as a designer in 1999. Celebrities such as Madonna, Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Tailor Swift have worn Acra’s gowns.
Oscar de la Renta
At the age of 18, Oscar de la Renta left the Caribbean to study painting in Madrid. To earn some extra money, he worked as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines. Oscar’s life changed when he was asked to create a gown for the daughter of John Davis Lodge, an American film actor, politician, and diplomat. Oscar’s dress eventually appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and so his name became known to the socialites of the time. He began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga. Oscar de la Renta also worked at Lanvin, Christian Dior, and Elizabeth Arden. Soon he presented his first collection, which was highly praised. To this day, Oscar de la Renta is known as one of the most prominent figures in the fashion world. De la Renta’s designs have been worn by celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Karlie Kloss. Fun fact: a popular term, “fashion victim,” is believed to be made up by Oscar de la Renta. The phrase is used to identify people who blindly adopt and follow fashion trends.
Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab grew up in a big family. As a child, Elie enjoyed fashion and design. He loved sketching, sewing, and creating unique outfits for his sisters. For his designs, Elie would cut patterns out of newspapers and use other materials he would find in his mother’s closet. Once he turned 18, Saab moved to Paris to study fashion. He showed his first collection in 1997 in Rome. However, his international exposure happened a few years later. The designer became more well-known in 2002 when American actress Halle Berry appeared at the Oscars wearing one of Saab’s dresses. Elie Saab is a designer choice for Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Emma Stone, Julia Roberts, Rihanna, and other A-list celebrities.