Set on the 7th floor of Toronto’s flagship Hudson’s Bay store, Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay is a glittering oasis dedicated to wedding couture. We met our contributing editor, Jessica Mulroney, of Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay at their elegant Toronto store to learn more about the latest trends in destination wedding bridal fashion.
It’s approaching Christmas when we visit it, the store gleaming with icy white dresses, glistening with intricate beading, silky applique detailing and mother of pearl embellishments. The stuff of every little girl’s daydreams, it is a true wedding wonderland. A sentiment echoed by Jessica, when we sit down and chat.
Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly depending on which way you view it), one of Canada’s leading stylists – Jessica is currently helping Sophie Trudeau with her wardrobe – took little time selecting her own wedding dress.
“It was actually the first dress I tried on,” she tells us adding, “in reality I was a pretty laid back bride. My mother and mother-in-law were heavily involved and it was actually my husband Ben (Jessica is married to etalk host, Ben Mulroney) who was the groomzilla. I didn’t really want a traditional looking wedding dress. I had an idea in mind and when I saw my dress I knew it was the one.”
Jessica confesses however that had Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay been an option when she and Ben tied the knot eight years ago her shopping trip might have lasted a little longer. “Bridal fashion has evolved dramatically over the past five years. When I got married there simply wasn’t the choice.”
So what are her top picks for destination wedding trends?
In picking her wedding dress, although she may not have opted for a traditional gown, she did make the purchase at a bridal salon, adding, “It was mainly to make my mother happy. We went to a salon in Montréal. When I saw her face as I tried it on, it was worth it, and that moment became significant for us, as it marked the start of my marriage to Ben.”
This emotional connection is one of the things that Jessica most enjoys about her role at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. “The picking of the dress, whether it’s together with your mother, sister, auntie, best friend or grandmother, is very much a part of any bride’s journey. It’s lovely when I get to be part of that process and get to know the couple and their family.”
When asked how a bride should plan her outfit for her wedding day, Jessica suggests that this should be one of the first things she thinks of after the ceremony and venue itself. “Once you’ve decided where and how you want to get married, it’s time to pick the dress. For most gowns you’ll need to make an order between nine and 12 months ahead of the ceremony to ensure that there’s time to schedule all the necessary fittings. While the destination you get married in shouldn’t dictate the style you choose, it’s certainly going to affect it, so it’s important that you have a clear vision of your wedding day before you choose your gown.”
So what are the wedding dress rules if you have your heart set on tropical setting? Refreshingly, according to Jessica, there aren’t any.
“Destination is a factor, but you certainly don’t have to dress down simply because you’ve opted for a beach wedding. Not all ceremonies by the beach actually have to take place on the beach. Many resorts have so many different venues that allow you to wear those Manolo Blahniks without worrying. Like the resort we just visited (Jessica recently visited Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa for our magazine cover shoot) there are restaurants, sky terraces, air conditioned venues – there are options.”
If you’ve got your heart set on that traditional wedding dress shape, then this gown by David Fielden is a great option. There are several tulle layers but these are extremely light. The bodice shaping is without excess boning so you won’t feel constricted or overly warm.
Make a statement walking down the aisle in this striking Mark Zunino gown, the bodice has a flesh coloured translucent back – perfect for showing off that tropical suntan! From the front this look is equally stunning with applique leaves that seem to cascade from the waistline onto the floor-length hemline.
This figure-hugging, strapless, lacy sheath with a sweetheart neckline by Pnina Tornai lets you keep cool and look glamourous at the same time. For extra drama, team it with a lacy batwing shrug that will give a flowing silhouette for your wedding photos.
Sequins aren’t just about holiday party dresses. Why not opt for a lighter fabric embellished with a metallic, sequinned finish like this one by Reem Acra? Each ray of sunshine on the dress will catch the light beautifully, providing a breathtaking centre piece for your wedding photos.
Keep it simple, yet stylish with this 60s inspired knee length gown by Canadian designer, Greta Constantine. Made from silk, it has a sleek clean-line look and its soft ivory shade would complement the décor of any destination wedding. Keep it subtle and pair with tonal accessories, or make a statement as our model has done here by adding a splash of colour with these elegant shoes.
This elegant, halter neck gown is all about delicate fluidity. Embroidered with intricate beading on the shoulder straps and subtle filigree embroidery on the bodice that gives way to a feathered floor-length train, the design creates eye-catching movement when you walk. Pair it with an understated head piece and a single piece of jewellery – such as this chunky bracelet to complete the look.
The simple folds on this elegant, flowing floor length gown will lend an ethereal feel to your look on the Big Day. Perfect when teamed with jewelled flip flops, you’ll feel cool and confident for your beachfront ceremony.