And the bride wore… faux fur, long sleeves and chunky boots

Fash­ion has caught on to win­ter wed­dings, says Leah Harper, with clothes to warm limbs as well as hearts

The Observer - - News -

A win­ter wed­ding used to mean cel­e­bra­tions spent shiv­er­ing in a pash­mina, but now out­fits that are both wed­ding – and weather – ap­pro­pri­ate are be­gin­ning to ap­pear on the high street. The fash­ion world has wo­ken up to the fact that in­creas­ing num­bers us are choos­ing to get mar­ried in the colder months.

Google searches for “win­ter wed­ding” have in­creased ev­ery year since 2004, with a spike last year likely to be topped in 2018. One rea­son is that mak­ing your vows mid­week in Novem­ber or De­cem­ber can mean sav­ings of more than £7,000, ac­cord­ing to wed­ding web­site Hitched.co.uk.

“It’s not just the cost sav­ing that has given win­ter wed­dings a boost,” says Sarah Al­lard, the web­site’s ed­i­tor. “Thanks to Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram, cou­ples are aware how beau­ti­ful a win­ter wed­ding can be – we’ve seen a 900% in­crease in searches for win­ter wed­ding ideas.”

Faux fur is the most ob­vi­ous al­ter­na­tive to a cash­mere wrap (or your ev­ery­day coat, shrugged on and off be­tween pho­tos). With Burberry, Gucci and Ver­sace among de­sign­ers ban­ning real fur from their col­lec­tions, faux is the way to go, with colour­ful cropped bombers, shear­ling jack­ets and teddy-bear coats.

“Our shear­ling pieces have been

hugely pop­u­lar this sea­son,” says Clare Hornby of London stores Me + Em. “They’re prac­ti­cal be­cause they keep you warm, but they’re glam­orous enough for a dressed-up af­fair.”

Ath­leisure – hav­ing seeped into the rest of our wardrobes – is work­ing its way into wed­ding wear in coat form. Puf­fas and other padded jack­ets are ac­cept­able for brides and guests af­ter luxe ver­sions from Ver­sace, Chanel and Mary Ka­trant­zou ap­peared on this sea­son’s cat­walks. Out­door la­bel Re­gatta has seen a 115% in­crease in searches for “puffer” in the past year, while net sales of women’s in­su­lated jack­ets are up 28%.

From sparklers to mulled wine and crim­son flow­ers, win­ter nup­tials are per­fect In­sta-bait, but there has also been trickle-down from that other great in­flu­encer: the royal wed­ding. De­spite get­ting hitched at the height of sum­mer, Meghan, Duchess of Sus­sex, opted for a long-sleeve Givenchy dress, spark­ing copy­cat ver­sions ideal for a win­ter cer­e­mony. De­sign­ers in­clud­ing Self Por­trait and Stella McCart­ney cur­rently fea­ture long-sleeve bridal gowns and, on the high street, H&M’s wed­ding col­lec­tion, launched in Oc­to­ber, in­cludes two long-sleeve dresses.

Princess Eu­ge­nie opted for long sleeves for her Oc­to­ber wed­ding, but ar­guably the real trend­set­ter that day was model Cara Delev­ingne, who broke the royal dress code by at­tend­ing in top hat and tails. For guests not that brave, tuxedo dresses, as worn by Meghan to a per­for­mance of

Hamil­ton, are prov­ing just as pop­u­lar. Ver­sions by Alexan­der Mc­Queen, Zara, Vic­to­ria Beck­ham and Miss­guided are cur­rently in great­est de­mand, ac­cord­ing to global fash­ion search plat­form Lyst.

The fi­nal hur­dle? Footwear. Those dream­ing of a snow-white wed­ding may take (lit­eral) com­fort in the pop­u­lar­ity of the hik­ing boot. Brides hitch­ing up their dresses to flash chunky boots in the snow are be­com­ing a #win­ter­wed­ding In­sta­gram trope. For guests re­luc­tant to team a posh frock with ranger boots, flats are prov­ing pop­u­lar. Last month, Manolo Blah­nik’s Decade of Love lim­ited col­lec­tion in­cluded not only a re-re­lease of the Hangisi high heel – as worn by Car­rie Brad­shaw on the wed­ding day that never was – but also flat ver­sions of the iconic shoe.

Mil­len­ni­als are also re­port­edly driv­ing a trend for be­jew­elled, em­broi­dered and se­quinned bridal train­ers suit­able for wet weather and post­wed­ding wear. Ei­ther way, cold feet can cer­tainly be avoided.

Rex

A sparkly padded jacket and shiny flats in Chanel’s 2018 au­tumn/ win­ter col­lec­tion. FROM LEFT Princess Eu­ge­nie in her long-sleeve gown; Cara Delev­ingne in tails and Me+Em’s shear­ling gilet.

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