Brides bucking tradition when it comes to their wedding dress is nothing new these days. Some skip shades of ivory in favour of dramatic black or a jolt of bold colour, while others say their vows in suiting. But one emerging trend that could still raise eyebrows among elderly members of the congregation? The new breed of sheer wedding gowns.
“Naked” dresses have been a fixture on the red carpet for a while, and now they’re infiltrating the aisle. Global shopping platform Lyst reports that searches for sheer white dresses have risen by 80 per cent since the start of the year, suggesting that 2022 could usher in the summer of the naked bride.
Camille Charrière has been there, done that. Instagram’s favourite French girl married her husband François Larpin in not one, but two see-through looks. In keeping with her “roaring 2020s” dress code—guests were encouraged to go all out after a pandemic spent in sweats—Charrière wore a sequined Celine dress with a sheer skirt for the ceremony, and changed into a scene-stealing bespoke gown by Harris Reed for the reception, made from upcycled lace.
Charrière’s dress was an ode to the carefree ’90s with just a splash of ’60s sass. The influencer never saw herself as a “traditional bride”, she says, so the one-off piece felt perfect for her Parisian bacchanal. Of course, her wedding lingerie required even more thought than usual, given that it would have more than her groom’s eyes on it. Camille eventually settled on an understated set from La Perla. “I did have a moment of panic the day before, but when my husband saw the dress he immediately told me how much he loved it, and that’s all that really mattered to me at the end of the day.”
Her advice to anyone considering a similarly less is more approach on their big day? “Make sure the circumstances are right,” says Camille. “Our wedding was a winter affair, indoors, with a very young crowd, as most of my older relatives couldn’t come because of Omicron. I don’t think I would have chosen if it was a religious affair or if we had been in daylight. But again, that’s just me. I think a wedding is so personal, just make sure you are doing things for you.”
Designer Yuhan Wang, who has made whimsical sheer dresses her brand signature, echoes this sentiment. “The most important thing is to be yourself and enjoy the beautiful moment!” she tells Vogue. Her styles are best paired with nude underwear, to allow the dress to do the talking. “The contrast between the solid stitches and the sheer base really composes a purer poetry, especially after ruching and gathering,” she says.
At Christopher Kane, bridal looks are made with the “modern bride in mind”, and there’s much to offer the woman with bucketloads of confidence. “The sheer styles are for women who really are comfortable and confident in their own skin, they’re quietly audacious with a classic aesthetic,” Kane tells British Vogue. The designer’s stretch-lace long-sleeve gown, with feather-trim cuffs and collar, is a bestseller. “It makes sense as it’s so elegant, but has that fashion twist to it.”
Before launching bridal in 2020, Kane had a clear idea of his clientele, and the designer says he set out to help brides “feel like themselves” on their wedding day. “I know so many fashionable women who have made that awful mistake of dressing like a fairy princess,” he says. “It’s like they lose themselves to this ideology of what a bride should look like”.
A note: not all naked dresses are clingy. Scandi favourite Cecilie Bahnsen’s cloud-like creations look just as good with modest separates as they do with lingerie. For Bahnsen, sheer materials exude “feminity and romance”, as she tells Vogue. See-through fabrics are also a beautiful way of showing off the intricate construction underpinning a piece, adding a “precious” element to the look. Bahnsen brides often choose to wear slips or shorts and tank tops under their breezy Cecilie pieces, and wear her sheer styles with jeans long after their big day.
The success these designers and others have seen with transparent dresses reflects ever more daring attitudes to wedding day style. If you’re newly engaged—and looking to make an unforgettable entrance on your big day—shop Vogue’s pick of sheer wedding dresses below.
This story originally appeared in British Vogue.