Check out what’s on trend for the mother of the bride – we canvassed opinion from the top labels…
The challenge for any mother of the bride is not to eclipse her daughter but to stand out from the crowd. This is where colour is important, and bold colours will be first choice for spring/summer 2020.
Avril Forbes of Veromia says lipstick pink and cobalt blue are the hot numbers for next spring, though silver, gold, cream, blush pink and classic navy remain firm favourites.
Kim Bosch of Linea Raffaelli agrees: “Next summer we’ll see that people are craving ‘happy’ colours like coral, fuchsia, lipstick red, lilac and lavender. Greens from aqua to mint are also in demand.”
For 2020, Ian Stuart believes the trend is for muted shades of silver and gold, as well as dusky pink and powder blue. “Mums want to complement the bridesmaids’ colour story, while not going too pale as to compete with the bridal gown,” says Charlotte Fraine, design assistant at Ian Stuart.
And while pastel shades, such as dusty pink and pale aqua, are a mainstay of Ann Balon’s collections– as are many of the timeless lace dresses themselves – bolder colours, such as electric blue and hot pink, are also evident for spring.
Fabrics, fancy and fluid
When it comes to fabrics, anything goes… from lightweight crepes to structured jacquards.
Veromia’s designer Daniel Lee, for example, has included fancy laces, jacquards, stretch fabrics for comfort, soft satins and delicate sparkle jersey and taffeta for spring.
George Balon, director at Ann Balon, says that fabrics need to be “soft and floaty”, and comfortable to wear, while Linea Raffaelli expects lighter, fluid fabrics to overtake the heavier, structured ones, popular recently.
According to Veni Infantino, designer at Ronald Joyce, mums are becoming more daring. “Our collection is certainly sexier and more glamorous than previously. Our customers are moving away from matching jackets and coats towards simpler dresses,” she says. “Slim silhouettes are popular with mums wanting to show off their figures, especially at the waist.”
A trend that has taken off has been the mid-length dress or skirt. Avril Forbes says: “There is a call for longer lengths and softer looks. Unusual hem-lines also are a must going forward.”
Over at Ian Stuart, the most popular silhouette is a fitted dress with a sleeve, while 1950s-style A-line high-low skirts sell well.
Suits you, madam
However, the jury is out on trouser suits for mothers of the bride.
“We introduced tailored catsuits into our latest collection with lots of interest from our boutiques and stockists,” says James Ellis of John Charles, where outfits range from £450 to £999.
Trousers are popular in Veromia’s Dressed Up plus-size collection, too, in soft chiffon with flowing coats or tops. And Kim Bosch of Linea Raffaelli adds: “Trouser suits are back – sometimes just a beautiful top or body with plain crepe, chiffon and pleated trousers, as well as trousers with prints.
However, Ian Stuart, whose plush Blewcoat store is a real MOB-favourite, says that they are never asked for trousers, while Veni Infantino finds they are less popular, although she has included a few designs in the new collection for mums who feel more themselves in trousers.
With any suit, a tailored jacket adds a timeless elegance and can complement a variety of styles. “There was a time when jackets were not what customers wanted, but we have noticed that there has been a surge in demand for dress and jacket or coats outfits again,” says Avril Forbes. George Balon explains why: “Jackets finish off an outfit and hide any problem areas.”
“Linea Raffaelli is mainly focusing on dresses with shorter jackets for the future” says Kim Bosch. “Also, stand-alone dresses with sleeves are top sellers for us right now, especially for weddings abroad.”
As an alternative to jackets, Ian Stuart finds that detachable wraps and shawls are popular and give two looks in one outfit.
Linea Raffaeli works with professional milliners to create matching hats. This is especially popular in the UK and Ireland, “where people expect the all-inclusive treatment”.
Ian Stuart offers a sumptuous matching hat collection and supplies additional decorations from its dresses and suits so that a bespoke hat can be made for the perfect match. John Charles also has hats to suit a range of styles and seasons, while Veromia dyes hats and fascinators to match outfits.
Beat the high street
Mothers of the bride are prepared to splash out for the big day., which is good news all round.
“Most mums want something special and will pay extra for it,” says James Ellis. “We aim to achieve a look that the high street cannot match.” “Ann Balon has its own image and individuality – in high street stores, everything is similar,” says George Balon. Here, prices range from around £500 to £850.
Avril Forbes adds: “A mother doesn’t want to buy from the high street for such an important event. Can you imagine a guest turning up in the same outfit?”
Buy into a collection
With so much effort going into each collection, many designers expect boutiques to place a minimum order.
Veromia, for example, has between 24 and 30 pieces in each of its four collections occasiowear collections – Dressed Up, Dress Code, Veromia Occasions and Irresistible – and asks boutiques to order a minimum of 18 pieces to secure that all-important exclusivity. Anne Balon suggests an initial order of six to 12 ensembles in different colours and sizes and while Linea Raffaelli doesn’t impose minimums it expects boutiques to show their trust in its collection and invest in a choice.
“When a boutique takes on a label, they have to represent it properly and show their customers that they believe in it,” says Kim Bosch. “Just having a few outfits will not accomplish that. We prefer to work with one good, steady partner in a region, instead of selling a few dresses in each small boutique.” That is a view shared by Ian Stuart – where prices range from £1,300 to £1,800 and qualifying stockists can expect exclusivity in a 30-mile radius.
When it comes to getting the message across to mothers of the bride, it seems they are as social-media savvy as their daughters.
“Brides getting married in 2020 are very active on social media and will naturally involve their mothers as well,” says Avril Forbes. “We are very proactive on social media, but a lot of our business comes from recommendations too.”
Kim Bosch adds: “You can’t ignore social media – it has an important place in our marketing strategy – it is the fuel for our website.”
“Most mums these days are active on social media… they are in their mid-50s and not old ladies!” adds Charlotte Fraine.
Finally, what’s the big next thing for 2020? Avril Forbes sums it up: “Hopefully, a return of glamour and elegance. Mums really want to look beautiful on their son/daughter’s big day.”
Plus sizes will always have their place in mother-of-the-bride collections. John Charles outfits are available in sizes 6 to 22, while Linea Raffaelli works in sizes from 6 to 26, though sizes 10 to 16 are most popular. Veromia finds that its UK customers are typically sizes 14 to16, but of course its Dressed Up collection which is dedicated to curves goes up to a generous 28 while Ann Balon’s best sellers range from 18 to 24.ur breath – a folding phone has twice the screen, twice the battery and a complex mechanical hinge, so they will always be twice the price of a similar size smartphone.
And that is before you consider they are twice as thick and twice as heavy, making them far less pocketable than regular, non-folding smartphones.
They will, however, make you the centre of attention while they are still novel.
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Veni Infantino for Ronald Joyce
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