There’s nothing really modern about the modern bride. That’s because she knows all too well that when it comes to accessories, it’s all about incorporating vintage-inspired looks. And it’s about time too. First we had to endure the garish excess of the ’80s, followed by the reactionary—and totally underwhelming—minimalism of the ’90s.
Probably the biggest indicator that retro is all the rage these days is the cage veil. Brides can pick up pre-made pieces like the feather-trimmed Rose Cage Veil ($145) by Alice Hart, who is carried at Frocks Modern Bridesmaids (4814 Fraser Street). As well, there’s the Scarlet Cage Veil With Satin Flower ($128) by Caroline Calvert, also at Frocks. This elegant, face-framing beauty has enough mesh to cover the eyes and features a freshwater pearl and Swarovski centre.
Another option is to get one custom-made through Calvert’s home studio by appointment at Caroline Calvert's website. In terms of materials, Calvert can make a cage veil from scratch using the rare finds she picks up in thrift shops and at auctions, or she can take something old from a loved one and build something around that.
“So someone can bring in a beautiful brooch that belonged to their grandmother,” says Calvert, who sat down in a West Side café to talk about bridal trends. “And then I take it and create a cage veil, using the brooch as the centre.”
With all things Great Gatsby hot right now, headbands aren’t just for flower girls anymore. Calvert’s Audrey hairband with lace and Swarovski crystals ($120), for example, is a nice way to fuse a loose, cascading bohemian updo with a nod to the 1920s. Carmen West, who will be showing at the Indie I Do alternative wedding show on January 26 at Heritage Hall, also has a nice selection of Daisy Buchanan–esque headbands. With a $15-to-$25 deposit, she’ll make a one-of-a-kind piece.
As for jewellery, again, it’s all about upcycled treasures. That’s why Calvert is constantly on the hunt for vintage jewels that may not seem all that great as is.
“I’ll find a piece that has old beads or that someone would look at and be like, ‘I wouldn’t wear that for a wedding,’ ” Calvert says. “But I’ll just take the vintage clasps and hand-knot new pearls onto the vintage clasps—and that is huge right now.”
Another local designer who is great at reimagining previously loved pieces is Christi York of BuenoStyle, who, along with Calvert, will be setting up shop at Indie I Do. York’s Lovely Long Emerald and Filigree earrings (about $40) would add a beautiful hit of colour to your ensemble. And FYI, emerald green is the new teal in the world of bridal accessories. Another popular hue is canary yellow, which is obviously meant to be used sparingly—think feathers or a silk flower on a white or cream veil.
“You just want a touch of it,” warns Calvert, “so it looks glamorous but not overdone.”
Of course, the biggest change we’ve seen in bridal accessories in the past few years is in footwear. For years, brides went to great lengths to match their shoes to their dress. Around the turn of the millennium, they started dipping their toes into strappy silver or gold sandals. Now, it’s a full-on colour explosion.
“I would say that 50 percent or more of brides are wearing coloured shoes,” notes a somewhat envious Calvert, who says you can ramp up the retro glam factor of contemporary coloured heels by adding a pair of rhinestone shoe clips—a trend that wasn’t really an option when Calvert got married in 2007.
“It was still very traditional—you either had to have the white or the cream-coloured shoe. So now I think, ‘Wow, I would have gone for that—I would have had a nice, bright turquoise shoe!’ ”