Feature image at top – clockwise from upper right – Model Wearing Floating Bubble Collar Necklace and Bubble Pearl & Diamond earrings from Sean Gilson for Assael, Floating Bubble Collar Necklace by Sean Gilson for Assael, Assael South Sea Pearl and Emerald Cut Diamond Ring, Bubble Pearl and Diamond Earrings from Sean Gilson for Assael

Tradition with a Twist – New York Bridal Fashion Week F/W 2023 Trends 

According to WeddingWire.com, October has replaced June as the most popular month for weddings. For those of us in New York, October is always all about bridal fashion. The recent New York Bridal Fashion Week (NYFBW) couture runway shows featured a slew of exciting new styles for brides-to-be in 2023. Probably the largest recurring theme we noticed was what we are calling tradition with a twist – honoring tradition while also embracing innovative silhouettes, materials, and more. Here are a few of our favorite NYFBW trends for inspiration and delight.   


Clockwise from upper left – Assael White Crescent Moon Earrings, Scorcesa F/W 2023, Halfpenny London F/W 2023, Assael South Sea Pearl and White Jadeite Long Drop Earrings, Halfpenny London F/W 2023, Assael Keshi Pearl Diamond Connected Earrings

A wide variety of bridal designers at NYBFW paired traditional elements like corsets, tulle, and lace with new and exciting silhouettes for a contemporary look. The bridal mini dress, seen in many collections including Theia, Andrew Kwan, and Ines Di Santo, is now an option for women who prefer the fashion-forward style of a mini hemline in a classically designed wedding dress. Hi-low looks reigned at Amsale, Halfpenny London, and Monique Lhullier, with lengthy trains behind the short hemlines. 

Bridal designers are also having fun with cut-outs and gender-neutral options like bridal trousers and coats. Theia, Scorcesa, Retrofête, and Houghton by Katherine Polk each offered cut-outs in gowns, pant suits, or separates, while long white coats and jackets offered a gender-neutral appeal and another modern silhouette at Amsale, Costarello, and Wona Concept.

For these contemporary silhouettes, pearls can add a touch of tradition, while still feeling fresh and original. Keshi Pearls add organic sophistication for the hi-low or trouser looks, and long drops or large ear cuffs can beautifully offset the mini hemlines, keeping the light and focus on the face. 


Clockwise from upper right – Berta F/W 2023, Assael Lagniappe Necklace, Rivini by Rita Vinieris F/W 2023, Jenny Yoo F/W 2023, Assael “Perfect Ten” South Sea Pearl Drop Earrings

Not surprisingly, pearls were front and center at NYFBW this year. The New York Times said it best –“No longer relegated to buttons, pearls are as chic as when Coco Chanel made them trendy in the 1930s. From pearl-themed bridal showers to pearl-detailed wedding receptions, the ‘pearlcore’ trend is currently big in bridal.” Pearls embellished wedding frocks at Rivini, Dana Harel, Christie Nicole, and more.  

Pearl jewelry was also featured as the perfect adornment for the modern bride. Short pearl necklaces added an anchor of classic sophistication to the new mermaid silhouettes at Justin Alexander, and choker length multi-strand pearls added a sense of regal elegance to the full-skirted princess gowns at Berta.

Pearl earrings were included with many runway looks. Mismatched, asymmetrical pearl drops at Wona Concept felt very contemporary, while long pearl drop earrings added drama and movement at Theia Couture, Alexandra Grecco, and Jenny Yoo. The baroque pearl drop earring is also very popular, seen with gowns in many collections like Justin Alexander’s and Julie Vino’s. Pearl drops add motion near the face, to draw the eye upward, especially for some of the modern deep plunging necklines or dramatic thigh-high slits. They also highlight the chin and keep the bride from getting lost in the new bridal capes and nontraditional veils.


Clockwise from upper right – Award-Winning Assael Winter Branches Pearl and Diamond Earrings, Bubble Akoya Pearl Hair Pins by Sean Gilson for Assael, Amsale F/W 2023, LaPointe F/W 2023, Assael Multi-Strand Akoya Pearl Necklace, Elie Saab F/W 2023

Embellishments were also prominent at NYBFW. We spoke with Shelley Brown, Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor at The Knot, and feathers were one of her favorite ornamentations from all the shows she saw.  “Eye-catching plumes can elevate any wedding gown silhouette, plus they give a festive nod to the celebratory feel of your day. We saw feather details of all kinds hit the Bridal Fashion Week runways: Art Deco-inspired feather gowns, fun feather minidresses, and daring feather pantsuits.”

Three-dimensional flowers were also featured as ornamentation. Elie Saab and Madeline Gardner featured large organza petals hugging the waistline or enhancing full skirts. Amsale and Francesca Miranda featured floral motifs embroidered on lace gowns, while Alexandra Grecco included lace details on the veil and the sleeve. 

With embellishments, pearls add a nice touch of simplicity, as well as subtle sophistication and tradition. As hair jewels, earrings, or strands, pearls can complete the look without competing or ever feeling like “too much.”  Assael’s Bubbles Collection by Sean Gilson for Assael adds a contemporary pearl touch.  Strands are available in a wide variety of lengths and styles (round, baroque, South Sea, Akoya, etc.), and of course a wide variety of pearl earrings.  


Clockwise from upper right – Badgley Mischka F/W 2023, Assael Gem South Sea Pearl Necklace, Assael Uplighting Earrings with Detachable South Sea Pearl Drops, Nicolas Montenegro F/W 2023, Assael South Sea Pearl Double Drop Earrings, Halfpenny London F/W 2023, Assael South Sea Pearl and Aquamarine Earrings

Capes made an appearance in many new bridal lines, including Dana Harel, Naeem Khan, and Viktor & Rolfe. According to Brown at The Knot, “Brides who aren’t into more traditional veils will love this trend. This less-expected wedding day accessory offers the same photogenic movement as a veil, brings the glamour, and can be whisked away for two looks in one. Some of our fave styles featured embroidered lace, constellation-inspired beading, and dramatic ruffles.”

F/W 2023 bridal collections also included bold, wide, and flared sleeves. Sleek torso-hugging bodices and corsets were accented with flowing sleeves, often detachable for versatile styling among the wedding events. Halfpenny London and Badgley Mischka offered sleeves that flared from the shoulder, while Claire Pettibone and Justin Alexander featured sleeves that ballooned from the elbow, getting largest near the wrist. The fairytale look is creative and fun, offering the bride a chance to ‘float’ on her bridal wings.

Capes and sleeves call for statement earrings or a choker necklace. Try a straight drop earring to streamline the neck above a flared sleeve or an ear cuff to properly compete with the dramatic look of a billowing cape. Short pearl strands or delicate pendant necklaces can also draw attention to the center, highlighting the neck or the decolletage. 

Other trends we noted included colorful gowns, nontraditional veils, and lingerie inspired looks. For brides choosing the new alternative colors like black, pale pink, light blue, teal or metallic hues, Assael also has Tahitian pearls and Golden South Sea Pearls or pearls combined with colored gemstones that will add a matching hue to the color accents in the gown itself.

As the wedding boom continues, young couples are eager to celebrate in person and live the romantic experience of their dreams. Luckily, there are fabulous new looks for brides to choose from, all inspired by tradition but adding a twist of modernity with options for self-expression, versatility, and delight. Whatever look you choose, remember that pearls are forever gems that add luminous reflections on any skin tone and are always appropriate, so you can continue to wear them long after the big day. Pearls are also understated in an elegant way, so they will not compete with the many designer details in a couture gown. As Peggy Grosz, Senior Vice President of Assael is fond of saying, “it is often better to glow than sparkle.”

Feature image at top – clockwise from upper right – Model Wearing Floating Bubble Collar Necklace and Bubble Pearl & Diamond earrings from Sean Gilson for Assael, Floating Bubble Collar Necklace by Sean Gilson for Assael, Assael South Sea Pearl and Emerald Cut Diamond Ring, Bubble Pearl and Diamond Earrings from Sean Gilson for Assael

If you liked this, you might also like:

Assael Bridal Collection

Autumn Winter 2022-23 Fashion & Jewelry Trends

Akoya vs South Sea Pearls – How to Choose the Perfect Strand

Fine Pearls – Forever Jewelry For a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

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