Big Feelings. Danielle Frankel AW22

I’m not into bridewear, but there’s one designer in this field that I always pay attention to. It’s been a year since Danielle Frankel, a go-to designer for fashion-forward brides, unveiled a new collection. Not a long time in terms of creative productivity, but a considerable hiatus by the standards of the fashion calendar. “When you’re talking about an evergreen product, you don’t need a collection every six months,” Frankel says. “These collections take so much to produce, and because the business is growing at the same time, we have to wedge in when we’re doing the development.” There’s certainly no shortage of clientele. Though she designs ready-to-wear as well as bridal, the latter is her bread-and-butter. She developed many of her brand signatures this season, including corsetry, bubble hems, and silk-wool pleated gowns. But everything is a bit bigger than 2021 collection‘s streamlined and sculptural offerings. “There’s a lot of the same DNA that you see in our work, but I wanted something a little bit more grand this season,” Frankel says. “Before we were known for those effortless, simple, cool styles, but for me it’s important to go bigger and move it forward.” Inspired by 1950s Vogue fashion illustrations, mid-century elegance, and surrealism, her new collection is photographed in a deliberately hazy way. Though this method of photography obscures the fine details of the clothing, it underscores the feelings Danielle hopes to evoke. That said, her designs tend to reveal themselves on the human form. The Leith gown, for instance, has a showstopping corseted bust that projects off the body and open back, but the pleats at the waist may just be the special detail that convinces the customer that this is the one. Hirsch also introduced several styles with Watteau drapes at the back, offering a more low-key kind of drama than the Leith does, while still delivering mid-century glamour. Aside from the fact that the most classic ballgown silhouette is hand-painted and hand-fringed in shades of brown, many of the tops Hirsch designed feel like true ready-to-wear. Paired with wide-leg trousers, the two bandeaus made to look like flowers are festive and relaxed.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.


The Great Beauty. Danielle Frankel AW21

The topic of bridal-wear might be a dull for some (like me!), but the moment I’ve discovered Danielle Frankel, I instantly changed my mind. Danielle Hirsch, the designer, made her mark as a bridal designer, yet her autumn-winter 2021 collection is a hybrid between a wedding gowns line-up and fabulous eveningwear. Many of her clients gravitate toward the idea of remixed bridal looks, choosing slinky slip dresses and silk separates. Moreover, Hirsch noticed that women are rewearing their pared-back, yet elegant wedding looks beyond the altar. So, the designer’s transition to ready-to-wear is a natural one, even though the body-skimming white dresses with Hirsch’s signature flourishes certainly look like they’re made for getting married in. Also in that vein is a standout column dress with sheer sleeves and exaggerated shoulders created with layered lace flowers. One of the best “ready-to-wear” pieces is a royal blue dress with a pleated waist that gives the body a severe and beautiful whittled effect. The neckline opens up to reveal a slight décolletage, and further flows into sculpted, voluminous shoulders. Hirsch will always have her bridal clients, but she definitely feels the ground in less ceremonial (and equally entrance-making) garments.

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.