For Bourvis, who names her lace confections after heroines such as Shakespeare’s Desdemona, weils are worn for myriad reasons. In the ’20s and’ 30s, the veil was the focal point of a bridal look, which otherwise centered around a plain satin dress and a bunch of cascading wild flowers, unlike the tight picture-perfect bouquets Instagram loves today. With silky slips very much in fashion’s current consciousness, veils provide the drama for brides channeling their inner Kate Moss, but who still want a splash of the traditional.
There can be no doubt of a veil’s transformative effect. I almost ditched mine, because the thought of negotiating Bourvis’s lovely lace down the makeshift aisle in an industrial London venue seemed stressful, and a touch faffy, for a day supposed to be about pure joy. But our photographer, the wonderful Lucy Birkhead, persuaded me to pin it on and roll with it. Bundled up in a Cadillac en route to the venue, I couldn’t argue that it felt incredibly extra and special – even if my sister had to hoist it back on mid-ceremony.
“Honestly, when else will you get the opportunity to wear one?” asks bridalwear designer Kate Halfpenny, whose most popular veil, the Margaret, features an epic train, a soft tulle dandelion veil and hand-cut silk organza flowers dotted all over it. “I think we’ve all taken the attitude that more is more, and that we want the magic and the drama – veils add those things!”
Halfpenny, who has been dressing high-profile clients, from Kate Moss to Rihanna, since 1998, has seen a surge of women adding veils to the looks they ordered pre-Covid. So much so, that she launched a collection called “Unveiled” with bridal add-ons, such as overskirts and veils of varying sizes, to facilitate the sudden urge to go “all out”. “It’s another opportunity to have fun and play with expectations,” adds Halfpenny.
Molly Goddard’s new ready-to-wear bridal line features red and blue veils for women who share two things in common: “They’re not afraid and they’re interested in color,” says the woman who prioritises comfort and ruffles when big-day designing. 16Arlington’s summer wedding edit features ethereal blue-tinted veils clocking in at eight meters in diameter and sparkling under the weight of some 60,000 stones. The diffusion bridal lines of small designers (see also: Christopher Kane) exemplify the fact modern-day brides are looking for something exceptional – and different – to wear to walk down the aisle in.