Couture Designer Katerina Bocci Breaks Down Bridal Trends and How to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress
Katerina Bocci is renowned in the bridal industry for her bespoke couture wedding dresses. The Albanian-born designer has been creating gowns for over 20 years for her clients around the globe. From lavish fabrics and intricate embroidery to hand-sewn Swarovski crystals and elegant corsetry, her creations have brought joy to countless brides for decades.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Bocci shares her insights on the latest bridal trends, her design process, and advice for women preparing to walk down the aisle on their special day.
What trends are big right now in bridal?
Bridal trends have never been more versatile as they are today. I’ve witnessed a dramatic change in the bridal industry since doing my first runway show in New York almost 20 years ago. Today women are really eager to express their individuality – and the industry is more accommodating than ever. Designers are getting really creative, the quality of work has never been better and – most importantly – the industry has become inclusive. Gone are the days of size 6 cookie-cutter gowns. It’s a great time to be a bride! On the other hand, having so many options can make the process of finding the perfect gown seem overwhelming. When I design a custom gown for a bride, I take time getting to know her personality and specific needs. I have her describe the dress of her dreams and that’s usually when I begin to sketch a design. It’s such a thrill to see her eyes light up when she sees her vision come to life! Once we determine the silhouette we begin to explore fabrics, color, embellishments, etc. Brides can do a similar self evaluation before they set out to find their dress. This will simplify the process.
Any styles you are really drawn to at the moment?
I love a mermaid silhouette for a bride who wants to show off her curves. It hugs the body and flares at the base, creating an hourglass shape. Corset tops and laces in soft colors, nudes and blushes with a soft lining look particularly beautiful in this shape. Adding a mixture of textures, like soft or heavy beading, will bring this soft, romantic, yet sexy, look to life. High slits, which showcase beautiful legs and also allow for more movement, have become very popular in this style.
Do you have advice for brides who want to wear multiple looks, but don’t have the budget?
What’s really on trend right now – a brilliant solution for brides who want to wear more than one look on their special day – are detachable pieces. These can make any gown more versatile – especially more minimal styles. Brides can wear one dress, yet create a completely different look by adding a detachable skirt in tulles or organzas. This is a perfect choice when a bride wants a very dramatic look for walking down the aisle and versatility for photography. We’ve been designing gowns with detachable sleeves and jackets for years. This concept is perfect for a bride who would like a more demure look for her ceremony, covering her arms and neck, but wants to loosen up at the reception. We shared a video of our bride wearing her gown with and without her sleeves and it became a TikTok sensation!
When it comes to accessories and different dress styles, what’s top on your list?
Right now, sleeves are our most requested accessory. We receive, literally, hundreds of questions about them every day. Gloves have also been one of the most favorable trends and will continue to be so. When it comes to cut, backless dresses, either partially exposed with a low cut or fully exposed with the use of strings are in high demand. Plus thin spaghetti straps and plunging, deep V necklines. Classic brides are often opting for gowns with an A-line silhouette in a variety of fabrics like tulle and floral patterned laces. Adding embroidery, beading and sparkling layers add glamor to this subtle shape, which skims the body beneath the breast. Ruching, pleating, asymmetrical torsos, and off-the-shoulder and sweetheart necklines are very of-the-moment, yet customary for this style gown. Cinderella’s voluminous ball gown has also left an indelible mark on the bridal market even though the ball gown shape has been around for centuries. Cut off the shoulder with decollete necklines, this gown will never go out of style!
Veils, Trains and Jewelry?
Jewels and ball gowns belong together. Right now we’re seeing a lot of heavily beaded torsos. Dramatic trains fit for a castle have made a huge comeback. Embroidered or beaded fabrics are popular, along with a matching veil. Long cathedral veils are very popular. They add drama, especially with the wind blowing in photoshoots.
How are brides switching up their wedding days looks?
Many brides are opting for a second dress. They want something shorter, fun, sexy and easy to dance in. Lacy shorts, long silk pants — These brides want to have fun and like the idea of surprising the groom and guests. They’ll often also change makeup and hairstyles – we’ve seen some brides even cut their hair!
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Any advice for brides just starting their search?
Personalized veils with the wedding date, names of the bride and groom, initials or favorite quotes embroidered on the veils are very popular now. The personalization makes it a more meaningful keepsake. Whatever the trends may be, when it comes to her wedding dress, a bride should be true to herself, her vision and her personal style while choosing a silhouette that suits her body type. When we work with our brides we always ask them, “When you were a little girl, how did you envision yourself as a bride? Listen to her. The wedding dress is not just a dress, it is the DRESS.