The Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week (BBFW) yesterday closed the doors of a brilliant edition that certifies the good moment that the international bridal fashion industry is experiencing, with business strongly taking off again due to the increase in demand. The event, which recovered the visitors from Asian markets, consolidates its global leadership with a significant qualitative leap in the participating firms and buyers from up to 90 countries.
BBFW, organised by Fira de Barcelona with the support of the Catalan Ministry of Business and Labour, brought together over 350 brands, 76% of them international, and attracted 21,500 visitors, 15% more than in 2022. Among them, the 1,529 national and international key buyers, directly invited by the organisation to close orders at the trade fair, stand out.
The selection of these visitors was based on a qualitative profile, choosing multi-brand shops and leading distributors from growth markets such as China, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and the USA. Also selected for their purchasing power were professionals from European markets, mainly Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Holland and Portugal. The percentage of international visitors to BBFW as a whole has increased this year to over 70%.
According to the Director of BBFW, Albasarí Caro, “this edition confirms the take-off of the global bridal fashion market after the pandemic and its good prospects for growth, as well as the positioning of Barcelona as the undisputed appointment to see trends and close business deals due to the quality and internationality of the firms it brings together”. In this sense, the consulting firm Global Industry Analysts, Inc. forecasts that the global bridal fashion market will have a constant growth rate of 4% until 2030.
The main brands on the catwalk
With a full house at almost every fashion shows, the BBFW runway was the centre of attention. The collections of 34 designers from 15 countries were presented, among which those of Spanish firms such as Jesús Peiró, Pronovias, Rosa Clará, Yolancris, Sophie et Voilà, Isabel Sanchis, Lorena Formoso, Marco&Maria, Ramon Sanjurjo, Ogadenia Couture, Pedro Palmas, and Lucas Balboa. International fashion shows included The Atelier (Malaysia), Wona Concept & Eva Lendel (Ukraine), Nicole Milano (Italy), Joli Poli (Vietnam), Agnieszka Swiatly (Poland), Marylise, Rembo Styling & Carta Branca (Belgium), Cymbeline (France), Julia Kontogruni (Bulgaria); Demetrios and Carlo Pignatelli (Italy); Modeca (The Netherlands), Madeline (USA), Madam Burcu (Turkey) and Ines di Santo (Canada).
As a general trend, brands opted for glitter and iridescent fabrics, with embroidery, beading and high-quality embellishments to create more handcrafted and personalised dresses that enhance the female figure. Many collections were inspired by nature with a predominance of floral motifs.
ELIE SAAB, the star of Barcelona Bridal Night
The highlight of BBFW23 was the fashion show by the haute couture house ELIE SAAB, which chose the Barcelona event to present its bridal collection on a catwalk for the first time in a world exclusive. It was during the Barcelona Bridal Night held at the Maritime Museum and in front of more than 450 people when the 30 outfits were unveiled, 8 of them created specifically for the occasion and included in the “A sense of wonder. Spring 2024” collection, inspired by the blooming kingdoms of the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. The Lebanese brand also participated in the trade fair, sharing the Showroom Area, a space for major international brands, with the Lebanese brands Tony Ward and Zuhair Murad, Jenny Packham (United Kingdom), Stephane Rolland (France) and Inés di Santo (Canada).
Awards for the best in bridal fashion
This year BBFW launched its own awards to recognise the best designs, collections, talent, and trajectory in bridal fashion and to highlight sustainability, innovation, art and quality. The winners of the first Barcelona Bridal & Fashion Awards were Vivienne Westwood for the best wedding dress, Viktor & Rolf Mariage’s bridal collection, Carlo Pignatelli’s groom’s collection, Cortana’s cocktail designs, Isabel Sanchis’ sustainable party dress, Monvieve’s image campaign, Nicole & Felicia Chang’s emerging talent and the professional career of fashion designer Professor Jimmy Choo OBE, creative director of The Atelier Couture. A special strategic brand ambassador award was presented to entrepreneur Yew Loh, CEO of the Malaysian firm.
The BBFW dedicated to bridal, groom, party, ceremony, and accessories fashion will return to Fira de Barcelona from 17 to 21 April 2024 to present the new bridal fashion collections for the coming season.