“The biggest trend in bridal is that things are getting softer for 2020.”
Wedding season, it seems, never ends for Don O’Neill. The Kerry designer is based in New York where he has been running his formal and bridal wear label, THEIA Couture, for the past ten years.
He laughs that there’s something of a “rinse, wash, repeat” feel to putting out a new collection and then moving straight on to designing another. However, he relishes the challenge of finding something new to bring to his stable of elegant designs. “You have to put your heart and soul into this business, and even after ten years mine are very much still in it,” he says.
THIEA is stocked in over 350 stores worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and Don’s designs have been worn by the likes of Meghan Markle and Kendall Jenner.
For his 2020 collections, Don has been “racking my brains for new silhouettes to do in crepes”. Crepe and satin dresses with clean lines are THEIA’s top sellers in the US market, he explains.
“The biggest trend in bridal is that things are getting softer for 2020. Here in the US, the look is getting very clean.
“In some ways it’s my trend – we were one of the first in the market to do simple, crepe dresses. I’m not a traditional designer in the market, because my bridal range led on from my evening wear, so I used those silhouettes.
“Our number 1 selling dress is the Bruna gown, which has a deep V front with some illusion netting and a mermaid train. It’s simple but sexy. Our number 2 seller is the Jean gown, which is named for Jean Harlow. It is a satin slip dress with a 1920s/1030s feel. It’s clean, classic and timeless.”
Closer to home, there’s more appetite for more embellished wedding dress designs according to the designer.
“In the Irish market there’s more call for heavier gowns with embroidery and beading. These type of dresses are my true passion – I can really express myself in the details when I’m designing them.”
The Bruna dress by THEIA
However, Don says that one of the more ornate trends from recent years will not feature in his collections: brides have fallen out of love with lace.
“We’ve moved away from lace, due to lack of demand. We’re actually retiring some of our lace gowns.”
Don will be visiting Dublin on March 6 for the 2020 Irish Fashion Collective Show at City Hall. The show, which will also feature designs from the likes of Louise Kennedy, Deborah Veale, and Helen Cody, is held in aid of dementia care at St Joseph’s Shankill.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be involved, but also an honour for me personally to be involved in a show with some of my peers,” says Don, who, alongside Paul Costelloe, will be doing personalised sketches of the guests on the night.
Tickets for the event cost €100 and can be purchased here.