Giambattista Valli Bridal & Other Highlights at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

Giambattista Valli at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

The UK could take a leaf out of the Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week book. This annual event, hosted in one of Spain’s most cultural cities, brings together some of the world’s most popular and cutting edge bridal fashion designers to showcase their newest collections to top buyers representing luxury bridal boutiques and department stores all around the globe.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending several Barcelona Bridal Fashion Weeks (BBFWs), and enjoyed each one of them immensely. It’s a culturally brilliant event that perfectly captures the alluring and lively spirit of this super cool, cosmopolitan, coastal city.

This year, I’ve had to enjoy the experience vicariously, largely through the UK contingent in attendance, which has included our much loved friends and bridal retailers, Miss Bush, Mirror Mirror and The Wedding Club.

Giambattista Valli at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024.  Beautiful tulle wedding dress.
Giambattista Valli

Organised by the Fira de Barcelona, with the support of the Ministry of Business and Labour of the Government of Catalonia, the city itself truly comes together and transforms into a stunning backdrop for showcasing the world’s best modern bridal couture during an intense week of shows and exhibitions.

It always strikes me how BBFW stands in stark contrast to anything we have back in the UK. The event is an absolute masterclass in organisation and buzz. There’s an undeniable, vibrant energy that flows through the heart of this cultural fiesta and it’s exceptional ability to attract the world’s best press, brilliant retailers and top influencers.

Pulling off an event of this caliber is impressive – and BBFW sets the bar incredibly high. It’s a a place where trends are born and the future of bridal begins. Today I want to explore some of the looks and trends I’ve spotted at BBFW this year.

Giambattista Valli at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024.
Giambattista Valli

Trend Spotting: Big Volume

There’s definitely been a shift away from the minimal Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy-inspired wedding dresses towards bigger, voluminous silhouettes.

NYC Bridal Stylist, Anny Choi, via The FT

Seamstress making last minute adjustments before the Giambattista Valli catwalk show at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024
Giambattista Valli

Last week, The Financial Times ran an article on the popularity of big wedding dresses.

The ballgown silhouette has made a bold return this season – and I am here for it. Big volume was everywhere at BBFW and nowhere more beautifully and elegantly so, than in Giambattista Valli’s show, where clouds of lightweight layers of dreamy and voluminous tulle swept effortlessly along the runway.

Brides, you have a permission slip to go big. The bigger the better. Here are some of my fave big gowns spotted at BBFW.

Trend Spotting: Waist Lines

For the last decade or so, we’ve had a true wedding dress waist line, but brands like Sophie et Voila are moving the waste line altogether. The very evident trend coming out of Barcelona – and New York this bridal fashion season, has been for dropped waists and 90’s inspired dropped waist corsets.

Emma Marshall, Miss Bush

Sophie et Voila at Bridal Fashion Week 2024
Sophie et Voila

The move towards dropped waists and ’90s-inspired corset designs reflects a resurgence of the bold, relaxed styles from the ’90s – a trend that will appeal to today’s youthful, modern bride, by offering expressive options that stand out from traditional bridal fashion.

I adore a dropped waist; lower waistlines offer a blend of comfort and feminine sophistication, allowing the bride to move freely while still showcasing a figure-flattering silhouette. A change in waistline signals broader movement towards more personalised and expressive forms of bridal fashion, and I’m loving it.

Trend Spotting: Mini, Modern, Playful & Fun

Five years ago most brides wanted something classic. Now they want to have fun and let their personalities shine through.

NYC Bridal Stylist, Anny Choi, via The FT

YolanCris mini wedding dress and jacket at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

Allow me to philosophise for a moment; There’s a seismic shift occurring within how brides are shopping for their wedding day attire – a shift that’s being felt by all those who work in bridal retail. As New York stylist Anny Choi recently noted in this Financial Times feature; “Five years ago most brides wanted something classic. Now they want to have fun and let their personalities shine through.”

Today’s under-25s, the first to grow up in a fully digital world, are changing the wedding dress shopping game. Their formative shopping years have been influenced by a pandemic, serious economic challenges and the backdrop of a depressed high street wasteland. They have learned sharp online shopping skills and have discovered easy to access online ethical and rental options (see PS Bridal). I think of my 18 year old daughter who regularly shops and sells on Vinted. Add to this, AI, and it’s rapid proliferation across nearly every sector and the bridal retail landscape feels like quicksand.

The Atelier by Professor Jimmy Choo, at Bridal Fashion Week 2024
The Atelier, by Professor Jimmy Choo

The Atelier by Professor Jimmy Choo, at Bridal Fashion Week 2024
The Atelier, by Professor Jimmy Choo

Despite all this, the essence of bridal shopping remains profoundly human. The tactile joy of feeling luxurious fabrics, the personalised advice from brilliant, passionate, experienced stylists and the intimate and nurturing atmosphere of a boutique can never be fully replicated by technology.

It is here, within the sacred spaces of bridal boutiques, that women connect, support, inspire, uplift, and champion one another in their transformative journeys towards one of life’s most cherished milestones. Some experiences are too precious, too personal and too momentous to digitise.

Pronovias at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

With all this in mind, I truly believe traditional retailers are at a critical juncture right now, where reflecting on their unique strengths as providers of a deeply human service and experience, in a world that’s increasingly prioritising AI and online shopping, is of deeply profound importance.

This moment in time, offers a chance to reaffirm the value of human connections in the bridal shopping experience, emphasising the irreplaceable aspects of service, ambiance, and personal attention that only boutiques can provide. Brides will always value the bespoke experience as much as the dress itself. Part of our core purpose here at Love My Dress is to always champion this and fiercely so.

Pronovias at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

Yolan Cris at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

Pivoting from philosophical thoughts to fun fashion, I do very much want to celebrate some of the vibrant and playful creations that graced the catwalks at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week. Several brands stood out for their innovative take on mini dresses, injecting a modern sense of playfulness into their designs. These gowns offer a fresh, more youthful perspective for the modern bride. They embrace a touch of nonconformity while still exuding elegance, femininity and sophistication.

In a world often bound by tradition, these designs serve as a reminder that bridal fashion can be as dynamic and adventurous as every modern bride wants it to be, and I personally LOVE seeing designers adapt in this way.

Trend Spotting: Coats

I’ve long been obsessed by the bridal coat and never before has a bride pulled off this look to greater perfection than in this example. She’s wearing a simple and minimalist dress by The Row, but it was all about the coat – a Jesus Peiro design, which the bride discovered at Miss Bush.

Model bride in a Giambattista Valli statement wedding coat with frills at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024.
Giambattista Valli

The bridal coat is a sartorial statement that marries functionality with pure elegance. It’s a piece that promises cover up, warmth and an added layer of statement style.

The right coat can be a stunning complement to the gown underneath, offering a graceful transition from ceremony to celebration, or from outdoor photoshoots to indoor receptions. It’s an opportunity for brides to showcase their personal style and to make a dramatic entrance or exit.

Dear brides, in a world where wedding coats exist – be more Rachael.

Stand Out Designers at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2024

Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli is a tour de force in the world of high fashion, who has built a reputation for combining the meticulous detail of haute couture with a fresh, modern sensibility. Given his stature in couture fashion, he was top billing at BBFW this year – his runway show was the main focus of BBFW’s ‘Gala Night’ and drew some major press attention.

Whilst he’s been designing couture high fashion since 2005, this is only the third full bridal collection from Valli, and was his first ever runway show at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week.

Giambattista Valli at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, 2024.

Valli prefers to call his bridal collections ‘Love Collections’ – and his ‘Love Collection 3’ was quite simply breathtaking

The backstage images at Valli’s show captured magical scenes that were reminiscent of prima ballerinas in between scene changes back stage at grand old theatres. The whole vibe carried a distinct echo of Charles James‘ theatrical approach to design. Valli’s creations, much like James’ legendary ball gowns, conjure an air of mid-century splendour, their voluminous tulle skirts and cinched waists harking back to the heyday of 1950’s couture.

Models seemed to float through the behind-the-scenes bustle, embodying the same fusion of art, femininity and design James championed – a tribute to the enduring impact of his work on today’s bridal fashion.

Sophie et Voila

“Sophie et Voila showed a strong evolution of their very specific, no wasted look, which is still for brave brides, but is incredible cool, comfortable and wearable. Their collection was called ‘Titanium’, and is rooted in their Basque heritage – it was unapologetically modern and fantastical. They alternated between draped slipper satin and structured architectural crepe, done in some very uncompromising silhouettes. Sophie et Voila also won an award for best collection, which I thought was really amazing.”

Emma Marshall, Miss Bush

Jesus Peiro

The continued quiet evolution of signature looks from brands like Jesus Peiro is always impressive. The depth of their collection is fantastic and has a lot to offer; short dresses, jumpsuits, incredible coats and removable elements that provide incredible adaptability.

Emma Marshall, Miss Bush

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I adore the Jesus Peiro brand. I know from many first hand visits to Barcelona the insane level of craftsmanship and couture that is at the beating heart of this brand.

This brand has been consistently championed for many years now by leading British boutiques including Miss Bush in Surrey, The White Closet in Manchester, Carina B Couture in Bradford on Avon and Perfect Bridal Rooms in Aberdeen – though if you need any additional evidence of how beautiful and wearable these gowns are, take a look through these many real weddings on Love My Dress.

Yolan Cris

I’ve been impressed with this cutting edge, Spanish bridal fashion brand ever since witnessing one of the most creative, innovative runway shows of theirs in Barcelona back in 2018.

Currently stocked at Knutsford Wedding Gallery in Cheshire in the UK, YolanCris is a Barcelona-based luxury fashion brand renowned for bridal and evening gowns. It was founded in 2005 by sisters Yolanda and Cristina Pérez, who are the creative directors and the soul of this exciting brand. Coming from a family with a deep history in dressmaking and bridal fashion, the sisters were introduced to the magic world of wedding dresses at a young age by their mother, who was a pioneer in the bridal business.

I love how this brand stands for breaking traditional bridal sterotypes.

Yolan Cris at Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, 2024.

YolanCris challenges conventions – we celebrate bohemian love that breaks stereotypes.


Marco & Maria

Sharing here because their collection challenges traditional silhouette, form, structure and colour.

Marco & Maria is a Spanish brand that was first established in 1990. Sadly this brand isn’t currently stocked in the UK, though is popular in the USA.

A final few thoughts; huge love and congrats to Halfpenny London who was also exhibiting at BBFW, though not on the catwalk. Designer Kate, our long time friend, won the ‘Artisnal Brand Award’ and we are utterly delighted for her.

As I end this article, I find myself returning to the profound speed at which we’re being propelled into an AI-dominated future. I’m not opposed to artificial intelligence – I’m deeply intrigued by its potential for good, but the sheer speed of it’s evolution frightens me. It’s outpacing our capacity for truly comprehending its ramifications on who we are as human beings – on our cognitive functions, our creative spirit, and our innate ability to envision and produce art. I think about this a lot and about how critically important it is that we celebrate and preserve our artisanal heritage during these profound and transformative times.

Winning an Artisnal Brand Award is a pretty big and special deal anyway, but right now, it feels so vital and necessary. I hope that prestigious events like BBFW will long provide awards like this one to incredibly talented designers like Kate Halfpenny. And Kate, I am brimming with pride for you. You go girl!

With thanks to Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week and David Christopher Photography for so generously sharing their photography.

You can enjoy much more bridal fashion content here on Love My Dress.

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Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.