During October’s New York Luxury Bridal Fashion Week, storied New York-based bridal label Morilee, designed by Madeline Gardner, celebrated its 70th anniversary with a runway show at Carnegie Hall.
The event celebrated the anniversary through an exclusive Platinum Collection of wedding looks Gardner recreated from the brand’s bestselling designs over the past seven decades.
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“It was really interesting because a lot of the retailers and even the editors were saying how much they love the dresses and they wish they were current. Maybe a tweak of the neckline or less sleeve, but a good style is timeless,” Gardner, who’s been designing for the brand for over 25 years, told WWD following the event.
She noted that the presentation also displayed groupings of each of the brand’s bridal lines: Morilee (priced $1,350 to $2,299), Blu ($1,170 to $1,799), Amy & Eve ($999 to $1,499), Julietta ($999 to $1,999), Madeline Gardner Signature ($1,999 to $3,500), The Other White Dress ($499 to $1,299), and the couture label, Madeline ($3,000 to $10,000).
“We start with super simple at a lower price and go all the way to the couture level, so we wanted each one of those brands represented at the show. That was really important to me because part of what I feel has been a milestone is when I started, in 1985, our whole bridal collection was 12 pieces. There weren’t that many brands; everyone was based in New York, and you cut deep into those 12 pieces. Now, we are on a global landscape, selling to 75 countries, and creating gowns for so many different types of brides across the world. For me that to me has been the biggest accomplishment from my end,” she said.
Gardner added she feels as though she helped the company go from “a small New York brand” to one with decade-spanning global reach, emphasizing the importance of listening to the ever-changing bridal customer. For instance, offering lines with varying price points, especially those at entry prices, for today’s modern, post-pandemic bride. The brand’s largest distributions is in the U.S. (Garnder noted approximate 65/30 in the U.S. versus global).
“We’ve had retail partners for over 50 years,” she said of the brand’s relationships with partners like Bridal & Formal (Cincinnati), Amanda’s Bridal (Arvada), Wedding Shoppe (St. Paul), Castle Couture (Englishtown, N.J.), Azarue’s (Bossier City, La.), J&B Bridals (Chambersburg, Pa.) and Trudys Brides (Campbell, Calif.).
In addition to the brand’s milestone, Madeline Gardner was appointed to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Foundation board of directors, with the designation of the first Madeline Gardner Scholarship award.
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