As I've mentioned before, finding a wedding dress, a wedding veil, wedding shoes, what-have-you, are not easy tasks to accomplish. There is a ton of product, plenty of ugly product, and not really many places--stores, magazines, or websites--that offer trustworthy suggestions.
That's all about to change with The Aisle New York, a members-only website, set to launch the first week in October, that aims to offer brides-to-be a place to shop for everything, get ideas, and just enjoy the whole pre-wedding experience.
Yesterday, I met with site's co-presidents, WWD and W vet David Yassky and former corporate lawyer Shara Levy. Essentially, the duo--along with renown bridal boutique owner Mark Ingram (who serves as chief merchandising officer) and former Vera Wang creative director Deborah Moses (who serves at chief creative officer)--have built an online world for brides interested in more than cupcake dresses and tiaras. (Although there will be some of that, of course. It'll just be well-edited.)
With the decline in high-end bridal boutiques--Saks got rid of all but two in the last couple of years--many brides just don't have access to the Oscars, Veras, and Moniques of the world. They end up spending a ton of money coming to New York for a weekend of trying on dresses. Personally, I'd rather put that $2,000 or however much the trip costs towards a dress.
What's more, there are a ton of niche bridal dress and accessory designers, as well as milliners, that most of us have never even heard of. Yassky, who spent years covering the market for WWD and Ingram, who's been running a successful bridal boutique in Manhattan for years, know those designers. Which means we'll be introduced to many under-the-radar hat makers and bridal experts, whether it's through sales or the site's editorial section.
The best news? Everything is discounted! The pieces are usually a season or two behind, and most are discounted by 50%. And it's flash sales, which you're surely familiar with. Each item will remain on the site for 72 hours. Along with the aforementioned designers, The Aisle New York will initially feature Angel Sanchez, Marchesa, Lela Rose, Reem Acra, Alberta Ferretti, Elizabeth Filmore, Jenny Packham...the list goes on.
And maybe even more important: There's a great return policy! If you've tried on a dress before and you know that it fits, you don't need to worry. But if you haven't, you can purchase dress insurance for around $200. The insurance allows you to receive a full refund on the dress, and includes return shipping, etc. (Most sites that sell high-end bridal gowns, particularly at discount, only offer store credit on returns. Which, if you're spending several thousand dollars on a dress, is pretty insane.)
The Aisle New York is offering automatic membership to Fashionista readers, so click here to sign up. And please, enjoy this experience! It's supposed to be fun.