WORDS BY SUZIE BAKOS
As the world slowly opens up and social calendars begin to take shape, the joy of wedding season can’t be far behind — and with that comes plenty of opportunity to dress up again. From city and beach to spring and winter weddings, we look at the best wedding guest outfits for all occasions, and the global boutiques dedicated to providing the most thoughtful seasonal styles, from Stivali in Portugal and O’ in Italy to Maria Store in Croatia. Find the perfect ready-to-wear pieces and accessories to create a memorable look, here.
Best for a city wedding: Stivali, Portugal
Opening its doors in 1986, Stivali Lisboa’s offering continues to be just as cool and contemporary as the day it opened — and the same goes for its light and airy interiors. Found in the center of Lisbon, its clientele seek the finest in wedding guest attire, specifically city ceremonies.
'For city weddings, an elegant midi dress with sleeves is both powerful and comfortable, while a short colorful dress means you’re ready to dance all night,’ says Ana Casal, Stivali’s retail manager.
Following the pandemic and the uncertainty of weddings, Ana explains how this informs her clients’ buys. ‘Because they are unsure if the wedding will go ahead or not, clients choose an item that they'll be able to wear for another special occasion. These pieces are usually subtle, allowing them to wear it to other events. They also tend to be something the client can wear a jacket or a shirt over, with some flat sandals.’
And while classic, versatile and wearable styles are key to the city wedding look at Stivali, its accessories sit in the more glamorous region. Giuseppe Zanotti sandals and Valentino Garavani studded pumps are the footwear of choice, while Rosantica’s heavily embellished bags lend a sparkly finish.
Best for a destination wedding: Maria Store, Croatia
'I wanted to bring together the best that designer fashion has to offer in modern womenswear and introduce top luxury fashion brands to the local market, all in one place,’ says Marija Obrvan of her vision for both her Dubrovnik and Zagreb branches of Maria Store. With Milanese architect Marco Bonelli designing the spacious interiors and custom-made metallic display cases, that vision has been realized, inside and out.
Surrounded by beautiful coastlines, Croatia is a popular destination for picturesque beach weddings and Maria Store is at hand to provide an elegant wedding guest outfit that will fit into the landscape perfectly. ‘Special dresses are always a favorite for weddings and most of our brands have a couple of showstoppers in their collections,’ says Obrvan. ‘Valentino, Gucci, Johanna Ortiz, Chloé, Khaite, Givenchy and Alaïa are among our top selects for the current beach wedding season.’
So, what’s the most fail-safe wedding guest outfit when heading to the beach? ‘That really depends on one's style. For some, it will be a romantic boho maxi dress; for others, it’s a silk printed pajama suit, and many will choose a little white cocktail dress – all of them are effortless, chic options.’
Best for a spring wedding: O’, Italy
Balancing an aesthetic of modernity and classical style, O’ has been an Italian fashion institution since the mid-90s. It’s here that its clientele, both local and international, selects a carefully curated offering of new-season buys.
Among the many reasons for the store becoming such a popular shopping destination is its beautiful range of spring wedding styles. ‘Etro, Valentino, Tom Ford, Jil Sander and Self-Portrait offer items that are a real investment, pieces that can be worn for multiple occasions,’ explains owner Giordano Ollari of the brands that keep the customers returning.
Post-lockdown weddings mean a welcome return to dressing up, but Ollari feels tradition should still be respected: ‘The first rule is: do not wear white or black. In general, we suggest a romantic dress or something in a pastel tone, such as Alexander McQueen or the Saint Laurent floral dresses.’
To finish, Ollari recommends going big and standing out with extravagant accessories. ‘All the Valentino Garavani Roman Stud shoes and bags, the Jimmy Choo crystal-embellished sandals and the Saint Laurent Mini bag. Please remember: you will never be overdressed.’
Best for a winter wedding: Vitkac, Poland
Priding itself on being the only luxury department store in Poland, Vitkac’s roster of classic brands and emerging designers is truly impressive. The multi-level Warsaw boutique welcomes clients from all over the world, mainly due to its offering of winter wedding guest pieces.
Zimmermann, Alaïa, Stella McCartney, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana take the lead for its most sought-after fashion houses, while versatile, investment styles are taking the reins in this post-lockdown world.
'Right now, minimalist, timeless pieces are popular because our customers want to wear these looks over and over,’ explains Anna Wrońska, the store’s PR manager. ‘When it comes to winter wedding guest dresses, we recommend both long and short styles worn with big chain necklaces and contrasting color handbags. You can also never go wrong with an evening suit in white or red.’
As for accessories, Wrońska suggests something special from Loewe, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen or Sophia Webster.