When the J. Crew bridal lace jumpsuit hit the market, it not only rocked headlines, but also left us all scratching our heads: “Are bridal jumpsuits a thing now?” Three may make a trend, but we had to know its origin and jumped at the chance to talk to Molly Schaul, director of wedding design at J. Crew, to find out. “I try to think of all the different scenarios where a bride would get married in, so a City Hall wedding for one, which is what this was for,” Schaul tells InStyle.com exclusively. “Plus, women love wearing jumpsuits. It’s kind of retro, but also very modern.”
In a billion-dollar industry where the pressure to tie the knot in the most lavish way possible is palpable, City Hall weddings are often overlooked and at times underappreciated. Though that’s not the case with Schaul who had wanted her nuptials to take place at City Hall, but eventually gave in to her family’s request for a more traditional wedding. “There’s nothing more romantic than going to City Hall, just you and your fiance,” she explains. “You can wear a chic little number instead of this big gown.”
Speaking of big gowns, Schaul completely rejects the idea of a princess-y froufrou creation that feels as though you’re being “corseted in” or “stuffed in” or “trapped,” which ultimately isn’t what her designs are about—or J. Crew bridal, for that matter. “Each season, the J. Crew wedding collection is about being the modern-day anti-bride,” she continues. “We take fancy elements and make it really wearable in a clean, effortless way.” And she does that through unexpected silhouettes, injecting a playful, contemporary spin on traditional designs, pointing to the jumpsuit and bridal separates (pictured right; an eyelash lace cami paired with a ribbon and tulle ball gown skirt) as prime examples.
With six years of experience as a bridal designer for J. Crew under her belt (and having been a bride herself), Schaul says she’s relieved that the bridal market is veering toward a more relaxed direction, because in the end, it all boils down to comfort. “A lot of brides are scared they won’t like their wedding dress in 10 years,” Schaul says. “You don’t have to be a cookie-cutter bride—you should do your own thing, so you’re comfortable, enjoy the day, and live in the moment.” Amen to that!