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Kourtney Kardashian’s ‘bridal mini’ shows a vibe shift is coming to wedding fashion

In case you haven’t heard, Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are married. The eldest Kardashian sibling wed her beau not one, but three times. The first, a “faux” wedding, happened in Las Vegas after the Grammys. They were married by an Elvis impersonator; the bride wore a leather jacket. Last week saw a legal wedding in Santa Barbara, California, before the pair held a larger, more lavish wedding in Portofino, Italy this past weekend.

For the nuptials, the bride, groom, and entire guest list (it seems), wore Dolce & Gabbana, with the fashion house also hosting the ceremony at its villa in Portofino, called L’Olivetta. But all eyes were on Kardashian’s dress, as the 43-year-old decided to buck tradition and opt for a corseted mini dress (or a “bridal mini”) instead of a traditional longer white gown.

The tradition of the long white gown stems back to Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding to Prince Albert. Before this, white was an uncommon choice for a bride to wear due to the hefty price tag and the high possibility it would get dirty. While Kardashian still went for white — and completed her outfit with a cathedral-length veil embroidered with a depiction of one of Barker’s tattoos — her choice of mini dress shows that personal style is seeping into wedding outfits, a vibe shift if you will.

“I’m definitely seeing a vibe shift in terms of dresses and I’m also seeing a huge trend of having multiple day celebrations, with multiple dresses,” Lisa Smith, founder of boutique and destination wedding planners, Isla & Smith, tells The Independent.

“Instead of seeing just one show stopping dress, I’m now seeing three to four show stopping dresses and this could be over the course of a multiple date celebration or even one long dress during their ceremony and a mini dress for the party.”

Smith says Kardashian wearing a long dress would have been “too traditional” and that she is a “very non-traditional bride”.

She knows exactly what suits her, and if it works, why change it?

Lisa Smith, Isla & Smith

“I think that Kourtney is often seen as the ‘rebel sister’, by wearing the three non-traditional mini dresses, she reinforced that identity,” Smith explains. “Of course, they originally got married in Vegas, where again, she wore a mini dress, so I believe that she knows exactly what suits her, and if it works, why change it!”

Kardashian’s personal style has changed significantly in the past 18 months since meeting Barker, the 46-year-old drummer for Blink 182. As well as chopping her long locks off, her signature style is now more grunge than glam, with leather jackets, monochromatic outfits, short dresses and more daring looks becoming staples in her wardrobe. But she’s not the only celebrity to incorporate her personal style into her wedding outfit.

This particular vibe shift has also been noted by TikTok stylecaster Mandy Lee, who goes by @oldroseinbrooklyn. In a video posted to TikTok following Kardashian and Barker’s Santa Barbara wedding, where Kardashian wore another white mini Dolce & Gabbana dress, Lee noted celebrities like Chloë Sevigny — who got married earlier this month — as incorporating their style into their wedding look.

“The conversation around fashion and personal style has really been put in the forefront more than ever,” Lee explained in the video. “I think that’s slowly starting to seep into more traditional fashion spaces such as weddings.”

Lee added that, until now, there has been an unwritten expectation for those getting married to check off certain boxes with the aim of creating a “perfect special” — something she says can “lead to a lot of cliches”.

“That’s not to say tradition is bad, but there is more backlash when you go against the grain of traditional events,” Lee continued.

“When it comes to wedding looks everyone has an opinion, and typically that opinion is through the lens of their own expectations, traditions and experiences. Seeing a celebrity embrace their personal style on their wedding day, I think this will set a new precedent of what is ‘acceptable’ to wear, and hopefully challenge some of these traditions. Because there are no rules in fashion and that applied to you wedding day as well.”

We’re seeing the idea of a ‘traditional wedding dress’ change now

Lisa Smith

Perhaps the pandemic has a part to play with this vibe shift. Weddings in 2020 were forced to happen on Zoom, and in 2021 they were still kept small, making those getting married re-think how they wanted to do things. Ultimately, it allowed them to inject more personality into their big days. While 2022 was branded as the “year weddings make a big comeback”, we’re still seeing the pandemic do-whatever-you-want mentality continue.

“We’re seeing the idea of a ‘traditional wedding dress’ change now,” Smith says. “Brides are going for a much sexier, feminine, alluring style wedding dress. They want to feel and look their best and will wear whatever is going to make them feel like that, regardless of tradition.

“Recently, every wedding that I have done, there has been a ‘party dress’. The bride will change into the party dress after the first dance, so that she can dance without the huge train on the dress getting in the way and so that they can feel a little sexier for the evening.”

Kardashian is hardly the first celebrity to wear a mini wedding dress. At the Met Gala earlier this year, Emma Stone wore the mini Louis Vuitton dress she wore for her wedding reception; Lily Allen also got married in a white mini dress during her surprise wedding to David Harbour in Las Vegas in 2020; and Paris Hilton’s wedding bonanza last year saw the heiress don a bridal mini at least once.

Yet, what Kardashian’s choice of dress does show is just because you’re getting married, you don’t have to conform to a set of rules adapted from a monarch in the 19th century. Everyone always tells you it’s your day after all, so make it just that.

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