Hanifa's Debut Bridal Collection Will Make You Want to Get Married — Just to Dress Up

“I had to go through 12 years of Hanifa to get to this point,” founder Anifa Mvuemba confesses just hours before revealing the brand’s first-ever bridal collection at the Black-owned Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Virginia — far from the Bridal Fashion Week runways in Manhattan, but closer to the company’s home in the D.M.V.

The debut covers the full wedding wardrobe, from classic ceremony gowns to reception dresses to after-party looks and after-after party looks (read: racy lingerie). They all get the Hanifa treatment, reimagined in a way that balances fierceness with grace: Capes waterfall down from structured shoulders with a queenly aura, corsets melt into gently pleated hoop skirts, tuxedo lapels contrast against mermaid skirts. Hints of the brand’s ready-to-wear are evident in the layers of organza with feathered edges that echo the cake-like knits from Fall 2022 and the translucent ivory corsets that call back to the sheer neon versions corsets from previous seasons. There’s not much lace, but there are florals and bows aplenty; fine craftsmanship gets the spotlight in the radiant hand-beaded bodices, considered draping and plumed adornments. 

Photo: Courtesy of ABDM Studio

For the self-taught designer, offering bridal is the next step in Hanifa’s progression, hoping to be there for its customer at various moments of her life. Mvuemba wants to not just inspire the bride, but also help her as she enters a new stage of her life. “I want the bride to look in the mirror and just be like, ‘Wow, this is me. I am who I am before I get married,'” she says. 

Riffing off the D.M.V.’s vibrant wedding culture, Mvuemba coordinated the runway show with a wedding planner. She also put a spotlight on fellow Black female entrepreneurs, teaming up with Fashion Fair for makeup, Mielle Organics for hair and McBride Sisters for wine. The guest list included industry professionals and real-life brides alike. 

“When you think of couture, when you see those beautiful shows, it’s hard to kind of see yourself in those pieces because it’s almost like you don’t have access to it,” Mvuemba says. “When brides see these gowns come down the runway, I want them to see themselves in them.”

Pricing for Hanifa’s bridal collection will be released in the coming weeks, and orders will open October 27. Mvuemba teased plans to open standalone boutiques, offer bespoke bridal creations in the coming seasons and stock her garments at wedding shops.

“I never shy away from talking about I’m believer in Christ — that’s my anchor in everything that I do,” she says. “You have moments where you fall from grace, and you go through all these different seasons. It aligns with where bridal has been: I’ve been talking about bridal since I started Hanifa. We’ve met roadblocks the same way you do when you’re a believer.”

Keep scrolling to see looks from Hanifa’s debut bridal collection.

Photo: Courtesy of ABDM Studio

Photo: Courtesy of ABDM Studio

Photo: Courtesy of ABDM Studio

Photo: Courtesy of ABDM Studio

Photo: Courtesy of ABDM Studio

Disclosure: Hanifa provided Fashionista’s travel and accommodations to attend the show.

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