Julie Levitt, third generation and current VP for Marionat, suggests that although many of brides’ visions for their wedding are changing, they still want to feel like a bride… and accessories are critical elements to complete their vision especially now.

She offered her comments as part of VOWS’ current Q&A series in which we ask brands questions about the state of the industry for their specific thoughts.


VOWS: How would you describe the impact Covid-19 is having on bridal accessory design?  

Julie Levitt: Before we get into design we want to extend our love and condolences for anybody affected by Covid-19. Our hearts go out to anyone who has fallen sick, lost a loved one or is experiencing economic hardship. This has been a trying year for so many and we count our blessings everyday. Covid has shaken every part of this world. 

Now design… We are still designing and creating new special touches that really help a bride complete her bridal vision.  We are making sure to include new designs that complement less formal dresses for brides who may have had to scale back their wedding or are having a small party now and a bigger one next year. We are finding that even with the changing celebrations that our accessories are still in great demand to help a bride finish off her look.


VOWS: What trends have you identified, and are addressing in your 2021 collections?

Julie Levitt: For the 2021 collection we are busy identifying dress trends to help guide the direction of our new accessory line. We are working to create a balanced line of accessories that complement the more boho casual dress for micro weddings along with styles that still capture traditional wedding elements. With so many of the brides’ visions for their wedding needing to change (wedding venue, size of wedding etc) many brides still want to feel like a bride and we find that they are still adding traditional accessory elements such as long veils to complete that vision. We are working to create a robust line that has something for each bride to help them maintain that feeling that this is their big day!  

What aspects of today's bridal customer should store owners be particularly aware of? 

Julie Levitt: Brides still want to feel special even if a pandemic changes how that can occur. They still crave the experience of being a bride. Dressing the bride up, including accessories, even if she is having a smaller wedding, will give her that feeling that she is special. Bridal Salons really have the opportunity now to give the Bride a piece of normalcy and that bridal experience. 

How has Covid-19 impacted the operation side of Marionat... and what’s your strategy for dealing with a potential long term disruption? 

Julie Levitt: From an operational stand point Marionat has worked extremely hard to ensure that there have been no disruptions to our accounts. We have worked hard to ensure the safety of our staff while continuing to always be there for our customers and deliver our items in a timely fashion.

As the world keeps changing the Marionat team is constantly looking at the global climate to address what new steps we may have to take to ensure there are minimal changes to how we do our day to day business. We are very lucky to have such amazing employees who are part of our team and it is because of all of them that Marionat is able to help strategize and plan for whatever comes our way. 

How has Marionat responded to this pandemic-caused disruption... and will these programs extend into 2021?

 Julie Levitt: One of the major disruptions caused by Covid was not being able to safely travel and be together for sales visits and trade shows. Marionat has introduced zoom sales calls which has been working nicely in conjunction with our established detailed website and catalogue books. While we much prefer to see our accounts in person and embrace them with hugs, laugh together at market and catch up, the use of online sales technology has grown and will continue post Covid.

We find a lot of our accounts are needing items fast; using our digital resources we are able to customize quick ship boxes to fill any accessory need. I personally can’t wait to see everyone again but these tools are great if in the future an account is not able to attend markets or needs something mid season. It is a great way to connect with our stores and we will absolutely offer it in the future. 

What is your forecast for the bridal and formal industry for Spring 2021 and beyond? 

Julie Levitt: If Covid has taught me anything it is that love prevails. I have seen friends amid the chaos continue to put on their bridal gowns, adorn themselves with a headpiece and veil and still recite their vows to their loved one despite all that is happening.

I am hopeful for a better tomorrow. I believe as health returns to our country and world that the love will continue strong. Bridal trends will always change but I am hopeful that families and friends will be gathered on the dance floor once more decked out in all the latest bridal fashions. Marionat will continue to watch the ever changing styles and be there no matter what to add sparkle to the world…. Or at least a bride on her wedding day. 

Do you think there are positives aspects for our industry that have come about due to COVID-19... and if so, what are they? 

Julie Levitt: The positives…. Covid has hurt so many people and taken so many lives.

Positives from Covid are hard things to see however, I am in awe of the generosity of people. The strength in our stores to weather this storm, change their business models, invest in safety to ensure that they can continue.

I know this year has been hard for many and the strength shown is one of the greatest positives for me. Our ability to connect is also a positive. I have been touched by our accounts that always ask how we are, ask about our families and continue to laugh with us on the phone and over zoom even during this time.

My overall positive from Covid is that I believe it has made us all take a step back, slow down and evaluate what is important. It has shown me (a fast walking New Yorker) the importance of health, family and friends. I hope in a post Covid world we continue to hold onto those values and be thankful for all we have.