Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

lookbook: fit n’ flare

October 4th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

Charlotte Balbier - Sasha-LR

You know us, readers: an edgy bride makes our hearts sing, we adore wedding creative cool and Fashion-with-a-Capital-F, but there will always be a special place in our hearts reserved for the classic, the timeless, the elegant. As the formidable Coco Chanel said, “Fashion changes, only style remains the same,” and, for lots of brides-to-be, the temptation of the classic often wins over the contemporary when it comes to their wedding gown. After all, those photographs will adorn mantelpieces and be pored over by future grandchildren in the years to come, and many of us want them to have longevity.

And the dress that sums up Coco’s motto of enduring style best of all? It’s got to be the A-line. Ask a little girl to draw a wedding dress and the A-line is what she’ll invariably produce – a bodice which fits to the waist and flares at the skirt. This design staple is feminine, romantic and almost universally flattering – what’s not to like?

Main images, Charlotte Balbier.

Charlotte Balbier klara-1

So, if an A-line ticks the boxes for you, where to start? Well, how about with Brides Up North’s very own Lead Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier. We’ve previewed Bohemian Blush here previously, and the Klara gown from that very collection is a classic A-line beauty, with full chiffon skirt (perfect for twirling and swirling, dancing fans), but this modesty is offset by a sheer bodice and stunning lace applique.

This combination of demure and daring is clearly a Balbier ‘thing’, with the Tuesday gown going for the same feel – a revealing Bardot lace neckline with a fabulously elegant chiffon skirt – just heavenly.

Then there’s the Romy – a boho dream of a dress with a small A-line skirt if you want something a little less princessy. We think the long cape is a stunning detail and destined to set a Balbier bride apart from the rest.

Charlotte Balbier - Sonnett-LR

It’s hard to go wrong with directional bridal brand Pronovias, and a quick peep at their current ranges throws up a bevy of A-line lovelies. The Regina’s tattoo neckline adds fashion interest, whereas the cap sleeves and flowing skirt are classically romantic. In fact, we can’t decide between that and the Reina, with its tattoo-style bodice and satisfyingly swishy chiffon skirt.

The Rumba is a self-confessed adventure in modern bridal design, taking a classic A-line gown and showing how it can be “reinterpreted to create an original, sensual and very modern look”. More tattoo-style bodice and sleeve work with a full skirt and sweetheart neckline; the perfect fusion of classic and contemporary.

Charlotte Balbier -Forever-2-LR

Stella York is another bridal designer who knows the awesomeness of an A-line – just check out her collections as evidence. Design 6427 is a modified A-line, so with a longer bodice and a dropped waistline, and brings a modern edge to a classic. I won’t lie: the illusion neckline and floral lace gives us all the feels and the back has rendered us incoherent wrecks. Stunning.

Then there’s the 6180, proving that you don’t have to do princess to do A-line. This satin gown is pure luxe, daring in its simplicity with its ruched straps and long line of fabric-covered buttons. It conjures up images of an Art Deco hotel, a groom in black tie and a whole lotta champagne.

Or if you want the wow factor, 6432 is a blush beauty verging on ballgown territory, with its textured tulle skirt creating maximum romantic impact. The sweetheart neckline is perfection and the subtle diamante beading is just the right side of bling – for the love of God, somebody wear it, PLEASE.

Charlotte Balbier -romy-1

And finally, it’s the turn of British brand and another fabulous Brides Up North Sponsor, So Sassi, to showcase some of their finest A-line wares: the brocade Ebony is uber-simple and would be offset beautifully by some statement accessories; the gorgeously boho Scarlett features some seriously gorgeous drape sleeves; and the edgy Taylor has a brave racer-back and is eeeeven pretty close to being – gasp – Fashiony-with-a-capital-F!

So, there we have it – the humble A-line. Yes, it’s a classic, and often designers tread carefully with this iconic silhouette, but we hope these gowns have gone some way to revealing the full range that’s out there!

the big picture

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.

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