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look book: all about the sleeves

March 2nd, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson

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This season, the catwalks are dancing with spectacular sleeve detail. From illusion sleeves with lace detail, to puffball sleeves, to flutter sleeves, to bell sleeves, to off-the-shoulder sleeves, to blouson sleeves … yes, OK, you get the picture. There’s an incredible array of delightful choice in the sleeve department. So, we’ve done the hard work for you (oh, it’s tough looking at wedding gowns for hours on end!) and whittled down the options to a collection of gorgeous creations that will no doubt send you all misty-eyed.

Main image Rime Arodaky.

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From the bell to the blouson, Lillian West has got your arms covered when it comes to dreamy, romantic sleeves this season. Styles 6463 and 6509 have a gorgeous vintage vibe, with flared skirts to echo the flute of the bell sleeves. Flutter like a butterfly in style 6517, as ethereal chiffon cascades from the shoulders of this beautiful illusion neckline and deep illusion back. Go boho with blouson sleeves and a crepe gypsy skirt in style 6518, or an off-the-shoulder illusion blouson bodice in style 6476.

If you’re looking for effortless cool with a bit of grit thrown in (think rocking up to the church on a motorbike with bed hair and sharply contoured cheeks), Rime Arodaky is right up your alley. The puffy sleeves are to die for. Check out the Zappa, with its funnel neck, puffy sleeves and plaited high-waisted skirt. Or the Jude, a sleek silhouette with a gigantic puff adorning each wrist. The off-the-shoulder Madden sports large ruffles in plumetis and organza and brings a bit of romance to the occasion. And, for the ultimate in ruffled sleeves, look no further than the Arlo and the Joni, both crepe gowns with dazzling appeal. Pass me the black kohl eyeliner, quick.

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There’s a delicate vibe to Theia’s sleeve detail that gives us the romantic feels. Sandy is sophisticated, with hand-appliquéd, scallop-edged sleeves that swish down the aisle. Layla is covered with thousands of glass-cut beads and micro pearls which, combined with the off-the-shoulder flutter sleeves, create an ethereal effect. For a long-sleeved gown with gorgeous floral detail that the designer describes as a ‘tattoo effect’, take a look at Karina. Then there’s the Sasha, with a stunning mermaid skirt and a cut-out cape-style sleeve and Ellie, with its chic silhouette and fabulous bell sleeves.

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Absolutely nailing the illusion sleeve is Hayley Paige. Pascal is completely divine, with its long-sleeved illusion bodice with metallic floral micro beading. Stevie is another off-the-shoulder creation with a glorious bateau neckline and full skirt, while Rogers combines an illusion sleeve with a delicate butterfly flutter at the wrist and a low scoop back. So pretty. For a more obvious flutter, try Frida, a fit-to-flare gown with a deep V scalloped neckline and a detachable, cascading sleeve. And, finally, we mustn’t forget the cap sleeve, for a subtle nod to the season’s trend. Check out Vaughn, with its low open back, full tulle skirt and lovely bateau neckline.

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So, come on ladies, dress your arms to impress. After all, they do have a huge roll to play in the proceedings, from presenting the hand upon which your dashing groom will slip the wedding ring, to making some serious shapes on the dancefloor in the evening. Whether your totally boho or a chic petite, there’s a sleeve out there for you!

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look book: clean lines

February 22nd, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Cortana Grace-dress-deco-wedding-coat-2-cortana-bridal-1000x1500

This afternoon we’re talking about sculpted columns, bold lines and architectural sweeps – but this isn’t a piece about wedding venues, oh no, it’s all about dresses – specifically, simple, fuss free-wedding gowns with clean lines and sleek silhouettes.

There’s something about a minimalist gown that, while timeless, has a simultaneous up-to-the-minute feel perfect for a fashion-forward bride. Here at Brides up North we love the edginess of a dress with less, and we’ve gathered together a whole lovely loot of unadorned beauties for your browsing pleasure.

Main post images by Cortana.

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First up is Spanish designer Cortana, a label which boasts a romantic, boho vibe. We love the luxe factor of the Gala gown; a silk satin bias-cut beauty which looks slinky and effortlessly chic. The attention to detail is just stunning – that diagonal row of silk-covered buttons on the back gives us all the feels – and the thin straps feel bold and youthful and a little bit 90s-Calvin-Klein, which is always a good thing in case you’re wondering.

The Cortana collection also features the stunningly minimalist Grace with daring back and thin crossed strap detail and the silk brocade Linda, made with a touch of lurex to give a super-flattering fit and stretch. There’s also the Valentina which, quite frankly, makes my heart sing – the boat neckline! The sleek drapery! And is a strong contender in my frequent ‘What Would I Wear If I Got Married Again?’ mental debate (don’t mention that to my husband, kaythanks?)

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Onwards to a Brides Up North favourite – the always-opulent Eliza Jane Howell. EJH is known for their decadent vintage designs, and so might not seem a natural bedfellow of the Clean Lines brigade. However, in Gill Harvey’s recent collections, we’re seeing subtlety, simplicity and lots of plain silk alongside the embellishment and embroidery. Belle from the Leading Lady collection is a stunner with a contemporary feel, complete with bold halterneck, textured figure-hugging fabric and a daring sheer back. Daisy from the Legend collection and Clarissa from the Debutante range are unquestionably more vintage in style but still simple and sleek, with Daisy offering the tiniest hint of embellishment and Clarissa’s floaty sleeves a great option for brides less inclined to bare. Luna from the Stardust range gets close to the fussier end of the spectrum with its frothy skirt and mini train, but the long sleeves, close fit and semi-sheer overlay is dreamily clean and sculpted.

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look book: glitz & glam

December 7th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

Eliza Jane Howell-Hope

Eliza Jane Howell

T’is the season to be festive and that means going all out with the glitz and the glamour – we’re talking heavily embellished, glittering gowns to send your betrothed weak at the knees, full-on swishy skirts a princess would be proud of (take note, Meghan) and gold and silver metallics to make your guests’ jaws drop. Feast your eyes on these glitz and glam gowns.

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Jenny Packham

First stop on the train to destination sparkle is Jenny Packham, an expert at marrying glittery gorgeousness with an elegant silhouette. Take the romantically named Valentine – an extravagantly detailed bodice balanced with a crepe lace skirt – and the Euphoria, which is embellished from head to toe in flattering vertical contours. Awe epitomises daring sophistication – a crystal-encrusted figure-hugging number that balances a plunging neckline with beautiful cap sleeves – while Rapture is star-studded and glorious.

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Hayley Paige

For serious swishability style points, Hayley Paige is right on the money, with dreamy skirts just begging to be whisked around a fairy-tale dance floor. We’re awarding the Gael a whopping 10/10 on the swishability scale – an embellished ball gown with dimensional floral beading and embroidery, a rhinestone-beaded strap, a low open back and, of course, that glorious full tulle skirt. Hot on its heels is the Lincoln, a sequin- and crystal-encrusted ball gown with a full, layered tulle skirt and the Rory, a lace ball gown with cashmere lining and a full, cascading tulle skirt. Just don’t swish too close to the candles.

Zeta-with-Mitzi-cape - Eliza Jane Howell

Eliza Jane Howell

Eliza Jane Howell’s collections take us on a historical journey, each gown evoking an era and style that is breath-taking. Within the Stardust collection you’ll find sassy silver dresses exploding with pizzazz. Take Portia, Zeta and Comet – you could be forgiven for thinking real stars lie captured in the shimmering fabrics. Full-on, unforgettable dazzle with a vintage vibe: not what your guests will expect. If you love a bit of silver but want to tone it down a bit, take a look at the Fredrika, a flapper-style, rather regal gown, and the Hope, with its art deco vibe. Both rock a beautiful silvery accent that delivers more than just a nod to the party season.

Ruth Milliam Tatiana

Ruth Milliam

From shimmering silver to glimmering gold, Ruth Milliam is showcasing statement gold-kissed gowns this season – some a little whacky, like the yellow-tinted Orphelia. We love the Tatiana, with its hand-sewn gold-leaf beading, and the Bianca, a voluminous tulle skirt with delicate floral lace topped with gold detailed straps. For the bold bride there’s the Ianthe, a long-sleeved gold and silver hand-beaded gown that doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination but is balanced with a full, silk organza skirt. Milliam gowns are made to order and can be hand-dyed to any colour so, if you fancy a jolly Father Christmas red for your Christmas Eve wedding, you can go for it! Who said a bride should wear white?

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look book: winter wedding wonders

November 13th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

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Winter weddings are a gift for the bride who wants to add a twist to her wedding attire to suit the season; whether that by covering-up more a little more flesh with luxurious detailing and fabrics, adding some sparkling accessories, or throwing on an extra cool layer. We’re thinking floaty capes, long delicate sleeves, cute high-neck collars, and even edgy biker jackets. So, in case you hadn’t guessed, today’s Look Book post is all about the latest bridalwear designs that we feel are particularly well suited to winter…

Main feature images Monique Lhuillier, see ‘the big picture’ for more styles.

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The fashion-forward bride can’t go wrong with a cape for the season – and who doesn’t want to exude a Wonder Woman aura on the biggest day of her life? Badgley Mischka has some of the dreamiest bridal capes on the scene. Both The Angel and The Annabelle complement the beautiful, clean silhouettes of their gowns with divine capes that scream vintage Hollywood glamour with a boho edge. The Ally-A tulle jacket has a dreamy train that does the job of a veil as well as a cape and, for the more daring bride, the Ashton Bralette and Jacket is a sexy, vintage glam two-piece bodice, layering a long-sleeved lace jacket over a strapless sweetheart bra top that you can pair with a skirt of your choice.

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In complete contrast to the ethereal cape, Monique Lhuillier is showcasing bold and edgy jackets in her Fall 2018 collection. The Alexis has biker chick written all over it, while The Sawyer has a slightly softer feel, with laser cut lace detailing. Also in the collection is The Yoko, a trouser suit for the bride who wants to break out of the box.

If you just want a nod to the season, Amanda Wyatt is showcasing some beautiful gowns with collars. The Buttercup has an elegant lace collar with cute cap-sleeves and a beaded belt at the waist. Definitely a dress that demands an up-do to show off the gorgeous detailing. Then there’s The Audrey, an A-line gown with a pretty satin collar edged with beading, and The Aria, a mid-calf length satin gown with a collar sporting no fewer than 7,000 beads from the front to the back in a pretty V-drop.

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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.

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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.

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look book – decolletage display

August 29th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

Anna Campbell - Raine Dress

The décolletage takes centre stage in our look book today, with a handpicked selection of gowns that beautifully expose the neck, shoulders, back and upper chest in the most sophisticated and elegant of styles.

There’s a certain allure surrounding this part of the body, so you’ll want a dress that will accentuate this area in a demure yet discreetly sultry fashion – think strapless numbers, gorgeous Bardot styles or barely there spaghetti straps. For the more risqué brides-to-be among you though – a plunging neckline is a bold and sexy statement, to say the least.

The key to puling off this look, however, lies not just in your gown of choice but also in prepping your skin, ready to bare (almost) all. Stay on top of your skincare regime in the lead up to your big day (we’re talking regular exfoliation and indulgent body creams) to ensure this delicate zone is hydrated and smooth. And don’t forget that a sun-kissed glow will do wonders, too, when it comes to your wedding photography.

All set to now show off your glowing décolletage? Here are a few ideas to get your wedding dress inspo in full flow…

Anna Campbell - Mia

First up, we’re spotlighting breathtakingly beautiful dresses from the mesmerising Anna Campbell. The elegant Brooklyn gown typifies this bridal collection, embodying a romantic, bohemian vibe with its strapless sweetheart neckline, silk bow, low exposed back and detachable off the shoulder silk tulle sleeves. As for the v-shaped Ruby dress – it’s all about the detailing with its low, open back, paired with a delicate fringed lace fabric for an ultra classic look. The shimmering ivory Raine, meanwhile, combines a V-shaped bust with narrow straps and an open back – a sparkling, embellished design with the most flattering of silhouettes. And for a heady dose of vintage glamour – look no further than Chloe – a design that’s brim-full of sparkle, complete with cascading hand-beaded shoulder loops.

Anna Campbell - Brooklyn Dress

Daughters of Simone offers up a more carefree, contemporary look with its latest collections, which we simply adore. The floral lace Iver dress is one of our favourites – who could possibly resist this strapless gown, complete with top ruffle and scalloped eyelash trim along the hem? By contrast, the chiffon Miller gown presents a more minimalistic style – we just love how the ruffle, with its beautiful crochet lace, is intentionally longer to the back, helping to accentuate the waist. And for a peek-a-boo moment on your midriff as well as your décolletage – the Ono dress boasts a crochet-lace fitted bodice and playful off the shoulder flutter sleeves.

Anna Campbell - Ruby Dress

A long-standing favourite here at Brides Up North – Enzoani combines fashion-forward styles with those sought-after fairy-tale moments thanks to its luxe fabrics and fabulous detailing. It has an array of classic styles perfect for baring the décolletage area. From the tumbling ruffle A-line skirt, ruched tulle bodice and sweetheart neckline of the Jacqueline, and the beaded spaghetti straps and low v-backed Jamila to the whimsical strapless Luanne with its voluptuous beaded corded lace skirt – there are lots of exquisite, couture styles to fire up your wedding dress wish list.

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