Charlotte Balbier

lookbook. bell sleeves

May 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Delphine Manivet - Jonas

At one point strapless dresses had the monopoly on the bride-to-be market but ever since Miss Middleton covered her arms for her Westminster wedding sleeves have rocketed in popularity. Copy-Kate full-lace sleeves quickly appeared in designers’ collections giving ladies the opportunity to rock the royal look for their own big day. And as bridal trends have developed so too have sleeved designs.

We’ve seen sheer illusion like sleeves as well as those with cut out detailing and now as 70s fashions are resurrected to the fashion catwalks, big, blousy sleeved wedding dress designs are making an impact on the bridal catwalks too.

A perfect style for fashion forward brides opting for an informal outdoor ceremony, the designs are what we would call carefree couture. The beautifully cut silhouettes are fluid but without gripping every inch of the body enabling brides above a size 8 to get in on the effortless boho look.

Delphine Manivet - Aliocha

For ladies that like to keep things simple there are plain designs with elegant V necklines and long flowing skirts to mirror the ethereal bell-type sleeves. Hayley Paige’s Blush gown and Stone Fox Bride’s Frida are perfect examples.

Meanwhile for those wanting their dress to do a bit more talking there are designs with dainty cut out detailing as well as those featuring panels of differing materials such as lace and tulle. And while V necklines are certainly the most prominent, it’s possible to find designs with edgy alternatives like high-neck and off-the-shoulder creations.

Delphine Manivet - Amedee

Some of our favourite examples comefrom Delphine Manivet. The Tobivas and Amedee designs are stunning choices for brides with killer collar bones while Jonas provides plenty of cover-up but without losing shape.

Plus let’s not forget that in terms of proportions covering up one area of the body entitles you to expose another, so if you’re arms will be under wraps why not look for backless boho design so you can still flash some flesh?

Delphine Manivet - Maurice

The boho look shouldn’t be totally ruled out by brides in favour of high detailing either as certain designers are peppering their bell-sleeved beauties with sparkles and shine. Claire Pettibone is one such designer that has included boho/glam gowns, complete with sensational sleeves, within her collections. Ariel and Angelica from her latest Gothic Angel collection are among our top picks as well as plainer designs, Bianca and Laurel from her Romantique collection.

And it looks like there’s more to come. Having been at White Gallery in London this week we’ve spotted several designers that have incorporated flowing statement sleeves into their new collections, either as part of the dress itself, or as separate jackets or overlays which can give brides the option of two looks for their big day.

Delphine Manivet - Tobias

Whichever sleeved design catches your eye bear in mind that the finishing touches can really help take your look up to wow-factor level. Flamboyant florals in flower crowns and wild-looking bouquets lend themselves incredibly well to the boho look and instantly add interest to brides opting for less detailed dress designs. If however you feel a floral crown or elaborate bouquet would perhaps steal too much of the limelight, there is always the option to weave just one or two blooms into your chosen hairstyle to project that flawless free-spirit image.

Main feature images courtesy of Delphine Manivet, see our gallery for gown names and further referenced designers. 

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lookbook. bridal separates

May 11th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Reem Acra 2

Reem Acra

Inspired by our latest celebrity spy subject, the gorgeous Olivia Palermo, today we’re talking bridal separates on the blog as we encourage brides to rip up the bridal wear rulebook by swapping a go-to gown for a more unusual skirt and top pairing.

Ever since fashion forward Miss Palermo stepped out in her dreamy tulle skirt and soft cashmere jumper combo, designers have latched onto the idea of giving brides more choice beyond the classic dress. As 2016 collections are unveiled it seems apparent that demand for separates has never been so strong with a vast array of detached designs making their way down the bridal catwalks.

Hayley Paige 3

Hayley Paige

Monique Lhuillier, Reem Acra, Theia and Hayley Paige are just a few of the daring designers to showcase separates with varying levels of skin exposure, and the catwalks were teaming with clever cuts and combos at Barcelona Bridal Week a few days ago (more on this to come).

For those that dare to bare, full skirt and crop top combinations are deemed one of the boldest looks within the trend. As well as a little fake tan, brides considering such designs may well have to schedule a few abs-blast classes into their pre-wedding schedule as torsos will be on show.

Just how cropped the top is depends on how fearless the female. Loose wide-strap tops that cut off just below the ribs give a flirtatious glimpse of the lower stomach while more adventurous bralet style designs from the likes of Tara LaTour are much more figure-flaunting.

Reem Acra

Reem Acra

Meanwhile for those that like the idea of a cropped top but aren’t so sure about flashing so much flesh, there’s always the option of a high-waist skirt to minimise the area on show.

Brides that would prefer to remain totally under wraps don’t have to miss out on the trend either, as designers such as Monique Lhuillier offer matching combos that meet in the middle, or in some cases overlap completely. The trend has also expanded to include sophisticated shirt and high-waist skirt duos, covering much of the body.

Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier 

A mismatched look can also be easily achieved by following in similar footsteps to celebrity bride Olivia. The trick is to decide the type of silhouette you would like to create and whether or not you would like to mix up your fabric choices. Some designs like Theia will do the hard work for you by pairing a flowing silk chiffon A-line skirt with a cute cashmere crop top within their collections but as an alternative you can shop around to create your own dream duo.

Either way to nail the look so it says class rather than crass it’s all about perfecting flesh proportions. So if your separates expose your midriff choose a maxi-length skirt so not to flash your legs too. If your top meets your skirt you can afford to hitch up your hemline a little if you wish. Sleeved tops are also an effective way to strike the right balance while rocking the separates trend.

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catwalk stalk. #barcelonabridalweek

May 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Backstage Jesus Peiro (1)

If you follow us over on our social media feeds, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you’ll have been by our side for all the action coming live from Barcelona Bridal Week.  I’m here as a guest of the exhibition, and it’s been an intense and fashion packed couple of days so far.  I’m here reporting from the front row all week, giving our readers an exclusive first look at the 2016 collections from some very big name designers as they land.  To be the first to see my favourite looks from the shows, make sure to follow Brides Up North over on Instagram – where I’m also posting live video streams from the catwalks.

Backstage Jesus Peiro (2)

Yesterday’s schedule was intense (and today’s is no different, I’m writing this from the VIP area between catwalk calls), and I was privileged to be invited to view the collections of Cristina Tamborero, Natalie Capell, Miquel Suay, Sabrina Saree, Jesus Peiro, Yolancris, Isabel Sanchis and Inmanculda Garcia, before being a guest at an incredible evening catwalk event at Palau De Pedrables, where 25 esteemed designers showed off 25 iconic looks in the gilded hallways of the Royal Palace to celebrate 25 years of Barcelona Bridal Week.

The collections were as diverse as they were beautiful, but I noted some prevailing trends in the 2016 collections.  The two piece is everywhere, with belts, blouses and knits seen combined with both voluminous and sleek skirts.  Grecian cuts continue to be popular, as is back detail and interesting cuts – including crop tops and thigh skimming skirt slits. Fabric wise, there’s everything to play for – with lots of swishy silk chiffon, frothy tulle layers, structured satin and fine lace. Official press shots and info will follow, but here are a few of my own catwalk candids (with apologies for the grainy quality) from each label.

cristina tamborero

Inspired by fairytales, Cristina Tamborero’s collection was pure romance. Full of elegance and imagination, these were feminine dresses with low necklines in the back, pocket detail and deep cuts on the waistline.  The gowns also featured gemstones, floral embroidery and Swarovski crystals.

Cristina Tamborero (3)

Cristina Tamborero (2)

Cristina Tamborero (1)

natalie capell

Sleek and soft, the fluid gowns of Natalie Capell are one off pieces incorporating vintage lace and special details into their simple silhouettes.

Natalie Capell (2)

Natalie Capell (3)

miquel suay

The Epiphany collection from Miquel Suay was flirty, fun and full of confidence. Modern boho looks worked well against super glam styles… with draping, sparkle, silk and intricate lace patterns and the models were rocking their fabulously high hair!

Miquel Suay (1)

Miquel Suay (2)

Miquel Suay (4)

Miquel Suay (3)

sabrina saree

This fashion forward collection of bridal sarees used modern draping, colour and embellishments to create a really different cross cultural look.

Sabrina Saree (3)

Sabrina Saree (1)

Sabrina Saree (2)

jesus peiro

The Nanda Devi collection drew inspiration from the mountains of India and Nepal and evoked goddess like comparisions – snow queens, sirens, and sun princesses. Layers of iridescence, sequins and crystal embroidery were combined with fabrics like Georgette crepe, brocade, spotted tulle, golden Chantilly and cotton guipere lace.

Jesus Peiro (1)

Jesus Peiro (2)

Jesus Peiro (3)

Jesus Peiro (4)

Jesus Peiro (5)

yolancris

The 2016 collection from Yolancris is innovative and exciting, with Chantilly lace, guipure silk, organza and mohair mixing with silk tulle and silver rhinestones and pearls.  With a touch of boho folk influence mixing with more elegant styling, the hemlines, cuts and finishes were both surprising and delighting.

Yolan Cris (1)

Yolan Cris (4)

Yolan Cris (3)

Yolan Cris (2)

isabel sanchis

Isabel Sanchis was all about structure, layering and surprising colour.  My favourite gowns played with proportions and shape, or wrapped up the models in swathes of sensational tulle.

Isabel Sanchis (1)

Isabel Sanchis (4)

Isabel Sanchis (2)

Isabel Sanchis (3)

inmaculada garcia

Fun and fabulous, with more than a touch of ranch style inspiration, the Golden Sunshine collection by Inmaculada Garcia combined loose draping and light dresses with delicate materials like organza and tulle plus lots of pearl and rhinestone detailing. A second line of gowns were more structured with precious materials like Chantilly lace and floral Damask.

Inmaculada Garcia (3)

Inmaculada Garcia (1)

Inmaculada Garcia (2)

Inmaculada Garcia (4)

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hola! #barcelonabridalweek

May 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Barcelona Bridal Week  (1)

If you follow Brides Up North over on Facebook, Twitter or (especially) Instagram, you can’t have failed to notice that I’ve been getting a leetle bit ridiculously excited about being in Barcelona as a guest of Barcelona Bridal Week (hashtag #barcelonabridalweek).  I’m here all week as a VIP blogger partner of XXL Comunication, Barcelona Turisme and Barcelona Bridal Week, bringing you all the news from the front line of the couture catwalks as it lands… and maybe even a little backstage action too.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (2)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (8)

I arrived late on Monday night, and since then it’s been a bit of a Barcelona Bridal whirlwind!  I was whisked straight from the airport to the grand opening of designer Miquel Suay‘s brand new flagship boutique, where a very warm welcome from the designer and his team (and their ah-may-zing gowns) awaited me, via late night tapas and a cheeky cerveza and back to my 5* lodgings in the sensational Gothic Quarter, then awoke today for a full on day of soirees and sightseeing.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (19)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (10)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (20)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (11)

I’m here with a hand picked selection of top bloggers and media partners including the Aussie stylistas from The Lane, the lovely Lindsay of Fly Away Bride, famous US bloggers Jen of Green Wedding Shoes and Ally of Inspired By This, gorgeous Elizabeth of Bridal Musings and the fantastic Yolanda of Girls on Film, representing So You’re Getting Married.  Together we make quite a motley (albeit fabulously dressed) crew, and I’m enjoying exchanging tips (I think Jen from Green Wedding Shoes might have changed my life with her advice on email management), gossip and trend spotting with these amazing ladies.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (18)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (3)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (4)

If today was all about the sights; a whistle-stop tour of the fashionable and quirky Born District, a tour of Casa Batllo (the beautiful Gaudi house), an amazing seafood lunch with Barcelona Turisme at La Gavina at Port Guell, a visit to the Poble Espanyol and more glasses of Cava offered my way than on my own wedding day… then this evening was all about the catwalk.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (5)

At 6pm we headed to the Fira Gran Via for the opening show of Barcelona Bridal Week 2015, the stunning and sensational, Rosa Clara. Official press images and info will follow, but here are a few of my favourite shots. The 2016 Collection by Rosa Clara seeks to ‘emphasise the essence of female beauty’. We saw crop tops, blouses (very Olivia Palermo!) knits and beaded embroidered detailing, combined with a mixture of full and slim skirts and gorgeous fabrics like silk brocade, lace, crepe, muslin, silk organza and mikado.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (6)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (9)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (14)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (12)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (15)

After a quick scrum backstage to meet with the directors of the show and see those gowns (and the beautiful creatures wearing them) close up, the team was whisked off to the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona for a full VIP tour of the hotel, it’s sumptuous spa and wedding facilities (again, more on this later), and treated to an exquisite evening meal… complete with the requisite three glasses of Cava… hic!

Barcelona Bridal Week  (17)

It seems unbelievable, but we haven’t even really got started yet.  Tomorrow’s event schedule is among the craziest I have ever seen.

I have a feeling that this week is going to be one to remember, and I can’t wait to share it with you here on these pages.  Between diary updates, watch the social media feeds for live coverage and all the catwalk gossip as it happens.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (16)

Ciao for now!

All images via Instagram @bridesupnorth.

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flying high. supplier showcase: lovebird brides

May 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (11)

This afternoon I am thrilled to welcome the gorgeous Laura to Brides Up North.  Laura is the beauty and brains behind the gorgeous new bridal boutique in West Yorkshire, lovebird brides, which opened to much excitement (and twinkle!) last autumn.  Laura is already flying high as word of her stunning new boutique, bespoke accessories and top labels spreads, and now it’s time to introduce her on these pretty pages.

First things first, I have a special date for your diaries: Lovebird Brides are holding their first ever Lovebird Accessories evening on Thursday 7th May 2015 from 5pm until 8pm, where brides can visit the boutique for a glass of fizz, try on their accessories, enjoy 10% off the range and see their special guest designers. To join them on the night or for more information email them at appointments@lovebirdbrides.com.

Is it in your diary? Great.  Now let’s meet Laura.

Images by Photography By Kathryn.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (45)

When did Lovebird Brides open and what is your background?

laura says: Lovebird Brides opened its doors with an amazing launch party in October 2014.

I’ve had a varied career working within the creative industries, starting with a degree in design before working in interior design, event planning, teaching and then jewellery making. The problem is I’ve always got to be making something even when just relaxing in the evening! Whilst on maternity leave I took this time to focus on my love of making jewellery and when my baby was old enough, I opened my studio in the World Heritage Site of Saltaire. It turned out this decision paid off, I began making statement pieces but soon had brides visiting me to make them bespoke bridal jewellery.

One thing led to another and my other obsession for vintage dresses combined with brides telling me they were struggling to find the dresses they wanted, gowns that reflected their personality and style led to me opening Lovebird Brides. I wanted to fill this gap for brides concentrating on selecting designers that offered designs that were fashion forward, well made and practical but still maintained that beauty and elegance that a wedding dress should offer.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (39)

Which wedding gown designers do you stock?

Lovebird Brides houses a large selection of Charlotte Balbier’s wedding gowns. Charlotte’s designs are timeless, elegant and fit perfectly allowing a bride to feel comfortable on her wedding day.

We also stock Maria Senvo, I was instantly drawn to the embellishment and detail on these beautiful gowns, definitely one for the fashionista brides!

With a busy year ahead planned, you need to keep your eyes peeled for a new designer or two being introduced to the boutique.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (36)

What bridal accessories designers do you stock?

Lovebird Brides is the home of Lah De Da Accessories. I hand make this beautiful range of accessories in my studio within the boutique where all my sample pieces are available for brides to see and try on. I love that we can create a completely unique look for a bride whether it’s a headpiece, belt, statement necklace or adding beading to the dress. The finishing accessories are so important as a bride can put their own stamp on a gown and feels that they have given their own creative input into the design of these bespoke pieces. I feel this is something they will struggle to get anywhere else.

We are also very lucky to stock the amazing Charlotte Mills bridal shoes that are so pretty, beautifully made and super comfortable but what is even better is they can also be worn again and again after your wedding day!

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (10)

What makes you different?

At Lovebird Brides we focus on fashion forward brides with wedding dresses that break away from tradition, gowns that reflect their individual style and personality. As a boutique we feel it is important not to crowd the shop with too many dresses overwhelming the bride. Instead we concentrate on handpicking strong designs each very different from the next.

It is important to us when a bride first visits the boutique that our style and the layout of the shop not only reflects the individuality of our gowns but is a place where our brides can feel comfortable making the most important fashion purchase of their lives! From our zebra print rug and fuchsia pink chandelier to our Victorian clothes airer rails we want to make it an experience that our bride will never forget.

One major factor adding to our uniqueness is that we hand make all our accessories to compliment our brides dresses right here in the boutique. Even for the bride who has already found their gown we can offer them exclusive accessory appointments to create bespoke pieces for their big day, for their bridesmaids or for mother of the bride.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (3)

Where are you located?

We are located in the beautiful Yorkshire village of Addingham, just outside the centre of Ilkley. Many of our brides choose to make a day of it, celebrating with a cream tea or pub lunch in the village or nipping round the corner to view the beautiful sights of Bolton Abbey.

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our dresses start at £990 and go up to £2550.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (7)

What can Brides Up North expect when they come in for an appointment?

As a luxury boutique we work by appointment only. It is important to us that a bride gets the attention she deserves without any interruptions. We like to gain an understanding of the whole theme of the wedding and listen carefully to what the bride is looking for. Dress appointments are an hour and a half long and forty-five minutes for accessories. Brides can expect to have exclusive use of the boutique for their bridal party and we always have a bottle of prosecco and cakes at the ready, sometimes even homemade by me!

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (30)

What is your current favourite gown that you stock and why?

With so many it’s really hard to pick a favourite dress but if I was pushed I would say I have a real soft spot for Lucy-Lou by Charlotte Balbier, with all its lace it is just a timeless and elegant gown.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (41)

What trends do you see being popular this year?

I think the trends in bridal this year will be blush dresses and gold accessories, which I love! Embellishment on dresses seems to be what brides like so I think we will see plenty of this in new bridal collections.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (34)

Who would be a Lovebird Bride?

A Lovebird Bride is a lady who wants to look the best version of herself. She wants a dress that is elegant but shows her sense of style too. She is a bride who wants some creative input in the overall bridal look and wants to feel comfortable and classic on her most special day.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (43)

Are you married? What did you wear on your wedding day? What would you choose to wear now?

I have been married for almost four years now and wore a Maggie Sottero wedding dress that was strapless with a corseted back in dark champagne. At the time this style was definitely everywhere and although I loved it I don’t think it really reflected me. Now I would definitely either wear a dress with sleeves and a low back or perhaps separates with a bolero jacket and definitely a statement necklace!

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (25)

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more? 

Brides to be call call us on 01943 839720, visit our website at www.lovebirdbrides.com, email appointments@lovebirdbrides.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

Lovebird Brides (c) Photography By Kathryn (2)

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