Charlotte Balbier
Luxury Wedding Fairs

lookbook: new capes on the block

August 26th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Reem Acra Pia

Reem Acra

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a peppering of capes on the bridal catwalks, but the 2017 runways have experienced a much stronger surge of the statement topper as it fast becomes a top industry trend.

For it seems that where Solange Knowles once went, others are keen to follow as the rise of the cape was undoubtedly boosted by Miss Knowles fashion-forward bridal attire back in 2014, with killer capes an accessory for both her elegant gown and edgy jumpsuit.

Providing a sleek and stylish alternative to a veil, designers are offering capes of all shapes and sizes; from those that just cover the shoulders and very tops of the arms, to more cloak-like cover-ups that billow all the way down to the floor.

Zaeem Jamal

Zaeem Jamal

Some may wonder why a bride would want to detract attention from, or even worse, hide, their dress, but many designers use light, sheer fabrics to create their capes, and finish pretty applique or beaded detail to match the gown below. Other capes meanwhile are an extension of the dress, designed to add an element of movement and drama. Then there are those that are detachable, and though these may indeed cover-up more of the dress than others, they allow for a ‘big reveal’ moment later in the day when the cape is removed.

Similar to the growing trend of bridal separates, a cape can help a bride to switch up her look from day to night and is also a particularly useful option for ladies wanting to cover up their arms for the ceremony.

BRIDAL FASHION WEEK APRIL 2016

Mira Zwillinger

Some of our very favourite capes to have been flaunted on recent catwalks include dreamy transparent options from designers such as Monique Lhuillier and Mira Zwillinger, with Sassi Holford’s Savannah cape worn over the elegant Sienna slip dress sending us particularly weak at the knees.

Meanwhile for a more high-fashion look we adore Houghton’s flowing Jetta cape, which would be sure to achieve maximum head-turning impact on the aisle (though just be sure to wear something underneath, unlike the model). Statement-setters out there might also fall for the highly stylish yet beautifully simple look of Lela Rose’s The Yacht, with its sophisticated shirt fasten detail and on-point collar.

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fashion-forward flair: introducing felicity cooper bridal

June 13th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Felicity Cooper Bridal (2)

If you’re still on the hunt for that one perfect dress for your wedding day, this afternoon’s post may be of extra interest as we introduce new Brides Up North Sponsor, Felicity Cooper Bridal, to the blog.

Set up by talented designer and boutique owner Fiona Cooper in 2010, the stunning brand has gone from strength-to-strength and is now stocked at select dress shops in the UK and Europe, with Fiona’s own shop, The Wedding Boutique, in Cheshire, being the Flagship store for Felicity Cooper.

Dress designs are created with brides’ requests in mind resulting in fashion forward gowns that are guaranteed to turn heads. From dreamy lace Boho designs to elegant silk chiffon gowns, ladies making a decision on just one could be tricky!

Here to fill us in on all the details of the beautiful brand is the creator herself…

Felicity Cooper Bridal (9)

When and why did you first set up Felicity Cooper Bridal and what is your background in the fashion and bridal industry?

fiona says: I opened The Wedding Boutique Cheshire back in 2008. From listening to brides’ like and dislikes we decided to create a bridal label that would fill the gap we had in the boutique. This went from strength to strength and in early 2016 we made the decision to relaunch The Wedding Boutique as the flagship store for Felicity Cooper.

What type of bride is a Felicity Cooper bride?

A Felicity Cooper bride ultimately wants to have fun; she’s relaxed and fashion forward, she wants to stand out from the crowd through flair not fuss.

Felicity Cooper Bridal (1)

How would you describe the look and feel of Felicity Cooper designs?

Both First Love and the 2017 Natural Soul collections have an emphasis on fabric and cuts, flowing lines and low back detail. The new collection is bringing more embellishment and beading with a hint of colour.

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eye candy: the separates collection by charlotte balbier

February 2nd, 2016 | Julia Braime

Tempest Lace

Our lead Sponsor here at Brides Up North, Charlotte Balbier is famous for celebrating a bride’s individuality and style and sometimes, just sometimes, breaking all the bridal rules (kinda why we love her)!

With great delight we are proud to debut the new Balbier separates collection on our pretty pages.  Charlotte has created 11 inter-changeable separates all designed for the bride to build and create her own individual look.

Tempest & 1252 Sash

Maybe a satin slip with a lace topper and satin sash, or a ball gown skirt, crop top and lace reverse bolero? Whatever your personality and look the new separates collection offers a diverse way of creating your very own bridal syle.

charlotte says: Now, more than ever before, a Charlotte Balbier bride is a free spirited feminine woman who is confident in both her fashion and bridal style, expressing her unique individuality, personality and style through her Balbier gown.

Girls, get ready for some serious dress crushing…

Harper

Harper:  A slipper satin dress with shoestring straps and low back. Fabulous with one of the lace overlay gowns, lace toppers or worn simply as it is.

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lookbook: sheer brilliance

October 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Reem Acra 3

Over time we’re seeing bridal gowns that are less virginal and pure as designers become much bolder with their designs, chopping and changing the traditional wedding dress as we know it.

We’ve witnessed the hemline of some dresses get higher, necklines get lower, backs on full show, and more recently, cutaway detailing which exposes various areas of brides’ physiques, from their arms to their abs.

And it looks like brides will continue to bare all, as this year’s designer catwalks have been awash with striking sheer gowns.

Reem Acra 5

Though bridal dresses with see-through detailing are nothing new, the most recent take on the translucent look sees the sexiness taken up a notch – with some gowns leaving very little to the imagination.

That said, similar to the cutaway trend, brides can opt to be as coy or confident as they like with the look, be it donning a barely there gown to show off their figure from top to toe, or choosing a dress with subtle sheer detailing on just the arms or across the chest.

For brave brides Reem Acra has some fabulous sheer showstoppers. Most expose the arms, chest and torso area though the necessities are covered by decorative embroidery and lace detail that’s so delicate it appears to have been etched onto the skin. Though revealing the dresses are both soft and romantic, and in most cases follow the rule of only exposing one half of the body.

Reem Acra 4

Heightening the risqué factor further are designers such as Anna Romysh Haute Couture, who showcased daring and distinctively different dresses on the 2015 White Gallery catwalks. Though some of the gowns did offer full body cover, in the sense that they were floor length, long sleeved and high necked, flesh was still flashed though beautifully detailed sheer fabrics. Other dresses meanwhile flaunted either the pins or upper half of the body. The Romysh dresses also stood out in terms of colour, with metallics and even black designs getting runway time.

Reem Acra 6

Fortunately, there are much more toned down options available for those who like the idea of showing just a little skin, or at least giving the impression that they are doing so. While some sheer fabrics do expose the bare skin beneath, others are cleverly placed over nude slips to give the illusion of exposure. Anna Kara has some particularly pretty options along these lines within her collection, which is classic and elegant but with a modern edge.

Tamer still are dress designs with just small or subtle elements of transparency.  Such designs can be found within numerous designers’ collections, including Augusta Jones, Naeem Khan, Simone Carvalli and Sharon Elle Design. Some of our favourites however, come from Monique Lhuillier and Claire Pettibone, which show that there is no need for brides to fear the sheer!

Reem Acra 2

Main images by Reem Acra, visit our Gallery for more inspiration.

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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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look book: a cut above

April 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Hayley Paige HP6450

Hayley Paige – HP6450

If we said cut-out wedding dress to you there’s a good chance horrifying thoughts of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding would spring to mind. But fear not, the type of dresses we’re referring to in today’s look book post are oh-so-elegant designs that reveal just the right amount of flesh and are set to be one of the biggest bridal trends on the 2015 catwalks.

We’ve witnessed cut-out detailing on in the fashion world over the past year or so, and while some designs brought out the inner-Jordan (cue the revealing bodycon) others demonstrate how baring just a little skin can be both sexy & sophisticated.

Reem Acra (2)

Reem Acra

In bridal wear designers are using cut-out detailing in numerous different ways to create dresses with graceful peek-a-boo charm. This means brides can choose which part of their figure they wish to flaunt – whether it be their chest, shoulders or midriff.

Hayley Paige HP6513

Hayley Paige – HP6513

Dresses with keyhole detailing in the back have been popular for a while now though designers appear to be getting bolder with their creations by cutting away more fabric than before. Some have also chosen to lower the keyhole from the shoulder blade area down to the lower back, which is considered a more flirtatious area of the body to reveal. Braver still, designers such as Hayley Paige offer gowns that border on being completely backless. Pretty detailing in floral corsages and intricate embellishing ensure that such dresses remain tasteful rather than tarty.

Keyhole detailing has also crept around to the front of some dress designs to reveal a little of the chest area, or even a glimpse of cleavage. These designs suit small framed brides beautifully but perhaps larger-busted ladies should give them a swerve so not to shock their vicar.

Claire Pettibone Adagio

Claire Pettibone – Adagio

Elsewhere designers are using cut-out detailing by getting creative with straps for a high fashion look. Again, Hayley Paige offers some head-turning examples within her collections – HP6450 and HP6513 being standout designs.

Hayley Paige HP6463

Hayley Paige – HP6463

For body confident brides there are some incredibly striking gowns with cut out detailing in the bodice of the dress which expose areas of the waist, hips and stomach. Reem Acra and Badgley Mischka are particularly talented at producing such dresses.

The level of exposure varies from small slits or triangles in the side of the dress, which can help accentuate a bride’s curves, to fuller areas of the torso being revealed, which might require a fair few pre-wedding-day planks to pull off.

Claire Pettibone Rachel 9back)

Claire Pettibone – Rachel

If you like the idea of flashing a your midriff but don’t want to strip back to the bare skin, there are designs that use pretty sheer fabrics to create an illusion cut away for that extra bit of coverage. Those that would prefer to keep the cut-out detailing at the top of the dress can also take advantage of effective illusion designs adorned with pretty embellishing for that extra wow factor.

Reem Acra

Reem Acra

Read on for more gowns in our Gallery…

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