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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dress candy. houghton nyc

May 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

One of the most innovative collections at Barcelona Bridal Week had to be the cutting edge offering from US based label, houghton nyc.  This super slick design house stood out for all the right reasons, from their trend setting fabrics and cuts, to their ice cool catwalk show.

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Designer Katharine Polk describes the Houghton Bride collection as having a “free spirit” feel and says that she wants her brides to “feel comfortable in [their] skin.”

Speaking to US site, The Knot, Katharine says “I’ve never felt a strong inspiration for Houghton Bride, just always gone very simple and clean. This [collection] has a very strong influence, which is really cool. It’s a very loose inspiration; I have a whole board with little pieces from here and there that when you bring it all together it creates one master image – it’s the feel that translates into the collection and mentality.”

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Hey, it’s Friday. Grab your cuppa and get ready for a little dress candy, plus a few peeks backstage at the show.

Got that Friday feeling? You have now.

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Images courtesy of Houghton NYC/ Barcelona Bridal Week.

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

Barcelona Bridal Week 2016

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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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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.

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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.

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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)

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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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best dressed. supplier showcase: elegance of scholes

April 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Elegance Of Scholes (1)

Well, Brides Up North, last weekend’s events at Dine’s Allerton Castle and The Alnwick Garden were just magical! What an EPIC end to another amazing season of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions… stellar turnouts and I swear our exhibitors just get more talented and creative! Thanks to everyone – brides, grooms, our suppliers and our stunning venues – for their support and brilliance. We love you.

One fabulous supplier who we all got to know a little better this season was the lovely Cat of Brides Up North Sponsor boutique, elegance of scholes.  Today, she opens the doors of her beautiful bridal shop for us to take a closer peek.

Oh and FYI: we’re already planning an autumn season of events to knock your socks off..! Stay tuned.

Elegance Of Scholes (2)

When did Elegance Of Scholes open and what is your background?

cat says: Elegance opened around six years ago, but I bought it last August after deciding to embark on a bit of a lifestyle change! Prior to owning Elegance I was a full-time Corporate Event Manager, and I also had my own Wedding Venue Décor business. Both of these have set me up well with a lot of the skills needed to run my own business, and having worked in the wedding industry for a number of years I understand how brides feel and what they go through… and it’s lovely to be able to help them out with such a huge, special and important part of the journey!

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Which wedding gown designers do you stock?

We stock Justin Alexander, Ellis Bridal and Mark Lesley. All three labels complement each other really well and we have a great selection of silhouettes and fabrics to suit all tastes.

What bridal accessories labels do you stock?

We stock tiaras and veils by Richard Designs, veils by Nieve Couture and Joyce Jackson, and tiaras/ jewellery by Blossom. We update our selection of bridal accessories on a regular basis so it’s worth keeping an eye out until we have your perfect piece! We also have a small selection of shoes by Rainbow, and are looking to expand this collection in the near future.

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What makes you different?

We are a luxury boutique with an extremely high level of service. People are always taken by surprise by the size of the boutique once they enter (we get a lot of ‘wow!’ comments!), and we have two spacious private fitting rooms at the rear of the boutique so guests can relax and enjoy their experience in comfort and privacy. We also have an in-house seamstress so all alterations are carried out on the premises, meaning the dress stays with us until your big day.

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Where are you located?

We are located in a small village called Scholes, which is close to Cleckheaton. Exit the M62 at J26 (Chain Barr roundabout), and we’re a couple of miles from there.

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our gowns range from about £900-£1800, although we do also have a sale room for brides on a slightly lower budget.

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Do Brides Up North need an appointment?

We do tend to run on an appointment basis, purely so that we can guarantee the bride our undivided attention. Our first bridal appointments tend to be around an hour long, and we would always start with an initial chat about a bride’s ideas/wedding/preferred dress styles. From there we let the bride (and any accompanying people!) browse the dresses and pull out those they want to try on. The appointment then evolves as we eliminate certain dresses from the running/ narrow the selection down to THE dress. Quite often we add in our own opinion of dresses that girls might like to try… with surprising results! It’s amazing how many girls come in with an idea of their perfect dress, and leave with something completely different!

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

I have two current favourites (although it was pretty hard limiting myself to just two!)– Justin Alexander 8762 for the perfect princess ball-gown, and Ellis 11368, which is an absolutely stunning dress with lace sleeves and an amazing keyhole back… on the right figure it’s a definite show-stopper!

Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment? What trends do you see being popular this year?

Lace continues to be popular, with the fitted mermaid-style being a particular favourite. We’re also seeing a move towards much more brides wanting sleeves or straps over strapless gowns, and the ‘feature back’ is also becoming more and more popular. As we were told when buying our new collections – “the back is the new front”… and it appears to be true!

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How does Elegance Of Scholes provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

We pride ourselves on our relaxed and friendly service, and certainly are not pushy sales-people. Our priority first and foremost is making girls feel comfortable and happy in their search for their dress. There’s nothing nicer than the look on a girl’s face when they look in the mirror and see themselves as a ‘Bride’ for the first time, and it’s a privilege to us that we get to be the ones to put that look on their faces! We feel that we are definitely doing something right, as the majority of our appointments come from recommendations from past brides who have had the ‘Elegance Experience’ – and the comments, reviews and photos we receive after the big day are testament to this, and lovely for us to receive!

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Do you stock bridesmaid dresses?

Yes – we stock Kelsey Rose and Mark Lesley bridesmaid dresses, as well as flower girl’s dresses. Soft tulle seems to be the fabric of choice in bridesmaids this season (a lot of the new Kelsey Rose collection comes in this fabric), although chiffon is still (and I believe will remain) a very popular option. We continue to see dusky pink and pastels as key colour choices, but we have ensured we have a wide range of colours in stock to suit as many people as possible. Our bridesmaid dresses range in price from approx. £180-£280, and our flower girl dresses (from ages 6 months to 9/10 years) are approx. £69.

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Who would be an Elegance bride?

Elegance brides tend to be people that want to enjoy their experience in a relaxed and friendly setting, and who appreciate the quality behind a true designer gown such as the ones we stock. The purchase of a bridal gown doesn’t stop with just that one transaction, and with alterations and so on, we can see a bride many times in the run-up to her wedding. For this reason, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our brides and its always a proud moment when we see them for their final fitting right before their wedding, knowing that we’ve done everything in our power to make their dress perfect for them.

Whilst not wanting to limit ourselves to a particular ‘type’ of bride, our dresses do fall into a certain price bracket so when someone comes in with a £300-£500 budget, the only way we would be able to help out is by directing them to the dresses in our sale room (which are also stunning, but are often discontinued dresses, or ex-samples that we need to sell in order to make way for new collections).

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Are you married? 

I’m not yet married… but engaged and getting married on June 4th 2016! Everyone is always surprised to hear that I’m the owner of a Bridal Boutique and have never tried on a wedding dress in my life. Before being engaged I didn’t want to jinx it until it was my turn, and now that I am engaged I keep putting it off! Having fitted dresses to so many different people however, I have an idea of the style that will suit my figure so will be limiting myself slightly in that regard (although I can’t say what that style is, in case my fiancé reads this interview!) – and I change my mind every couple of days on my favourite dresses as I see girls trying on the different samples, so who knows which will be my final choice?!

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you?

Our website is www.eleganceofscholes.co.uk, you can like us on Facebook, email Cat and the team at info@eleganceofscholes.co.uk or call us on 01274 876659.

Is there anything else that Brides Up North should know?

As well as stocking our beautiful designer gowns, our in-house seamstress (another Cat!) designs and makes bespoke bridal gowns… so if you’re struggling to find that perfect dress but have an idea of what you’re looking for, Cat will be able to make it for you. We also offer a dry-clean and box service, so you can keep your gown for years to come and re-live those memories as often as you like!

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