Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

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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Wednesday Wed-spiration! Glam Garden – Fresh Greens, Whites & Pinks

April 18th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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After seeing my call for personalised inspiration boards in this regular Wednesday Wed-spiration slot, Brides Up North reader Ellie got in touch to see if we could “fix it for her” to have a glamorous garden wedding, without a hint of vintage in sight.  Of course we could!

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Ellie said:

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“I have the problem at the moment that I want a ‘country garden’ theme but a lot of them tend to incorporate vintage into them like birdcages and tea-cups but that’s not my style either… I’m wanting a glamorous country garden with lots of whites, greens, pale pinks and sparkly ribbon with possibly some LED lights tastefully thrown in.  It’s hard to describe but I’m finding it hard to find what I want because I either fall into the ‘boho chic’ or ‘vintage teacups’ camps and I’m not either of them!  Help!”

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Ellie – you ask and we deliver!  Here is Katy from What Katy Did Next’s take on your style. 

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Glam Garden

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1. Twist Front Gown 2. Bright White Table Setting 3. Lightplay Sash 4. Pale Lanterns 5. Jazz Hands Heels 6. Bouquet Image 7. Pink Bridesmaids 8. Ruffle Chair Ribbons 9. Green Apple Wedding Cake

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Katy says: Ellie set me quite a challenge when requesting her Mood Board theme – a ‘Country Garden’ theme without a trace of boho, shabby chic or vintage. Ellie wants a glamorous garden affair full of fresh whites, pale pinks and greens with a little added glitz.

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The colours alone in this board make it great for a fresh outdoorsy wedding. The touches of green in the table display look fabulous against the stark white table cloth and you can soften the contrast with soft pink blooms too. Shabby chic and boho weddings tend to use a lot of props in their displays but keeping it simple with florals and plain crockery is a great way to stick with the elegant feel that Ellie wants. As an alternative you could use pale candelabras – the candles don’t have to be lit and you could speak with your florist about using the candelabra as a way to display flowers. The green apple on the cake could also spread to the table using apples as place cards in your seating plan.

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When planning, you don’t have to restrict yourself to looking at past garden weddings, I used a lot of inspiration from indoors too. The lanterns could hang from trees, or – if the photobooth and props isn’t your cup of tea – hang them along the top of a pale fabric back drop for some gorgeous photographs of you and your guests.

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My favourite part of the board is a tie between the beautiful wedding gown by Reem Acra and the ruffled chair ribbons. The flattering dress design is classic glamour, and although I should have picked a shorter style to avoid grass stains, the train isn’t too fussy and adds to the elegance of the dress. The ribbons are easily customised to match your colour scheme and style and would look fabulous blowing in the breeze of a country garden wedding.

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Remember: the plan is to share a new inspiration board in this time slot every week, either compiled by myself, the creative Katy or a guest blogger- and that guest blogger could be you:  get in touch with your own ideas and inspiration boards!  We’ll be discussing our inspirations behind the images too so it’s simply going to be a whole load of lovely.

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If you are a little less arty but in need of inspiration and still want to play along, we will also be taking requests for colour schemes and themes and making bespoke boards for my readers.  Please contact me to suggest a theme or colour scheme. 

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  – Images provided by What Katy Did Next and © 2012 as credited

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