Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Shows Spring 2017

first reveal: felicity cooper 2018 authentic luxe collection

March 14th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (46)

We just love it when we get to share an exclusive first look at a designer’s brand new collection – and this afternoon on the blog, we are doing just that!

Prepare for some serious dress candy ladies, as we reveal a special preview of the 2018 collection from our hugely talented Sponsor, Felicity Cooper Bridal.

Felicity Cooper Behind the scenes photoshoot v5 (short) from Paul Kyte Photography on Vimeo.

The stunning label was launched by North West designer Fiona Cooper back in 2010 and has continued to go from strength to strength, with brides falling head over heels for its pretty bohemian designs that are both feminine and fashionable.

Here to introduce the latest collection with stunning imagery and video footage, is the leading lady herself.

With images by Lucy G Photography.

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (39)

What is the name of the new collection and does it have a certain theme?

fiona says: ‘Authentic Luxe’ is our 2018 collection and we are so excited to preview it here exclusively! It has a bohemian luxe vibe – the look we love the most!

Where did you get the inspiration from for the new collection?

The 2018 collection has a relaxed feel. I have taken inspiration from so many things, including interior design trends, bohemian fashion and the brides I meet.

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (1)

Can you give us an overview of the various styles that feature in the collection?

The majority of the collection is slim fitting; off-shoulder gowns and spaghetti straps play a prominent part.

And what fabrics have been used?

My usual signature fabrics; silk chiffon in both matt and shine, delicate French laces, soft draping crepe and a really quirky geometric stretch cotton.

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (48)

Do you have a personal favourite dress from the collection?

Oh, I have a few, though I think Willow and Poppy are my very favourites!

How has the new collection been received so far by those that have seen it?

Some of our stockists have had sneak previews and so far we have had an amazing response. We can’t wait to get the collection in their boutiques and to the brides!

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (27)

What type of bride do you think the new collection will appeal to?

We really think our dresses appeal to the relaxed bride, fun loving and fashion thinking bride. The bride who knows her own mind and style, who wants to be comfortable yet look breath-taking.

When and where will the new collection be available from?

The collection will be available at trunk shows with our stockists over the coming months and permanently with them from the summer. I would advise any bride wanting to try the new collection to contact their nearest stockist, book into the trunk shows and make sure the dress they want to try will be there!

Felicity Cooper 2018 Authentic Luxe (56)

Any other news to share with us?

With the success of Felicity Cooper Bridal with our wonderful stockists we have decided to close our Knutsford boutique to enable us to concentrate fully on our brand and support our stockists. We will be hosting special events in the North West and I will be attending as many trunk shows as I can personally. Our stockist trunk show dates so far are:

Frock & Soul – 8th and 9th April

The White Yard – 1st May

Kimberley Ann Bridal Boutique – 8th and 9th July

For a full list of stockists visit www.felicitycooper.co.uk

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falling for florals. a styled bridal shoot inspired by charlotte balbier posey separates

February 13th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (30)

Right in time for one of the most romantic days of the year, we’ve got a super pretty styled shoot that’s bursting with beautiful blooms.

Centered around the stunning Posey separates by top British bridal designer and Brides Up North Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier, the shoot’s creative team of fabulous suppliers have shown how the design of a dress can influence other elements of the wedding without taking things OTT.

We just love ultra-feminine styling complete with romantic roses and opulent metallic touches, which work in perfect harmony with the dreamy bridal two-piece and rural backdrop. Here to tell us more is lovely makeup artist Amy L Wilkinson, who also directed the shoot.

With images by Samantha Hook Photography. Models Iain Spivey and Chloe Tong.

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (19)

amy says: The theme of the shoot was flowers after I was inspired by the beautiful Charlotte Balbier Posey skirt and top. The two-piece lead the shoot in every way; we chose to incorporate flowers and floral patterns into as many elements of the day as we could without it becoming overpowered, and used a pretty colour palette mainly consisting of girly lilacs and pinks.

The location of the shoot was the stunning Swancar Farm in Nottinghamshire. We felt the rural location and the setting of an old farm house was the perfect backdrop for all our fabulous flowers. The venue is surrounded by fields, trees and flowers, so it also felt like we were bringing the outdoors, in!

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (8)

I chose to keep the bride’s makeup fresh with perfectly polished skin. The gold eyeshadow was a nod to some of the styling elements and the lip colour reflected the flowers. For a subtle floral touch, the bride’s nail art by Nikki Drury featured a sweet flower design.

For the hair styling, created by Mon Amie, we decided on perfectly structured curls and finished off the look with a delicate head chain from Miss Clemmie to keep the look individual.

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (13)

The bride’s shoes, from I am Florence, were decorated with white leather flowers and we also used trainers in some shots for a relaxed and alternative look.

When it came to styling the groom, we chose a floral-patterned shirt by Sauce & Brown, that remained in keeping with the theme and that wasn’t at risk of clashing with the bride’s attire. Instead of a traditional corsage, we used the groom’s pocket to create a “window box” of flowers.

Charlotte Balbier Posey Shoot (c) Samantha Hook (28)

For the backdrop, we styled a table setting with small flowers enraptured in geometric shapes, floral painted menus by Amy Bailey Designs and decorative glasses, all of which reflected the colours used in the floral arrangements. Touches of copper and gold helped to add a further elegance.

The cake table had flowers pouring out of the draws as well as decorating the wedding cake itself, which was designed by The Confetti Cakery. Macaroons were brushed with gold and copper to match the cake and other sweet treats provided further colour and texture.

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creating couture: blossom & belle’s unique wedding gowns

February 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (3)

While there are numerous stunning wedding dress designs hanging on the rails of boutiques, for some brides nothing completes the dream wedding picture like having a couture gown specially made for their big day.

Brides Up North Sponsor and dress-maker extraordinaire Antonia Aitken of Blossom and Belle, is fully versed in the art of creating beautiful bespoke wedding gowns, from the structure and cut to the fabric and finish. As such, we’re putting the blog in her skilful hands this afternoon so she can tell us exactly what couture is, and how she goes about creating it through her one-off, timeless wedding gown designs.

She also has news of a fabulous Blossom and Belle charity tea party event taking place in York on Sunday 26th February, which will feature workshops, high-end suppliers and delicious treats, so be sure to read to the end of the post for full details.

With images by All You Need Is Love Photography

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (22)

How would you define a couture wedding gown?

antonia says: Couture is not ‘dressmaking or copying a design’ – rather it is the creation of a luxury item which starts from design through to pattern cutting, toiles and fittings and the final amazing result.

Couture is not off the peg. It is a unique creation that no one else will have. It is a process that takes time, not something that can be made in an instant. Specialised elements, from hand stitched hems and embellishments, to steel boned bodices and button and loop detailing, are the epitome of a couture gown. It is timeless piece that will look just as wonderful in years to come as it does on the day of the wedding.

What skills must you have as a dress maker to craft such creations?

As the design director at Blossom and Belle I pride myself in my skill to create a one-off bespoke gown or outfit.

It’s having the ability to see a client for the first time and knowing exactly what she will suit. It is the art of how fabric will work and fall on the form. Knowing about colours, textures and the cut and line of a design. How to emphasise the best features of a client and disguise those that they are less keen on.

I do not work from someone else’s pattern, I make my own, which is a meticulous process requiring great skill and an art form in itself.

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (9)

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (30)

What do brides enjoy about having a couture gown for their big day?

For my clients, it’s the knowledge that they are wearing something truly unique and luxurious and in their own size – not mass produced and not off the peg – something made especially for them.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the process a bride can expect to follow if she decides to have a couture Blossom and Belle gown made?

The whole process of having your own gown created is really quite lovely. After your first free consultation, where we go over ideas and look through fabrics and any trimmings or embellishment ideas, I will design a range of gowns for you to choose from and take your measurements. I also say at this point that the bride should get their underwear as this is vital to the fit of the gown.  A toile is then made in calico, which is a mock-up of the wedding dress and where tweaks and design decisions are made. Having a couture gown made just for you is a very private affair and no one else, unless you want to, will see your gown being created.

There should be no more than five fittings, although some brides like to have more as they love to see everything taking shape and enjoy the process so much.

Finally, for the full experience, I’m available to dress the bride on the day of the wedding to make sure everything is perfect.

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (12)

What would you say to brides who are worried that having a couture dress made will be expensive and time consuming?

A couture gown is unique and made just for you, which is why it can cost more than an off the peg gown. Only the finest of fabrics are used, meticulous hand beading and hand stitching are all involved in the process of having a couture gown made. It can take several months just to make one gown, which is why fittings are spread over time to suit the bride and to allow for any tweaks to be made.

We never ask for the full price of the gown to be paid upfront, rather it is paid by instalments, which takes the pressure off.  I do say that you never lose money on a couture gown as it becomes an heirloom passed down through the family.

Blossom & Belle Couture (c) All You Need is Love Photography (13)

What is the feedback like from brides who have had a Blossom and Belle Couture dress made?

I always receive wonderful feedback from brides, and have even been invited to the wedding. Over the time of the dress being made we get to know each other very well.

I have had one bride recently send me a photograph of her 17-year-old daughter wearing her gown that was made by me 20 years ago and it still looks wonderful and timeless. I also had one bride love the style of her vintage inspired gown so much, she had another two made in different colours!

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breaking the bridal rules – beautifully – introducing charlotte balbier separates

December 8th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

cressy-piper-hr

Cressy & Piper

We’re all about pushing wedding boundaries, thinking outside the big day box and sometimes, just sometimes, breaking the bridal rules. This is perhaps why we’re such a fan of the super-stylish Separates collection from our good industry friend and Sponsor, Charlotte Balbier.

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Sparrow

Daring to go where other bridal wear labels won’t, Charlotte was one of the first British designers to introduce an inter-changeable Separates range to her collections, which enable a bride to build and create her own individual big day look using slips, skirts, toppers and belts.

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Nova

Encouraging fashion-forward and free-spirited brides to throw the wedding attire rule book out of the window, the versatile range provides options beyond the traditional wedding gown and helps a bride to express their unique individuality, personality and style through their bridalwear choices.

Better still, when broken down into individual components, the pieces can be worn long beyond the wedding day – so while not conventional, they’re certainly both practical and pretty.

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Hester

This new imagery from Charlotte Balbier showcases perfectly how the Separates can be teamed for a high-impact wedding day look and then switched-up and restyled for cool and edgy casualwear.

For example, brides wanting a classic yet contemporary look for their wedding could pair the lace Cressy topper with the voluminous Piper tulle skirt, while for the boho bride the Rowe satin and lace topper and Saint chiffon skirt provide a dreamy duo. For a flirtier look, the Una thick lace topper and pretty, flared Pippa puff-ball skirt is most definitely a winning combination.

Following the big day, brides can then add their Separates to their everyday wardrobe with toppers doubling up as on-trend cropped tops and soft jackets and gilets providing classy winter cover-ups.

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Cressy & Piper

Personal favourites that would earn a place on our wardrobe wish list include the Cressida satin and lace topper, the fabulous Marabou feather Sparrow jacket and the super-soft Hester fur jacket. If Santa happens to be listening, we’ve been awfully good this year!

For more, visit www.charlottebalbier.com

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look book: simple silhouettes

December 6th, 2016 | Julia Braime

jesus-peiro-1

Jesus Peiro

Understated glamour is the buzz phrase within 2017 bridal collections as designers strip back the beads, pearls and crystals to create fuss-free and flawless gowns with minimal detailing.

Perfect for those who believe that less is more, the fresh designs are all about clean lines and cuts with an emphasis on rich and luxurious looking materials that help to heighten the elegance. From sleek, slimline designs to eye-catching A-lines, there’s a style and silhouette to suit all shapes and sizes.

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Rosa Clara

And if the perfectly plain creations are a step too sophisticated for some, there are designs featuring feminine detailing in pretty bows and soft lace trims as well as those with deep backs, plunging v-necklines and thigh-high splits, for the more daring bride to bare little skin.

For a truly classic look we love the structured and more traditional designs in rich Mikado silks. Meanwhile for the fashionista bride, there are beautifully uncomplicated jumpsuits and simple separates that provide a more on-trend alternative to the stripped-back trend.

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Sassi Holford

Spanish designers in particular are doing the look on point, with ultra-ladylike designs coming from Rosa Clara and Pronovias, while Jesus Peiro offers more striking and statement pieces. Favourites for us include the stunning slim-line Nantes gown by Rosa Clara and the feminine yet flirty Tabina by Pronovias.

British designer Sassi Holford has also executed the art of simplicity beautifully within her recent collections with Davina and Darcy both proving to be big hits on The White Gallery catwalk earlier this year, and one of our favourite gowns from Charlotte Balbier‘s Untamed Love had to be the delicious Agatha. 

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Charlotte Balbier

Those that choose to go down the clean route can opt to keep their accessories and styling in line with the style with subtle jewellery and neat hair, or alternatively make more of an impact with statement jewellery and modern, undone hair styling to complete their desired bridal look.

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inspiring designs: introducing so sassi

October 20th, 2016 | Julia Braime

daisy

Daisy

Engaged or not, looking at beautiful bridal wear is one of our very favourite pastimes and so we’re excited and honoured to be adding another fabulous designer to our list of Sponsors. Ladies, prepare to swoon as we welcome So Sassi to the blog.

As its name suggests, this label is all about brides showing their own unique style through their bridal attire choices, whether they are looking to achieve a pretty and timeless look or to make a real style statement.

Inspired by both designer and high-street fashions, So Sassi also enables brides to think outside the bridal box, with striking separates, big playful bows and even cute caped designs, all forming part of the latest collection.

gigi

Gigi

Can you give us a little background on So Sassi and how the label came to fruition?

so sassi say: So Sassi was created in 2012 as the esprit label from Sassi Holford. The gowns are designed for the fashion forward bride looking for a twist on tradition. The gowns are designed and handmade by a team of talented fashion graduates at the Sassi Holford studios in Somerset.

What is the ethos behind So Sassi dresses and what type of brides do the designs appeal to?

The ethos behind the label is about having fun – we wanted to create a collection that is fashionably stylish but that also keeps the light hearted aspect of bridal. Our ideal bride has her own unique style.

Tell us a little about the latest So Sassi collection?

The 2017 collection has a playful yet romantic vibe! We have gorgeous romantic gowns like Pixie which feature soft tulle, subtle sparkle bodice and diamante waist detail, but then we have Daisy which is a really pretty hi-lo, 3D floral lace gown – it’s so cute!

mila

Mila

Where did the inspiration for the collection come from?

Our inspiration comes from many sources; the runway, cool accessories and high street styles. These themes are then developed and combined with shapes and fabrics, it all comes together from there. The collection was really exciting to put together this year and we feel it definitely shows in the dresses!

What types of fabrics feature in the collection?

We experimented with a few fabrics and fabric combinations this year, putting together beautiful soft tulles, stunning spot organza, soft crepe and illusion laces with bold checked fabric and 3D florals. There is also a gorgeous new leaf lace detailed fabric that we’re hoping to see a lot more of!

Similarly, what types of detailing feature in the collection?

We’ve really focussed in on ensuring that the details are just as important as the overall look of the dress. We’ve created a few more accessories for brides, to help transform their looks by simply adding or taking a way an accessory. For example our Jasmine jacket can be removed and replaced with the Crystal belt for the evening!

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