Charlotte Balbier

eye candy: ian stuart runway rebel 2016

October 8th, 2015 | Julia Braime



While we love elegant and classic wedding gowns we also lust after designers that dare to push the boundaries by offering ladies something a little different to the norm with their imaginative bridal creations.

Perhaps one of the most daring (and talented) is British designer Ian Stuart, who never fails to impress with his theatrical and head-turning collections. As such, this morning on the blog we‘re sharing with you Mr Stuart’s latest collection, runway rebel, in all its beauty.



The most highly anticipated collection of the White Gallery 2016 catwalk, buyers and brides alike are always eager to see what the fearless designer has come up with next.

For the Runway Rebel collection, Ian focused his energy on designing for different body shapes, ages and personalities. In doing so, he created a collection that is diverse and versatile, giving every bride the opportunity to find her own style within the Ian Stuart label.



Experimenting with softer fabrics and fluid silhouettes, Ian used his unique flair and couture construction to reach a different spirit of bride and – as the unprecedented ‘king of colour’ – he also introduced stunning softer shades of silver, pink and taupe.



The result is a gutsy and glamorous collection featuring four stand out themes: Ian Stuart Signature Style – textured, playful and dramatic; Sexy and Statuesque – figure hugging with plunging lines and dynamic silhouettes; Romantic and Regal – fairy tale ball gowns, exquisite laces and glittering touches and Fashionista Glamour – modern, unconventional and daring.



Commenting on Runway Rebel, the Ian Stuart design house says: “Adversary to ‘plain and commercial’, Ian is as rebellious in his own nature as he is in his approach to designing bridal wear. He dares to break rules and take risks while keeping the traditional essential beauty of a wedding gown. Runway Rebel pays homage to Ian’s intrinsic values of design, as well as the attitude of the daring modern bride who chooses to wear his creations.”



“Runway Rebel is an uplifting celebration, an ode to life and the freedom to be expressive, creative and rebellious in it.”


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eye candy. sabina motasem 2016 collection

July 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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This afternoon, it’s time for some eye candy of the most lovely, as we welcome bridalwear designer Sabina Motasem, and her gorgeous new en pointe collection to these pretty pages, with styling and design inspiration taken from the world of ballet. If you are looking for luxurious, understated elegance on your wedding day, look no further.



sabina says: I have taken inspiration from ballet for my latest collection of dresses. A ballerina, just like a bride, encapsulates elegance, grace and beauty through refined movement and flow. The dresses emphasize my brides’ gracefulness, as if floating weightlessly on air throughout her special day with the special man in her life.

I love the romance that comes from vintage Hollywood and the passion that comes from ballet.  I love to sprinkle a bit of that magic glamour and sophistication into everything I do.

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Each dress is handcrafted in London and made from the finest Italian silk crepes, chiffons and satins and French lace to achieve the highest quality finish. There are also beautiful separates, which slip on over many of the dresses, transforming them into completely new looks for day and night.



Our favorite?  It has to be Emillienne, a luxe dress with a choice of art nouveau beaded neck detail in either silver metal or rose gold, crystals or pearls.  Just delightful.

Get ready for your curtain call…

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Prices start from £1,400 and gowns are available throughout the UK and internationally.


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eye candy: suzanne neville songbird collection 2016

July 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime



Back in May 2015, Rachel and I were thrilled to be one of the only UK wedding blogs invited along to British bridal designer Suzanne Neville‘s exclusive event at HM Tower of London, showcasing her 2016 songbird collection.

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Suzanne and her team always make us feel so very welcome at their events, and her stunning gowns always leave us speechless (which is hard to do).  Suzanne Neville has led the way in the couture bridal and fashion industry for the last 24 years, known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Year on year, each collection just seems more perfect than the next.  This is British bridal talent at its very best.



The latest collection of breath taking bridal gowns was inspired by beautiful floral gardens, birdsong and music with dresses in a sumptuous array of fabrics, styles and colours.  With all press at the event on an #instaban lockdown, this is a first exclusive sneak peek at the new collection, hot off the catwalk and landing in Suzanne Neville stockist boutiques near you very soon.

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suzanne says:I have really enjoyed designing the 2016 Songbird Collection. It is a fusion of beauty, tradition, modernity, yet still classically couture. There are simple styles, some lace and exquisite embroidery for a very eclectic mix of designs, with a dress for every bride. There are many dresses with the trademark corsetry, but also softer dresses for a more relaxed look.

In 24 years, I’ve seen styles change, but our modern bride is a very different bride. She’s more fashion aware, watching many images from all over the world and collating an idea in her mind of her perfect dress and styling the wedding of her dreams.

Over the years, the company has grown, yet we truly believe in keeping production in our studios in London under my watchful eye, so we can make sure every dress has the attention it deserves. Every year, even after all this time, I am still inspired by meeting the brides themselves, and taking all this knowledge into my pattern construction for future collections.











Suzanne Neville has boutiques in Knightsbridge, Wilmslow and Guilford and over fifty stockists in the UK and worldwide.

Visit the Suzanne Neville website for more. 

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willa rose. a charlotte balbier launch at jean jackson couture

July 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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My job isn’t always as glamorous as it might seem.  Editing Brides Up North and Unveiled Magazine as well as managing and producing over 20 Luxury Wedding Exhibition events and all the copy writing, art direction, event management and business development that comes with is a more than full time job (for a team of people).  For every swanky industry event requiring sequins and Champagne, there’s a lot of long, lonely screen hours juggling emails, contracts, floor plans and all the admin that comes with being the #girlboss of a busy business.

Luckily for me though, one of those swanky industry events always seems to come along just as you need it!

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I was thrilled to be invited along as a special guest as Brides Up North Sponsor bridal boutique Jean Jackson Couture in Manchester’s Northern Quarter was transformed into a secret rose garden to mark the official launch of Charlotte Balbier’s WILLA ROSE collection and brand at Jean Jackson Couture’s two boutiques, earlier this month.

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Charlotte Balbier is our headline Sponsor for 2015 and now a dear friend of mine, so it was lovely to join the Jean Jackson Couture girls – they are a very stylish bunch – in toasting our talented designer friend and debuting Charlotte’s new 2016 Willa Rose collection (which you can see featured on Brides Up North here).

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Brides Up North was joined by Manchester brides-to-be, other industry professionals and national press to celebrate this beautiful new partnership.  The boutique was transformed into a magical space filled with beautiful blooms and a gorgeous swing by The Vintage Swing Company to re-create the Charlotte Balbier ‘Willa Rose’ campaign images.  We were also treated to rose pink lemonade, pink champagne and delicious cakes.  I told you it was a hard job being me, didn’t I?!

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The new 2016 ‘Willa Rose’ collection was modelled in a salon style throughout the evening along with a special guest appearance by the face of Charlotte Balbier, the beautiful Verity.

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charlotte says: I am so excited and thrilled to be welcoming Jean Jackson Couture as a Charlotte Balbier brand partner.  Working with a well-known and established boutique that has a long heritage in bridal and are also a family business is wonderful and mirrors my family also and business so is the perfect partnership. It’s amazing to have the gowns stocked in both boutiques and can’t wait for our next event!”

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Jean Jackson Couture is now taking appointments for brides to try the Willa Rose collection. See for more details and to book your appointment. 

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Images by Hayley Baxter

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the exclusive. jean jackson couture nq announces two new designers

June 4th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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This afternoon on the wedding blog we’re getting all the deets of two fabulous new additions to one of the best bridal business in the North West (and a Brides Up North Sponsor no less), Jean Jackson Couture.

The successful family business, set up by mother and daughter team Jean and Rebecka, comprises of two beautiful boutiques; the original flag ship store, situated in the leafy suburb of Urmston, and the NQ studio, run by granddaughter Felicity in the heart of Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter.

And it’s Felicity that has the exciting news to share with us today as Jean Jackson Couture NQ has recently welcomed not one, but two amazing new designers to its rails; Anna Campbell and Halfpenny London. Keen to find out more we quizzed Felicity on what made her fall head over heels for the designers’ collections and why brides will falling crazy in love with the dresses too. Girls, we think it’s time to make an appointment.

Featured images all courtesy of Anna Campbell.

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Jean Jackson Couture NQ has recently become exclusive stockists of luxury bridal designers Anna Campbell and Halfpenny London. What was it about their collections that made them a must for the boutique?

felicity says: Jean Jackson Couture NQ is a new concept bridal studio, offering luxury, bohemian and vintage inspired gowns in an über cool, non-traditional space set in a warehouse in the heart of Manchester’s avant-garde Northern Quarter.

The studio is a one-of-a-kind space filled with all kinds of treasures from the best up-and-coming designers, perfect for the bride that seeks vintage inspired, bohemian luxury at an accessible price.

Both Anna Campbell and Halfpenny London fit the bill and are perfect for the bride that loves fashion, appreciates quality fabrics and also exclusive designs but at accessible prices.

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Tell us more, can you describe the Anna Campbell collection?

The Anna Campbell collection is truly divine! She uses floating silk chiffons, intricately beaded laces and decadent embellishments to create a truly romantic yet glamorous look.

Each Anna Campbell bride is in search of ‘that dress’ – the dress that makes them sparkle and feel incredibly individual. The dress that wraps and twists around their curves, hugs and falls in all the right places, and evolves into a full, glorious train. With embellishments and laces that caress the shoulders, run wild down the back, and delicately sparkle across the chest, Anna Campbell brides need a dress that reflects their relaxed, sweet nature, a dress that shimmers and sparkles with every turn, and lets them dance and celebrate the best day of their lives.

And can you give us an idea on the price range of Anna Campbell’s dresses?

We carry samples of Giselle, Talulah, Amity, Harper, Isobelle, Freja, Eloise, Saasha and Miranda. The dresses range in price from £1599 to £2699, this includes shipping costs from Australia and import duty. The samples range in size from XS to M, which is the equivalent of a UK 6/8 to 12/14.

We are very honoured to have been chosen by Anna Campbell to be the exclusive stockist of her gowns and we are incredibly excited for all the British brides that are now able to wear her dresses.

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So what about the Halfpenny London collection? What type of brides do you think these dresses will appeal to and what is the price bracket?

Halfpenny London is often described as an industry secret, her talent for creating elegant and form fitting looks has grabbed the attention of celebrities and directors worldwide; this is why we had to have her too!

Kate Halfpenny creates the most divine British made wedding gowns and has recently won the coveted award for Best British Bridal Designer at the British Wedding Awards. Her dresses are inspired by vintage style and vary from simple silk slips and romantic off-the-shoulder gowns to cropped sweater tops and backless lace dresses. Each dress has its own unique personality to match the bride who wears it.

We hold samples of Lydia, Antonia, Violet, Hennie and Iris dresses. We also have a range of separates including Dita Dandelion skirt, Dita corset, Iris tee and various other tops and camis. Dresses start from £2,000.

Do you have a favourite design from each of the collections? Tell us about them?

It is hard to pick just one favourite from each! I believe that your venue reflects the style of dress you choose, so I have favourite dresses for different types of venues.

For a tipi wedding I would wear Dita Dandelion skirt by Halfpenny London with Iris tee and the Dandelion veil. If I was getting married in the country, there would be no other option for me than Tallulah with brocade skirt by Anna Campbell. If I was getting married in church I would opt for Antonia by Halfpenny London and if was tying the knot somewhere exotic, I would wear Giselle by Anna Campbell.

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Will you also be stocking accessories by these designers too?

Yes, we have a range of gorgeous accessories including cuffs, combs, belts and headpieces. Prices from £169.

Have the new collections been well received by your brides so far? What do they like about them?

We have had a fantastic response to both labels, we have been getting enquiries from brides in Malta, Switzerland, Greece and Russia. We’ve already had brides travelling from Tanzania and Hungary for the Anna Campbell range.

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Do brides-to-be need to make an appointment to view the new collections?

We work on a strictly appointment only basis. The best way to book an appointment is through our website. It is advised to book well in advance, especially for Saturdays.

Our attentive hour long, one-on-one appointments allow us to find out about you and your wedding, as well as try on a variety of styles. If we have girls travelling a long way to see us, we try and accommodate a longer appointment time.

What would you say it is about Jean Jackson Couture that sets it apart from other bridal boutiques?

As we have two bridal boutiques, we are able to offer styles to suit all brides, all types of wedding and budgets.

The NQ studio has always stocked exclusive brands with fewer stockists, this is because we are finding that brides want labels that their friends haven’t worn.

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What would be your top advice to brides-to-be when searching for their wedding dress?

When looking for a dress, the first thing we recommend is to have your date and venue set. Your date and venue will affect the style of dress you choose and your budget. There are beautiful dresses within every price bracket, in our experience looking at dresses which are not within budget will only lead to upset. We stock a range of designers with different price points, there is a perfect dress for everyone.

Our final piece of advice would be to dress for your shape, don’t follow trends but follow your heart. We always offer advice but choosing a wedding dress is a personal choice and only you know what makes you feel like a bride.

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Any other exciting news to share with us?

Yes, we will be holding an Anna Campbell trunk show between Friday 28th and Monday 31st August to launch her new Spirit collection, which will include promotional incentives.

This will be the first chance to view the whole of the new range and buy into the new collection before its official release. Appointments will last up to an hour and a half, which gives plenty of time for brides to find their perfect Anna Campbell gown.

We will also be welcoming another new designer to both boutiques this summer so watch this space!

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