Charlotte Balbier

celebrity spy. beyonce at the met

May 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

"China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala - Arrivals

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If there’s one event where female celebrities raise the style stakes it’s the met gala. Primarily the annual event is held to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, though the glitzy bash also gives top celebs and designers the opportunity to team-up and create some show-stopping red carpet looks.

Each year’s gala celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition making the dress code for 2015 ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. However, to us the theme may as well of been ‘bare all’ as that’s what many of the female A-listers decided to do.

Make no mistake, sheer gowns were big news at the event with bootylicious ladies Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez entering into some kind of flesh-off. While were very impressed with the bravery of all involved, for us it was Queen Bey who ran the red carpet.

And so today we’re putting the Love on Top singer in our celebrity spy spotlight to see how fierce and fashionable brides-to-be can take inspiration from Beyonce’s glittering getup, slick hair and pretty makeup.

Girls, you’re going to be crazy in love for this one!

the dress

Beyonce Dress EDITED

What there was of Beyonce’s dress was custom made by Givenchy and left very little to the imagination. In fact her modesty was only covered with strategically placed sparkling gems – similar to the look she adopted for her Dangerously in Love album cover, way back in 2003. The girl’s still got it though and even if a few people lost their breath when she stepped out on the red carpet, there’s no denying she worked the bold look incredibly well.

We realise that this exact look would be wholly inappropriate for a traditional church wedding, or many other styles of ceremonies for that matter, but there are certain elements of Beyonce’s style that ladies can steal to add some attitude to their attire.

The majority of the sheer wedding gowns that we’ve seen on the bridal catwalks thankfully offer more coverage than Miss Knowles’ gown – with full length nude underlays and carefully embroidered panels hinting at nudity rather than actually revealing it. There are of course more daring dresses with embellishment or delicate 3D flowers covering just the area between the bust and the bum.

More conservative creations give brides the option of a design with just one or two sheer elements, such as the sleeves, back or side panels of the dress, so they can choose which areas of their body they feel most confident flaunting (as well as what’s deemed appropriate). Alternatively for brides that want to remain under wraps there’s the option of a gown with a sheer lace overlay or jacket that will give a translucent look but without the need to flash any flesh that you’d rather your parents, in-laws and the vicar didn’t see.

And as if she needed to reveal anymore, Beyonce’s dress did also feature sexy cut out back detail, which is an easy feature for brides to mirror.

the hair

beyonce hair

Ponytails are growing in popularity, particularly with brides looking for a simple up do that will last the day, and the test of time. That said, the majority are keeping their hair ties a little lower than Beyonce who chose to pile her hair high, presumably not to distract from the dress.

Brides in favour of the high ponytail can choose whether to keep the look sleek and straight, undone and messy or classy and curly, like Miss Knowles. Meanwhile if you like the idea of high up hair but want something a little more exciting for your big day, further options include the top knot, ballerina bun, sophisticated chignon or an intricate twisted do.

In terms of accessories most ladies tend to keep the look quite simple opting for a cute girly bow or blousy floral corsage hair slide. Locks scraped away from the face also gives brides the opportunity to rock some elaborate earrings such as sparkling chandelier styles.

the makeup

beyonce makeup

Once again, not to detract from the gown, Beyonce kept her makeup fairly simple opting for classic rosy cheeks and lips.

Her eyes were the main focal point which featured a mint green hue on the lids to pick out the stunning colours of the gems sprinkled across the dress. To open up the eyes just a flick of liner was used on the top eye line, adding a sexy edge, while the bottom was left bare – much like the rest of Bey’s body.

Lashings of mascara and perfectly sculptured brows completed the look which is certainly one brides could adopt for their moment in the limelight.

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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.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (19)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (10)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (20)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (11)

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.

Barcelona Bridal Week  (18)

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)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (9)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (14)

Barcelona Bridal Week  (12)

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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