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First Look: Charlotte Balbier’s 2015 Iscoyd Park Collection

April 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

I’m really happy to welcome my lovely industry friend and colleague Charlotte Balbier to the wedding blog this morning, as I give you a sneak peek at her beautiful 2015 Collection, straight from the catwalk at last week’s White Gallery.

I’ve known Charlotte for some years now, and spent a little time with the lady herself and her lovely Mum, the fabulously talented Amanda Wyatt, on their stand at the show, watching as Charlotte unveiled her new line to assembled buyers and press.  I can absolutely vouch for this:  This is a designer who really cares.  A lot of heart goes into each and every Charlotte Balbier design, and she positively glowed as she swirled and showed her designs to the audience and discussed what made each and every one unique and special. 

And glow she might, for the new collection is an absolute triumph. 

Charlotte, you should be very proud.  Brides Up North, they’ll be landing in a stockist near you soon. Yippee!

Charlotte Balbier Wedding

Charlotte’s own wedding day at Iscoyd Park, Cheshire

The collection was designed in celebration of Charlotte and her new husband Teddy’s 2014 wedding day and is inspired by the historical and traditional setting of Iscoyd Park.  2015 marks eleven years for Charlotte at the forefront of British Bridal design, a truly amazing decade as one of the UK’s leading bridal designers.

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

The Iscoyd Park Collection is made up of over twenty gorgeous gowns in an array of styles, and delightfully includes two of Charlotte’s own wedding gowns, named ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Iscoyd Park.’ Charlotte’s designs inherently traditional but with that added extra twist for a modern gown.

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

The 2014 collection, ‘A Decade of Style’ won the Wedding Ideas Magazine ‘Designer Of The year’ award and this year is all set to become Charlotte’s most successful year to date with exciting plans and collaborations ahead.  Go girl!

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

To find out more about Charlotte Balbier’s designs and view a list of Northern stockists, visit her website.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Christopher Dadey at White Gallery

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Designer Preview. White Gallery 2014.

April 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Lusan Mandongus by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Wrapping up last week’s fashion marathon as I recapped the catwalks I’d seen at White Gallery London, I thought I’d ease you into an equally fabulous (but perhaps not quite so manic from my POV) week with one last bit of eye candy… for now. 

The Designer Preview catwalk showcases a selection of gowns from twelve big name designers and due to it’s eclectic and diverse collection is always a favourite of mine. 

My take on this season is that it’s all about shape and detail – whether high fashion or big romance – as the bridal catwalks echo haute couture with high low hemlines, interesting backs, bold use of pattern, embellishment, fit and flare and florals, florals, florals.  Colours are pale and interesting – a watercolour wash of pale pink, blues and greys. 

I loved every second.  And here’s my pick of the bunch…

Lusan Mandongus by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Lusan Mandongus

A wonderful white-out that sang with style and luxury. The collection by Lusan Mandongus is vintage inspired with rich yet subtle details, incorporating different stunning features focusing on elements such as higher necklines, sleeves and peplum waist detail. 

Yolan Cris by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Yolan Cris

The Barcelona based label totally rocked it with their style setting detailed designs and rich handcrafted applications.  Daring, stylish and different. 

Charlotte Balbier by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Charlotte Balbier 

A Charlotte Balbier bride is a free spirit who expresses her personality and individuality through her Balbier designed gown.  My favourite? Iscoyd Park, the collection’s title gown that Charlotte designed for her own evening reception. 

Anna Romysh Haute Couture by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Anna Romysh Haute Couture

Daring,different and sometimes (very seriously) barely there, these gowns raised a few eyebrows (and iPhones!) but I salute the risk taking label for putting a high fashion stamp on their collection. Avant garde meets ultimate fashion. 

Naomi Neoh by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Naomi Neoh 

For the romantics.  Naomi Neoh’s stunning skirts were dipped in a swish of pink for the prettiest wedding day look.  And you know I love pink!  The designer has taken inspiration from the glamour and romance of vintage Hollywood and her gowns are crafted from only the finest silks and French lace. 

Timeless Couture by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Timeless Couture

Just what it says on the tin: timeless, couture.  Encapsulating elegance and glamour, with a dramatic and contemporary twist.

Terry Fox by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Terry Fox 

Boho and beautiful as ever, this truly romantic collection for 2015 encapsulates mystical creatures of the sea and the ancient call of the Siren song.  Magical.

Sadoni by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Sadoni

The Nordic signature of Sadoni expresses pure simplicity and understated luxury through their flowy, feminine silk dresses. 

Ivory & Co by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London 2014

Ivory & Co

Sometimes better known for their twinkling bridal accessories and tiaras, Ivory & Co also specialises in stunning silk designer wedding dresses.  I’m in love with the subtle, swishy, silky glamour of the gown above.  One to add to your dress hunt for sure. 

Brides Desire By Wendy Sullivan & Jack Sullivan Bridal

Brides Desire By Wendy Sullivan & Jack Sullivan Bridal

A unique collection from Australia’s leading designer, a new and updated take on vintage bridal style. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Christopher Dadey for Designer Preview 2014 at White Gallery

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Dancing Through A World Of Inspiration. First Look: Ian Stuart Bride 2015 On The Catwalk

April 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Christopher Dadey for Ian Stuart at White Gallery 2014

Of all the shows the Brides Up North team were privileged to attend this week at White Gallery, Ian Stuart Bride stood out for it’s energy, creativity and sense of theatre. 

This man isn’t just a designer, he’s an artist and entertainer. 

This is just a sneak peek at the first five looks that made it down the catwalk this weekend, with the rest to be revealed soon.  I can’t wait to share the 2015 look book with you shortly. 

Christopher Dadey for Ian Stuart at White Gallery 2014

Ian Stuart describes his life as dancing through a world of inspiration.  Looking through artistic eyes, he searches for moments and images of beauty each day.

Gathering these and channelling them into beautiful gowns, he creates wedding dresses that are a unique reflection of nature, music, history, architecture and humanity, each design has its own story to tell.  Within the diversity of inspiration, touches of Elizabethan, art deco and bohemian stand out, creating a spirit for 2015 that is angelic, quirky and statuesque.

Luxurious fabrics and colours help to tie all essences of the collection together, but most of all, it is the unmistakable handwriting of Ian Stuart that is conveyed as the premier trend. 

Christopher Dadey for Ian Stuart at White Gallery 2014

Christopher Dadey for Ian Stuart at White Gallery 2014

Christopher Dadey for Ian Stuart at White Gallery 2014

To view Ian’s current Frill Me! collection and an interview with the designer on Brides Up North click here, or visit the Ian Stuart website for more information and a list of Northern stockists

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Christopher Dadey for Ian Stuart at White Gallery

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First Look: The Echo Collection By Emma Hunt London On The Catwalk At White Gallery 2014

April 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Our fashion-tastic week continues here at Brides Up North, dahlings, with more exclusive updates fresh from the bridal catwalks at this year’s White Gallery, London. 

Unless you’ve been on an extreme tech detox over the last few days, you can’t have failed to notice that the online wedding industry (see our Twitter and Facebook feeds as exhibit A) is abuzz with news from the Capital about the stunning 2015 bridal collections which will be arriving in your local bridal boutiques in the very near future. 

The eye candy cranks up a notch this morning as we showcase the stunning Echo Collection by Emma Hunt London.  This is Emma’s inaugural diffusion collection and aims to be timeless and elegant with a fresh modern appeal.  Got it in one, Ms Hunt. 

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Emma Hunt London: The Echo Collection has been designed with the discerning bride in mind.  Our gowns are made entirely in Britain using the finest fabrics such as silk crepe satin, French Levers lace, silk marocaine and silk satin chiffon, and all the dresses have a pure silk lining for a luxurious finish. 

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

The overall tone of the collection is one of lightness and grace with soft, fluid silhouettes complimented with discreet structuring ad exquisite detailing such as beaded waistbands, appliqued corded lace and Swarovski accents.

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Emma Hunt 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Read the rest of this entry »

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Excusive! First Look: Alan Hannah 2015 Bridal Collections On The Catwalk

April 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Its been a bit of a haute couture week at Brides Up North HQ.  We’ve been at White Gallery London checking out the brand new bridal wear collections from the big names in the wedding dress industry and are really excited to bring you some exclusive catwalk previews direct from the event over the next few days.  Fast fashion or what?!

I’m obsessed with Alan Hannah’s beautiful gowns, and actually wore one of Marguerite’s creations for my own wedding back in 2010 (the dress was called All The Jazz and was a blush duchess satin… swoon), so it makes sense to open play on these pages by debuting their label’s exciting 2015 collections first.

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

For their main line, as well as the perfect couture cut and execution Marguerite has some really lovely new embellishment ideas including hand painted flowers and striking textured beading.  The MiaMia line is full of verve and panache with beautiful lace and dramatic skirts with theatrical detailing.  For me, there’s something to delight every bride here – soft sparkle, lovely lace, swishing satins, structured silks and contemporary twists, but always with an integral elegance and flair. 

And to top it all off?  All Alan Hannah’s gowns are designed and made in England.  You know we like things home grown at Brides Up North!

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

^^^Editor’s pick: this blush satin gown with chiffon skirts and crystal belt detail is to die for^^^

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

Alan Hannah 2015 by Christopher Dadey at White Gallery London

The 2015 collections will be arriving in bridal boutiques near you later this year.  In the meantime, check out Alan Hannah’s current collection and a list of Northern stockists by visiting their website. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Christopher Dadey for Alan Hannah at White Gallery

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(Almost) High Street Honey: Alice & Olivia

April 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Alice & Olivia ZACK

I’ve spent the last three days staring at beautiful wedding dresses (two at White Gallery in London and last Sunday at our Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Nostell Priory) and you know what?  I don’t feel like stopping anytime soon.

Yesterday after our meetings and viewings were concluded and before hopping back on the train Up North, Ellie and I headed for my spiritual home, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, for a slap up sushi lunch and a spot of browsing.  Alice & Olivia MCBAIN

One thing I was obsessed with when planning my own wedding was my “going away” dress.  You know, the fabulous frock that I would slip into as my new husband whisked me off on our fabulous honeymoon to live happily ever after (whilst our friends went back to work on Monday).  The pressure was on and dress had to be perfect – a little bit Audrey, a little bit Grace, flirty, sparkly, a nod to bridal and ever so Summer Holiday (in October).

So today, four years after our wedding (goddammit!) I found the perfect frock.  Step forward Alice & Oliva, Stacey Bendet I salute you. I seriously thought about whipping out the credit card then and there, but decided to accept that it wasn’t meant to be (for me anyway) and share my find with you actual soon-to-be-weds instead.

Alice & Olivia CLOVER

(^^^This one^^^)

Alice & Olivia EADDY

Alice & Olivia BRIT

Alice & Olivia ADELIA 

Alice & Olivia ANIKA

And whilst looking around, I spotted lots more bridal-esque pieces that could certainly make it into the shortlist for a pretty rehearsal dinner outfit, engagement party frock, special hen party piece or even to walk the aisle itself.  Ok, so a designer in Harvey Nichols ain’t exactly budget, but if we’re quibbling, fact: HN is actually on the “high street”. 

Technicalities aside, I think Alice & Olivia totally deserves the Brides Up North High Street Honey accolade.  What do you think?

I think I want to go shopping.  Now.

Alice & Olivia GORE

Alice & Olivia HILTA

Alice & Olivia PERCIE

Alice & Olivia LENA

 

.Alice & Olivia BETRICE

Alice & Olivia CHAP

Alice & Olivia FELICE

Alice & Olivia FRANCESCA

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Alice & Olivia

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#FROWselfie. White Gallery London.

April 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime

White Gallery 2014

Normal blog service will resume tomorrow, but for now, I’m just popping in to say hello before continuing with our hectic schedule of catwalks, appointments and coffee meetings here in the smoke for White Gallery London.

White Gallery 2014

To recap, White Gallery (and The London Bridal Show across the way) is a huge trade event in the wedding industry.  Its the time when the big name bridal designers showcase their new collections to the retail buyers (your local bridal boutiques) and the press (like me!). It’s a really big deal.

White Gallery 2014

@ Ian Stuart Bride 

White Gallery 2014

@ Lusan Mandongus/ Designer Preview

I’m here to preview the pretty before anyone else, to liaise with our favourite and up and coming designers and to give you a sneak peek into the trends for 2015, and the dresses that you might be gliding down the aisle in soon.

White Gallery 2014

@ Ian Stuart Bride

White Gallery 2014

@ Madeline Isaac-James

Yesterday, as well as visiting various lovelies on their exhibition stands, Ellie and I also took in no less than three catwalk shows (and countless glasses of prosecco) for Ian Stuart, Madeline Isaac-James and the Designer Preview including the likes of Lusan Mandongus, Charlotte Balbier and Naomi Neoh.  This morning we’re off to the Tower Of London to view Suzanne Neville’s latest offering.  Its a tough life…

White Gallery 2014

@ Yolan Cris/ Designer Preview

White Gallery 2014

@ Ian Stuart Bride

The collections and creations have been eclectic, demure, theatrical, beautiful and above all, fabulous.  I’ll be sharing more soon as I launch a fresh Designer Series of interviews for 2014/15, but for now, let me just say that if you’re just starting out on your dress hunt you should be very, very excited…

White Gallery 2014

@ Ian Stuart Bride

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Brides Up North

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The Designer Series: Haazar Of London

March 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Camille long

This afternoon I’m proud to welcome designers Rachel and Issy of Hazaar of London to our pages.  The duo design adaptable bridal gowns that can take a bride from day to evening without the need for a second dress.  Clever and beautiful. 

Camille short back

Please introduce Hazaar of London and tell us a little about your brand?

The idea of Hazaar of London began to form when we met at the London College of Fashion while studying Costume design for the performing arts.

The concept of designing adaptable bridal gowns came from seeing our friends feeling frustrated with their long gowns by the evening, and having to change out of their perfect wedding dress and into a different, shorter dress so they could enjoy the rest of their day unrestricted. We felt that brides should be able to stay in their dream dress for as long as possible on their wedding day so we designed gowns around that concept. 

What is your style philosophy?

Our background is in historical costume design and dress making and we are continuously influenced by classic style icons and designers – some of our absolute favourites being the classic elegance of 50s Dior and icons Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. This means that our design style naturally includes elements of vintage styling, but with a modern take on what bridal wear means to brides today.

Camille with Pink Ophelia back

Tell us about the collection by Hazaar of London? What were your inspirations behind this beautiful collection?

Our Rose Blush collection is a combination of classic design and delicate detailing, with a touch of rose blush tones, creating an exciting blend of warmth and detail.

The new collection of adaptable gowns has evolved to offer our brides the chance to find their perfect wedding day look, by choosing a fusion of their favourite pieces to create their own style.

Where do you look for inspiration?

We find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. We never stop designing and are always talking about new ideas and plans for future collections.

Camille with Pink Ophelia front

What sort of woman do you design for, did you have a specific “muse” for this collection?

We design for brides who are looking for something classically beautiful with a modern twist that not only allows them the freedom to enjoy the evening celebrations, but holds a surprise for their guests and groom! We always love to hear stories from our brides about their wedding guests’ excited reactions to their change of look.

Our ‘muse’ and inspiration for this collection was classic English beauty, which is why we chose our beautiful ‘English Rose’ model for the Rose Blush shoot.

Evie long

What fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the new collection and why?

We chose flowing duchess satins and soft blush chiffons, with overlays of delicate lace and pretty beaded detail to create the pretty and feminine designs of our new Rose Blush collection. Fabric choice is very important to us and we take care to choose fabrics that will create perfect movement and structure.

Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection?  Which piece and why?

We find it hard to choose favourites as we only design gowns that we really love and talk about them as if they were people! However, Rachel is planning her wedding for 2014 and is currently besotted with our fusion of the short lace Violet dress with our duchess satin Ruby skirt.

Evie short

What jewellery would you pair with pieces from your new collection?  Why?

We are drawn towards vintage jewellery and accessories and have seen some beautiful jewelled head pieces and earrings that would work well with any of our gowns. However, accessory styling is very personal to each bride and we encourage our brides to express their individual style in every way.

Evie with Viola skirt

How do you decide on the “names” for your gowns?

The names for our gowns come from the inspiration behind each collection. We named the gowns in our first ‘Grace’ collection after the names of women from Shakespearean plays. This was partly to do with our theatrical background and was a nod to historical design and British heritage. When designing the Rose Blush collection, we were inspired by natural English beauty and classic styling so we named our gowns after pretty English names.

Pearl long

What sizes are available in your gowns?  Are your pieces made to measure?

Our gowns are made to order and are available in sizes 8-18.

Pearl short

What is the process for your clients from finding “the one” to the final fitting?

We carefully choose our stockists and are fortunate to work with some fantastic boutiques who offer a very attentive and personal service. Once a bride finds her perfect gown, it is hand made to order and personally checked and finished by us before being sent to our stockist for fittings.

Pink Ophelia front

What is the retail price range for your designs?

Our gowns range from £1,500 – £2,345.

Ruby long front

What sets Hazaar of London apart from other bridal wear brands?

The adaptability of our gowns enables brides to be playful, change their look on the day and even create their perfect gown by choosing their favourite pieces. Hazaar brides can walk down the aisle looking classically beautiful and go on to enjoy their wedding reception looking equally perfect but ready for the celebration.

Ruby short

How did you get into wedding dress design – what is your story?

Wedding dress design was a natural progression for us. Throughout our costume degree and into our careers in the costume industry, we found we most enjoyed working with and designing exquisite women’s wear, ball gowns and evening wear.

We love bridal design and we believe that a wedding dress is more than just a dress. The perfect dress complements a brides’ personality and makes them feel unique and utterly beautiful on their special day, and we love being a part of that.

Is this your dream career? 

We love bridal and everything wedding related. We both previously worked in costume in the theatre, film and music industry which we did enjoy, but bridal is what we are truly passionate about.

What would “a day in the life” at Hazaar of London HQ be like?

A day at Hazaar of London is never the same! Typically we will start the day by answering emails and checking up on orders. We then decide on the rest of the day depending on what we are working towards. Earlier this year it was all about the White Gallery and now we are working on our plans for the National Wedding Show at Earl’s Court in September. We’re really excited as it’s our first major retail show and we can’t wait to meet lots of brides and showcase our unique collection of adaptable gowns.

Violet long

Where do you go and what do you do to relax?

We head to the spa at any opportunity and have been known to hold meetings in the sauna! However, when we aren’t on Hazaar duty, we tend to either spend time with the men in our lives or meet up with our friends. We also attend ballet classes (we both love ballet and danced a lot when we were younger) and we have just started doing pilates.

VioletViolashort

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you/ see more of your designs? 

Images of our Grace and Rose Blush collections can be viewed on our website www.hazaaroflondon.com along with stockist details. We can also be contacted by email enquiries@hazaaroflondon.com.

Do you have any Northern stockists – how can Brides Up North find them?

We are currently searching for the perfect Northern stockists for our brand. There are lots of fantastic boutiques who we would love to work with, so will hopefully be available soon! Currently, our nearest stockist is the beautiful Anais Bridal Couture in Glasgow.

Viola long

Is there anything else that we should know?

All of our gowns are hand made to order in the EU and we personally choose and check every detail of each gown. Each design is adaptable but can be made as a single gown, and although our Rose Blush collection has been designed using soft pink tones, we are happy for brides to order in ivory. We like to think that our collection is playful and offers brides the chance to customise their gown to create their perfect wedding day look – without paying bespoke prices!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Hazaar Of London

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One For The Cool Girls. Introducing Brand New Bridal Label Maria Senvo & “The Fifteen Collection”

February 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Rye & Joy

It’s only February 2014, but already the invitations to view the biggest bridal houses’ 2015 collections have started to roll in here at Brides Up North HQ, and we are excitedly marking some special dates in our office diary.  Last year we brought you our Designer Series of interviews with some of the most recognised names in the industry, and are looking forward to doing the same again later this spring. 

You know me though, I like to keep things fresh, mixed up and interesting – and that’s why alongside the established designers I also like to keep my readers abridged of the hottest happenings in bridal couture, the newest labels on the scene and also laud the work of talented, smaller, independent designers.

Asana

So when the lovely Holly Cuthbert of brand new label Maria Senvo contacted me to show off her inaugural collection, I couldn’t wait to share it with the rest of you.  Coming soon to a bridal boutique (and some of the Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions!) near you, let’s meet the lady behind the designs. 

Rye & Joy

Please introduce Maria Senvo and tell us a little about your brand?

The label has been set up by me and my partner Ryan, so we have both a male and female influence on the designs which we think is what makes them so unique. Our first collection launches this month, alongside the website and we also have some exciting events coming up over the coming months.  Our first one coincides with London Fashion Week and is the invitation only launch of the label. We are super busy planning at the moment but it’s set to be great!

Bo

What is your style philosophy?

Stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid to be different. Many brides are taking their day to day style and working this into their big day looks to be individual and stylised. Gone are the days where brides wear what is expected of them… be bold.

Asana

Tell us about the new collection by Maria Senvo?

We always say… “If you’re a cool girl and your am to pm wardrobe is simple, paired down and effortless, what do you then wear to get married in?”

That bride – someone not unlike ourselves we think – really is the inspiration for each and every design. The aim always was to master that elusive paired down aesthetic with just the right amount of glamour.  As well as the bride herself the inspirations are endless from art, culture and modernism, even the campaign taster shot at a British sculpture park oozes an essence of what the brand is really about; creating what we hope really is a striking new presence in a somewhat traditional industry.

Bo

What fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the new collection and why?

Intricate beaded bodies, elongated lines and pleats adorn the collection that when turned around reveal scoop detail backs and razor sharp features. The collection is designed with a new generation bride in mind who is looking for something a little different from her gown. Each is handmade and hand beaded and feels amazing to wear! The fabrics range from silks to crepe chiffon and everything in between.

Joy

Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection?  Which piece and why?

We both have our favourites for different reasons! Mine (Holly) is the Joy gown as it’s the first gown we designed and also happens to be one of the favourites with our brides so far. Ryan loves the Edith gown as the shape is so different to anything else out there and the heavy lace teamed with the soft crepe looks elegantly stylish.

Rye & Joy

What accessories would you pair with pieces from your new collection? 

For our campaign shoot we used pieces from the latest Indian Summer collection from Flo & Percy. We love the style of their accessories and they complement our gowns perfectly. A lot of our boutiques also hand make bespoke accessories to match our gowns which is a gorgeous little addition when shopping for a Maria Senvo gown.

Rye

What beauty look would complement the pieces in your new collection?

Our own style is very paired down and somewhat European so we love the effortless looks that look less bridal and more day to day. On the shoot our makeup and hair stylist scooped hair into high ponytails or brushed long length hair back off the models face… paired with neutral eyes (add a little subtle false lash for definition) and a pop of colour on the lip to take your big day look from am to pm.

Asana

Do you have a “signature” piece?

We definitely have a signature look running through the collection – spot it for yourselves?

How do you decide on the “names” for your gowns?

The name of the collection ‘The Fifteen Collection’ is purely the year date of the collection.  As we designers are always a year ahead of ourselves this collection launches this month yet will be sold internationally as 2015 pieces. The dress names were a little more tricky, a lot of the dress names have a personal meaning to us be it names of family and friends or aims and achievements we have.

Rye

What sizes are available in your gowns? 

The gowns are size 6 – 22 but custom sizing is also available as each gown is handmade to order.

What is the retail price range for your designs?

The designs start at around £1,500 and range up to around £2,700 for our Swarovski custom gown.

Joy

What sets Maria Senvo apart from other bridal wear brands?

The designs mix a respect for the old with a flair for the new but what makes Maria Senvo unique is how we understand the woman inside our dress. Composed and sensual, she wants to be comfortable yet elegant, fashion forward but timeless.  The first collection is new and bold and altogether interesting for 2014, but to call us minimalists would be too simple. The seemingly uncomplicated pieces are stylish and on closer inspection, playful experiments in shapes and fabrics with a focus on the finer points in design, so that the inside of the garments are just as beautiful as the outside. Trust us – when stepped into they feel sensational!

Bo

Was there a defining point in your career that made your business the success that it is today?

As young entrepreneurs the biggest step so far was taking the leap and setting up the label – it really just keeps going from strength to strength and the reaction to the collection has been unbelievable.

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment we are concentrating on our UK launch and with London Fashion Week just 2 weeks away we are busy bees to say the least!

Rye & Joy

What would “a day in the life” at Maria Senvo HQ be like?

We have a studio which in every way encompasses the typical studio you would imagine – from moodboards to swatches it’s an organised chaos! Ryan is a real night owl and is constantly tapping away until the early hours most days. No two days are the same and we split our time between London and Manchester for many reasons, both cities have a great culture for design and both have wonderful support systems for new generation brands such as ourselves. Every day is vibrant. 

Rye

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more of your designs?

Our new website launches this month housing some great features for brides like “create your own lookbook” and “request a sketch” and is a great spot to see more of our designs and keep up to date with all our events. We also love to hear from our brides to be direct through our social media. 

Joy

Do you have any Northern stockists – how can Brides Up North find them?

Yes! The lovely The Case Of The Curious Bride in Manchester is the exclusive stockist for the North and the boutique is a gorgeous hub of treats – with Melanie (the owner) also housing an abundance of accessories for brides to lust after alongside our debut collection. 

The Case Of The Curious Bride will be exhibiting at Brides Up North’s North West events this Spring.  Click here to add the dates to your diaries and see Maria Senvo’s beautiful new collection in person. 

.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Maria Senvo

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One Of A Kind. Supplier Showcase: Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

January 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Cou-ture: Origin: 1905–10; French: literally, sewing, seam

This morning I am thrilled to share the beautiful work of one of our newest Brides Up North Featured Suppliers, Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride.  The creations of the mother and daughter team are couture in the truest sense of the word, and you are so very lucky to have them on hand to create your dream dress. 

Compiling this interview I was struck not only by the gorgeous gowns that comprise this their launch shoot, but also by the amount of work, fittings and personal service that goes into creating each and every unique garment.  Once again, I have discovered a fabulous Northern service that I just wish I have known about when planning my own wedding.  That, to me, is what Brides Up North is all about. 

Ladies, you are in for a treat.  Explore your options!

Images by Kirstie McNulty Photography

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

When did Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride open and what is your background?

We are a very young business, only launched in December 2013, although this business has been years in the planning. Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride is run by mother and daughter, Sheila and Jessica.

Sewing has always been in our family, as my Mum designed and made her own wedding gown 35 years ago and has done the same for many family, friends and clients since then, so I grew up around beautiful fabrics and dresses from a very young age.

Whilst this has always been a passion and a hobby of my Mum’s it was never her profession until now. She took redundancy in early 2013 as a biochemist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in order to pursue her love for sewing, designing and weddings!  My Mum’s 35+ years experience is of such value to our company, she is able to offer our brides advice on not only designs but the best fabrics to use for various styles, the most effective bodice foundations for each style of gown, fastenings, linings and the list goes on!

I graduated from the University of Leeds two years ago in English Literature but have also adopted my Mum’s love and passion for sewing during the past five years.

Our business is run from home – a converted vicarage in Liverpool. As we work from our home, our working hours are extremely flexible as we are able to hold our appointments around our client’s working hours, offering weekday, evening and weekend appointments. Our work environment is relaxed and personal whilst maintaining the professionalism and customer service of other bridal boutiques.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Tell us about your bespoke service?

The bespoke process is one that centres on our bride/client as we bring ideas presented to us into a finished garment that is exactly what they had wished for. The process begins with a free design consultation which gives the bride opportunity to discuss their design ideas, fabrics they would like, colours, time scale, wedding venue, budget and anything else about their wedding that they feel will be important to the design of their wedding dress. If the client is happy to proceed with us we will collect a £100 deposit at this appointment. Following this we will collate these ideas into a design and will source samples of fabrics for our clients to view at the next meeting.

We will arrange the following appointment and fitting at the client’s discretion (generally we ask brides to give us 4-6 months from first appointment to date of their wedding). At this second appointment we will discuss the fabrics we have sourced, finalise the design, take an initial measurement and book in the next series of fittings. At this point a further 40% deposit will be taken.

Before we make the design up in the final fabrics we always do a mock-dress in a toile foundation, this will help us to ensure the fit is just perfect for the client and will give the client the opportunity to see the shape and silhouette and make any changes to the style before the final fabrics are used.

Following this, the next appointment will show the client the final shape and silhouette made up in their desired fabrics. Another fitting will be done so as to ensure it fits perfectly. At this stage we will agree on the final fitting date with our Bride.

As we follow the above process, the final garment that is produced is one that our client has had tonnes of input into.  We encourage the Bride to make suggestions to the design at each stage so as to ensure they are 100% happy with the final dress. The numerous fittings also ensure the fit is just perfect.  This teamed with the fact that all of our wedding gowns (if wanted by the bride) have a boned corset style bodice underneath the top layer fabric to help the Bride feel secure and supported in her gown.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Why should brides choose to go bespoke?

A wedding dress is arguably the most important dress a girl will ever wear. It is something that is dreamt about for years and we don’t think the purchase of such a dress should be taken lightly. From speaking to so many brides in the past we have found that a lot of the time when choosing their ‘off-the-peg’ wedding dresses they have to make certain compromises somewhere whether that be in the style, the fabric, the fit, the fastenings, the embellishments…this is something that we are really opposed to at Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride, we feel that there should be no compromise on the most important dress you will ever wear!  With us they are able to hand pick every element of their wedding dress if they so wish. The series of fittings we offer enable the bride to see their dress at every stage and make alterations as they wish, the fit will be perfect for them, without the costly alteration fees.

Bespoke is also perfect for those brides that want something truly unique, something that no other bride can be seen to have worn. Having something custom-made enables the bride to give a true reflection of their personality, find a style that suits their body shape perfectly and they can also design their dress around the style of their wedding day – say they are getting married abroad, we can help them design a gown that is perfect to be worn on the beach, one that won’t be too heavy or hot to wear in the sunshine.

We also have a lot of brides who have had a style in mind for years – this may be a red-carpet dress they saw in a magazine, a famous wedding gown or a thought up design that they have held onto.  To go bespoke means our Brides are able to have exactly what they want, with no compromise.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Inspiration for our recent collection came from all things luxurious. The fabrics used are all of the highest quality and this is something we really pride ourselves on, we feel every bride deserves to feel a million dollars on their wedding day and the best quality laces and silks teamed with a perfectly fitted gown will help to achieve this. When designing our gowns the bride is at the forefront of all of our thinking, their body shape is the most important feature and whether our ladies are tall, petite, curvy or very slim our designs help to accentuate the best features of our brides whilst ensuring they feel confident and glamorous in their dress. Our latest collection, whilst showcasing a range of varying styles and silhouettes all fit perfectly under a ‘vintage glamour’ story. Although, we do love meeting brides with really unique and quirky design ideas too, so all designs are welcome.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

What sort of fabrics and embellishments do you use in your designs?

The fabrics used for our bespoke gowns are mainly decided by the bride, the design they choose, what will work best for their type of wedding etc. However, we always use the best quality fabrics we can for the bride’s given budget. The fabrics used for our samples collection showcased on our website range from French Corded Lace to beautiful Duchesse Satin. We source all of our silks from British silk supplier James Hare and have various suppliers for our laces around the world. Likewise, we have a range of embellished waist belts that we can add to our gowns if our brides so wish.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment?

We have found that brides of 2013 loved an open back. A statement back to a wedding gown is really popular at the moment whilst still being tasteful and classy. A number of our gowns on our website show varying ways of achieving the ‘statement open back’ whilst still remaining covered and respectful for those that are having church/religious weddings.

We have also found that a lot of brides that we spoke to are looking for a style that they are able to transform from day to night. This may be for the reason that they wish to be more covered up for the ceremony but then want something a little more glamorous for the evening. With this we have designed a selection of wedding gowns that all centre around one simple column silhouette dress (silhouette is bride’s choice) and with this we have added three different looks ranging from lace bolero top, beaded lace box top and a Duchesse Satin shoulder shrug and sash. With these separates this helps our brides to achieve two different looks without having to purchase two separate dresses.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Where are you located? Do Brides Up North need an appointment?

We are located in Windle, just off the East Lancs road and just outside of Liverpool. This is a perfect central location for Brides in Liverpool, Lancashire, Cheshire and Manchester. Brides do need to arrange appointments with us and this can be done via our website, email, telephone, Facebook or twitter. We do offer weekday, evening and weekend appointments to fit in with our bride’s busy lives!

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

Our bespoke gowns are affordable whilst not making any compromise on style, quality or customer service. Our dresses begin at £780 (for the silhouette dress to be paired with one of our separates) or for full gowns £1180

However, if a Bride has a tighter budget we will do our best to try and source different fabrics to match their budget.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

What can Brides Up North expect when they come in for an appointment?

We offer a very relaxed atmosphere for brides and their bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride or friends to come and discuss ideas with us and also have fittings for their gowns. We will show our range of Samples from our silk suppliers, showcase samples of wedding gowns we have done and can show testimonials from our past brides. This can all be done over a lovely glass of bubbly or other refreshments.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

How does Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

We are able to offer a very personal and friendly experience to our clients. We like to get to know our clients and learn as much as possible about their wedding. We do not hurry our brides during their appointments as other wedding dress boutiques do. We encourage our brides to have as much input as they wish and they can give us a call any time with further queries or suggestions. Furthermore, as they are having their item custom-made their alterations will be included in the price (all of our client’s are given two lots of alterations for wedding gowns, anything additional will be charged per hour). Following the completion of the garment we offer additional services to dress the bride/ bridal party on the day of the wedding and to also dry clean and package their gown after their wedding day.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Can you also create bridesmaid and Mother of The Bride dresses?  Tell us about your bridesmaid collection?

We do also offer the bespoke service to bridesmaids, Mother of Bride/ Groom and wedding guests. We are currently working on our Bridesmaids Collection – a collection of nudes and soft pink dresses each of different style. Something we have found to be increasingly popular is for bridesmaids to each wear slightly different style dresses. After speaking with lots of past bridesmaids we have found that sometimes it is very difficult to find a style that suits up to 4/5/6 different girls all with varying shapes and sizes. We encourage our clients to select bridesmaids styles that their maids will feel confident and gorgeous in. Our bridesmaids collection will be a range of long and short dresses, some strapless and some with straps, appealing to all shapes and sizes!

In the past our Mother of the Bride/ Groom outfits have been done by individual referrals rather than based on a collection. We have made some beautiful outfits in the past in either plain or printed silks, with matching bolero or long jackets. These outfits will also include a boned bodice within the fabric to add extra support and comfort for our clients.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

What sort of accessories do you offer?

For brides we can create veils of all lengths and style from Birdcage to Cathedral and we are able to match these to their gowns and laces used.  In addition to veils we can also do covered clutch bags to match our Mother of the Bride/ Groom outfits or bridesmaids dresses.  We welcome people to get in touch with us if they have any other design ideas and we will always do our best to create these.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Who would be a ‘Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride’?

A ‘Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride’ is a Bride that desires a unique and design-led wedding gown. One that will be suited exactly to them and that will be a reflection of their personality and individual style. To have a bespoke wedding dress is to have a wedding dress that nobody else will wear, something that is truly unique and special to them.

Many of our brides have been disappointed with dresses they have tried on in other wedding dress boutiques or have found a style that they really like but it has features such as straps or fabrics that they aren’t happy with. For these brides we are able to develop their design ideas and offer them something that is exactly right for them without the compromise.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

What would you choose to wear if you were getting married?

I’m not married yet, although I do already know what style gown I would like. I am torn between an all lace strapless fitted bodice, fishtail train gown with lace shoulder cape to be worn in the day (taken off at night). If I don’t go for all over lace I would have the same style in a stiff Duchesse Satin, very fitted with a narrow bow around my waist but again with small shoulder cape to cover any cleavage or arms during my day ceremony and allows me to take off for the evening and transform my gown for the night by adding an embellished waist belt.

Kirstie McNulty Photography for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?

You can visit our brand new website at www.jessicabennettbespokebride.co.uk, contact us by email at info@jessicabennettbespokebride.co.uk or call us on 07852 158 566.  We are also on Twitter and Facebook, come and say hello!

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Kirstie McNulty for Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride

Jessica Bennett Bespoke Bride is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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