October 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Now, I’m a girl who loves her fashion. And bridal fashion? The best type there is.
As a result, one of the highlights of my year is always my annual pilgrimage to the capital every spring, to check out the newest collections from the big name bridal design houses as they debut their latest offerings to assembled trade and press visitors.
FROW. It’s the only way to go (dahlings).
One of the most anticipated openings in my schedule is always the suzanne neville show at the historic Tower of London. What this talented lady delivers with shape, structure and fabric is always delectable, and this season’s ‘Novello’ Collection for 2015 didn’t disappoint.
Suzanne Neville is known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Every couture gown is beautifully hand cut and individually made in London, overseen by Suzanne herself. Frequently requested for red carpet events and television shows, the incredibly flattering dresses are always in demand.
I’m proud to share this beautiful selection of dresses with you today. The images are a selection of official shots and my iPhone candids from my catwalk-side seat back in April.
Suzanne Neville say: Modern clean lines work in harmony with clever construction, in ultimate luxury fabrics with gowns such as the satin bias cut ‘Chelsea’ and the effortlessly chic ‘Brompton’.The detail is in the cut and the design, with fabrics sourced to compliment the fall of the gown in true Suzanne Neville style. Other highlights include gowns such as ‘Grosvenor’ with its classic silk organza skirt and contrasting French lace long sleeved bodice.
For more, and details of Suzanne Neville’s stockists, click here to visit the official site.
October 14th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Heart’s Desire by Claire Pettibone
A bride entering her wedding venue is such an iconic moment and there is often one aim in mind – to impress on the aisle.
A beautiful dress is of course part of the essential ingredients required to provoke a positive reaction for the big first reveal. The hope is to take guests’ breath away (as well as the groom’s) during the grand entrance and to hold their gaze.
A dress with stunning back detailing is an effective way to achieve this and gives brides two bites at the ‘look at me’ cherry – a double reveal, if you will.
Iris by Claire Pettibone
Many designers are advocates of impressive back detailing which encourages brides to save the best part of the dress until that last moment as they make their way down the aisle. Whether they choose elegant embroidery, flamboyant corsages or a cute key hole cut-out, the dress is bound to impress.
Claire Pettibone is one designer who is particularly well-known for featuring stand-out back detailing in her collections. Many dresses within Pettibone’s enchanting Still Life collection are stunningly simple on the approach but the back demands a double take. Alchemy, Iris and Sonata all boast beautiful sheer backs revealing a glimpse of the bride’s skin but in an ‘oh so elegant’ kind of way.
For something a little more striking there is a namesake of mine as well as the highly romantic Heart’s Desire. Rachel features a jeweled keyhole back complete with large black corsages while Heart’s Desire has incredible embroidery detailing on its second reveal.
Rachel by Claire Pettibone
Both Maggie Sottero and Justin Alexander also have some seriously stunning gowns with detailed backs in their collections. Sottero’s Melanie, Francesca and Savannah Marie each feature wonderful low illusion backs adorned with floral designs and sparkling crystals. Alexander’s 8596, 8689 and 8780 are equally stunning illusion back options for graceful brides.
For those wanting to flash a little flesh Sottero’s Indiana has both illusion and cut-out detailing while her Brandy backless design, framed by a bead embroidered trim with Swarovski crystals, will also attract attention. Alexander offers an elegant backless creation in his 8764 dress.
Sonata by Claire Pettibone
But if it’s full on cut-away back with eye-catching detailing you’ve been dreaming of, I urge you to take a look at Enzoani’s latest collection. The designs are striking and sophisticated with the right amount of sexiness thrown in for a killer combination. Jamie and Joanna are beautifully bold choices for brides that dare to bare but the absolute show stopper has to be Jasmine. For me this dress has it all; a simple silhouette with a mesmorising lace adorned sheer caped overlay and draped jeweled detailing in the back. I could totally picture Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine to tie the knot in this dress and I’m sure it will mean the dog days of dress shopping are over for many other fashion forward brides-to-be.
September 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wedding couples’ budgets vary, as do their lists of priorities. While some will want to splurge on a delicious wedding banquet fit for a king and queen, others would much rather invest in an amazing band to keep the dance floor rocking all night long.
On a similar note, brides have different ideas of what price tag their wedding attire should carry. A proposal can mean the green light to spend a crazy amount of money on a couture dress, designer heels and matching accessories – because hey, if you don’t do it on your wedding day when will you ever have a license to spend so frivolously again?
But then there are other lines of thought – why spend so much on a dress that I’ll only where for one day? I’d rather have a blow out on fancy footwear that I can wear well beyond the wedding day? I’ll spend less on the dress and put the money saved towards my dream honeymoon.
Of course there’s no right or wrong answer as to how much one should spend on a wedding dress – it’s a case of each to their own.
For those brides that are on smaller budgets, or who would simply prefer to spend in other areas, there are some incredibly pretty high street bridal offerings that won’t completely break the bank.
An expert in elegance, style and class, high street honey Monsoon has just released its autumn/winter 2014 bridal collection, and ladies; you’re in for a treat!
Sleek and slim-line in the majority, the dresses are fabulously flattering and not one oversteps the £700 mark. In fact one of my favourites in the collection is actually the cheapest. The stunning Lyra maxi dress, which features a sparkling band hand embellished with beads and diamantes, comes in at just £229.
Mid-range dresses include Rosanna, Iris and May, though each offers a totally different look. The high-waisted Rosanna is a pretty vintage vision with a sparkling diamante and bead trimmed scalloped neckline and antique broach detailing. Meanwhile the cute tea-length Iris dress is ideal for 50- style brides with its boned bodice, full skirt and floral appliquéd layers. May is perhaps a better option for brides wanting a more fitted gown. Though less voluminous, the romantic knee-length design still packs a punch its lavishly embroidered finish.
Creeping up to the £500 region we have the beautiful Breya. The romantic, mermaid silhouette with a scalloped court train boasts vintage Indian-inspired metallic embroidered tulle, adorned with shimmering seed pearls, beads and miniature sequins. This is most definitely a show stopper!
Finally the enchanting Ellis dress is top of the shop at £699. According to its creators, this dress has been tailored to form-flattering perfection so brides can walk the aisle with the utmost confidence.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Monsoon has also designed a collection of highly-desirable bridal shoes, which remain within the £50-£100 price bracket, so you can pocket even more pennies.
1. Lyra, £229
2. May, £249
3. Rosanna, £299
4. Iris, £299
5. Jessica, £299
6. Breya, £499
7. Erynne, £499
8. Ellis, £699
All prices correct at the time of publishing.
September 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wedding dress necklines have officially reached new depths.
While once an innocent sweetheart neckline was as far as designers dared to dip, there are now an increasing number of dresses reveal that much more of the chest area. But this doesn’t mean the dresses look at all cheap, tacky or tarty. Instead the designs scream high-fashion, ooze elegance and have just the right amount of sass and sexiness.
A perfect choice for confident brides who dare to bare, this style of dress can be highly flattering and incredibly striking. So let’s get the lowdown on the designers that are endorsing the new lowered neckline.
Main feature images courtesy of Jenny Packham, images in gallery as tagged.
Monique Lhuillier has several wonderfully dipped dresses in her collections. Clever designs such as Sylvie, Karlotta and Logan feature a lowered neckline but keep a good amount of flesh under wraps through the use of broad shoulder straps, illusion necklines and elegant lace sleeves. Meanwhile, the likes of Valletta and Teagan, which boast deep necklines but with thinner shoulder straps, give brides the opportunity to flash some extra flesh.
Claire Pettibone’s lowered necklines also retain modesty through the use of sleeves and shoulder detail. Lily is a stunning example for brides wanting to keep their arms covered. The elegant slim-line design features a highly detailed lowered neckline, exquisite long lace sleeves and a to-die-for sheer lace back. Minuet meanwhile is a much more revealing design with a dipped sweetheart neckline and pretty keyhole back detail.
Queen of vintage glamour, Jenny Packham has also jumped onboard the lowered necklines bandwagon. For brides wanting to keep their look simple but flash just a little flesh, there is Lavinia and Nina. Other brides will look to Packham for a dose of that intricate detailing that she does oh so well. This can be found in Noa and Marina, both of which feature plunging necklines as well as pretty, sparkling embellishment. Gatsby-style brides meanwhile will find it almost impossible to resist the sophisticated yet sexy charm of Rio – it’s a real head-turner!
Finally Justin Alexander, which produces perfect princess style gown, has a few lowered neckline creations to add to the offering. Interestingly, many of the dresses that feature deep necklines in the front are mirrored in the back of the gown. So for example the 8737 fit and flare gown, with heavily beaded pearl and crystal deep V-neckline also has a plunging back neckline. Similarly the 8652 mermaid style dress features a V-tank neckline in the front and is finished with a deep V-neckline in the back.
So the only question that remains is how low will you go?
September 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Say Naomi Neoh and I think ‘swish!’ This lady’s delightful gowns were made for movement, with swingy silk chffon, draping bows and the softest lace. Dresses that wash the catwalks with delicate blush, dare you to twirl and encourage a little sashay.
You can tell I’ve fallen head over heels and I challenge you not to. Let’s meet Naomi as we debut her beautiful collection for 2015.
Naomi says: I design my dresses for elegant, romantic women who have a sense of fun and want to feel glamorous yet feminine of their wedding day.
What were your inspirations for this collection?
My other half bought me a book about the life of the Hollywood costume designer Edith Head who is one of my heroes – I love her work. This year’s collection was inspired by the iconic sirens of 30s 40s and 50s Movies, Lana Turner, Dorothy Lamour…
What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?
For this collection I will be using some new Italian weaves, with some silk mixes to give the handle and luxurious feel of silk but with less creasing! My love affair with silk chiffon will also continue through into the new collection with subtle tones of blush and peach. There are also delicate embellishments throughout, hand beaded waist details, and of course the signature silk corsages.
What is the favourite piece in the new collection and why?
It changes all the time, but at the moment I’m particularly loving Loretta – the silk satin chiffon of the skirt is my favourite fabric, and it’s a versatile dress which can be worn in so many different ways with the selection of jackets I have designed to co-ordinate.
What does 2014/ 2015 hold for Naomi Neoh? What are you excited about?
I’m excited about the launch of six new Naomi Neoh stockists from October so even more brides will be able to get to see our dresses! 2015 will be all about creating and fine tuning again a bigger and better collection for 2016 brides.
What are your ‘best things’ in life?
I like little things, sun rise, freshly mown grass, laughing, and beautiful flowers.
Where can Brides Up North find out more about Naomi Neoh?
August 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I’m delighted to give you an exclusive sneak peek at the impeccable new collection from one of my very favourite bridal fashion houses, Jesus Peiro. Entitled ‘Perfume’, the 90 piece collection designed by Merche Segarra takes inspiration from, and pays homage to, the delicacy, individuality and uniqueness of a fragrance.
Alongside the pieces, the brand has created its very own perfume – Jesus Peiro - to complement the stunning collection and add an enchanting touch in its 26th year.
The team say: Drawing on a scent’s precise creation, its allure and the emotions it conceives and conveys, the collection is exquisitely bold and abundant through its use of textures, the curious combinations of fabrics and the overall embellishment of each design.
Reflecting the current trend for soft, smooth and romantic silhouettes, the collection has been designed to showcase a range of volumes in a modern way. Dresses that open into full ball gowns from the waist with cartridge pleating to increase the texture of the fabric and display all the mystical grandeur of the skirt. More streamlined in terms of proportion, the cut at the hips is achieved through symmetrical pleats opening to an exaggerated flare while empire waists are made softer through lighter structures. The dramatic mermaid cut has also been given a new updated touch – all coming together to deliver a lighter, more contemporary twist on the big volume style.
Traditional ivory dominates the colour theme and is complemented by a chalk white hue, light tea, soft silver and mother-of-pearl in embroideries, fabrics and embellishments. Cabochons in stone grey crystal contrast with butter-coloured crepes, old gold and copper hues create a little vintage feel, and a touch of amber draws us back to the collection’s fragrant inspiration. The fabrics include Chantilly lace used alone and in combination with other materials to create new shapes, appearances and lines; tulle in distinct finishes, weights and hues to deliver a charming, romantic effect; and plain fabrics offer fluidity to each design.
Motifs are in line with the geometrical trend – stripes, dots and borders are balanced, whilst embellishments and embroideries are in the form of tiny motifs and crystal and metal beads.
The fragrance used to complement the collection was created by Daniel Joiser, one of the best-known perfumists of today who has developed scents for Yves Rocher, Puig and L’Occitane. ‘Jesus Peiro’ combines citric notes – lemon, oranges, Italian bergamot and mandarin from Sicily – with intense cardamom, a sweet touch of caramel and the strength of musk to offer a fresh, sparkly, elegant and contemporary scent perfect for any bride.
For more, or stockist details, visit www.jesuspeiro.com
August 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We recently featured Ms Balbier’s new Iscoyd Park bridal collection for 2015 on these very pages, and today I’m proud to hear all about the inspirations behind my wonderful friend’s beautiful designs. So Brides Up North, will you be a Balbier bride? You lucky, lucky things.
Click here to view the extended collection.
Charlotte says: A Charlotte Balbier bride is confident and daring in both her wedding dress style and every day fashion choices. My brides certainly have their own sense of individuality. Whether you’re a relaxed boho bride whose bouquet choice is wild hand picked rural flowers or a city fashion forward bride who keeps it minimalist and chic. Some brides like a theme and some like to keep it eclectic, it’s a personal style and choice and both are gorgeous.
What were your inspirations for this collection?
The Iscoyd Park Collection is very close to my heart as I designed the collection based on my wedding day to Teddy. My wedding day took place at a venue called Iscoyd Park in North Wales last December. ‘The Iscoyd Park’ collection is made up of over twenty new gorgeous gowns in an array of styles to suit the modern day bride, their wedding and style. The new collection includes two dresses I actually wore on the big day called ‘The Charlotte’ and ‘Iscoyd Park.’ I am flattered we’ve had such a positive response to brides wearing the same dress as I did on my big day! The ‘Iscoyd Park’ collection was designed with love, close to my dear heart.
What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?
The Charlotte Balbier collection has always been fashion inspired. Gowns that are forward thinking for the new generation bride. My signature style and look is using soft French laces. Charlotte Balbier is utterly feminine in charm and grace. My gowns are inherently traditional but with that added extra twist of fashion for a modern gown, bride and wedding day. The collection presents classical elegance and timeless gowns that never go out of fashion in array of styles, silhouettes, fabrics and a soft gold, pink and ivory colour pallette.
What sizes are your gowns available in?
Our sizing is from 0 to any size. Brides can choose the sizing they need and our stockist’s usually amend the dresses to fit the bride to perfection.
What does 2014/ 2015 hold for your label? What are you excited about?
Charlotte Balbier has been around for more than 10 years now and we’ve built a great brand. I am now embarking on a new chapter and looking forward to another 10 years, staying at the forefront of British bridal and looking to also take the Balbier brand International. Last year I won the Wedding Ideas Magazine’s Bridal Designer Awards and I’ve just been nominated for Perfect Wedding’s Best Bridal Designer. Winning Awards is a great achievement and honour to be recognized in the industry. Brides who’d love Charlotte Balbier to win can vote here.
What are your “best things” in life?
I am a very lucky lady because the best things in life surround me all the time! I’m constantly surrounded by lovely Charlotte Balbier bridal dresses and of course everything else in the bridal industry. I love shoes especially Jimmy Choo’s, Aruna Seth and Freya Rose. I love Clarins facials and enjoy one once a month religiously! I love my dog Buster and my dear husband Teddy!
Where can Brides Up North find out more about your label?
August 21st, 2014 | Rachel Parry
It’s not unusual for brides to expose their shoulders on their wedding day with bridal boutiques boasting numerous stunning strapless dress designs. But while fashion forward brides might like the idea of flashing a little flesh on their big day, they may well want a gown that pushes the design boundaries that bit further.
Luckily for such brides highly stylish off-the-shoulder wedding dresses crept into a number of 2014 collections and it looks like they’re here to stay as the sophisticated silhouette has been making a strong appearance on 2015 bridal catwalks.
The lowered neckline offers a romantic and timeless look, beautifully framing shoulders and collar bones. There is a hint of sexiness about such dresses and yet they are still oh so elegant by revealing just the right amount of skin.
Better yet, fashionistas will be pleased to hear that there aren’t just one or two standard off-the-shoulder dress designs, but instead a wonderful array of varying styles, from floaty bohemian and Grecian inspired gowns to structured asymmetrical creations and dresses with dreamy draped sleeves.
Jenny Packham is particularly fond of the lowered neckline and includes a number of super stunning off-the-shoulder gowns in her collection – each with something different to offer. For brides wanting to expose their full shoulders and chest area the Hepburn dress is the perfect option. It keeps the majority of the focus at the top of the floor-length dress whilst adding just a hint of extra detailing to the waistline with a sparking bow. The Monroe dress in an elegant pink/taupe hue exposes a similar area but dares brides to step outside their ivory comfort zone. Meanwhile Billie and Garbo are perfect options for glam brides-to-be looking to add some sparkle to their attire. Both have plunging necklines and glitzy shoulder straps with added detailing in draped capped sleeves which reveal just the tops of the shoulders (often referred to as ‘cold shoulder’ dress designs).
Maggie Sottero has a number of equally attractive designs in her collection. Anna and Maurine both feature pretty cold shoulder flutter sleeves. While one dress is adorned in glistening Swarovski crystals the other is finished with fabulously feminine lace appliqués. The ultra girly June dress in playful blush pink is fit for a Grecian goddess with its floor-length silhouette and draped cold shoulder sleeves. Sottero’s Calypso dress offers a different look with its soft scalloped-edged lowered neckline framing bare shoulders beautifully.
Varying off-the-shoulder designs can also be found in Cymbeline’s current collections. Agadir is a simple slim-line design which would be well suited to brides looking for a subtle design that they can make their own with the addition of striking accessories. Lovers of lace meanwhile will fall head over heels for Habanita which features super thin shoulder straps and a gorgeous lace overlay with elegant elbow-length sleeves. Hossana’s romantic ruffles and relaxed shoulders makes it the perfect choice for bohemian brides while those wanting to make a stronger style statement on the aisle should consider the voluminous Heliante.
When it comes to bridal style statements Ian Stuart instantly springs to mind and his show-stopping off-the-shoulder designs certainly don’t disappoint. Several of Stuart’s designs, such as Evita and Frederique, are reminiscent with regal dresses featured in period dramas. Both feature portrait necklines which leave the colllar bones, shoulders and top of the chest bare. Further flesh-revealing offerings come in the form of Nightingale, Mandalay and Waikiki, each with varying detail including decorative fairytale flowers and delicate beaded lace. And last but by no means least, there is the super cute three-quarter length Sophia lace gown for fifties- style brides brave enough to bare their shoulders whilst also hitching up their hemline a little.
August 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I’m proud to introduce the latest collection by Sarah Barrett for Lyn Ashworth. Sarah designs for all women, whatever size or age, and her beautiful line for 2015 is no exception.
Sarah says: My inspiration for this collection is quite simply romance. Exquisite lace with a hint of delicate sparkle offers an air of aristocracy, while subtle pearlised metallic touches, with the prettiest of beadwork highlight tinted antique pale gold. Soft silvers, blush pinks and serene cream tones are all complimented by the simplicity of crisp, pale, ivory tones.
This collection is a gateway to femininity, playful and romantic: capturing that hidden moment when it is just you and the man you love. When you think no one else is watching, just the two of you in your private world! That playful gaze! That perfect, almost ‘peekaboo’, moment.
Billowing skirts drape and fold in beautiful soft satin organza giving a dreamy hazy transparency, the fluidity of which is almost liquid to the touch. Perfectly shaped bodices give structure under delicate overlays with the prettiest of sleeves, dramatic backs, low or high finished with button upon button.
Nipped in waistlines are emphasized by yard upon yard of fabric, tied off at the back to create bows adding further dynamics to the dress. Finished with the prettiest of flower brooch pins in the softest shades and delicate feathers, the draping sash tails creating length and movement to the dress. The most exquisite lace jackets create that day to evening look and the finest of soft silk tulles are used to create veils in which to compliment the collection perfectly.
The shapes and silhouettes of this collection can be changed with ease by simply adding or removing petticoats, offering the option of volume or subtle draping.
The key to a balanced life is love! Family and friends turn life into the “best thing” whatever I do am doing or achieving.
I am so excited to be launching my new Lyn Ashworth by Sarah Barrett 2015 collection and I have a few fabulous things on the drawing board and projects to unveil next year. Watch this space!
Lyn Ashworth gowns retail from £1,600 upwards.
July 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
“Bridal gowns transcend fashion, they are a timeless representation of the brides own style and personality.” Ian Stuart
Of all the bridal catwalks I’ve seen, the ones masterminded by Ian Stuart are my favourite – colour, music, personality, cheekiness, beauty… and fabulous frocks: it’s like a very good day at the theatre. And I love theatre. Lots.
So this morning I’m honoured to welcome a truly talented Northern export home to the pages of Brides Up North, as we sneak a peek at the marvellous Ian Stuart’s brand new collection for 2015, and hear about what makes this design genius tick.
Wedding. dress. heaven. Right here.
What sort of woman do you design for?
Ian says: My collections are always very diverse, as are the women who wear them. As a designer- you can’t put all of your energy and creativity into creating one signature look for one type of woman. We no longer live in a society where we all fit into the same shaped hole, I believe it’s my duty as a designer to celebrate this. I’m known for my dramatic and theatrical creations, because no one else has a look like this, but I also create more demure, cleaned lined and sophisticated gowns, as well as those somewhere in between. I design for all women – this is evident on our Facebook page from all of the real bride’s photos we a share.
What were your inspirations for this collection?
I’m always inspired by the same things, because these are my passions: music, theatre, couture, films, photographers, we live in such a creative world, the supply of inspiration is endless. But I was particularly inspired by the new Pink Martini album, which is a collaboration with the real Von Trapp family. The music is simply magical. I locked myself away, put my headphones in, absorbed myself in the exquisite sounds, and allowed my mind to conjure designs that flowed from the music. The album was also the central soundtrack to my fashion show, it was my favourite to date.
What shapes, fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the collection and why?
Lady Luxe, as the name suggests, is about those luxurious details. I’ve carefully selected laces, beading and applique that I think will make brides feel more illustrious than they could’ve imagined. The way a bride feels I think, is far more important than the way she looks, as it gives her that stunning glow you only get from being in blissful joy.
I always include many silhouettes in my collections to ensure that any bride can find a shape that sculpts and compliments her figure. I’d never eliminate a shape just because it wasn’t ‘on trend’. Bridal gowns transcend fashion, they are a timeless representation of the brides own style and personality.