Designer Vintage Bridal Show – Oh! To be a bride…Pt 3.

I was totally enthralled with the exhibitors at the Designer vintage wedding show – the beautiful dresses, exquisite flowers, amazing jewellery and millinery, so I now took a little bit of time to do some people watching. The glamorous brides-to-be had dressed up for the occasion with acres of vintage lace, corsages, glittering beaded headbands and pearls on display. There were 50s style polka dots and prints, 1940s era chintz floral prints, nipped in waistbands, fake fur coats and platform heeled shoes, all worn with the excited glow only a prospective bride can have.

There was the dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra drifting across the main hall. This sound was coming from the Dorothy Lloyd room, which had been transformed into the ‘Speakeasy’. The music was courtesy of ‘Its a wind up’ and the room had been described as a vintage chill out zone. This was also the place to meet real wedding experts, as this was where the wedding bloggers Kat Williams and Annabel Beeforth were residing. I had a quick chat with Annabel first. Annabel is the founder of the super stylish wedding blog ‘Love My Dress’. She started this in 2009, and it is now one of the most influential wedding blogs in the UK, giving stylish vintage inspiration to brides. Annabel, who resembles 1930s Hollywood star Constance Bennett told me she was having a wonderful time at the show. She praised the organisation, and said that she was getting lots of good feedback about the venue and exhibitors. Annabel looked beautiful in a Grace Kelly style strapless vintage wedding dress which reflected the vintage elegance of Love My Dress.

Annabel Beeforth of Love My Dress photo copyright Cat Hepple

Kat Williams’s Rock N’ Roll Bride is the UK’s most popular wedding blog.  The award-winning blog was launched in 2007 with a view to providing inspiration and a little bit of individuality in the wedding world. On meeting Kat I can tell you that SHE is the quintessential Rock N’ Roll bride. Resplendent from the top of her neon pink hair to the tips of her aged DM boots, Kat is every bit the gorgeous punk/rock n’ roll wedding princess. Warm. friendly and approachable, Kat told me that she was really enjoying her day, although people were far too polite to take the retro sweets she was providing on her table. This was probably due to wedding day diets, but as that doesn’t apply to Fashion-Mommy, I was more than happy to eat the pink shrimps! Kat showed me some of the articles that she produces for Photo Pro magazine and Wedding magazine, and also gave me advice about my own blog, which I was very grateful for.

Kat Williams - The original Rock N' Roll bride!

My next port of call was a chat and a quick drink with Bran Cook. Bran is the women behind PR company MOTHERbrown. Bran, who had organised the event with Clare Guest of the Wedding Club and Rachel Simpson of Rachel Simpson shoes,  had been working extremely hard behind the scenes in order to get the exhibitors and events together, and was bustling around on the day in order to check the smooth running of everything…and was enjoying every minute of it. I grabbed Bran to answer a few questions about the event.

Q. How did you put all this together?

Bran: Twitter! Twitter has the ability to form communities of like – minded individuals with the same interests. In this case it was the wedding/bridal community. People like Kat @ Rock N’ Roll Bride and Annabel from Love My Dress. I met vintage photographer Emma Case through Kat. You can just find the right people and exhibitors through the Twitter Community.

Q. Are you enjoying the day?

Bran: This is definitely my thing – the setting is absolutely stunning. I just love being here surrounded by these people! I’ve just tweeted that I’m sitting in a bar next to a football table listening to 78s being played on a gramophone. Its surreal and wonderful.

Q. This is the first Designer Vintage wedding Show, will there be more?

Bran: Definitely. Birmingham needed this, it is the right time. We are looking at the possibility of having it twice yearly, with maybe a second show in December with a mysterious new theme!

Bran Cook

After chats with the amazing photographer Emma Case and Sally Harper of Sharper Millinery(articles on both to follow so stay tuned!), It was time for a fashion show in the Drawing Room. This featured a range of dresses from Jenny Packham brides, Tobi Hannah and Lindsey Fleming amongst others, and also included pretty little flower girls wearing amazing neon pink tutus. I was happy to see the Lindsey Fleming flapper style dress I had so admired earlier being part of the show, especially as the model was clearly in sync with the dress, swinging her long pearls and dancing a mini Charleston.

And with that, it was time for Fashion-Mommy to go home to Baba, with the smell of fresh flowers, the touch of pure silk and the sounds of Glenn Miller still fresh in my mind…

Designer Vintage Bridal Show – Oh! To be a bride…Pt 2.

The most amazing feature of Highbury Hall is the gorgeous staircase. You can just imagine brides floating down it in a sea of silk and lace on their special day. I had these thoughts in my head as I walked up the stairs, pausing dead in my tracks to admire the most fabulous dress I had ever seen. This 1920s style gold sheath is the sort of dress that tempts married women into divorce in order to get married again and WEAR THAT DRESS! “It’s Jenny Packham” I was reliably informed. I thought this would be the perfect dress for Keely Hawes to wear as Lady Agnes when ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ returns.

The Jenny Packham dress!

I reluctantly moved across the landing, leaving my dress behind, and entered the wonderfully named Miss Hilda’s room. This beautiful bedroom, complete with four-poster bed, had been transformed into a vintage bride’s boudoir.  There were rails of beautiful new dresses, courtesy of ‘The wedding club’ and also acres of vintage styles by ‘vintage frocks and crocks’. I was entranced by the beautiful Elie Saab dress that was hanging from the wall, and the amazing vintage gowns were fascinating the brides to be. I heard one bride saying ‘my mom got married in a dress just like that, as she stared at an applique floral lace dress. There was a beautiful silk. long-sleeved bias cut dress reminiscent of Kate Moss’s vintage dress worn to ‘The Golden Age of Couture’ show, the one famously ripped by Courtney Love. The wedding club are co-founders of the Designer Vintage Bridal show, and Clare and Emma were kept busy all afternoon by delighted brides making bookings and trying on their dream gowns.

Elie Saab dress from The wedding Club

‘The wedding club’ shared Miss Hilda’s bedroom with Rachel Simpson shoes. Rachel Simpson, the second set of brains behind the show, creates the most sumptuous wedding shoes to suit every taste, in a range of gorgeous fabrics. I was particularly taken with the coloured shoes in satin fabrics that I thought could look good for any special occasion. The shoes had been expertly displayed on Miss Hilda’s dressing table, just to add that further touch of authenticity to the clothing. My favourite’s were the 1940s style black and white peep toes, these would look amazing with any outfit – just Gorgeous!

Glorious vintage style shoes from Rachel Simpson

 

Taking a trip across the landing to The West Wing, I entered a fairytale room full of exquisite bridal couture. This room was home to Tobi Hannah, a bridal company that specialises in short and tea length bridal dresses especially designed with modern brides in mind.  Tobi Hannah seem to have cornered a niche market in sophisticated cocktail style dress, prom dresses and short sexy ruffled affairs that are just perfect in todays modern wedding settings. I loved the gorgeous dresses that hung from the wall, and on the vintage rails.

 

Short and thoroughly modern, but with a vintage edge – Tobi Hannah brides.

 

Also residing in this room, was, with the obvious exception of the amazing Jenny Packham dress, my favourite design of the day. This was from Lindsey Fleming Couture, an award-winning Scottish company who specialise in Celtic and vintage inspired dresses. The dress I fell in love with was flapper inspired. Imagine Zelda Fitzgerald, the quintessential 1920s ‘it’ girl in her glamorous heyday, and you will see this dress in your imagination. It was designed to have strings of beads hanging from it, and a rinky dinky bobbed haircut accessorising it.  On checking out their website I was delighted to find that their ‘Jazz Age’ inspired dresses were named after 1920s and 1930s icons. I love the Claudette pictured below.  Absolutely stunning!

 

Flapper bride from Lindsey Fleming Couture.

Claudette by Lindsey Fleming Couture.

Fashion-mommy decided that now was a good time for another cup of the fantastic tea…and maybe even another slice of cake. Join me again for part 3, when I meet über bloggers Kat of ‘Rock n Roll Bride’ and Anabell of  ‘Love my dress’.

 

Designer Vintage Bridal Show – Oh! To be a bride…Pt 1.

This weekend, Highbury Hall has been the venue for the most glamorous, chic wedding show that Birmingham has ever hosted. The inaugural ‘Designer Vintage Wedding Show’, had sparkling style, vintage chic and sumptuous wedding gowns in an amazing setting. Imagine a trip through time to an Agatha Christie era country pile, where the elegant guests are treated to pots of Earl Grey in delicate bone china cups, and slices of the most mouth-watering layer cake, whilst being entertained by a string quartet. On retiring to you room, after enjoying a selection of 78s being played on an original gramophone, you  find your bedroom filled with the most glorious selection of wedding dresses that range from the 1920s to the present day. Your bedside table contains silk kid gloves and beaded handbags, whilst the dressing table is filled with a huge selection of silk shoes in a myriad of colours. Such was the decadent elegance of the show.

The Main Hall had been transformed into a Tea Parlour, hosted by The Boutique Baking Company and Vintage Frocks and Crocks. The hall was beautifully adorned for the day, with each table having a specific theme that included ‘Candyfloral’ , festooned with pink tea roses and cupcakes in traditional style cake stands, and ‘Hollywood’ which featured Art Deco style name plates and decorations. I sat at a table called ‘Country Fete’ which reminded me of summer picnics in cornfields, with gingham tablecloths and pretty freshly cut daisies and sunflowers. The Boutique Baking Company provided the delicious tea and a range of cakes, including my absolute favourite coffee and walnut cake. Everything was served on antique bone china cups and saucers, plates and tiny little chintz tea pots provided by Vintage Crocks and Frocks. There were also traditional English scones and clotted cream, and the most amazing glitter covered cupcakes with mini Eiffel towers decorating them. The whole atmosphere was very civilised and sophisticated totally fitting with the opulence of the surroundings.

Country Fete

Cakes courtesy of The Boutique Baking Company

Stunning cupcakes!

Moving through to the Drawing room, I was pleased to meet Helena Talbot, the founder and designer of HT Headwear. Helena first made her beautiful jewelled headdresses, retro style veiled hats and headbands for her own wedding, but decide to convert this into a business whilst on maternity leave, just 17 months ago. She now has her own shop in London selling bespoke millinery, and also sells online at www.htheadwear.com. Helena explained that all the pieces are handmade, and use a mixture of vintage and new materials. As well as catering for brides, HT Headwear also make fabulous headwear for Mother of the Brides, and for event such as Ladies day at race meetings.

Vintage inspired headwear from HT Headwear

 

 

Also residing in the drawing-room was Terry Eleftheriou of terryterry jewellery and accessories.  Terry is  a real Midlands entrepreneur, starting his jewellery company 2 years ago in Sutton Coldfield, and now selling in stores across the West Midlands and online at www.terryterry.co.uk. The company sells both terryterry new designs, which are often vintage inspired, and also authentic vintage pieces.  Terry explained that he believes that many brides are now moving away from the traditional veils and tiaras and moving towards statement head bands, that look beautiful and are also a cheaper option. Terry has recently moved into stocking a premium vintage collection, which he has christened ‘Vintage Bling’, and is proving very popular.

Vintage inspired pieces from terryterry

Vintage bling from terryterry

Next I entered the drawing-room, where I was stunned by the beautiful vintage inspired wedding dresses on display. These were courtesy of The Couture Company, a Birmingham based, bespoke, wedding dress company based in The Custard Factory. I chatted to Sally about the exquisite designs, which are vintage inspired but made using the best new materials. All the dresses are individually made, and are made to measure, catering for all sizes, including plus sizes. Potential brides can choose a dress ‘off the peg’ if they love a design, but the dress can also be changed to accommodate choices like favourite colour, length, embellishment meaning the bride has the exact dress that she wants.

Sally explained that at the moment, the 1950s inspired tea length dress is very popular, with key colours being blush shades and champagne. Non traditional seems to be having a moment!

Couture Company design dresses that span the era’s.

Tea style dresses are very popular at the moment.

Sally was also representing Rawhide – a bespoke corset company that has seen a rise in sales with the rebirth of burlesque and the ascendance of Dita Von Teese. The Rawhide corsets range from the Burlesque/wild west style, to the vintage 1940s look. They are totally glamorous and feminine, perfect for anyone who wants a bit of glamour in their lives. Rawhide corsets can be worn as outerwear, and also as underwear, perfect to put under any wedding gown.

Sally with the Rawhide corsets.

At this point…Fashion-mommy was desperately in need of a pot of tea and a slice of Lemon Drizzle cake…so I’ll leave you to wait for part two, when I explored the Jenny Packham and Tobi Hannah dresses upstairs!