The Designer Vintage Wedding show returned to Birmingham in style

Last weekend saw the return of the most stylish wedding show on the Calender. The Designer Vintage Wedding Show had a new home, Edgbaston County Cricket Ground, lots of new exhibitors and a whole host of stylish brides and guests who were totally wowed with the beautiful wedding goodies on display. Throw in a host of fabulous fashion shows organised by different eras, bridal make-up tips by the wonderful Emily Jayne, and a goodie bag that included Molton Brown goodies and cake pops by ‘We are Delish‘, and you have a wonderful event. Here are some of my highlights.

Cherished

Jewellery that carries ‘the patina of age’, Cherished is the brainchild of Abby Gadd and Debbie Hayes. This is truly beautiful vintage bridal jewellery and accessories that are created from original antique pieces of jewellery, often from the 1920s, and also uses old millinery flowers to create new headpieces and fascinators. The Cherished stall just glistened with an array of pearls and diamante stones and  looked like a complete treasure trove. I wanted to buy everything on this stall!

shopbackdrop photography backdrop

Tallulah’s trinkets

Annie, the talented designer behind Tallulah’s Trinkets had been involved with jewellery design for 10 years before launching the brand. Inspired by nature and by flowers(Annie’s mom is a florist), the range incorporated the most exquisite vintage inspired headpieces, from bands to mini veils. Each piece is handmade, but is also very wearable, the headbands can be manipulated for true comfort as well as supreme style. Each piece is also bespoke, flowers and beading can be added as you wish. My friend Dawn, soon to be a bride herself, so fell in love with one piece that she wanted to buy the sample. Myself, I was enthralled by the 1920s style large floral band which looked like something from The Great Gatsby.

KATE SLATER

Dudley based Kate Slater creates beautiful handmade lace creations that are totally unique. Using old lace, metal, leather and old buttons Kate has created headdresses, collars and vintage style shawls that are very beautiful and original in their character. Kate’s work is very adaptable, can be created in any colour and with any imagery worked into the design. I loved the shawls and scarves, and think that the collars would be an amazing additional to a simple little black dress.

Emily Jayne

Colour me beautiful trained image consultant, fashion blogger and all round lovely person, Emily Jayne was on hand to dispense lots of hints and tips to brides-to-be in one of the areas that can often be troublesome, the perfect bridal make-up. Emily was on hand to answer questions and offer advice on how to look fabulous on your big day.

We are Delish

I was wowed by the sumptuous cake pops created by We Are Delish. These are gorgeous and oh so delicate cakes on a stick, the perfect sweet treat for weddings, where you really don’t want to get cake on your beautiful outfit. The flavours were delicious, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, Vanilla…and each one tasted beautiful. The fantastic thing about cake pops are  that you can have any colour, or combination of colours on the icing, and this means it can match anything – the bride, the bridemaids or your favourite football team!

The bloggers

The wedding bloggers were a big success, sharing anecdotes, and offering all manner of advice to the brides-to-be.  Rock n Roll bride Kat Williams was resplendent, with her bright pink hair and a tutu. Warm, funny and down-to-earth, it was great to have a catch-up, admire her beautiful photographs and get a copy of the inaugural Rock n Roll Bride magazine.

Sharper Millinery

Another person who it was lovely to see again was Sally Harper Kenn, the lady behind Sharper Millinery. Sally’s hats, headpieces and mini veils are all inspired by the glamorous stars of yesteryear, and use vintage materials where possible. I adore the artistry behind them, you can almost see Bette Davis and Joan Crawford fighting for first choice of these hats. These are perfect mother-of-the-bride wear, but I also noticed lots of new pieces that were 1920s inspired, headbands with beads and feathers that just suit ultra-modern gamine brides.

Wedding dresses

Of course, a wedding fair wouldn’t be a wedding fair without wonderful dresses. The fashion shows gave ample opportunity to view dresses from different eras. I attended a show from one of my favourite eras, the 1950s. This contained a whole host of beautiful dresses from the likes of Tobi Hannah, The Wedding Club, Lyndsey Fleming couture, Jenny Packham, Sarah Willard Couture and  Charlotte Casadejus. Here are some of my favourite looks, the ones that could almost tempt you to become a bride again.

With Emma Case creating more of those fabulous, quirky wedding images, and bright pink wedding tents called Yurts at the centre of everything, this was no ordinary wedding show. And the team behind it, deserve extra praise for creating such a fabulous new environment for brides in such a short space of time.

A full feature on one of the exhibitors, Terry Terry accessories to follow..so watch this space!

Sally Harper – Fashion’s sharpest Milliner.

Unless you have been residing on the moon, you couldn’t fail to notice that a bare head is seriously under-dressed. Hats, headpieces, headbands and fascinators- all of these items are having a bit of a style moment. Dita Von Teese favours the 1940s ‘black widow’ veiled looks, Kate Middleton has a neat collection of fascinators, Paloma Faith accessorises most of her outfits with some variety of headgear, whilst Kate Moss has modelled all varieties, from straw boaters at rock star weddings, stylish Trilby’s at summer festivals, to Minnie Mouse style headbands at Disneyland. The old adage ‘If you want to get ahead – get a hat’ has never been truer.

Which is why it is so fabulous that one of the UK’s brightest millinery talents is based in Birmingham. Sally Harper is the force behind ‘Sharper Millinery’. The company, which was established 10 years ago, creates the most beautiful, bespoke, couture hats, head pieces and ‘head sculptures’ directly from customers specifications, using a range of beautiful fabrics including silks, velvet, straw and sinamay. An exclusive consultation service is available for every customer in order to design and then create a totally unique piece of headwear.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with Sally at the Designer Vintage Bridal Show, where she was showcasing a range of her stunning creations.  Sally told me her influences for the fabulous creations often come from old photographs from the 1920s and 30s, and are often based on original vintage creations. Icons of style from this period like Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich also provide starting points for design, along with the work of designers like Elsa Schiaparelli, who, through her own elaborate and groundbreaking designs, forged the way for different things to happen in the world of fashion.

 

Marlene Dietrich

 

 

Bette Davis

 

Sally uses original fabrics when possible, but this is often difficult, as many hats from the 1920s and 30s were made of silk, which is often fragile and too delicate to be reused. Therefore many of her designs are vintage inspired, such as this 1940s style head sculpture, which resembles the bright and beautiful designs worn by Carmen Miranda in her wartime heyday.

Sally is in big demand for her wedding headwear. The vast majority of this is bespoke wear, it is very rare that a design is bought ‘off the peg’.  Although many brides are now abandoning the long, ostentatious veils of yesteryear, there has been a rise in the demand for small, birdcage veils that look glamorous and elegant, with a real 1950s/60s vibe to them. I fell in love with a lovely bow headband with a small veil attached that Sally had on her display at the Designer Vintage Wedding Show because it reminded me of the veil that Audrey Hepburn wore at the end of Funny Face.

 

Sally's designs at the Designer Vintage Wedding Show

 

Sally loved being part of the Designer Vintage Wedding Show because it seemed like this was the perfect setting for her beautiful, retro designs. Although Sharper Millinery have been involved in more traditional wedding shows, this seemed the natural home for designs that give such a nod to the past.

 

Couture Hat - Sharper Millinery

 

Brides-to-be are not the only customers for Sharper Millinery. Sally has designed for Mother-of-the-Bride and bridesmaids, as well as stylish wedding guests. She has a loyal clientele of regular race goers who wear Sally’s wonderful creations to Ladies Day at Ascot and Goodwood. The Lady Mayoress of Birmingham has also worn one of Sally’s creations. The rise of fashionista’s like Dita Von Teese and Sarah Jessica Parker who wear hats and headpieces with such finesse has also helped to expand Sharper Millinery’s clientele. The exquisite designs and use of feathers, beads and ribbons make a Sally Harper creation a must-have item for any vintage inspired wardrobe.

 

head piece Sharper Millinery

 

 

Sally Harper of Sharper Millinery wearing one of her beautiful creations.

 

To see more of Sally’s designs, please check out the website at   http://www.sharpermillinery.co.uk/