Looking good

Very good in fact, as many leading labels had a clear idea immediately after Harrogate as to what their best sellers for the season ahead will be. Is there a theme? Yes… and it is all about elegant lines and striking details

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Alexia Designs Beautiful by Enzoani Carrington Fleet Textiles Jasmine Bridesmaids kiss the frog Ivory & Co

The beautiful Ivory & Co portfolio includes the company’s fabulous gown collection as well as its award-winning jewellery range (you can see them at White Gallery London, 19-21 May). The look is sophisticated, designer-led and statement-making, using fine fabrics – sheer silk organza, crinkled silk chiffon and heavy Savoy silk satin as well as a superb French corded lace; the accessory collection, to complement the theme of subtle suggestion of vintage styling in the gowns, uses antique-effect silvered tones to capture that heritage feel. Asked which celebrities she would most like to design for, Ivory’s Sara Bussey picks Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn from past icons and Marion Cotillard and Gwyneth Paltrow as representative of today’s approach to effortless grace. Ivory & Co holds stock of its accessories in the UK; bridal gowns are made to order and usually take 12 weeks, although a rush order service is available. At White Gallery look out for WOW-factor – huge trains, and details such as mother-of-pearl buttons and hand-stitched beadwork. Gowns retail at £1,000 to £2,500; headpieces from £75 to £295.

The big US brand Alexia Designs has been in the UK for some seven years and each season gathers design momentum and gains an ever-increasing number of retailers who look to the label for chic, sharp looks that modern brides and bridesmaids love. Positioned to cater to the key middle market, gowns retail from £400 to £1,300 and there’s the option of longer and shorter lengths across the collection of tulles, lace and gorgeous silky chiffons. Stock is held in the UK, which is really important in these days of short engagements, and there’s also a rush-cut service of maids dresses of just six weeks. New to the range line up – which includes wedding gowns, ocasionwear, maids, promwear and MOB – is a delightful group under the name The Daisy Collection, which introduces fresh fun and flirty dresses – perfect for destination weddings – which are priced for the fashion-forward, budget-aware bride looking for high style at a low entry price. The brand’s favourite celeb? Gwen Stefani is the choice here. “Her fashion sense is all about having fun; she is quirky, glamorous and outrageous – a designer’s dream,” says Alexia’s Louise Johnson.

At Harrogate, the Enzoani stand was packed-to-overflowing throughout the three days of the show. With the UK chosen as the world launch pad of the 2014 Beautiful Collection, and a stunning promotional package to support the range, buyers were fast to put down orders loving the improved structure, elaborate fabrics and, most of all, the incredible retail price point of £500 to £950. Aware of the importance of catering to the growing number of brides working to a strict spend, Beautiful has come up with an absolute winner of a collection. Tulle, chiffon, organza, silky dupion and satin are among the fabrics on offer and, coupled with detachable accessories like belts and jackets, the whole proposition gets more Beautiful all the time. Designer Yuchiang Hu, influenced by his history and background, has kept embellishments on each gown subtle and tasteful and that has led to a chic, sophisticated look with more than a hint of red-carpet glamour.

New ownership of a label always leads to a whole new approach and that is very much the case at Kiss The Frog London which was recently acquired by Skevi Constanti who intends to move the collection forward fast and to deliver top-notch customer service to her 120 stockists across the UK and Europe. Meeting many Kiss The Frog supporters at Harrogate, Skevi was delighted with the reaction to the 20 new gowns in the range; these feature satin, taffeta, and must-have chiffons and lots of high-shine beadwork, and sit perfectly alongside the 60-strong carry-through pieces in bridal and occasionwear and 45 bridesmaid styles. Stock is held in the UK and can be dispatched fast; normal lead time is 12-14 weeks.

Winner of the Best Fabric Supplier title in the Bridal Buyer Awards 2013, held in March during BBEH, Carrington Fleet Textiles has much to celebrate. In business for 40 years, the company is known for its broad spread of fabrics that covers not just bridalwear, but groomswear and MOB, too. In the past two years, much of Carrington’s success is a direct result of the investment the company has made in promoting its name and services. It’s  been an ‘all-new’ campaign, that has covered branding, advertising, promotional literature, fabric books and a soon-to-be-launched sparkling new website. According to boss Robert Moyle: “More customers are starting to see the UK and/or Europe as a real alternative to the Far East in terms of manufacturing for reasons of control, quality and total landed cost including invisible costs; as suppliers of fabric we are an important component to the bridal market and support the creative and innovative zeal the UK is known for.”  

It is now commonplace for bridesmaids to get to pick the dresses they want, and also to pay for them. The trend in the market is very much for the mix-and-match options, where perhaps a colour or a fabric, rather than a specific style, are the unifying factors. Jasmine Bridesmaids is a brand new name in the arena, and one that has cleverly focused on fabulous looks at high-street prices. All dresses are available in knee and full length, sizes run from 2-32 and there’s a colour choice of over 70 fabulous shades – all of which add up to a very attractive package indeed. Retailing from just £150 to £210, Jasmine Bridals has fashion-right touches that every bridesmaid wants – retro highlights, red-carpet appeal, and a serious party image. The collection will showcase at the London Bridal Show, 19-21 May at Olympia – the perfect destination for retailers looking to order early and secure early deliveries.

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