Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trend Wedding 2009 Gown Fittings! Saying Yes To The Dress!

Trend Wedding 2009 Bride - Katie Ebert did "Say Yes To The Dress" from the Kleinfeld Kollection at The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Say What? Say Yes To The Dress!

Katie Ebert is one very lucky bride. Katie and her fiance Mike Ivey are the winners of Trend Wedding 2009, which will take place on Friday June 5, 2009 at the Chambers Hotel Minneapolis.

We were very excited to work with our friends Lois and Caroline Fritz at The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue in St. Paul www.weddingshoppeinc.com for the wedding party to select their bridesmaid dresses and “The” wedding gown! Yes, Katie not only said Yes to Mike when he asked her to marry him but when they won Trend Wedding 2009 she would also “Say Yes To The Dress” as her gown would be from the Kleinfeld Kollection exclusively at The Wedding Shoppe and our friends Mara and Ronnie at Kleinfeld’s Bridal Salon in New York the location of the hit TLC show “Say Yes To The Dress”.

So in preparation of hosting all four bridesmaids, the mother of the bride and the bride we discussed with Lois and Carolyn and decided to schedule a private fitting on the second level of The Wedding Shoppe after closing time so the girls would have the run of the space. I arrived early to get things set up and to work with Caroline on pre-selecting the bridesmaid dresses. Matthew was on his way from a meeting and was bringing the champagne because you know how warm it gets trying on all those gowns. Well, so we have been told! We selected a variety of bridesmaid dresses in different styles and lengths to see what would be the ‘it’ look for this group of Trend Wedding bridesmaids.

The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue has a large selection of bridesmaid dresses as you can see from the pictures. Of course they all come in a variety of silhouettes, fabrics and colors so all we needed to do was narrow down the selection based on color palette for the wedding and then a few different styles to see what the bridesmaids would like. Of course we were also looking forward to feature something that is trendy; after all this is the Trend Wedding!

As Caroline went to pull some of the fashions, I greeted Amy and Matt Coppersmith with Coppersmith Photography who will be photographing the wedding. They are also spending time documenting the planning process as well so the couple will have a truly documented wedding experience from start to finish. They captured these shots for us at the fitting. You can see some more of their wonderful work by going to www.coppersmithphotography.com

Lucky the photographer and I arrived early as the wedding party determined the trip from Apple Valley to Grand Avenue in St. Paul would take longer than it did. Due to light rush hour traffic, they arrived early. The only glitch was one of the drivers locked her car keys in the car when she arrived at The Wedding Shoppe. Yes, we will chock that up to the excitement of the day. So we were just getting ready to introduce all the bridesmaids, Danielle, Katie, Rachael and the Maid of Honor Tracy along with Sue, the Mother of the Bride. And right behind them was Matthew with Champagne in hand. So let’s pop the cork and get started!

With the trend for colors to become more muted, we started with a pale palette of blue, green, yellow and lavender with an overall illusion hue to the silhouette. While short dresses are the fad right now, long dresses are on their way back into trend. Instead of the “standard” satin gown we gravitated toward what we think is a much more trendy softer image with a chiffon gown. A very “Grecian” look in ivory which we think will be the popular look next year or so. The accent color of a very muted light blue with a hint of gray. So if you are wondering what are muted tones, take a look at softer colors ie. Instead of bold colors use the following comparisons: green/sage green, pink/blush, silver/gray, brown/taupe, purple/violet, yellow/buttercup, orange/peach, and blue/steel blue. So if you are planning your wedding for 2010 or 2011, think away from jewel tones unless it’s an accent color.

The much-anticipated moment of the evening was finally upon us as it was now time for Katie to start trying on bridal fashions from the Kleinfeld Kollection. We started by discussing styles and silhouettes she was interested in reviewing and started to select gowns from the special Kelinfeld Kollection area. We discussed fabric, draping and structure and then the many options.

There were a number of different silhouettes we selected from: Empire Waist, A-Line, Ball Gown and Fit and Flare. We wanted to have Katie experience the many different styles and how they will fit on different body types. We started with a strapless rouched bodice taffeta ball gown to see if volume was the direction we would go, but it was too much and we needed something more elongated. Even though the ball gown had a trendy pocket it just seemed to engulf Katie. Our next choice was an empire gown with vertical draping with beautiful embroidery and crystal beading. It was very much in the style of the gown Audrey Hepburn wore to the Embassy Ball in My Fair Lady. Okay, not so much glitter but the overall silhouette was stunning! Katie had a stature about herself. She carried herself with more assurance and confidence and that is what a bride should feel when she has chosen The Dress! The next option was a Fit and Flare gown, which can and proved to be a bit tricky. The fit and flare needs to be for a woman with a long torso but when you have a person who is equally proportioned in height from neck to waist and waist to feet you are missing the extra length in the torso needed to complete that drop flared skirt. So we were on to the next gown. A “Grecian” three tiered gown with a sheer organza tank style bodice. Although the gown was similar in style to the bridesmaids which would be a cool retro 50’s /60’s look, it simply made her appear shorter, obviously a dress for a taller bride. The next gown was a traditional long sleeve gown in lace. Not quite the overall look we were hoping to achieve nor did Katie picture herself in lace so although we had her try the gown on, it was dismissed just as quickly. The next gown was a strapless A-line gown in a handkerchief style skirt, with a brooch crystal medallion. Although the gown was beautiful and trendy, it just did not echo the simple clean lines with subtle details and edging we were trying to achieve and part of Katie’s vision.

We tried on two more gowns and the vote was unanimous the second dress was “The Dress” to “Say Yes To The Dress”. Stay tuned for future updates as The Wedding Guys and Coppersmith Photography keep you informed on the planning for Trend Wedding 2009! Cheers!

NOTE TO BRIDES: When you are trying on wedding gowns for the first time, usually you will end up selecting the first or second gown you tried on. A little statistics or trivia!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Monique Lhuillier - Spring 2009 Couture Bridal Market - New York City

We were very honored to be one of fifty people invited to the debut reception of the Monique Lhuillier collection at the 2009 Spring Couture Bridal Market in New York. It was fun to see a number of friends in the industry like Darcy Miller, Editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, Walt Shepard, Publisher of Inside Weddings and Stephanie Davila, Senior Editor from InStyle Weddings. It was terrific to see Tom and Monique smiling with all the excitement surrounding the new collection with a big surprise for everyone!

So you are wondering what are the Long and the Short of it when it comes to the Spring 2009 Couture line for Monique Lhuillier. Well the Long is stunning gowns we have come to know for Monique. The beautiful silk tulle gowns and beautifully draped bodices along with the exquisite regal silk ball gown were of the most stunning sophisticated silhouettes. There are a few in the collection, which have such surprising details such as the ribbon-pleated blossoms on the bodice. The intricate beading, fabric roses and origami designs on the tulle skirt are just a few of my favorites along with the French bustle gown, Love It!

So the Short Surprise of the collection is sexy, romantic and sophisticated cocktail bridesmaid dresses! HELLO! You have got to see them! Wait until you see them, you will go crazy over them and the price range around $300. YES, can you image a Monique Lhuillier bridesmaid dress that can actually be worn as a cocktail dress or a dress you can wear again as a guest to an event or wedding..and not look like a bridesmaid! You would be crazy not to have one! They are HOT! The pink one is my favorite with the deep plunging neckline, along with the coral dress with the rose at the neckline. The yellow one is so Audrey Hepburn! OH HECK WE LOVE THEM ALL!!!! Have you noticed I have not said "Oh My God" yet? Saving that for the end! The designs are truly Monique Lhuillier, the idea to create a bridesmaid line is from Dawn Bromander who is the Retail Director for Monique Lhuillier. BRAVO Dawn!

So you are saying so shut up already! Where can I get them? Well for all of you who think the Midwest is just a “Fly Over” part of the country, you will be happy to know that Monique’s Flagship Salon in Minneapolis is the only salon to carry them! Oh yes and you can go online to www.moniquelhuillier.com or better yet is to call the Minneapolis Salon at 612-929-0747 to schedule your appointment to see them in person.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring 2009 Bridal Market New York City

Each Spring and Fall, New York City plays host to what is affectionately called in our industry - Bridal Market! It's where the latest wedding gown, bridesmaid gown and accessory designs are released for the upcoming season. This is an industry event and not open to the consumer or public. This is where bridal salon owners and media find out what is going to be in-style and out-of-style for Fall 2009 and early Spring 2010 brides.

So let's start the trip...we had an early flight on Continental on Friday April 3rd. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 9:00AM but do to air traffic and bad weather in New York/ New Jersey our flight left 1.5 hours late. We still had ample time to get into New York, check into the hotel, shower and dress before meeting Mara Urshel, Owner and President of Kleinfeld Bridal Salon and the location of the TLC hit series "Say Yes To The Dress". Well as all things go, there is always a glitch somewhere and as the plane hovered in the air waiting to land for an hour, our flight was re-directed to Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania so we could re-fuel. Sighhhhhh! Gasp! Ugh! You hear so many moans and groans of upset people on the flight but Matthew and I both thought it would be better to land and re-fuel instead of running out of fuel. Dah! People who travel need to get a reality check!

Here is a picture of the New York skyline from the Newark Airport. Matthew waiting for the train to take us to Penn Station. Choo Choo All Aboard!

We landed at 4:30PM and we had to hop the train into New York and then take a cab from Penn Station to our hotel called The Time hotel. Very nice boutique hotel. Great staff and a block off Broadway from Times Square. So shower, dress and off to Kleinfeld's Bridal Salon to meet Mara. We were just in time as about 5 minutes before we arrived they unveiled the new window display by Kleinfeld's Visual Designer, Jacques Vigneault. If you can see it, the green swirl pattern in the settee was carried into the design by having the mannequin holding a pastry bag with green icing trailing onto the floor. Very cool!

So we were off to Sushi Samba for dinner after a tour of the amazing Kleinfeld Bridal Salon a full city block of Bridal Gowns! Oh can you say Matthew and I were both in total Bridal Heaven. You can see above.

We had a great dinner with Mara, Jacques, Jennette - Assistant Director of PR and Dorothy-
Director of Merchandise. Sushi Samba was a new restaurant and we all had to try it. It was very good so when in NYC you should stop in. It was funny catching up with Mara about her recent travels to Europe and the look and style of European bridal fashion. As you can see it was windy.

Saturday morning we were off to the races with appointments to review bridal collections. We have to tell you about the "Pure" line by Justin Alexander. Our designer friend Jose Diaz of Justin Alexander actually gave us a sneak preview of their new Pure bridal line. Designed for the "ecologically aware bride" who wants to still have that sleek, sophisticated chic look, the gowns and short dresses are very today! Modern, hip and smart! The designers took into account the carbon footprint in making these garments which we thought was a very interesting position for the line. Also, the garments are biodegradable unlike synthetic fabrics. The beading on the garments were even more interesting with crochet lace and the actual use of marble stone in the neckline embellishments. Bravo - finally a Green bridal gown that doesn't have to be a burlap bag. What I think was fun about this collection is that they truly educate the person about the garments so the person understands the "Green" elements. Great Job!

Our next stop was one of Bruce's all time favorite designer for over the top couture. Yes it's a lot of fabric sometimes and he truly believes it takes a very confident woman to wear one of these designs. For those who know Bruce you will know who I am talking about - St. Pucci! What is amazing about these gowns is the amount of attention paid to the detail. Designer Rani Totman has again and continues to elevate her designs to an art form which you can see by the layered jackets in the images above. A true level of artistry is brought to each design and she never seems to amaze the buyers at market to her true interpretation of art by not just weaving the details and embellishments on the gown, but also the traditions that create a sophisticated feminine look with an outcome of a confident and stunning silhouette.

What's a bridal gown without the headpiece and we have to say there are great things on the horizon for headpieces and hair jewelry. We have been intrigued by Erin Cole taking the art of accessories to the next level and downplaying the "Prom Tiara" with a more sophisticated soft tiara. As we believe headpieces don't need to be like head gear! Yet we are for the very puffy bouffant over the top veil if your silhouette calls for it. So first let's talk about what's hot! Yes, you know the look you see on the women's' basketball court or volleyball court - the elastic band to hold the hair back. Well, it's entered into bridal known as the bridal headband. OK so we are waiting to see who will have the first headband for bridesmaids. So we have gone from headpiece to headband and the headband has definitely taken off and the styles are stunning from a simple band to a ribbon band embellished with as much or as little as you would like. Now if you take a look at what we did while we visited the showroom for Erin Cole you can see where we really had a great time playing dress up the model. We started with a simple ribbon band, then added the veil. From there we just kept going to adding the silk flower, the double headband and then wrapping the French Tulle around the neck of the model to create a very chic modern Edwardian 1911 style scarf. I think the only thing we missed was a brooch on the bow of the scarf! We will leave that up to your interpretation.

Our next appointment we had was with a new designer who caught our attention. We could tell you about all the designers you possibly may already know but we were on the look out for some new talent. You know - we were in New York City home of Project Runway so we decided to stage our own up and coming designer to feature on our blog and we think we did just that! We wanted to find something that is unique. That one of a kind look that's not being sold in three salons in one city kind of look. The designer's name is Beth Elis and her inspiration for her collection was her fascination with the complexities of women. The names used for her collection are of famous women in history. When you think of bridal you automatically think of Princess Grace, Princess Diana etc. What surprised us was the inspiration from former First Lady - Lady Bird Johnson. Above are a few of our favorites from her collection. For more information please go to www.bethelis.com.

A quick break from the action to plan out tomorrow and then a quick stop at Starbucks - there on every corner you know, and then it's on to an invitation only cocktail reception for designer Rosa Clara.

Rosa Clara, a terrific breath of fresh air who truly knows how to make a bride look like a bride. Feminine, secure in herself, confident to appreciate the elegance of the ocassion; yet regal in her own mind as being the center of attention in that dream that every little girl dreams about. What we loved about the Rosa Clara collection is that she has brought back a more soft romantic look with a frill of details and design styles for a true bride. Her style is very European and yet very attractive for the American bride. Truly inspirational in her silhouettes, she did an amazing thing - designing gowns that did not take designs from each other. You know the same gown three or four ways just in different fabrics. So over and tired of that. Other aspects of what she did and you can see in the images above is not just putting a jacket on a strapless gown, but creating a jacket for each gown taking the detail and design of the lace and fabric into consideration. The first image reminds me of Caroline Kennedy's wedding gown at first glimpse. The fifth gown reminds me of Marilyn Monroe and the fourth image is the now popular adding stones into the details of the gown. Veils are also a wonderful thing to see with Rosa Clara. Many of the gowns have their own veils designed to be worn with the gown, a traditional style mostly used in Europe, which has fallen off in the United States. So three great cheers or more to a truly unique and talented designer! What's the buzz about Rosa Clara is her evening wear line. I'm just going to say it's stunningly amazing!!!!

Next on the list and something we had been looking forward to was dinner! Busy throughout the day with so much to see we somewhat forgot about lunch and walking the streets of NYC gives you quite the exercise. We had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with Megan Garmers of MG Hair and Makeup who flies into Minneapolis to provide the hair and makeup design and style for the fashion show models. We had a lot of fun walking and going to different areas of NYC along with a great coffee shop near NYU. Megan also had fun enjoying my first experiences riding the subway of NYC. It was fun! As you can see form the above pictures we saw some interesting art as well. From the Dumpster art to the beautiful tiles in the subway I don't know why we haven't taken the time to travel more on the subway when in NYC.

Sunday was a day to explore and come up with some new trend ideas so it was off to the Macy's Spring Flower Show which we had seen an advertisement on the way into the city. If you have not been to Macy's in New York, it's truly a treat. First it's HUGE! I forgot how large the store is. Matthew even asked is this the worlds largest department store. You actually can see the old wood escalators. I know it was so funny almost taking you back in time when people actually dressed up to go shopping. They really did! So look at the images above, the colors are so right now! I want to see a bride or bridesmaid where flowers in their hair like the last image! I dare you! You want something different right?

Stay tuned as we will have more Trend Ideas not just for the bride but her guests in another episode of Where In New York City are The Wedding Guys!

The most exciting part of this day is actually going to be at the end of the day when we had the distinct pleasure of being invited for dinner at the home of our wonderful friend Sylvia Weinstock and her husband Ben. A terrific cake designer and a magnificent cook. What we had for dinner and dessert is a secret. A wonderful host and hostess for the evening, then it was late and it was back to the subway! OK they kicked us out as it got to be too late. You know us when it comes to weddings we could ramble on for ever and ever and ever and ever! Sorry no pictures available however, we can say we have a trend secret but we are waiting on Sylvia first! Right Sylvia?!

Well it was our last day and night in New York and it was going to be jam packed. Oh and let's just say it was raining and if you have ever been in NYC and it's raining you know it's not fun let alone pretty! You not only dodge people walking fast on the sidewalks - although we can keep up or pass some of them - but you have to be careful of all the umbrellas that could poke you in the eye. We started out at the Pronovias salon. One of Bruce's favorite designers Elie Saab is a designer for Pronvovias. The seven story building plan separates the floors into different uses. The first three floors are allocated to their collections. The next two floors are reserved for the more exclusive collections of their designers such as Elie Saab, Valentino and Manuel Mota. The sixth floor houses an exclusive showroom for presenting collections and hosting private fashion shows, and the corporate offices are located on the seventh floor. There are a total of 25 fitting rooms within the salon, very contemporary space and European in style. All in all a very impressive salon and a very pampering environment.

Our stay in New York City for 2009 Spring Bridal Market would not be complete with out news about Monique Lhuillier's new line. It's "Big News" or should we say stay tuned for the "Long and the Short" of it.........Here is a sneak peak!