Welcome Justin Alexander to COUTURE

Inspired by the glamorous era of the 1950’s and 60’s, Justin Alexander knocks it out of the park every time. By channeling the elegance of vintage starlets like Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, Justin Alexander brings back their lady-like elegance and interprets it in a contemporary manner. The brand’s unique mixture of vintage details and modern trends makes them an extremely popular destination each season and we can’t wait to see what tricks they have up their sleeve for Fall!

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COUTURE CHAT with Jennie Ma: Fashion & Beauty Editor of The Knot

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Jennie Ma (@ma_jennie) is The Knot’s ultimate trendsetting fashionaista. With her four year anniversary approaching, she has been the mastermind behind many of the inspiring fashion spreads that keep our brides drooling for more.  So what exactly is our fashion maven looking for this April?  I got the chance to pick her brain to see what trends she’s lusting for!

COUTURE: You have access to so many designs and trends!  What elements are you looking for when organizing a photoshoot?
JENNIE: What I’m really looking for is that special detail that will grab the reader’s attention.  For example, in our upcoming Summer Issue, we have a fashion spread on elegance. Now that can clearly be interpreted in many different ways but in order to tell a story I was looking for details that would be inspiring to our brides.  Pearl encrusted embellishment and sheer capes may not be for everyone but conceptually they are extremely compelling when telling a visual story.

COUTURE: Editorial vs. Sellable.  Is there a difference and is it possible for designers to “marry” the two?
JENNIE: Many designers send gowns down the runway that they know may be not be a best seller but that will create buzz around their brand and designs. Last season there were a handful of completely sheer gowns on the runway but many of the designers ended up lining the gown when it went into production. But it’s not all about creating provocative gowns to get people’s attention. I think both editors and real brides equally appreciate a beautifully crafted gown.

COUTURE: What trends from Spring will we still be seeing again this Fall?
JENNIE: Ethereal Glamour! I think we’ll still see a lot of sheer details (from necklines to skirt overlays) but I think the reemergence of opulent details is going to dominate as well. It’s all about balance.

COUTURE: Do you think we’ll see any Ready to Wear trends from this Fashion Week translated onto the bridal runways?
JENNIE: Absolutely! I think brides today are looking for fashion elements to set themselves apart. Many bridal designers even have their own ready to wear line and the lines often overlap conceptually.  That’s why it’s always exciting to view both collections since you get a sneak peek of what to expect in the world of RTW and bridal.  We have to also remember that live in a celebrity driven society.  Award show red carpets are often the first place brides are looking for fashion and beauty inspiration.

COUTURE: Who is your bridal style icon and why?
JENNIE: I love both of Audrey Hepburn’s wedding gowns—they are both timelessly chic and reflective of her personality.  I think that it very important detail to remember. A bride should look special but her own style needs to shine through.

COUTURE: Think of yourself as a new designer. What professional advice can you give them to catch your eye?
JENNIE: Find out who your bride is and stay true to her needs. Brand DNA is extremely important but do not be afraid to push the envelope in a strategic way. Keep the bride and editors stimulated without losing your brand’s core identity.

COUTURE: What current trend do you for see becoming the next bridal collection “staple”?
JENNIE: Illusion Necklines are universally flattering and the best of both words! You can show skin and be sexy while still being appropriately covered.

COUTURE: Bridal Fashion Week is a whirlwind for you girls but you always make effort to attend to COUTURE. What brings you back each year?
JENNIE: What I personally love is the intimate feel of the show. As an editor it is important to experience the actual dress.  At COUTURE we get to personally meet each designer and touch and play with the designs. I love hearing the inspirations straight from them and hearing the passion in their voice. It’s very rare you get to experience that and it’s my favorite part of bridal market!

Dress of the Day: Matthew Christopher’s “Liz Taylor” Ball Gown

Beauty icon Elizabeth Taylor epitomizes the glamor behind Hollywood’s Golden Age. She is also no stranger to the world of weddings. Her nine marriages, incredible talent and sultry good looks make her the perfect muse for Matthew Christopher’s Spring 2012 collection. His “Liz Taylor” ball gown creates fabulous drama with its full skirt and chapel-length train while adding modern touches like dimensional flowers and hidden pockets. Whether her goal is to look vintage or glamorous, any woman would feel like a movie star in Christopher’s gorgeous creation. Even if it was her 1oth time down the aisle!

Dress of the Day: Victoria Nicole’s Floral Embroidered Gown

left: www. victorianicole.com; right: Allan Zepeda

Left: www. victorianicole.com; Right: Allan Zepeda

Victoria Nicole launched her current line in 2010, however she is no newcomer to the industry. Her vast knowledge and experience is evident in the intricate detailing of this beautifully embroidered floral dress. Just ask The Knot Fashion Editor Jennie Ma (@Ma_Jennie)! She loved the gown so much at the last COUTURE show that she featured in our latest Runway Report in the Spring Issue! To the right is how the gown is shown on Victoria Nicole’s website and to the left is a candid shot from last market (and how it is pictured in the magazine!). It’s clear that Victoria Nicole has her pulse on the market and we can’t wait to see what hot trends she has in store for us this April.

New York Fashion Week Roundup: Fall 2013 Bridal Inspirations

#NYFW always has Manhattan a buzz with international fashionistas and industry insiders.  Even though the collections were prêt-à-porter, many Ready to Wear designers clearly still had the bride in mind.  What trends to you think will be seen at Bridal Fashion Week this April?

BLUSH

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Left: Badgley Mischka; Center: Zac Posen: Right: Jenny Packham
http://www.style.com

Fall 2013 is giving a whole new meaning to the term “blushing bride.”  The soft and romantic hue is perfect for the bride who wants to experiment with color while remaining conservative. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the trend however the ethereal chiffon’s and luxe satins used this season gives the trend a fresh dimension.

MODERN CONTRAST

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Left: Jason Wu; Center: Reem Acra; Right: Carolina Herrera
http://www.style.com

Black and white color blocking will continue to be in vogue for Fall 2013! Whether is be in a simple black sash or a bold shadow print, adding noir accents to a simple white silhouette adds sexy contrast and a modern edge .

METALLIC EMBELLISHMENT

Left: Christian Siriano; Center: Monique Lhuillier; Right: Badgley Mischka
http://www.style.com

Great Gatsby inspiration is huge in bridal according to The Knot.  By adding metallic embellishments and opulent deco details, the fashion forward bride will set herself apart from her peers while sparkling all night.

FEATHERS-SHORT

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Left: Lela Rose; Center: Monique Lhuillier; Right: Jason Wu
http://www.style.com

Short dresses always make an impression but its hard to find the right cocktail dress that is special enough for such a monumental occasion. In order to really make a statement designers are using feathers to add a fun and flirty texture that is youthful and sexy.

FEATHERS- LONG

Left: Oscar de la Renta; Center: Tadashi Shoji; Right: Pamella Rolandwww.style.com

Left: Oscar de la Renta; Center: Tadashi Shoji; Right: Pamella Roland
http://www.style.com

The feather trend isn’t limited to shot and playful dresses. They can also appear more mature and sophisticated on longer gowns. Brides can still be bold by adorning the entire garment in feathers while more conservative brides have the option to use the trend sparingly in accents and accessories.

Welcome Rosa Clara to COUTURE

COUTURE is thrilled to announce Spanish designer Rosa Clara will be joining us this market! Her chic yet glamorous designs span across several collections including a collaboration with celebrity favorite Zuhair Murad (most recently known for dressing Jennifer Lopez at the Golden Globes!) With gowns, accessories and jewelry, Rosa Clara is a triple threat and influential leader in the industry. Can’t wait to see what she has in store for Fall!

Dress of the Day: Jesús Peiró’s Vintage Inspired Gown

It doesn’t get more glamorous than Paris in the late 1950’s.  Iconic designers like  Givenchy, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent were in their prime and redefining the rules of fashion . Clearly their influences are still demonstrated today!  To the left is a gorgeous wedding gown from Jesús Peiró’s Soirée collection.  This simply elegant gown gives modern brides the perfect balance of newness and nostalgia making it a fresh yet timeless choice. To the right is a vintage editorial spread from French magazine Plaisir de France featuring Christian Dior’s 1956 couture collection. Although fashion is constantly changing, let this serve as the perfect example that great taste never goes out of style.

Save vs. Splurge: Justifying Price for Today’s Bride

photo: Devon Jarvis(left); Elizabeth Messina (right)

photo: Devon Jarvis(left); Elizabeth Messina (right)

In the article titled “What Makes This Dress $15,400?” (page 140) Deputy Editor @EustaciaHuen explains in detail what elements make a Pnina Tornai gown (pictured above) so pricy? Although Eustacia’s points are valid, this raises a very interesting question. What do brides value more… price or craftsmanship?

While most designers may agree that such luxuries are justified, I am curious to hear from the retailers what the best bargaining tool is in this economy. Although the Pninia is undoubtedly gorgeous, is it a practical buy? Can the average bride really be swayed to go above her budget because a garment is hand sewn? Can she tell the difference between high-quality French Chantilly and a simple Alencon? Are they actually willing to pay double for Austrian Swarovski embellishment?

I’m also very curious to hear  if designers are struggling to replicate such intricate detailing in a less expensive manner in order to make a larger profit. Is it possible to make an exquisite gown without hitting the 15K mark?
Tell us what you think!

Dress of the Day: Rosa Clara’s Long Sleeve Lace Gown

The Knot’s Runway Report states lace sleeves are a Top Trend for Spring 2013. Well it looks like COUTURE favorite, Rosa Clara, was ahead of the curve! In The Knot Summer 2012 issue, Rosa Clara executed the trend perfectly in our fashion story titled “Risque Business”.  The delicate, sheer detailing offers enough converge to be appropriate while still being sensual and provocative.  Whether elegant or sexy, Rosa Clara always seems to get it right. Can’t wait to see what they have in store in April!

photo: Brian Doben