An Exclusive Interview with Designer Anne Barge

As you may or may not know, bridal fashion is an integral part of our luxury bridal events, which is why we are SO thrilled to have designer Anne Barge as part of our Luxury Bridal Event tour for 2016!

As we lead into New York Bridal Fashion Week (less than a month away), we asked Anne herself about the bridal industry, where she sees it going next and what we can all expect from her this coming Fall!

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Jim Verraros: Since childhood, you’ve become fascinated with weddings and cite your Mother as a source for your inspiration. Can you take us back to a memory of a wedding that’s always stayed within you?

Anne Barge: My mother was an organ pianist and started taking me with her to ceremonies when I was barely three years old. I have one vivid memory of a wedding where the entire church was filled with gardenias. Watching the bride come down the aisle to the wedding march, smelling the sweet floral air, the whole experience was like a fairytale. It was then that I began to focus on my lifelong dream.

JV: Are there other bridal designers or colleagues that you appreciate or have an affinity for?

Anne: When I graduated from college, I worked as Jim Hjelm’s assistant at Priscilla of Boston. He is one of my oldest and dearest friends. As a retailer, I was one of Amsale’s first customers and we have stayed close family friends ever since. Beyond being great people, I think the two are both fabulous designers who have made enormous contributions to our industry.

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*Pictured above Anne and James Clifford Hjelm

JV: The Bridal World is constantly evolving and changing; particularly now with the trend of low backs and sexier silhouettes and necklines. Where do you see bridal heading in the next year or two?

Anne: The trend in bridal has definitely gone as low and as bare as it can in recent years. I predict the pendulum will swing back and designers will start to explore more conservative styles. My aesthetic will always be one of refinement, we interpret trends in a way that upholds our timeless and classic style.

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Anne Barge “Black Label,” Spring 2016 Collection

JV: One of my favorite red carpet gowns you’ve done was for Amber Riley on Fox’s hit show, “Glee.” Can we expect to see more evening and red carpet from you?

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Anne: We loved that gown on her! Joan Rivers claimed it was one of the best dressed of the SAG awards that year. Bridal will always be our main focus, but many of our gowns can be designed in color for evening wear.

JV: There are so many options and choices for Brides today, it can be overwhelming! What is your best advice for a bride who’s shopping for the perfect dress?

Anne: Above all, go to a reputable salon. There are so many fantastic professionals with decades of experience who can help you select exactly what you’re looking for. I should know, I used to be one of them! Keep your fan club small until you have made your final selection. Crowds can be very distracting.

JV: Let’s say there’s an aspiring bridal designer out there, sketching away and hopes to one day become a household name like you. What words of advice would you give to an aspiring bridal designer?

Anne: Work experience is invaluable. Pick a designer you admire and do everything you can to intern, shadow, or work on their staff. There is so much more to our business than meets the eye.

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Anne Barge Collection, Spring 2016

JV: New York Bridal Fashion Week is just a few months away. What can we expect from you for your newest collection?

Anne: Our new collection is still in the muslin (cotton fabric) stages, so the finished products will evolve several times before October market. I’m very excited about the next collection, it will embody everything that defines the Anne Barge Bride. She’s timeless with a modern twist. We can’t wait to show you!

JV: How long has it been since you’ve been to Chicago and what’s your favorite thing about our city? We can’t wait to have you!

Anne: It has been a couple of years since I was last in Chicago, but I love your city. My favorite hotel is The Burnham with its Mozart music print drapes, and I love the street shopping on East Oak. Of course, a visit to Belle Vie Bridal is always a must! It’s a beautiful salon.

 

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Pictured above: Anne Barge and Jim Verraros

 

*Anne Barge Collections available exclusively at Belle Vie Bridal Couture, Chicago.

*To see Anne Barge’s collections, visit: http://www.annebarge.com

*Follow Anne Barge on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnneBargeBride?fref=ts

Anne Barge on Instagram: @annebargebride

 

 

*Anne Barge Trunk Show: Sept. 18th-19th, 2015. To schedule your consultation for your Anne Barge gown, call 312.751.2222.

 

Spring Bridal Events!

Brides, if you’re planning a wedding and you’re on the hunt for wedding professionals to help assist in making your dream day perfect, don’t miss our schedule of April Luxury Bridal Events.

Sunday, April 12th at the Marriott Chicago Northwest in Hoffman Estates

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Sunday, April 19th at the Doubletree by Hilton Oakbrook

Welcome to the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago- Oak Brook Hotel

Sunday, April 26th at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park

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Not only will you have the opportunity to book appointments with our exhibitors, but you’ll also have the chance to see the top designers in bridal and bridesmaids on our gorgeous runway! Names like Ines Di Santo, Lazaro, Liancarlo, Mira Zwillinger, Inbal Dror, Edgardo Bonilla, Yaki Ravid, Johanna Johnson, Hayley Paige, Alvina Valenta, Matthew Christopher, Tara Keely, Sophia Tolli, David Tutera, James Clifford, and bridesmaids by Alvina Valenta, Jim Hjelm Occasions and Noir by Lazaro.

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{photo above courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design}

To order your four complimentary tickets to any of the events mentioned above, visit our website at: www.BridalExpoTickets.com and use the Promo Code, FB-Spring! We look forward to seeing you and to helping you assist in your wedding planning!

Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago + Milwaukee Luxury Events

 

Ideas in Bloom – Wedding Flowers made easy

 Flowers are one of the most important aspects of a wedding. In fact, aside from the bride and groom they are just about the most photographed item of the entire event. They add color, vitality, and aroma to a wedding. To make the impact you desire, you need to make some smart choices early on but, before you even consider talking to a florist, book your venue so the florist knows what they are dealing with and help you make well-informed decisions.

#1 – Decide on a budget. It has been said over and over and over but, I’ll say it again: Choosing flowers that are in season during your wedding could save you literally hundreds of dollars.  When you plan your budget, keep this in mind.

#2- Do your background work. Ask to see photos, ask for references, ask if you can drop by one of their events so you can see firsthand what kind of work your florist is capable of handling.

#3- Trust your florist.  Once you have selected  your florist and  assuming you are not a trained florist  yourself,  use their expertise to help guide you through critical decisions. If you insist on something the florist opposes – there may be a solid reason.

#4- DIY is a big mistake. Many brides think they can go to a flower shop and put together professional bouquets and centerpieces from scratch. This is a big NO-NO! You will have a hundred things to think and worry about before and on your big day, don’t make this mistake. And by the way,  even if your favorite Aunt insists she does great table decor for the holidays doesn’t mean she can handle a task of this magnitude. Hire a professionally trained wedding florist!

#5 – Think Big. Huge blasts of color are a beautiful thing – just make sure it doesn’t clash with the decor of the venue or the table linens or the attendants’ gowns. Remember to keep the larger picture in mind : “How will the overall room look  in pictures?”

#6 – Don’t overdo it with the aroma. Its okay to use the strong smelling flowers for bouquets but, for the church and reception  it is best to use flowers that do not give off a strong smell. This will certainly prevent any of guests who are allergy sufferers to opt out of the reception early. The only exception is an outdoor venue.

#7 -Communicate. Always keep an open dialogue with your florist. Every single problem or question should be answered up front. Get everything in writing and make sure you know what you are paying for before you sign on the dotted line.

Call 847-428-3320 or log on to www.bridalshowexpo.comtoday to get tickets to our next show where you can meet some of Chicago’s best wedding florists and see their work first-hand!

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Cutler/Cavallari Wedding – It’s On!

This week we found out that our very own Chicago Bears Quarterback, Jay Cutler, has rekindled his engagement to his former fiance, Kristin Cavallari. Of course the media has bombarded them with questions about the date and location (he lives in Chicago and her primary residence is L.A.). For me, the bigger question is, ‘Will she do another pre-wedding photo shoot?’ Because according to my calculations, this might just be the mother of all “it’s bad luck to see the bride in (any) wedding gown before the big day” stories.

If you are just catching up; Jay Cutler is the QB for the Chicago Bears. Kristin Cavallari is a reality/actress/socialite who recently appeared on “Dancing With The Stars”.  The two became engaged and the wedding date was set for last summer. In June, Ms Cavallari was photographed in several bridal gowns for a Life & Style photo shoot.  4 days later he ended their relationship and just this week it is reported that they reconciled and are once again engaged to be married. Was one of the gowns she wore in the photo shoot one that she had selected for her wedding? Maybe not.  But, this is still a very odd coincidence in my book.

So, how do you break a curse, if there is one? 

When you are handed a second chance at happiness, it’s time to do things differently. If I were Kristin or Jay I would keep my lips sealed tightly shut. Of course I would opt for a quiet Chicago wedding and stay far away from the spotlight. Particularly any photo shoots with bridal gowns or endorsing any wedding related products until after the wedding. I would turn this wedding into a family event and not invite the HD reality TV crews. I would not use this as a way to gain publicity or attention and spend this time focusing on the relationship. The last highly publicized ‘reality darling/professional athlete’ wedding was an EPIC disaster (as if the  Hindenberg landed on the Titanic just as it was about to sink). If they are really committed, they will focus on the relationship and forget about the publicity.

Maybe I’m just being overly skeptical or maybe it comes from being a Cubs fan but, the last thing you want on your wedding day is the slightest hint of a curse. Better safe than sorry….. and whatever you do DON’T invite Steve Bartman.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago