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.

 

The 2012 Golden Globes Red Carpet Roundup

Last night was the first awards show of 2012 and my personal favorite of all awards shows. The reason I love the Golden Globe Awards is many but, the main reason is that although still a very formal awards ceremony, the nominees and presenters seem to be genuinely having a good time. Maybe it is because dinner is included, maybe it is because some see it is a dress rehearsals for the Academy awards but, personally I  suspect it is because they can drink in their seats! The one thing that really stood out to me was that all of the same trends we are seeing  in bridal fashions were right there on the red carpet; each of them  beaded, belted, sequined and accessorized to perfection. It was a glamorous and yet confusing night but, I walked away with a better knowledge of red carpet fashion! This is what I learned from last night:

How to wear an all over sequined gown- Laura Dern in Andrew Gn. While I am not a big fan of these tiny belts or all over sequins, this one works. Also, the neckline had some detail which broke up the ‘all-overness’ of the sequined dress and the plunging ‘V’ showed off her svelte figure.

How to be boring and glamorous at the same time – Michelle Williams  in a beautifully fitted yet boring Jason Wu gown. The gown had no design interest and once again she  fell short for lack of proper accessories.  The tiny black belt and black headband were of no consequence and did nothing for the overall look.

How to wear Reem Acra. One of our favorite bridal designers had a great showing last night – Diane Lane’s gown was my favorite of the three and the most flattering on her. Madonna ‘s (too much material, girl) gown had way too much going on  and Julie Bowen’s gown didn’t have enough.

Why not to let your children pick your clothes- Sarah Michelle Gellar flopped in Monique Lhuillier. Tye dye? Really?

How to wear a simple geomtric look – Zooey Deschanel was adorable (as always) in Prada. Selma Hayek dropped the ball when she picked this Gucci getup.

 

  

How to wear silk chiffon – Kate Becksinsale’s Roberto Cavalli silk chiffon gown was embellished with beaded detail and a flowing skirt while the details of Charlize Theron’s Dior gown  were in the design and execution. Both looked incredible.

 

How to stop traffic at any age – Jane Fonda looked so incredible that she rendered George Clooney speechless.

 

Speaking of which, Stacy Keibler was all smiles as she shows how to perfectly accesorize.

 

How to do “Grannies Gone Wild” – Jessica Biel in Marchesa.

How to be a great host –  while it seemed a risky move having him return after offending so many A-listers in 2011, it paid off big time for the Hollywood Foriegn Press as the comedian showed us he really could emcee the event  in a relaxed, casual and confident manner. His tuxedo choice was smashing but I would have preferred to see a tie! What can you say about Johnny Depp? He is just so darn cool.

 

What did you learn from last night’s Golden Globes?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

If The Emmy Fits…

Last night’s Emmy awards had it’s share of hits and misses from fashions to dead jokes, there were obvious winners and losers. Jane Lynch rocked as  a host and was equally as entertaining sans track suit as she is in every single movie or tv show she appears. Charlie Sheen showed to up to promote… duh, winning? I’m not sure why he was there but I will go on a limb to say it was his way of mending fences. Charlie- if you are reading this, “Apologizing only counts if you mean it, so you might want to go back to step 11.” However, I applaud his sobriety and can only imagine how difficult it was to face all the folks you dissed while you were doing a public detox. That’s over now so let’s leave Charlie alone and get on to something really important … fashion!

The biggest problem with last night’s Emmy fashions was not the gowns, or choice of gowns or the color… it was the fit.  

Kate Winslet chose a red Elie Saab gown. In addition to the gown being too tight (note the horizontal wrinkles that appear to give it a waist seam) the shape is suited for less curvy figure. I’m not talking about weight.. this gown did nothing good for her figure.  

Gwenyth Paltrow should have swapped her black widow Emilio Pucci doily for something a little less  Rorschach-inspired. It is true that we each see somthing different in the ink blots (lace cut-outs) and since seeing this last night I have decided not to eat pancakes for a while.

Katie Holmes wore what appeared to be a saggy blue (Calvin Klein) nightgown 2 sizes too big with a tiny belt. It looked like she did her hair on the way to the show, in the back of a car that was moving….. with no mirror.

Juliana Margulies had the absolute worst look of the night. Her hair was styled for a softer look and her Armani Prive gown was a bedazzled tragedy. The cut was ill-conceived and the entire dress did not fit properly. The good news is that if anyone needs to send something fragile I know where you can get some very expensive bubble wrap.

Kerry Washington was breathtaking in red. The gown fit perfectly and the design was unique enough to stand out but no so unusual she had to arrive in an egg. The see-through part of the skirt was sheer perfection! This  Zuhair Murad gown was constructed  flawlessly and fit beautifully, if only her hair had lived up to the rest of the outfit.

……. and the winner is:
Sofia Vergara, in her red Vera Wang gown dominated the red carpet. Not because she has a killer figure – which she does. Not because she exudes confidence – which she also does. Because her gown fit so perfectly that it looked like it was made for her, which it was. The best part – it wasn;t strapless! The sheer one-shouldered look was  so goddess, so glamour, so abosultely perefect!The shame is that all of these people have their gowns custom fit and sewn and that someone, somewhere doesn’t know how to fit a gown properly. Maybe they are so used to pencil thin mannequins they need to go back to design school to understand a real woman’s body.

We will take a look at more hits and misses tomorrow!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago