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.

 

Elie Saab Couture Spring 2014 Review

I have been a huge fan of Elie Saab for quite some time and first saw a gown from his collection on the Red Carpet about 5 years ago. Every season seems better than the last. The decadent, rich beading and embroideries always have me thinking “royalty.” His newest collection ranged from beaded lace sheaths to full skirted ombre ball gowns, and once again, Elie Saab left us breathless as models walked down the runway.

Elie1The show opened with gowns in a soft blush color, all intricately detailed with pearls, lace and crystal which gave you a taste of the theme behind the entire show and what might come next.

Elie2Then, Elie transitioned us into a white evening collection; any of which could have easily been slightly tweaked into a modern and spectacular bridal gown. Sleeves, one-shouldered gowns, peplums and his signature skinny belts brought definition and life to each piece.

Elie3Next, gowns in a magnificent and vivid shade of red waltzed down the runway, exuding a kind of sophistication and polish Elie’s always been well known for.  Many of the pieces had a two-toned effect with the use of red crystals and embellishments which harnessed the light in a most lovely way.

Elie4Transitioning from red to a citrine, these silhouettes were given the signature Elie treatment of embroidery, beading and floral details that were unexpected and playful.

Elie5The next color story was told in Hydrangea Blue and Lilac, this time using soft tulle and multiple layers of beading and hand-cut floral details in each gown that took us into a soft and dreamy state of evening looks. Then…

Elie6…I went into anaphylactic shock. Taking a departure from his still gorgeous monochromatic looks, we saw colors starting with black fading into an ombré pattern of blush, violet, lilac, blue and white. These gowns were utter perfection, and when the Oscars are presented this March, I fully expect SOMEONE (Sandra Bullock, are you listening?) to don one of these superbly craft gowns on the red carpet.

Elie7Continuing with his ombre´ scheme, we were given black fading into grey and then white. Any of these magnificent creations would make for a stellar awards show gown.

Elie8These ombre´ chiffon gowns literally floated down the runway. The photos truly don’t do these gowns the justice they deserve. (another anaphylactic shock moment for me)

Elie9Staying true to an Elie Saab tradition, he ended the runway show with a spectacular veiled bridal ball gown and was the perfect finish to an overall breathtaking collection. By far, Elie delivered one of his most sensational collections.  It was perhaps, also one of his most “out-of-the-box,” presentations.  In essence, this collection was one I was truly most looking forward to seeing and I was left unconscious by the end of it.

{All runway photos courtesy Yannnis Vlamos/Indigitalimages.com for Style.com}

If you’re dying to see these gowns in actual movement, I urge you to stop whatever it is you’re doing, lock yourself in a room and click here:

 

Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury