I am just so giddy today. The weather is finally unbelievably fantastic, it’s a Saturday, and the Bridal Couture show at Charleston Fashion Week was exquisite. I don’t think my words can do any of the dresses or the convivial (like that vocab?) atmosphere justice. Cue rom-com music and birds chirping. (Again, a disclaimer: my attention span is way too short to take in the dress AND get a picture before the model is gone…I’m so sorry I don’t have more pictures to show!)
The mimosas and “big day bites” were making popular rounds as women of all ages poured into the smaller tent this morning (can we talk about the HUGE set change that tent had to make this morning, and again as we speak?!), ready to see Cinderella gowns saunter down the catwalk – it was like the world’s largest bridal shower.
First up was White, with lots of pockets and hem detailing. Eh, didn’t do it for me, but I did love that they accessorized with candy – candy necklaces as bracelets and ring pops in place of diamonds. But then Belle Couture Bridal and Lella Foster Designs took the stage, and my jaw dropped (above photo). The dresses were slender, antique lace covered, open backed, beautifully accessorized…the collection was an Old Hollywood throwback that epitomized glamour. The hair and makeup was lifted straight from talkies, and I was exuding joy for every single gown.
It was a tough act to follow, and Bella Vista Bridal and Wedding Boutique struggled a bit; it was quite honestly the oddest styling. Why would a bride carry a suitcase? (Obviously a runaway bride, my seat partner and I decided). The dresses were pretty and simplistic, but nothing to write home about. And the icy, washed out blue they incorporated into everything looked matronly – NOT an adjective that should be used in conjunction with a blushing bride.
Break time! Mimosa time! Look around at all the wedding accessory vendor time! Try an adorable strawberry dressed in a chocolate tuxedo time! (Thanks to Newton Farms Catering - SO impressed with their service, presentation and food).
Maddison Row and Bella Bridesaid kicked off the second half. I was more than a little thrown by the birds nests and full blooms of hydrangea that topped each model’s head, and the poofy veils reminiscent of The Wedding Singer/my 1992 Wedding Day Barbie, but the dresses themselves were elegant and understated. Lots of ballgowns, and some fantastic bridesmaids dresses in a variety of fun colors that any bridesmaid really WOULD wear again.
And then. Fabulousness. LulaKate stole the show today. A few months ago the chic King Street boutique said goodbye to all their ready-to-wear and shifted complete focus to bridal wear – and it showed. Owner and designer Katherine Mcdonald churned out heartbreakingly beautiful dress after dress after dress; all flawlessly tailored and simple without looking boring. There were ruffle details, floral attaches, organza heaven…like I said, my words won’t do it justice. Lizz and I already send every bride over to the girls at LulaKate, and needless to say I they won a slew of customers this afternoon.
White put on a second show (their first, which was the first show of the day) featured designer-name gowns found in their store. The second was completely dedicated to owner Jodi Moylan’s homegrown designs. I’m sure my face gave away my horror and apprehension when the theme of the collection was Vegas, but I was pleasantly surprised. The dresses were showstoppers and definitely not for the shy bride or bridesmaid, but they were FUN, and someone needed to put playfulness back into bridal. Sequins, rhinestones (tasteful ones), feathers and lavish construction were just a few of the reasons White’s second collection way outshone the first – stick to your own designs, Jodi!
The moment White’s model procession ended, murmurs of anticipation overtook the crowd; it was seriously the quietest I’ve heard any tent all week (impressive!), for it was Carol Hannah Whitfield’s turn to debut her bridal collection. The few bridesmaids dresses were somewhat lackluster, and I feared for the rest of the collection, but the instant the first wedding dress turned the corner there were cheers of adoration; there is a reason Carol Hannah, known for her draping and manipulation of materials, made it to Bryant Park in last season’s Project Runway. There were tucks and twists, innovative draping and structure – all sensationally flattering to each model. (TAKE NOTE: Carol Hannah is holding a trunk show at Maddison Row tomorrow!!)
And of course at the end she came skipping out, as cute as ever in a flashy green one-shouldered frock. All in all today’s Bridal Couture Show was easily the highlight of this year’s fashion week; it was sweet, fun, and gifted aesthetic delight after aesthetic delight to all present. Bring on the fashion finale!