The Bridal Designer and Stylist on Instagram inspiration and Her Love of All Things Fashion
You used to be a fashion stylist – what inspired you to start designing bridal?
I’d been styling for 10 years when I was asked to source vintage wedding dresses for a shoot in Rome. When selling the gowns aferwards, I was surprised at how popular they were, and that was my inspiration for Te Vintage Wedding Dress Company, which I launched in 2005. Te following year, I designed my frst capsule collection of made-to-order contemporary gowns with antique accents and vintage detailing. Last year we rebranded as Charlie Brear for the launch of my frst mainline fashion ready-to-wear collection. It now includes made-to-order and ‘Additions’, a range of beaded lace sleeves, headpieces, shrugs and overskirts.
I still source vintage pieces, but it’s more of a sideline nowadays. what’s new for you?
I was thrilled that at last year’s London Fashion Week, Women’s Wear Daily named me ‘one to watch’. It’s an exciting time for the whole brand and it’s really challenging me as a designer. your fashion icon is… the designer Elsa Schiaparelli. My grandmother worked for her as a seamstress in the ’30s. It’s a sign that what I do is in my blood! whose celebrity wedding looks do you love? Priscilla Presley’s 1967 wedding to Elvis and the Valentino dress that Jacqueline Kennedy wore when she married Aristotle Onassis in 1968 are so iconic. More recently, I thought Olivia Palermo’s civil-ceremony style – layering and adding a knitwear piece with a silk skirt – was of-beat and beautiful. do you have any tips for brides who want a vintage-style dress, but also want to look fresh and modern?
Mixing diferent kinds of textures will ensure that your dress not only stands out, but looks totally unique to you. Start with a simple crêpe, satin or chifon dress with a great cut, then add diferent pieces over the top – anything from a lace overdress to a belt, cape, sleeve and sheer top. Best of all, with any combination of these pieces you can transform your look from day to night. where do you get your inspiration? I love sharing boards on Pinterest and Instagram (@charlie_brear) – it’s a great way of compiling inspiration for a feel or a look. I also rip pages out of magazines and create mood boards.
I’ve always got at least fve side projects in mind – a Charlie Brear range for children is top of my wish list. who are your favourite people to follow on instagram? @biondacastana for her amazing shoes, @petalon_fowers for its drop-dead-gorgeous bouquets, and our Charlie Brear mentor and Fashion Editor @caroisa for her styling and lifestyle posts.
Who would be your dream bride to dress?
Aside from my three-year-old daughter, I’d love to dress the French actress Clémence Poésy. She’s the epitome of a Charlie Brear bride: feminine but not too girlie, whimsical with an edge.
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