Wednesday last week was the rather fabulous Temple Gregory party at The Savoy - here is a photo I whipped off the ever reliable Annabel from Love My Dress that shows, from left to right
Ace wedding and fashion photographer Chanelle Segerius Bruce, Parallel Venues boss lady and general all round good egg Laura Caudery, me!!!, Annabel from Love My Dress and cool as you like brilliant wedding photographer Kirsten Mavric. One day I might grow up and learn a proper corporate 'face' pose for shots like this.
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Sunday, bright and early, The Lovely Marshy and I were Harrogate bound for BBEH - The British Bridal Exhibition Harrogate to explain the initials.
Years ago this, and it's September counterpart, were the highlight of the bridal calender year. Arranged over several exhibition halls and in numerous hotels suites everyone who was anyone was showing or buying. One particularly splendid year I attended three consecutive black tie parties - You and Your Wedding held a ball in a castle, Brides held their annual 'A list' defining dinner at Rudding Park and the RBA held an awards event filling The Majestic Hotel's entire multi-football pitch ballrooms.
I am certain that it is not simply my years in the bridalwear industry that makes ambivalent about this trade show. The event has been abandoned by the British based couture industry partly because of cost but largely because the format has never changed and frankly it just looks unfashionable. This year the beautiful spa town of Harrogate looked down at heel. Prime site retail outlets are vacant, the hotel I stayed in was simply rubbish. The imposing Majestic was empty and rattling and whilst I enjoyed an evening there as a guest of Maggie Sottero the food was chain pub in standard.
The Spanish bridal industry holds their trade show in Barcelona. Noviaespania is not ideal either but sheer design brilliance sweeps out of the industrial behemoths and the cool and quirky labels. One simply doesn't see stand after stand of chemical ridden polyester identikit wedding dresses. As an aside it is also quicker door to door to fly to Barcelona, fares are cheaper by far and the lovely Jesus Peiro install us in a fabulous hotel on the Avinguda Diagonal in the glorious heart of the city.
As a multi brand shop, with a determination to keep a democratic eye and a range of price points, the trip to Harrogate becomes unavoidable.
There were highlights that will be of utter delight to bride to be in 2013
Maggie Sottero showed 60 dresses of which I bought nine well edited Miss Bush favourites - slim lace and chiffon that have their fabulous figure enhancing corset with none of their meringue tendencies. Cameras are a no-no in their suite so no photos but think Presca Marie or Erin.
Lou Lou continued to develop thier cute long ballerina 50s style with great cuts and classic styling. More dresses, like the one below, are due in to Miss Bush in July all retaining at less than £1000
My favourite US squeeze JLM Couture showed their Spring 2012 collection- the sleek urban bridesmaids and lace wedding dresses being my favourites,
Now you see how bad my camera/photography is you can see why I should be accompanied at all times by a pro...
Another gem of the show and a new buy for Miss Bush was the label Anouska G. Located directly opposite the JLM stand I was immediately transfixed. A selection of vintage pink and ivory beaded babies will be arriving at Miss Bush soon. A trunk show beckons...
A whizz past the Paradox London stand revealed a possible couple of new pairs of shoes for Kat
One of the carrots that the organisers of BBEH use to get retailers and buyers to the March show is an awards ceremony. It works - it gets buyers there. It is awash with politics as are all awards ceremonies but it's great to get to rock some frocks.
The Lovely Marshy and I made a rather unorthodox 'late' entrance and caught up with designers, friends and industry colleagues.
To adopt the lottery phrase you have to be 'in it to win it' - and Miss Bush didn't enter. However that didn't stop us grabbing some awards and winners ...
One ot best aspects of Harrogate. was meeting up with Twitter friends in real life over bubbles. Hello and waving to Alison from Perfect Bridal Rooms in Aberdeen, Ellie Sanderson, the team from The Bride in St Albans, the team from The White Room in Minchinhampton, Hayley from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge, Sam from Mamfii - if I have missed anyone blame the mojitos.
Whilst I clearly am not magnanimous enough to link their website to my blog - the bonhomie and conversations have been enlightening and encouraging. i look forward to meeting up again soon xxx