Fashion insider – Designer Q&A

Charlotte Balbier takes time out from celebrating ten years in the bridal industry, launching her latest collection and starting preparations for her own big day to share her insider knowledge of all things bridal…

My signature style has evolved over the years – my designs are now stronger and more innovative as my confidence as a designer has grown.

Charlotte Balbier takes time out from celebrating ten years in the bridal industry, launching her latest collection and starting preparations for her own big day to share her insider knowledge of all things bridal

This year I’m celebrating my first decade in the industry, which is my biggest achievement to date.

My collections are feminine and filled with fashion-forward designs for the modern-day bride.

The 2013 Romantic Decadence collection is inspired by the Art Deco era and encompasses the grace and elegance of the 1920s and ’30s. I’ve tried to capture the style of that time while bringing it up to date with modern elements that can be seen in all 20 gowns.

We’ve extended our palette to include nude pinks, golds and ivory hues that enrich the exquisite lace, satin, silk and organza fabrics used.

Each gown features structural details such as lace-up corset backs and internal construction that can make a bride look as much as a size smaller.

French lace A-line Annabelle gown with a soft satin waistband and long train with a corset lace-up fastening, POA, stockists include Apple Blossom Time and Kudos Couture

French lace A-line
Annabelle gown with a soft satin waistband and long train with a corset lace-up fastening, POA, stockists include Apple Blossom Time and Kudos Couture

There’s such an eclectic mix of gowns on offer that my best sellers range from short and slinky to long and full.

The perfect wedding gown is one that’s perfect for you, suiting your style and personality. The perfect fit is also essential.

The best part of being a bridal designer is my beautiful brides – being chosen to be part of the most important day in someone’s life is a wonderful feeling.

My main inspiration is my mum, the bridal designer Amanda Wyatt. We work together in partnership and her experience, guidance and support has been amazing. I respect her work and how far she has come in the bridal industry.

I’d love to dress the actress Michelle Williams. Whether dressed down or stepping out on the red carpet, her style is
always perfect and she adds a vintage edge to all of her outfits that I love.

My home is my haven. It’s calm and tranquil and full of beautiful and inspiring things.

I never leave home without my iPhone – I’m a tweetaholic!

I’m not a morning person so I start work between 8.30am and 9am. My typical day involves many emails, meetings, phone calls and tweets while I source fabrics, check patterns and improve on designs. On a good day, I finish at 6.30pm but I have been known to work until 9pm and then go home and get the laptop out!

Left: Vintage-inspired French lace Edith gown, POA Right: Mirabella gown with bustle skirt, POA, stockists include Apple Blossom Time and Kudos Couture

Left: Vintage-inspired French lace Edith gown, POA Right: Mirabella gown with bustle skirt, POA, stockists include Apple Blossom Time and Kudos Couture

I take things to heart and wear my heart on my sleeve. I need to toughen up and learn not to get hung up on the negatives.

The most memorable wedding I’ve ever been to was that of my dear friends Leona and William. We were surrounded by close friends and family and the whole day was fabulous.

I would advise brides not to take too many friends and relatives with them to bridal gown appointments. One person and their opinion is all you need.

Keep an open mind when you’re searching for a wedding dress and try on styles that the boutique assistants suggest. They are the experts!

www.charlottebalbier.com