Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Interview with Lauren Leonard of Leona Bridesmaids

Our beloved southern sweetheart, Lauren Leonard of Leona Bridesmaids, has won us over with her modern and impressive bridesmaid collection. Fitting for any bride looking to dress her lovely maids in stylish, flattering and adorable frocks, Leona dresses are just the ticket! Combining her Nashville roots with her knowledge of fashion, which she developed after working in the Big Apple, Lauren’s designs are perfect for the modern gal. Taking a break from the bustling holiday season, Lauren shared some of the inspirations and secrets to her fab collection…

Leona office in Nashville, TN

BB: What do you think has been the most important factor in the success of your business?

LL: Never forgetting the customer. I strive to blend special appeal; versatility and functionality into something the Leona girl will feel striking and comfortable in... no detail is forgotten!

Lauren and her fabulous team!

BB: When designing for women, specifically bridesmaids, what are your inspirations?

LL: I initially try to take the word bridesmaid out of the picture, thinking more of designs that this girl would wear to an elegant party. I take that idea and form it into something that is both appropriate and phenomenal for a wedding party to wear. There are so many factors to consider like photographs, body types, and functionality. If the design meets those criteria and is still stunning and special then we have a winner!

BB: Was there a specific event or person in your life that led you to begin designing bridesmaid dresses?

LL: When I started the Leona ready to wear label, I was immediately approached to do bridesmaid dresses. I have now been designing for weddings for three years. It was time to officially launch the new label and Bella Bridesmaid was the perfect partnership for us because of its focus on luxurious, modern dresses.

Image via Victorian Wedding

BB: If you could give any famous woman a makeover, who would it be and how would you style them?

LL: I would love to see modern day makeovers on some of the women from the Victorian era. They looked so uncomfortable. Wouldn't it be fun to see Queen Victoria in a Leona dress?!

BB: What high school trends are you embarrassed to admit you followed?

LL: It was the age of Britney Spears, distressed jeans, and tube tops...not exactly a shining moment in fashion history. I tried a little bit of everything.

BB: If you weren't a designer, what career path would you have chosen?

Serena dress
LL: A photographer! Although I have no current skills in this area, I love being a creative director at our seasonal Leona photo-shoots.

BB: What is your favorite dress in your collection?

LL: The Serena! So versatile, effortless and chic.

BB: Any advice for certain styles for different body shapes?

LL: A V-neck or halter looks nice if you have a larger chest. I love a sweetheart neckline to add definition for more boyish figures. A skirt that is slightly A-line with some added fullness at the hem looks great on all shapes and sizes and a sash is the easiest way to define the waistline!

BB: What are you carrying in your purse?

LL: iphone, Chapstick, business cards, RayBan Cats, bobby pins!

Thanks Lauren!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meet & Greet: Nancy and Meredith, owners of Seattle

Meredith and Nancy

After discovering Bella Bridesmaid while planning her own nuptials, Nacy Storment recognized the need for a bridesmaid boutique in her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Sharing her enthusiasm for this opportunity, friend and now business partner, Meredith Rebhuhn paired with Nancy to open the first Bella Bridesmaid in Washington state! Both lovely ladies have different professional backgrounds, but brought their great skill set and passion for weddings to pursue what they love. Nancy and Meredith shared a little more about their history and how it has been running Bella Bridesmaid Seattle…

Nancy with her husband, Gabe and son, Jameson

BB: What did you both do before owning Bella?

M: I have a degree in Apparel Design and had worked as a seamstress making custom window treatments, bedding and home accessories for a high-end interior design group in Seattle. After having my first daughter she did freelance design.

N: I have a background in marketing and public relations in the entertainment industry, having worked for Disney and launching the Scene It DVD Board Game.

BB: Why did you want to become part of the Bella franchise?

Meredith with her family
N: I discovered Bella Bridesmaid when I was planning my own wedding and couldn’t believe there wasn’t one in Seattle. I approached my friend Meredith with the idea and we jumped at the chance to become a franchise owner…it was a perfect fit!

M: I had been at home for two years with my first daughter and was ready to get back into working. I have always wanted to own a boutique and fell in love with the idea of Bella Bridesmaid.

BB: What are the most memorable moments so far in your boutique?

N: We have had a lot of fun times in the store. It can get quite crazy during the busy season, but when a group of fun girls comes into the store, their energy just radiates and it’s infectious. We love those big groups and have even had a few come back to visit on the actual wedding day to get help with tying their TwoBirds bridesmaid dresses!

M: When I connect with a bride and see her vision it is such a satisfying feeling to help make everything come together. I enjoy when the girls are trying on dresses and having a good time it’s like hanging out with my own girlfriends.

BB: What are your favorite bridesmaid dresses that are hanging in your personal closets?

Meredith tying a favorite TwoBirds dress
M: Since I have just recently lost most of the baby weight from my second daughter, I have a list of dresses I would like to own: Riverside by 57 Grand, The Ball gown by Two Birds and Zoe with the party skirt by Lula Kate. Just 5 more pounds to go!

N: You can’t go wrong with a TwoBirds dress! I also love LulaKate’s Gina and Zoe dresses.

BB: Tell us about a favorite recent bride that has an interesting story/wedding.

M&N: A few months ago we had a large bridal party fly in from Montana to shop for bridesmaid dresses. There were 10 girls in the bridal party and all but two made the trip. They tried on dozens of dresses and ultimately selected one of our favorite Amasale dresses, G425C. They had so much fun in Seattle for the weekend and we were honored to have been a part of their girl’s weekend.

Nancy and Meredith in their Seattle boutique

BB: What's your go to dress for a busy Saturday in the shop?

M&N: LulaKate is our go-to designer. The dresses are so versatile with the skirt and waistband options that you’re virtually guaranteed to find something for everyone in a bridal party.

Image via Creative Wedding

BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?

M: Reese Witherspoon’s pale pink gown by Monique Lhuillier is gorgeous. Its pink, lace and tulle - everything I love.

N: That was my choice too! I love that it’s not the traditional big, puffy, white dress. It was perfect for a second wedding.

BB: Best wedding trend you've seen recently?

M: I am loving the Novelty fabrics! Lula Kate’s Little White Dresses are perfect for the girl who wants something unique.

N: The jacquards are my favorite as well as the stripped organza.

                                                          Thank you Nancy and Meredith!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For a Fabulous New Year's...

3...2...1... Here's our very fave New Year's Eve dress, and yes, it happens to be a reception dress! This Saja beauty could not be more perfect for a fabulous New Year's night. Whether you're strolling around town or at a spectacular party, you will certainly turn heads in this sequined frock. With these added accessories from Nina, you'll be all set for a glamorous evening...

1. Saja BP6252
2. Maeve, Antique Silver earrings by Nina
3. HB Kaitlin handbag, in Silver by Nina
4. Evan high heel pump, in Metal Dust Crystal by Nina 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis the Season to Reuse your Bridesmaid dress!

It's that time of year again when the holiday parties are in full swing....and the task of finding the perfect outfit from head to toe. But rather then stress about buying a new dress, why don’t you head back to your closet and revisit that “old” bridesmaid dress? With a few simple accessories, you can take that once worn dress and dazzle at the hottest parties of the season...

1) Lincoln Dress in short by Joanna August
2) Starshine Bolero from Anthropologie
3) Zelda pumps by Nina Shoes
4) Frieda clutch by Nina Shoes
5) Trista Chandelier Earrings in Crystal by Kendra Scott