Friday, March 30, 2012

Wear it Again...

We asked Saukok Tiampo of 57 Grand to tell us how she would re-wear one of her favorite dresses from her gorgeous collection...

Last June, I wore our Grove dress in Cobalt for the wedding of a close friend in Bali. It was the perfect mix of love and laughter in a glamorous, relaxed setting. The bride, who’s known me and my husband since we met more than ten years ago, was married in a breathtaking outdoor ceremony on a black sand beach. The bridesmaids wore our Madison dress in Sunflower, pictured above. The bride had been considering the Grove, too. I chose these fabulous accessories to take this dress from a bridesmaid frock to a dress fit for this beautiful affair. My dress traveled the 10,000 plus miles to Bali in my carry on – it was a trooper!

Dress: 57 Grand "Grove"/ Shoes: Valentino / Blazer: Malene Birger "Amiri Draped Blazer"/ Clutch: Jimmy Choo / Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters "Contessa Cat-Eye"/ Earrings: Charm & Chain "Parrot"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Interview with Jessica of Ciarla

Jessica Ciarla knows exactly what the fashion forward bride wants for her special day. The Ciarla collection consists of modern dresses that are not only to be worn glamorously on the wedding day but for many fabulous events after. Jessica’s fresh designs allow for the bride to choose from various colors that will coordinate flawlessly with her dream vision. But Jessica’s designs don’t just offer a great color options, but an amazing array of silhouettes for all your bridesmaid’s figures. We couldn’t wait to catch up with Jessica and ask her some questions…

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

J: My first sale to Bella Bridesmaid was a very important factor in expanding my brand to the national market. I really love working with the storeowners and have been able to visit Bella Bridesmaid's all over the country for seasonal trunk shows. It's incredibly important to hear customer’s comments about the new collections and to get feedback from the Bella sales associates. I truly appreciate working with each and every owner from Bella's across the country and consider this to be a major factor in the success of my brand expansion on a national basis.

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

J: I come from a Ready To Wear background so I don't think about the typical bridesmaid when I design a collection. I concentrate on making beautiful, fashion-forward party dresses that can be worn again and again. The customized options and extensive color card that I provide allow the bride and bridesmaid to make each dress their own and to combine pieces from all of my collections to make a cohesive bridal party with a very unique approach.

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

J: While living in New York I designed a collection of high-end party dresses that I sold to specialty boutiques across the country. A customer inquired if I could make one of my dresses with five different necklines for her bridal party. This is how the classic collection was born. These bridesmaids’ dresses were featured in Brides Magazine and I received a huge response from brides across the country asking how they could order these unique bridesmaid dresses. I knew right then that brides and their bridesmaids were starving for unique bridesmaid dresses and decided to concentrate on expanding my brand to include a bridesmaid and bridal collection with designs that could be worn again after the affair.

Image by Johnstone via Style News
BB: If you could give any famous woman a makeover, who would she be and how would you style her?

J: Britney Spears. I would love to make her over and give her a sophisticated grown up style with a fashion forward edge. She never seems to get it right either with fit or styling and I would love to help her learn how to put red carpet looks together. I really admired how Nicole Richie transformed her look and now is considered a fashion icon and I would love to do the same for Britney.

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

J: Matching off the shoulder midriff tops and matching shorts from Wet Seal. I worked at Wet Seal my junior year of high school and spent all my money on clothes. For some reason I thought everything should match perfectly from the accessories, clothes down to the shoes. I see pictures of myself from those days and cringe!

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

J: I dabbled in Fashion PR and loved organizing fashion shows and pitching ideas to fashion editors. I think I would be a fulltime fashion publicist if I weren’t a designer.

BB: What is your favorite dress in your collection?

J: The Tear Drop and the Antoinette are two of my favorite dresses in the collection. I'm also working on a very chic, chantilly lace wedding gown that I will wear to my wedding. If it turns out well I may add it to the 2013 collection!

Tear Drop dress

BB: Advice for certain styles for different body shapes?

J: I always advise a very busty woman to pick a dress with some sort of strap and to stay away from strapless dresses. Someone who has larger hips and mid section looks great in a fitted bodice and loose circle skirt like a Marilyn Monroe style dress that flatters the bust line and minimizes the hips. Most importantly, pick a dress that makes you feel good about yourself and that will exude confidence and make you look even more beautiful.

BB: What are you carrying in your purse?

J: Tom Ford lipstick in cherry lush, iPhone, Mac makeup compact, Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses and Tylenol

Thank you Jessica!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meet & Greet: Grace, owner of Baton Rouge

Grace Smith opened the doors to her adorable Bella Bridesmaid Baton Rouge boutique in September of 2007. In search of a career change after working in real estate, Grace seized the opportunity to own her own storefront with Bella. Bella Bridesmaid allowed Grace to follow her passion for weddings, planning and getting to work with excited brides on a daily basis! Grace kindly shed some insight and history into her life as a Bella owner…

BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?

G: I worked for a real estate title company. When I heard about the opportunity with Bella Bridesmaid I decided that this was something I wanted to pursue. I so enjoyed planning my wedding and had always wanted to own my own business. Being a very people oriented person, I felt that the bridesmaid boutique was a perfect fit.

Grace with her husband in NYC 2011

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

G: I love working with each and every bride and helping her put together her dream vision for her bridesmaids. I have even been lucky enough to help several of my close friends find their dresses! It has been so wonderful seeing the finished product at the weddings and in pictures.

LulaKate Gina

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?

G: My perfect night on the town is a nice dinner with my husband at our favorite restaurant. I would wear the LulaKate Gina with a straight skirt in black faille with a blazer and a fabulous necklace.

BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?

G: I would have to say Ivanka Trump’s wedding gown designed by Vera Wang. The use of lace gives it such a timeless and romantic style.

Ivanka Trump by Getty Images via
Celebrity Bride Guide

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

G: My style is classic, feminine, and tailored. My current obsession is finding the perfect nude pump and wedge to wear for the summer.

BB: Favorite guilty pleasure?

G: I love to enjoy a nice glass of champagne after a busy Saturday at the store.

Now... For This & That!

Real Housewives of OC or Beverly Hills? I’m not a fan of either!

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Green tea or skinny latte? Mmm, Skinny Latte

Brangelina or Justifer? Justifer

Lady Gaga or Adele? Adele

Thank you Grace!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wear it Again...

Since we are super fans of Joanna August, we decided to ask her how she would wear her new Lace State Street dress after the wedding day. . .

Lace and the City. . .
Whether in a field, on a beach or at a party, we love the State Street long dress in vintage inspired lace from our new Ceremony Collection! Like all of our bridesmaids dresses, this dress is perfect whether you are in wedding, attending a wedding or just looking for a great outfit! If "biker chic" isn't your style, a jean jacket and some sandals can take this look from aisle style to a day or night out on the town in a flash. But for this outfit, we wanted to play with opposites, contrasting the softness of the lace with black leather for an edgier look. We are obsessed with this biker jacket by Theory. We would pair this with pretty much an Joanna August dress, not mention everything in our closets… it gives some edge to the otherwise sweet look. Add some amazing TomTom Jewelry (we say the more bangles the better!) and a bag with a pop of color and you are ready to go. Its a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, and whole lot of style!

Dress: Joanna August "State Street"/ Jacket: Theory/ Purse: Proenza Schouler/ Sunglasses: Ray Bans "Club Master"/ Bangles: TomTom Jewelry/ Ring: TomTom Jewelry/ Sandals: Ancient Greek Medea

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Interview with Annie Sokoloff of Anna Elyse

Creating a dress that suits a bride’s special day is no easy task, but Annie Sokoloff seems to have found a way to appease every bride’s wedding wishes. Anna Elyse Collections, which include bridal, bridesmaid and flower girls, has the option of custom color matching, along with various skirt and bodice options to outfit all your bridesmaids. Annie has been constantly inspired since beginning her flower girl collection by everything from color to high-end designers, such as Chanel. We adore Anna Elyse dresses here at Bella, so we were excited to sit down to ask Annie a few question and get to know her a little more!

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

A: Without a doubt the most important factor has been that it never occurred to me that I would fail. While there are ups and downs in every business, particularly with a start-up, to have that constant and consistent goal and belief that success will occur has been the defining factor.

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

A: Usually, it’s color and a color palette. Sometimes it’s a particular designer’s collection. I am often inspired by Oscar de la Renta’s designs. It’s obvious he loves dressing women. Our Spring 2012 Collection was inspired by a recent trip to Paris with my husband and the styles I saw there in small boutiques… and of course, Chanel!

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

A: Funnily enough, it was not something I intended to do. I started out with a Flower Girl Collection. We were so often asked to match the color of the bridesmaids dresses and make a flower girl dress or sash in a similar color, that I decided not to compete and just do our own line.

Image by Getty Images
via Wall Street Journal

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

A: Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is a very attractive and intelligent woman who is (no offense to Hillary) hiding in the same pantsuit design in different colors. I think she’d look great in suits or dresses with jackets but more in the Jackie Kennedy era style - classic but with a European flair. Not a lot of detail, but enough to highlight her best features. Then she should pick a color that looks great on her and use that as her primary color palette. Personally, I think jewel tones would look great. Finally, shorter hair similar to what she wore as First Lady or, if she’d like to keep it long, swept up in a chignon, which she has done a bit lately.

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

A: Probably the little teeny bows on clips… those were so popular in the 60’s, particularly when worn above the bangs with the hair poofed up behind it. Oh my goodness, what was I thinking?

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

A: One of two things: I would have either completed my original path toward a law degree, (Constitutional Law was my favorite) moved to Washington, D.C. and become more involved in politics… hmm – a woman President? Or I would have become a kindergarten teacher. Such fun! Either would have been great options.

Cap Sleeve with Pencil skirt

BB: What is your favorite dress in your collection?

A: In our bridesmaid collection, I love the Cap Sleeve with the Pencil skirt and the dual colored Obi sash... very classic, very stylish and just so very 60’s Mad Men. In our new “Bridal Chic” Collection, the Savannah and the Juliet… both just classic and elegant.

BB: Advice for certain styles for different body shapes?

A: One of the things we cater to here at Anna Elyse is the variety of body types possible in a bridal party. Our Sweetheart neckline looks good on just about everyone. If the gal is hippy, stay away from the Slender and the Pencil. Good choices for everyone are the Audrey skirt – a classic A-line and the new Casey, lightly pleated but not poofy. For the more well-endowed of the group, the Deep V is a fabulous choice for those wanting straps or the Surplice for a more full figure. The Cap Sleeve does not really look good on a slight figure on top, but does look just fabulous on a nicely proportioned figure.

BB: What are you carrying in your purse?

A: Ha, too much! Let’s see – it’s a Louis Vuitton Neverfull so that should tell you something. Wallet, cell phone, too many pens, paperclips (somehow I always end up with a handful), breath mints, cosmetic bag, coupons for the dry cleaners, small notepad for my constant “notes to self”, keys, sunglasses, protein bar and business cards. How’s that?

                                     Thank you Annie!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meet & Greet: Shelley & Annie Kate, owners of Nashville and Memphis

It’s a sister act here at Bella with two darling Southern belles, Shelley Sanford and Annie Kate Worley. These fun loving sisters knew at some point they would want to go into business together, but not until Shelley discovered Bella Bridesmaid did this come true. After being a customer of Bella for several different weddings, Shelley was put in contact with franchise owner, Bridget Brown and soon became the new owner of the Nashville boutique in 2010. Excited to share her experience, Shelley told her sister of another opportunity at the Memphis boutique. Not long after, our sister duo became the Bella Bridesmaid Tennessee team. These lovely ladies shared a few of their most memorable moments and even the tough decision between Brangelina or Justifer…

BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?


S: Before owning Bella Bridesmaid Nashville, I taught at a school from 2003-2008 and then was a full time nanny until the Nashville Bella fell into my lap. Funny thing is Annie Kate and I talked about opening a store after college, but we just never got around to it. I guess it's a good thing we didn't or we may not be where we are today! I had actually been a bridesmaid that had purchased several dresses through various Bella Bridesmaid locations, and I always thought the concept was brilliant. A Bella storeowner contacted me when the Nashville location became available… I think I emailed Bridget that day!

Shelley and Annie Kate

AK: Before discovering Bella, I worked at an all girls’ school in Memphis. I designed and implemented an organic gardening program. The girls would help plant, tend, harvest in the garden as well as eat and cook the food. I also taught science lab in lower school. Although I love science, I also enjoy business and have an MBA. When my sister bought the Nashville location we talked about how much fun it would be to both own Bella’s. I had found my bridesmaid dresses at Bella in Nashville, and my youngest sister had found her dresses at the Bella in Memphis. I just loved the selection of dresses that Bella had to offer. When the previous owner contacted Shelley about wanting to sell, my sister called me immediately… it worked out perfectly!

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

S: My most memorable moment so far would have to be all of the personal thank-you notes. One in particular was from a mother of the bride thanking me for making her daughter's experience unforgettable. It was a great reminder that each appointment deserves an amazing experience in your store. Going above and beyond to ensure that the hour you spend with each bride is enjoyable pays off!

AK: My most memorable moment was the first time one of my brides expressed to me how helpful I had been in helping her select bridesmaid dresses and assisting her in the ordering process. There are so many fun aspects to being a Bella owner, but it brings such satisfaction to know that you have really been helpful to a bride and to hear how much she appreciated you!

Joanna August Union

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?

S: A perfect night on the town would be getting dressed up for cocktails and sushi with the girls and people watching! Nashville has a very eccentric mix of people so you just never know who you're going to see, celebrities included. My go to dress from here on out is going to be the short Union Lace dress in black by Joanna August from her new Ceremony collection. You can dress it up for a wedding, or make it casual with a fun, colorful belt and flats or sandals. I'm counting the days until it arrives! Another favorite of mine is the LulaKate Ashley, short with straight skirt. I wore it to my sister's rehearsal dinner with a fabulous necklace and heels, and then to work one day with a belt and blazer…my manager didn't even recognize it! It's nice to have a few pieces like that in your closet that are appropriate no matter the occasion.

Mamie + James Belle

AK: Now that I have a 6 month old, a night out for drinks and dinner with friends (sans the little one) is the perfect night on the town! I would wear Mamie + James Belle in black and white stripes. I would pair it with colored peep toe heels and some fun jewelry.

BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?

S: Ivanka Trump's dress was stunning. I loved the sleeves! It had a classic, romantic feel, and after years of strapless it was nice to see an older look brought back to the spotlight.

AK: Grace Kelly - just divine!

Shelley at Bridal Market 2011

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

S: That's a hard one… I guess I would say classic or traditional with a modern twist.

AK: Casual chic. I’ve been wearing lots of dresses and skirts paired with cardigans, tall boots or ballet flats and fun jewelry.

Annie Kate with fellow Bellas

BB: Favorite guilty pleasure?

S: Gossip Girl and Lionel Ritchie...L.O.V.E. him!

AK: A glass of wine and a good book!

Now... For This & That!

OC Housewives
Real Housewives of OC or Beverly Hills?

S: OC Housewives for sure! I love that show, it's like a train wreck… you can't help but look.

AK: Neither! I am usually reading when I have a free moment

Facebook or Twitter?

S: I would say Facebook… I still get really confused by Twitter. I need a tutorial!

AK: Facebook

Green tea or skinny latte?

S: Skinny Latte...I rarely get one though, trying to give up caffeine.

AK: Skinny Latte


Brangelina or Justifer?

S: Justifer

AK: Brangelina

Lady Gaga or Adele?

S: I love Adele, but secretly am obsessed with Lady Gaga. I think because she's such a mystery.

AK: Adele

                                                             Thank you both!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wear it Again...

Dress: Ivy & Aster "May Flowers"/ Scarf: Heart Heart Heart / Jacket: Muubaa "Jacket Ivy" / Bag: Madewell "Bee's Knees Tote" / Shoes: Jimmy Choo "Wilma Glitter" / Sunglasses: Karen Walker "Super Duper Strength Glasses" / Lipstick: Sue Devitt  / Ring: Trio Stone Ring

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our Interview with Amsale

Amsale, a name synonymous with the wedding world and held in the highest of regards. Designer Amsale Aberra has given young girls and women alike reason to dream of their wedding day. Celebrated for her creations as being nothing less than beautiful, classic, glamorous, and overall breathtaking… we Bella’s are her biggest fans. We were honored to have Amsale be our designer interview this week, giving us a little more insight into the incredible designer that has graced our fashion world…

BB: Tell us a little about your background and how you got into the bridal world.

A: As a child in Ethiopia I loved to make my own clothes but didn't see fashion as a career. I came to the United States to study commercial art. Soon after, a revolution in my native country made it impossible for me to return. As a student, I started to design and sew my own clothing. It became clear that my true passion was fashion design, so I enrolled in New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and then started my career as a design assistant for Harve Bernard.

While planning my own wedding, I searched to find a simple, refined wedding dress, but found little in the way of clean, sophisticated gowns. I was convinced I had discovered an untapped niche in the bridal market; elegant and understated dresses. I placed an ad for custom-made gowns for other brides who shared my taste and started my business out of my New York City loft apartment.

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

A: One thing I always emphasize is how important it is to be passionate about what you do. There will be many uphill challenges you will have to overcome, and if you do not love what you do, you will be tempted to quit. My continued passion has definitely been one of the most important factors in the success of my business.

G674J in Poppy

BB: When did you add bridesmaids to your collection and why?

A: The bridesmaid collection was added in 2001 because brides-to-be were looking for something classic and sophisticated not only for themselves, but also for their bridesmaids.

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

A: The bridesmaid dresses are made to compliment the bride, so I apply the same principles to the bridesmaid’s collection that I use to design the bridal collection.

G629C in Slate

BB: What is your favorite bridesmaid dress in the collection and how would you style it to wear again after the wedding?

A: My favorite bridesmaids dress in the collection right now is a strapless chiffon dress with a criss cross bodice. It has a classic silhouette and a beautiful fit. You can wear it casually with minimal jewelry, or dress it up with a statement piece or bold accessories.

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

A: I have created a very diverse line of silhouettes, including dresses with straps for women with a fuller bust or a natural waist to show off your figure. I am very conscious of the fact that women have different body types, and I design our bridesmaids dresses to ensure there is something for everyone.

G696C in Opal

BB: What does the future hold for Amsale?

A: I am committed to designing bridesmaid dresses that are beautiful and fashionable. I plan to expand the collection to include new styles, colors and fabrics.

Thank you Amsale, we look forward to many more beautiful designs!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meet & Greet: Rae Anne, owner of Denver

Rae Anne pictured with her husband
Making the move with her husband from the Big Apple to beautiful Denver, Rae Ann Wheeler wasn’t exactly sure of the direction of her career. After coming upon a Bella Bridesmaid advertisement, Rae Anne was curious to know more about the franchise. Learning that Denver was in need of a bridesmaid boutique, she pursued and opened Bella Bridesmaid Denver in December of 2007. Busy raising her family and running her fab boutique, Rae Anne kindly gave us some of her time to answer a few questions…

BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?

RA: My background is in marketing. I worked for Fisher Price Toys for a few years, as well as Corporate Macy’s in New York City. When my husband and I moved to Denver 7 years ago I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to own my own business. I have always loved fashion and weddings, so when I stumbled on an ad for Bella Bridesmaid I was intrigued by the business concept. When I was engaged, I remember running all over town visiting several bridal salons looking for bridesmaid dresses. I loved the idea of one salon with a large selection of designer dresses. I quickly jumped on the opportunity with Bella and was up and running a few months later.

Megan with her maids wearing Amsale

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

RA: I have had so many amazing moments it is hard to pick just one. One really fun moment was helping my store manager Megan choose her bridesmaid dresses for her wedding last summer. Amazingly enough she only changed her mind two or three times which is pretty incredible considering we are surrounded by bridesmaid dresses every day. Her wedding was absolutely beautiful, and what a special treat to actually attend a wedding to see the bridesmaids in their dresses.

Jenny Yoo "Blake"

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?

RA: I love French bistro food, so a perfect night out would be a relaxing dinner with my husband at a quaint bistro. I love the new Jenny Yoo Blake dress. Denver is generally pretty casual so I would dress it down a bit with a bright cardigan and wedge heels.

Image by AP Photo
via US Weekly

BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?

RA: I love the gown Courtney Cox wore when she married David Arquette. Simple but elegant, just perfect!

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

RA: I would say I have a very classic, feminine style, nothing too trendy. I love classic shapes: pencils skirts, wide leg pants, and lots of black and neutral tones.

Rae Anne with her store manager Megan

BB: Favorite guilty pleasure?

RA: Definitely Gummi bears!

Now... For This & That!

Real Housewives of OC or Beverly Hills? Beverly Hills

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Green tea or skinny latte? Skinny latte

Brangelina or Justifer? Brangelina

Lady Gaga or Adele? Adele, but I have tons of Gaga on my workout mixes.

                                                                                              Thank you Rae Anne!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wear it Again...

Dress: MAMIE+JAMES "Bonnieux"/ Top: Vince "Sequin Crop Silk Tee"/ Shoes: Badgley Mischka "Lacie"/  Bangles: Fashion2Craze

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Interview with Laura Nelli of Nelle Handbags

What woman doesn’t love amazing accessories to add that special something to her ensemble? One our favorites are handcrafted clutches by Nelle. In 2004, Laura Nelli began her business in Minneapolis, MN where each lovely piece is sewn together creating fabulous and unique handbags for each Nelle customer. Laura’s mantra for her business is to be yourself and her handbags truly encompass that with their exceptional details, fab colors, and beautiful fabrics. Laura shared with us her inspirations and how she has maintained a successful business…

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

L: As the owner of Nelle, I am always focused on growth and development, I think having that ability to forecast and anticipate shifts in the market are what has helped Nelle to grow into the company it is today. I am currently in the process of restructuring & re-branding Nelle so much of my time right now is spent working on that project.

BB: When designing your fabulous handbags what are your inspirations?

L: The fabrics have always been an inspiration for me. I fell hard for manipulating textiles years ago, which is why you will never see a plain fabric clutch from me. Why? It's too easy to find a fabulous print to make a clutch out of!

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

L: I spent my college years working at various flower shops and fell pretty hard for that industry, but the realities were that to open a floral business requires a great deal of overhead. So I thought on it and concluded that handbag design was the next best thing, both mediums work with color & texture in a 3d space.

BB: If you could give any famous woman, current or historical, a makeover, who would she be and how would you style her?

L: As a rule, I don't believe in makeovers, our culture is a little too obsessed with the idea of reinvention and I personally miss seeing people's authentic style walking around - even if that sometimes means tweety bird t-shirts. With that said, if there was one wedding trend I would love to see disappear, it would be red roses, I’m not a fan of them.

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

L: I rocked a sweet grunge look all through high school, and had the most fabulous pair of camouflage pants that I use to wear with an oversized brown wool J Crew sweater, I even had an amazing perm. I loved it all and wouldn't change it.
Delphine minaudiêre

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

L: I might have worked in advertising or I might have been a historian or scientist, it could still go either way.

BB: What's your favorite handbag in your collection?

L: Like most designer's I always like what I have just made so the Delphine minaudiêre is my new favorite. Other clutches that keep me smiling are the Just Bowtiful clutch & the Perfectly Petersham clutch. Surprisingly, I am not a fan of the Classic clutch but I always seem to use that one when I head out! So silly.

Just Bowtiful

BB: Do you have any accessory rules to live by?

L: I guess the accessory rule or fashion rule that I have is there are no rules. Rules squash style and that's how you end up with red roses.

BB: What's in your handbag?

L: I don't carry a handbag, but I do use a custom navy Just Bowtiful wallet. Inside I have USPS tracking labels, receipts, credit cards & my cell phone.

                                                                                                                                   Thank you Laura!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet & Greet: Allison, owner of Charleston

Allison pictured with her husband

Whether a twist of fate or rather a moment that was meant to be, Allison Long’s trip to South Georgia allotted her the opportunity to connect with Bella Bridesmaid. In April of 2007, Allison opened the doors to her Charleston boutique, where her love of fashion, weddings and a dream of opening her own business all came together. Allison shared with us in more detail on how she came to be a proud Bella owner and where her allegiance lies in choosing Lady Gaga or Adele…

BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?

AL: I was working in sales in Atlanta for an insurance network and actually went to visit a business in South Georgia. It turned out that it was Mandi Jackson’s, owner of Bella Bridesmaid Atlanta, father! I was engaged at the time and he told me to visit his daughter's store back in Atlanta for bridesmaid's dresses, so I did! I loved Bella and wanted to be there every day! Long story short, I started working for Mandi on Saturdays after my wedding and then a few months later, Bella Bridesmaid franchised and my husband was offered a job in Charleston, SC. Since I had always wanted to own my own business, as my father and mother were both entrepreneurs themselves, and I absolutely love fashion and weddings, it was the perfect fit. Things don't always fall into place like that, so I would say it was meant to be!

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

AL: Recently I helped style a mother of the bride that I will never forget! After much debate, she chose a Monique Lhuillier long, navy taffeta gown. The kicker was that one day after the dress came in; she called and wanted me to help her with her jewelry, so she ended up coming over to my house that evening and we laid out all of her family jewels, along with some new purchases and decided on "the look". She is the sweetest lady and I think the world of her. That was the first time I have had an appointment in my living room!

Image via Celebrity Bride Guide

BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?

AL: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy… I love how simple and effortless she looked while still exuding such elegance and style.

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

AL: One of my brides this past year had THE Lionel Richie perform at her engagement party and Tone Loc at her wedding reception! Talk about “WOW” factor… who doesn't like to shake their tail feather to "Funky Cold Medina"?

Joanna August "Union"

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?

AL: Date night with my husband is the perfect night! Start out with drinks on a patio or rooftop with a view, then supper and maybe a little live music with friends. I would wear the new navy Joanna August “Union” dress in short with my cowboy boots, a scarf and some Kendra Scott jewelry!

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

AL: Classic with a bohemian twist…always comfortable.

Allison pictured with Bridget Brown (L), Amsale and
fellow Bella owners

BB: Favorite guilty pleasure?

AL: Mornings on the couch with coffee, The Weather Channel and recently, Pinterest. Oh AND jewelry, scarves and coconut!

Allison with designer Carol Hannah at
Bridal Market 2011

Now... For This & That!

Real Housewives of OC or Beverly Hills?

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook by default.

Green tea or skinny latte? Skinny latte!

Brangelina or Justifer? Brangelina

Lady Gaga or Adele? Adele

 Thank you Allison!