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Laura Loves…Charlie Brear

It was such a treat to be able to share the images from the Charlie Brear shoot at Fetcham Park that we went back to this wonderful designer and begged an interview so that we could share the story of Charlie’s journey from stylist to designer and to find out more about her style secrets and tips for brides.

Charlie Brear had been a stylist for 10 years when she was required to source a plethora of vintage wedding dresses for a shoot. On selling the dresses afterwards, she was surprised at how popular they were — and that light bulb moment inspired her to found The Vintage Wedding Dress Company in 2005.

Spurred on by the growing interest in these original vintage pieces, Brear designed a capsule collection of made to order gowns. This collection used the details and accents of decades gone by to offer a contemporary take on vintage glamour. It’s success in house led to the first full collection selling to market in 2010. The company was re-branded as Charlie Brear this year; in time for the launch of her first mainline fashion ready-to-wear collection. Among the highlights are full skirts in damask and brocade, a reversible kimono, a clever three-in-one look consisting of a leather waistcoat, cropped jacket and shearling vest, a white lace boiler suit and a navy coated-lace pleated skirt.

Now, let’s find out more from Charlie herself…

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Before we talk about your amazing new collection, can we ask what spurred you on to create the Charlie Brear label?

“The idea for Charlie Brear started after I styled a huge commercial in Italy and we sourced 100 wedding dresses for one of the scenes. I wanted each girl to look unique and stylish so I began to source vintage gowns rather than new wedding dresses.  After the shoot I created the London Showroom. Whilst selling vintage pieces I realised that there was a huge demand for era inspired dresses that looked and had the essence of vintage but were new and made in softer, more luxurious fabrics so I began designing my own collection.”

And the new collection? Tell us more…

“The 2014 collection is far larger and features more Additions in than in previous ones, which means the possibilities to create different looks is endless. It will be interesting to see how our brides style their dresses. I was inspired by the glamorous, feminine silhouettes of past eras and I particularly wanted to explore volume and more diaphanous shapes. To keep the collection current I wanted to pair these shapes with interesting textures such as leather and glossed taffeta.”

Charlie Brear 2014 Collection

What were your first impressions of Fetcham Park?

The grounds remind me a lot of a fairy tale where lots of adventures can happen. The house lends itself so nicely to the story too. I am always so happy with the service and help the staff give us. It made working here really easy.  Its elegance and overall feel was perfect for our shoot. The natural light in the rooms all worked so well with our look and feel for the 2014 collection. Each room holds a bit of magic.

What gown would suit Fetcham Park perfectly?

My favourite look we shoot during our time at Fetcham Park was the Rosette tulle overskirt with the 1940’s slipper satin dress. It’s a lovely combination of layers and additions. It’s a look that has great texture and works perfectly in front of the waterfall.

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Who is a ‘Charlie Brear bride’?

I think the Charlie Brear bride wants to try something new and feels unenamoured by more traditional wedding gowns. Our brides love the ability to create their own perfect dress by adding sleeves or an overskirt to feel totally unique on their big day.

And finally Charlie, what advice would you like to pass onto brides?

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in your dress on your wedding day and therefore it is essential that a bride chooses a dress that flatters her body shape. It is so important to feel glamorous, elegant and special on your big day. Many brides think that they have to go to lots of shops to find their dress but this can often make the search more difficult. I would recommend picking your top 3 boutiques that you want to visit and only look elsewhere if you cannot find what you are looking for. It is key for brides to be decisive during their appointments and shouldn’t be swayed by other people’s opinions.

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You can find out more about Charlie Brear, the designs, stockists and ready to wear collection here – www.charliebrear.com