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Bridal Fashion Week ReCap: Spring 2014

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Style | 2 Comments

I’m just accepting that it’s Spring 2013, but the forward moving wheels of fashion could care less about real time and have already marched forward to Spring 2014, with some trends that delighted, some I worry will be dated by the time they actually get into stores, some insight into accessories and, of course Vera Wang continued her mission to F**k with us by putting whatever fabulous crazy she wants onto the runway, knowing we’ll buy it because she’s Vera.

So, with no further ado, and a giant thanks to Brides.com and WWD for the amazing images, here are some of the trends you can look forward to if you are planning on marrying in late 2014 (remember, these gowns are NOT in stores yet and won’t be for a couple of months).

1. Confetti Cannon of Happiness All Over.

Be it a fantastical ballgown, or a sleek sheath, several designers showed gowns whose beading and embellishments made the dresses look like walking parties!  My particular favorite is this sweet and sassy Carolina Herrera (right), though Oscar’s more daring blue and white gown also captures that festive notion of the bride walking through falling confetti and it just “sticking” to her gown.  The Monique Lhullier (top left) version was a bit more refined, but still festive!

Festive, whimsical Beading (Monique, Oscar, Carolina)
2.  The Peplum Trend WILL march on… down the aisle.

I’ll admit this was a bit more of a shocker for me as I was THINKING that the Peplum top/dress look was a bit more of a “fad” than a lasting silhouette evolution (i.e. Neon was a fad to 2012 as Leg-of-Mutton sleeves were a trend for the 1890’s) BUT, never the less there that Peplum skirt was again!  over and over.  My favorite executions are featured below: From top left running clockwise we have Angel Sanchez, Marchesa, another Marchesa and Carolina Herrera.

Peplum Trend runs into Bridal Spring 2014
3. Necklines for the indecisive Bride abound.
Strapless? Maybe. One Shoulder? Possibly. Both? SURE! Illusions tops, sheer fabrics and artful draping created numerous dresses that didn’t just have ONE look or neckline, but several. From top left: One shoulder illusion over strapless by Romona Keveza, Illusion collar top by Reem Acra, Sweet, short sleeved illusion (with peplum!) by Angel Sanchez, Illusion sleves with tea length dress by Angel Sanchez (can you tell I was LOVING Angel Sanchez) and a V-neck/ turtle neck combo by Vera Wang… and btw, is it just me, or does that not look A LOT like the dress that Molly Ringwald fashioned for herself out of her dad’s 5 and dime dress and Iona’s old prom dress?
Ilusion Tops and Multi-necklines
4. if you like an “off the shoulder” kind of look, Spring 2014 is for you.
I actually love this neckline. I think the collar bone is such an attractive part of the girl, the more attention the better. And this season many, many designers felt the same way… The neckline was not quite “off the shoulder” and not quite “scoop neck”, but I was 100% in love.  From Left, this shortie by Monique Lhullier, a stunning ballgown from Romona Keveza (modeled by my favorite model… she has been doing the Romona show since, literally the dawn of time and she never ages.  I have been seeing her for so many seasons, sometimes we wave at each other) and this pretty lace frock from Marchesa.

Sexy "Shoulders"
5. A Season for Sleeves.
After so many years of forcing girls into strapless gowns, there are now sleeves EVERYWHERE. Here are some of my favorites.  Love this 70’s inspired look by Claire Pettibone, this long and lacy Oscar de la Renta and this Ulla Maija with detached cuffs.

Sleeves!
6. There Will Be Gloves!

They may not be Long black leather gloves a la the Cruela de Ville look showcased at Vera (though, I must admit, I loved it), but I do declare, I believe gloves are going to be making a comeback in bridal.  And yes, I know that two designers does not a trend make, but…. they weren’t any designers, they were de la Renta and Vera.  So be they BOLD statements, or filmy, romantics whispers… I love the glove!

Gloves!

Which of these trends is your favorite?  What looks were you loving this season?

Wedding Pro Wednesday: Hooker Talk

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Industry Advice | No Comments

Happy Wedding Pro Wednesday!  I’ve been getting a lot of emails from some of you gals just starting out on how we think that you should be charging… My answer to everyone is always that it depends.. not only on your marketplace, but where you are at in your business.  In the past 10 years I think that Mayra and I have probably offered every possible service and charged in every possible way and, if there is one way of charging that I regret…. it’s charging by the hour.

“The Great Recession” started a panic in our office.  Though we had already been up and running, at the time we had clients at Bear, Lehmann and other now defunct hedge funds and banks.  Suddenly no one wanted to pay for anything…In a panic (which is never a good way to make any decisions) we decided that rather than lose people who didn’t want to pay for “full service” (more on that later) and needed more than “day of”.. we would enable them to hire us “by the hour” .  What a disaster!  Ironically I am still friends with a few of my clients that we booked under these terms, but generally speaking working “by the hour” almost always left me with that “I want to take a shower’ feeling that any work which demeans your value does.

First off, there was nothing more demoralizing than a) having people question your hourly rate b) realizing that after the overhead is paid your hourly rate is significantly less  c) having people question how many hours tedium that they didn’t want to do- like assemble, stuff and mail invitations- actually took (“I have a hard time believing that stuffing invitations took 3 hours…” Really? but you didn’t want to do it because you knew it would take so much time….)  and D) for a team like us, that prides our selves with efficiency in all forms, charging by the hour literally cost us money.

But, more significantly, working “by the hour” falls into that realm of what I like to think of as “Hooker Talk”, and it really bugs me.  It’s nails on a chalkboard to me with “Full Service Planner”….. It’s possible that I’ve seen Hookers at the Point one too many times, that THAT is where my mind goes, but both terms speak completely to a) light lift jobs that anyone can do that require little skill and b) a job where you have no boundaries within the period that you are contracted.

If you are like us, and know that you bring special skills to the table including your unique vision and creativity, I urge you to not use these Hooker words…. they demean our profession.  What do you say /do instead?  If your market has a lot of demand for  “partial service” (or hourly type work) consider working on a “project basis”, as a consultant would.  Clearly outline what projects you will handle within the realms of your contract together.    If you offer “full service” how about we take out a thesaurus and consider “Comprehensive”, “Across the Board”, or even, “Wall-to-Wall”.?  If language didn’t matter, we wouldn’t have so many words that convey similar, but not quite the same, kinds of things.  Consider the language you use to describe what you offer, what you do and what your skills are!

Get Your Dose of Ceci Style

So thrilled to be on the cover with the uber talented Ceci!

So thrilled to be on the cover with the uber talented Ceci!

I am so thrilled to have been asked to be the Co-cover girl with Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York in her weekly magazine, CeciStyle. If you haven’t been subscribing to CeciStyle you are missing out as somehow- on top of running her legendary eponymous couture stationery business, she also manages to put together a really beautiful, stylish and inspiring weekly digital magazine. It’s an insight into style trends in general, but it’s also a window into the creative work going on at Ceci New York. I immediately figured out she is able to do this because on top of being highly creative and graphically talented.. she runs a tight ship!
Betty and Ed's custom paper details from Ceci New York/ AaB CreatesCeci and I share details from Betty and Ed’s fabulous wedding that had been shot by Heather Waraska and featured in The Knot including these fabulous laser cut couture escort cards and menu cards that we used to create a regal, garden like feel at Angel Orensanz. It also includes some of my favorite tips for making your party/ wedding reception filled with creative, personal touches like using paper in outside the box ways and more! So, I invite you to get a dose of CeciStyle… and I invite myself to not be photographed in that blouse anymore… :-)

My favorite shot from our shoot!

My favorite shot from our shoot!

The Perfect Place: The Beauty of Assigning Seats

Mayra and I were delightfully able to be guests at a wedding this weekend!  It was a thrill- Lauren and Jon put together a perfect Saturday evening with elements of glitz and glam at an amazing old mansion up in Yonders.  With years as an editor of a bridal magazine under her belt, Lauren knew exactly how she wanted the night to look and feel and it was a total triumph AND fun to boot!

Part of what made this such a fun night was that we were at a great table… and not just at a great table… we were seated next to people who were lovely, amazing and that while we didn’t know when we got there, we were easily able to make conversation AND make friends.    All too often people shy away from assigning people seats at their tables because it feels fussy and formal… when in reality it’s anything but!  Since you can’t literally be at every table hosting your friends and family in fabulous conversation…. this is hosting by proxy! It’s a great way to curate conversations amongst your guests, as well as a reminder to every person that you thought about them as people and about what kind of time they are having.  YES, it takes time to work out the seating plan… but, to quote Oprah… love is in the details.

In case I hadn’t mentioned it, they are ALSO an awesome opportunity to add a fabulous detail to your day.. I thought I’d share some of my FAVORITE “place cards” from some of our recent events to INSPIRE You take on the seating chart!

Glitz and Glam… these place cards were botanical in design and placed on small brass easels! (Image via Terry Gruber)

Place cards on easels/ Aab CreatesGruber Photographers, Wedding, Mitzvah, NYC, EventAt Heather’s wedding, twigs were  cut and tied together to hold these fabulous place cards:Twig place card holders/ AaB Creates/ Angelica GlassFor my 35th Birthday Dinner, which had a fun and retro Red and Pink theme, we used these metalic heart cards on each person’s napkin to create a place card.  Another reason I love place cards is it gives you an opportunity to incorporate nick names and pet names for your friends in an informal way.

Heart Shaped Place Card!
For this “Tuscan” theme dinner party, we used florentine paper to create a “belly band” for each napkin and then affixed a tag with each guests name on it. Working in color and pattern… and a lot of formal detail.
Tuscan dinner place settings- calligraphy by Laura Hooper./ AaB Creates
And, of course, at Mayra’s wedding (which was smaller, making this an easier project) we had each napkin embroidered with the guests name as a seat marker!
Theresa's Napkin/ Aab CreatesHopefully this may have inspired you to do some creative thinking about your seating charts: not just in how you can mix and match your friends, but how you can artfully present the thought!

Happy Monday everyone!!

On Vision: Clarity (Wedding Pro Wednesday)

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Industry Advice | 2 Comments

Happy Wedding Wednesday friends!  So, it’s been a couple of weeks full of impact moments for us here at AaB…. those rare times when the Universe seems to all line up and make it really clear a) what your talents are b) what you should do with them and c) what things are distractions.   One of my “moments” came last week when I saw this post on Facebook from Bevy Smith.  Bevy has been in our New York social orbit for more than a decade now, from way back when I still had a job with a 401K and she was on the publishing side of a magazine (i think it was Vibe) to when she went over to edit to when she quit her job with the full vocalized intention of becoming a TV Personality. With good reason. If you have ever encountered Bevy, it is a personality that must be reckoned with.  We share a common close friend and through her, occasional run ins and social media, Over the decade, I watched her amass successes, launch a successful business endeavor (Dinners with Bevy) and become a twitter sensation, as well as rack up TV appearances over the years on WE, Style, etc.

So, it’s with that back story that I saw this message pop up in my feed:

“Dear Well Wishers & Co-Conspirators, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for supporting #FashionQueens on social media and most importantly for watching! It’s because of you that what was a test run of three specials has now become a full-fledged SERIES!!!

I’ve talked to you guys throughout the years about the VISION that I had for myself when I quit my job. Granted in my vision I had a TV show a year after I quit, suffice to say that was a skewed vision, lol! However, I did want to say to all of you that I KNEW that I would have a TV show, I KNEW that it would NOT be a reality show about my life, I KNEW it would be on a great network and I KNEW it would be fun!

Yes, on this journey there were lots of things I didn’t know, so yes, there were mishaps, financial and otherwise which took place, but through it all my SPIRIT told me I was on the right path! For every “wrong” move there were 3 signs, which confirmed that my journey wasn’t for naught. Those signs no matter how small or seemingly insignificant were enough to FUEL my dreams and to keep my VISION in focus!

So I IMPLORE all of you to LEAN IN (had to plagiarize Sheryl Sandberg, lol) LEAN IN to your dreams, remember your goals, FIGHT for your vision. I knew who I was, even when various networks or TV industry “pros” didn’t! I KNEW that yes “I am good TV” but that didn’t mean that my life had to become fodder, that didn’t mean my personal life was to be put on display as entertainment!

You have to have a VISION for yourself; one that far surpasses what ANYONE else has for you. That goes for your family, your partner and even the folks who write checks (don’t get me started on how all money IS NOT Good Money). Having a LIFE WITH VISION often means going against the grain, not listening to the popular consensus and knowing above all else how YOU want your life to look!

#FashionQueens isn’t the end of the road for me, it’s just the beginning and I hope you will join me on a LEGENDARY journey! Check me out on #FashionQueens airs on Sunday at 11:30pm est.”

I don’t have much else to add except to share that sometimes as a business owner the process of keeping up the cash flow can distract us from pursuing the larger visions and dreams that we have for our businesses, brands and selves.   Sometimes, of equal distraction, our egos cause us to take on projects that do nothing to forward our visions for our businesses, brands and selves.   Be adaptable to all new tools that enter your toolbox to help your vision come to reality.  Take some time to visualize your dream for yourself, to crystalize your focus and to steel your courage against distraction and against those who aren’t as long sighted as you might be.

Follow Bevy on Twitter here, check out Fashion Queens here.  and, for eye candy this week, I leave you with this amazing art piece by Stephanie Hirsch whose Mantra seemed fitting for today’s post!.

Stephanie Hirsch "Trust the Universe" Skate Board with Embroidery