Singaporebrides | Editors' Notes
My New York Bridal Week Experience in October 2014
Oh, where do I begin?
Earlier in April, the Editor went on a 23-hour flight to New York City for the New York Bridal Market. During the same time, the rest of the editorial team were busy at our bi-annual lookbook shoot. And during one of our lunch breaks, we playfully volunteered ourselves for the next New York Bridal Market in October and casually suggested ways we could make the best out of our time there, like having one or two photo-shoots in the Big Apple. Like the Editor, we did not expect our boss to take us seriously.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit excited about the trip after it was confirmed that we were going. New York City had been one of the places I always wanted to visit and I thank my lucky stars (and The Boss!) that I was able to fulfill my dream of visiting the Big Apple. For the better part of the next six months, I was seized with an unbearable squeeze of excitement and the need to squeal whenever I thought about going to New York City.
The months flew past and before I knew it, I was at the airport, saying goodbye to my loved ones and embarking on a 23-hour journey across the world. While this wasn’t my first long-haul flight, the journey seemed longer and harder than I initially expect it to be. But I promptly forgot all about that the moment my feet hit New York City’s soil (or, more accurately, ground). After depositing our luggage at the hotel’s baggage room and a quick freshening up, we quickly ticked several items off our lists – or at least I did. See Times Square during the day and night – checked. Get discounted Les Misérables tickets – checked. Eat a slice of pizza – checked.And off we go to New York City! The famous lights in Time Square What do you do after a 23-hour flight? Watch Les Misérables, of course!
Our photo-shoot with photographer Skye Tan happened during our first weekend in the Big Apple. It was an extremely cold day in the charmingly raw and industrial part of Brooklyn and while I was all buttoned and hooded up to keep the chill out, our model was quite the trooper, tolerating the cold wind and nailing every shot. The day went by extremely quickly as we shuttled to and fro our studio and shoot locations, and so did the sunlight. We were literally chasing the light as the sun set for the day. But, the shoot went extremely well and I cannot wait to see the photos in our December fashion editorial!Our model getting ready for the photo-shoot
We had a flurry of bridal shows lined up soon after our photo-shoot. But not before we enjoyed a relaxing picnic in Central Park with food we picked out from Whole Foods. It wasn’t an activity that we could do every day back home, especially with our humid weather, so we happily basked in the sun before we packed up and ventured deeper into the park in search of the Mall and the Literary Walk, and the Bethesda Fountain Plaza.
Between our photo-shoot, working on-the-go and attending bridal shows during our two-week stay in the city, I was able to complete most of the must-visit places for tourists, such as Wall Street, Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the 9/11 Memorial Site, the High Line Park and the Brooklyn bridge, which I walked across twice.We had a little of everything in our picinic feast – pastries, salads, soup, fruits and desserts! THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE! ‘Nuff said The stately Empire State building lights up just as the sun sets
Our first show was THEIA’s. Their cosy head office was filled with the media and photographers who were eager to preview his latest collection. Don O’Neill’s Fall 2015 bridal collection drew inspiration from Mongolia’s Tundra and Alphine Meadows, and transported us to its snow capped mountains and icy blue rivers. Models floated down the aisle in winter inspired gowns like Yel Ana, a beautiful winter white embroidered hand-woven ribbon tweed coat with a duchess satin shawl collar and frosty Erdene, a glacier blue fil coupe gown. The THEIA team even had fake snow float down the sky and the two rows of audience seated right in front ended up with “snow” in their hair and on their clothes, which resulted in quite a funny situation. See Theia’s wintry Fall 2015 collection for yourselves in his designer feature.Designer Don O’Neill opening the show Long-sleeved gowns like Yel Ana (left) and Faye (Right)
We went straight to Della Giovanna‘s show after THEIA. Brooklyn-based designer, Michelle, featured a collection of wedding separates any bride can mix and match to create their very own unique wedding gown. Inspired by the intricate medieval chainmail armour, her second collection pairs edgy and unconventional elements such as gold chainmail and leather with more traditional and feminine fabric like silk charmeuse and organza. Surprisingly, the gold chainmail and leather accents paired really well with the otherwise feminine and softer profile of a wedding gown. Check out Della Giovanna’s Fall 2015 designer feature here.Della Giovanna shows us how to incorporate medieval-looking chainmail into your wedding gown, or how to rock an equally dreamy and simple no-frills-no-embellishments dress
In our spare time, we managed to catch Gone Girl at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, cupcake-d and banana-pudding-ed at Magnolia Bakery, dined at the flagship Shake Shack stand, Grimaldi’s and at an all-American diner and cafeteria. We even did the whole Chinese take-out experience, sans the take-out boxes we’re familiar with (thanks to The Big Bang Theory), which we were disappointed about, since the whole purpose of ordering Chinese take-out was to eat from those boxes. Yet I still left New York City with unfinished business. I never got to try the famous Dominique Ansel cronuts or chocolate cookie shots (we were too late for the former and too early for the latter. Like, what??), the food at the weekend Smorgasburg at Williamsburg (it was drizzling non-stop and we didn’t want to wait around for more vendors to turn up, if they did at all), and plenty of the bakeries I had shortlisted prior to my trip. I didn’t even make it to the famous Sprinkles cupcake ATM! My only consolation was the decadent chocolate chip cookies from Levain Bakery that I managed to get my hands on and the many bridal shows we were going to attend in the next week.
Next morning’s Claire Pettibone‘s Fall 2015 show was held at the Refectory in the historic High Line hotel in the Chelsea area. I was wowed by the building’s red brick façade and Gothic architecture reminiscent of an English boarding school, but I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the grand and wood-paneled Refectory.The Magnificient Refectory
With tall Cathedral-like windows that let in plenty of morning light, a six-foot tall fireplace that was decorated with long stalks of ferns and beautiful ornate chandeliers, it was as if I stepped into a room at Hogwarts and was expecting Harry Potter to show up and wield some spells on us! Well, Harry Potter didn’t turn up, but we were definitely spellbound by Pettibone’s romantic and gothic new collection. It was a bonus that we were able to catch a closer look at the beautiful intricate details on her dresses as models stationed themselves at the end of each flight of steps outside the hall and posed for photos. If Pettibone’s Fall 2015 collection sounds just like what you want to wear down the aisle, then you should check out the full collection in her designer feature.Claire Pettibone knows just how to get to our hearts – with a doily-wrapped program, a stalk of flower and a pretty box of goodies! The lace details on the back are simply to-die-for! Models were lined up along the stairs outside The Refectory, looking appropriately forlorn and lost in Pettibone’s gorgeous creations
The Reem Acra show was once again held at The Crown building situated right across from Tiffany&Co. and was nothing less than what I expected from the designer. The forest and garden theme was evident in the luxurious white rose backdrop to the pastel flower vines and flower crowns the models wore, to the flower applique on the trains. Just when I thought the signature feminine silhouettes and intricate lace details Reem Acra is known for couldn’t get any more dreamy and romantic, she ups the ooh-factor by covering the gowns with just the right amount of lace on the bodice and skirt, introducing an illusion or sweetheart neckline and painting them in the sweetest shades of ivory and blush. I can sum up my thoughts in three words: oh.my.heart. Equally gorgeous and dreamy, if you’re a Reem Acra fan like me, then you should check out our designer feature on her Spring 2015 collection!Floral vines on the hair, waist – everywhere! Beautiful long train with intricate lace embroidery Doesn’t she look just like a faerie princess who has just stepped out of her woodland home?
The next two days were packed with shows, sometimes all the way into the evenings. And the day was made more challenging when rain was added into the equation. But Vatana Watters‘ lovely dresses at her Spring 2015 show made the gloomy morning so much brighter. There were so many dresses that caught my fancy during the show, and it was difficult not to when she mixed classic A-line and ballgown silhouettes with sweet illusion necklines, romantic heirloom lace, intricately hand-sewn pearls and beads and beautiful floral embroidery in the dreamiest of wedding gown shades. If it were up to me, I would make all wedding gowns blush-coloured. But hey, that’s just me. Her simple sheaths with elaborate lacework and fit-and-flare silhouettes were perfect for brides who want to maintain a little bit of romance while showing off their lithe bodies. Take a look at Watters’ creations and I’ll bet that you’ll be able to find a dress that speaks to you.A trend we noticed during the Bridal Market was ivory and blush coloured dresses, like Watters’ Amelie and Isadora
It was still raining after we exited the show so we took a cab down to Pier 94 for the New York International Bridal Show. Traffic was terrible due to the rain but despite being stuck in a jam, we arrived early for our appointments with gown designer Jean-Ralph Thurin and jewellery designer Samantha Wills. It was quite exciting to see some of the international bridal labels we’ve read about in magazines and the Internet in real-life, and it was quite an eye-opener to learn about the other international bridal labels we haven’t heard of, like our first appointment, Jean-Ralph Thurin.
The New York-born designer inherited his passion of creating beautiful dresses from his grandmother at a young age and started designing and creating prom dresses for his classmates even before he was formally trained. His Haitian roots and extensive travels play a part in the uniqueness and worldly sophistication evident in his designs. Ever the believer of clean and simple silhouettes with subtle details such as crystal detailing, pleats or intricate beading on the front or back of the gown, he glams up an otherwise simple gown by using luxurious fabrics like silk mikado and wool to create silhouettes that fall beautifully against the body – any body, in fact, since for Jean-Ralph Thurin, there is no such thing as a silhouette for a certain body type. Rather, it is about playing with the proportions of the silhouette so that it’ll fit the bride’s body shape.Looking at this, I’m simply amazed by the amount of details and precise work required! For brides who perfect a cleaner look with a touch of embellishments, these gowns are perfect. Plus, they scream elegance and old-school glamour – two things you cannot go wrong with
And every brilliantly designed and well-made gown needs to be complemented with jewellery that will enhance the beauty of the bride and her dress. Well-known for her beautiful and intricate Bohemian-styled and vintage-looking jewellery, New York-based Australian, Samantha Wills, used coloured stones, pearls and sparkling clear crystals set in embossed burnished silver and gold, and rose gold settings in her jewellery and headpieces. The burnished silver and gold gives an aged look to the jewellery, which paradoxically lends a more modern and wearable look. And as a fan of rose gold, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the rose gold jewellery on display and was actually quite tempted to enquire if they were for sale! But it was the Precious Dreamers Cuff that stole my heart and quelled my shopaholic impulses. Fully embedded with crystals in all shapes and sizes, this antique silver art-deco piece is an architectural beauty by itself and a must-have for modern day Bohemian brides!We were so enamoured by the beautiful metal-framed glass display boxes and Samantha Wills’ signature hand carved wooden boxes! Samantha Wills’ Time to Dance Grand Earrings Samantha Wills’ Precious Dreamers Cuff is a dream indeed
Later that evening, we went to Yumi Katsura‘s presentation of her latest Fall 2015 collection. Models dressed in the pint-size Japanese designer’s feminine and romantic creations posed for photos and strolled over to where the audience, us and a group of Japanese individuals, could take a closer look of the gowns.
While we nodded in approval, the Japanese seated around us were very expressive. Sometimes, they sighed in pity for a design that would not be well accepted in the rather conservative Japanese culture, such as a low bareback gown or a plunging neckline. Their no-holds-barred commentary made the presentation even more interesting for us, as the Editor and I exchanged knowing looks, since we understood a little of what they were saying.Same same but different! Loving the white beaded one on the left more! And its curved sweetheart neckline! This is a dress I can definitely see myself walking down the aisle in! The petite designer with her girls
We went to The London Hotel early the next day for our appointment with Sareh Nouri and Liv Hart in The London Penthouse suite, and had the opportunity to chat with the designers on their inspiration behind their collections. Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart is a couture accessories design studio that specialises in creating the perfect accessory for a bride’s distinctive wedding ensemble. The brand carries both jewellery and hair accessories such as combs and hair bands in silk and satin ribbon, sterling silver and gold plated filigree, featuring freshwater and cultured pearls, and Swarovski crystals. Liv Hart was kind enough to demonstrate how versatile some of her hair accessories were to create any type of look to complement the bride’s personal style, which is what she had set out to do when she built her brand. And just to prove how versatile her headpieces were, we tried a few on me to demonstrate how they would work beautifully on short-to-shoulder-length haired brides. They looked so good that I made a mental note to wear one when I get married in the future!A handful of Liv Hart’s beautiful headpieces in gilded gold Liv Hart’s gorgeous Enchanted Atelier creations That view, spot of sunshine and that hairpiece + a forlorn looking model in a Sareh Nouri gown = perfection
Sareh Nouri‘s Fall 2015 collection featured the designer’s signature ethereal and romantic wedding gowns, and for the first time, a selection of evening wear. In collaboration with the House of Sophie Hallette, Nouri created works of art using Sophie Halette laces and stands as the only designer to use these one-of-a-kind patterned lace on her gowns. But the true star of the show was Katrina Rose, the dress of my dreams. No, I did not cry like the brides on Say Yes to The Dress did when they saw their dream dress. But I did hyperventilate, feel my heart stop, skip a beat and then pound in excitement, and repeat “Oh my god” in a I-cannot-believe-how-gorgeous-this-is kind of way, like a broken tape recorder. Katrina Rose – even the name is dreamy! – was an off-the-shoulder tulle ballgown with tiny rosebuds intricately dotting the lace illusion bodice and sleeves in the prettiest shade of blush I have ever seen.
By now, I’m sure, you’ve noticed that I have a thing for blush gowns. And while the rest of Nouri’s collection was downright feminine, dreamy and romantic, this was the one that got me hot and hyperventilating. Even though I’ve seen other gowns in this increasingly popular shade over the last few days. I couldn’t stop gushing about the gown that day, and I still cannot stop today.Sareh Nouri’s Emeralda (Left) flaunts her penchant for dreamy and romantic dresses while Midnight (Right) debuts the designer’s first evening wear collection THE Katrina Rose. My dream gown.
I spent my last 12 hours in New York City visiting the last few tourist must-visit places and took the free Staten Island ferry from the South Ferry Terminal for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty at a closer distance than I did when I was on the Brooklyn Bridge. On my way to the ferry terminal, I passed by a bazaar and picked up a chocolate cronut, only because I had missed out on Dominique Ansel’s and I wanted to mentally tick that item off my list. Then, it was back to the hotel to retrieve my things and meet-up with my companions for a cab ride to the JFK International Airport.My last meal in the Big Apple
Whilst there, I had another go at Shake Shack, and this time, I ordered a vanilla shake to go with my meal. And then I promptly wished I had ordered a shake as well the first time I had it at Madison Square Park. It was like sipping the yummiest vanilla soft serve through the straw!
But all those regrets disappeared when I saw my loved ones waiting outside at the Arrival Hall at Changi Airport.