I’m a shoe girl. It’s hard for me to walk past a shoe store or browse a store’s website without looking at footwear. And it’s even harder for me to leave a shoe store without buying something for my tootsies to look amazing. I’m also a huge advocate for cancer awareness and advocacy (which by now you should be well aware if you visit The Anti Bridezilla often enough). So, when I can combine two of my passions - shopping and health advocacy - it’s a beautiful day!
Next month on October 16th, one of the most popular television shopping networks, QVC, will team up with iconic charitable shoe platform FFANY Shoes on Sale to present a three hour broadcast segment to feature 180 styles from over 80 footwear brands for half - yes half - the suggested retail price. The goal: a minimum of 80% of the purchase price from each pair of shoes sold will be donated to numerous breast cancer research and education institutions.
Shoe fans can expect to see gorgeous creations from established footwear brands like Nine West, Via Spiga, Isaac Mizrahi, Vince Camuto, Ivanka Trump, Jessica Simpson and many more designers. In addition to this one day event, shoppers can visit QVC.com during the month of October for the unveiling of a special style between 7 to 9AM (ET) every weekday morning.
Tonight I was invited to the launch of a new lash extension bar in the heart of midtown. Located just off of Times Square, She Winks is a fun, adorably decorated salon that specializes in eyelash extensions. The eyelash extension craze hit NYC a few years ago and has stayed on the beauty radar ever since. I was psyched to check out the new space tonight.
If you’re unfamiliar with eyelash extensions, think of individual lashes that are meant to be semi-permanent. Unlike lash strips or individual lashes that are applied with regular lash glue that lasts for about 12 hours, these human hair lashes are applied with a special adhesive that can last for up to eight weeks. You can opt for an all out full dense glam approach or go for a more natural feel. Whichever lash density you prefer, the goal is to create a look that doesn’t need eye liner or mascara.
As co-founder Ramona Azcona mentioned, lash extensions make it so that all a lady needs is lip gloss to be ready to face the day! And I must say, eyelash extensions are a great way to enhance your beauty for your big day. And since you don’t need mascara, there’s no fear of a makeup blunder when you shed tears over your vows!
One of the other benefits of attending tonight’s event was receiving a gift certificate for a complimentary full set of mink lashes. So, stay tuned as I’ll definitely be redeeming this gift certificate next month in time for my birthday!
When it comes to skincare, it’s easy to focus on more obvious areas such as arms, legs, even elbows and knees. There’s a lot of real estate on your arms and legs, so of course that makes sense. But what about a lesser known area like your underarms? They’re easy to forget, but if you’re like most brides who opt for strapless, cap sleeve or sleeveless wedding gowns, you want to make sure that your underarms look awesome when it comes time to take pictures for the bouquet toss.
And Dove, the always sensitive-skin-friendly brand has brought attention to this much neglected part of your body. Nothing detracts from the look of healthy skin than irritated underarms. So, Dove has created NutriumMoisture which contains humectants, occlusives to create a barrier to lock in moisture and sunflower seed oil & stearic acid to aid in the skin’s natural renewal process.
Their Advanced Care collection also includes three specific deodorants that are “Clear Tone”. These deodorants contain calendula to help restore your skin to its natural skin tone, which can darken with damage from repeated shaving. With the promise to keep you dry & fresh for a full 48 hours, there’s no reason not to add this easy fix to your bridal beauty regimen!
Last week I took a break from the designer profile segment to devote much needed attention to New York Fashion Week, but now that another season of ready to wear and evening wear has finished gracing NYC’s catwalks, it’s time to put the focus back on bridal. NY Bridal Fashion Week is literally just under a month away! So, to get everyone motivated for the upcoming Spring/Summer ‘15 bridal market, I have a fresh profile from Eugenia Couture.
I actually met Barbara Kavchok, the designing genius behind the line, this past April at the last Bridal Fashion Week (literally the day before I flew out for my own wedding!) and she is just a very sweet and inviting person. The line is actually named for her mother, Eugenia (who I also met!), which really resonated with me because Barbara grew up watching her mother design fashions, much like I did. So, enjoy this week’s profile and get to know her inspirations and tips for brides to be when it comes to finding THE dress.
This week on The Anti Bridezilla: More NYFW coverage with runway inspired beauty from Alterna Haircare & Kiss Nails; backstage beauty secrets from Skyn Iceland, flirty forals & modern grunge from Erin Fetherston and Artistix, wedding dress advice with “Splurge vs Steal”, and a spotlight on high fashion from Down Under with Aussie based Fashion Palette’s Spring/Summer ‘15 runway shows at NYFW plus much much more!
Erin Fetherston was my last NYFW show for the Spring/Summer ‘15 season and it was a fantastic show. Although florals are traditional for spring fashion, Erin Fetherston’s ability to make floral textural as well as visual was fantastic. Some of my personal favorites were the textural floral styles thtat doubled as fun twists for a modern bride to wear down the aisle or would be perfect for a bridal shower.
Wednesday was my last day covering NYFW and I was so happy about that! But my last show I covered (backstage and runway) was Erin Fetherston at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. She opted for a neutral yet modern beauty look, including a modern take on nail art supplied by Kiss Products. It was super cute, and would also be great for a bride or her bridesmaids.
To achieve this look estheticians used Kiss’ Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit to pair artificial nails filed in the current oval trend a simple single strip of gold tape placed at the fingertip.
Olia Zavazona platform at NY Int’l Bridal Market April ‘14
So, I’m continuing my dress advice series with something that’s truly helpful…knowing how to get the most for your money. Or in other words, “splurge versus steal”. If you read my article last week, you already know that buying a “Billie’s Bargain Basement” priced dress sight unseen is a no no. But, if you’re like the average bride in the US, there’s still a budget to be minded. Or maybe you and your hubby-to-be have opted to focus the bulk of your budget on your dream destination wedding, so you need to be economical elsewhere. Personally, I’d rather have a fab destination with a pretty dress than a show stopping dress and a lackluster setting. Whatever your reason, even though I post couture gowns all day every day on here, I’m not oblivious to the reality facing most bridal couples. Cost matters, and you need to get the most bang for your buck. But how do you do find a happy compromise between style and cost?
First, let me say that I’m not just someone who loves to post pretty dresses and write bridal advice. I work in the fashion industry, from buyer/merchandiser to production coordinator, I understand very well the cost of raw goods that goes into producing quality garments as well as how to create a high quality look without going overboard financially. So, from my personal experience (and having grown up watching my mother create gowns for bridal parties in her custom design clothing salon back home in Indy), here are some tips to help you find a happy medium.
Simple elegance from Ines di Santo at Couture Show April ‘14; Photo Credit: Manuel Tejeda Photography
1. Know your budget and source designers accordingly.
Although bridal designers don’t typically post MSRPs on their websites, most bridal magazines and salons will give you a price range for each designer. Before you make an appointment, scope out the salons in your area and check the price ranges and book appointments with salons that carry gowns in your range. Tell them your price range - and DO NOT attempt to look at gowns beyond your budget. Nothing’s worse than trying on a dress that’s beyond your budget because nothing else will ever look as nice. Don’t do it to yourself!
2. Understand what you’re paying for.
Most of the gowns I post on The Anti Bridezilla start in the $2500 range and work their way up depending on the amount of detailing. Understand that a heavily detailed dress in terms of construction (i.e. multi-tiered skirt, pintucking in the bodice, illusion lace cut outs with strategic appliques that look like the dress is painted on, dramatic long trains) is expensive. All that detailing requires an expert pattern maker and a production team that understands how to effectively achieve that style. Throw in additional design trims like crystals, beading, floral appliques, etc and now you have a couture garment with a couture price tag to match.
3. Quality vs. Quantity
Yes, there are lower priced bridal lines that imitate the look of a couture gown at a bargain price (and no I’m not talking buying a random dress online). But, to compromise in price, the quality of the raw materials (fabrics, trims, crystals, etc) and actual construction of the gown will be lower. A perfect example: I went to a big box bridal store when I was dress shopping and tried on a gown from the lower priced line of a very well known bridal designer. I’ll put it like this, from the pictures on the website the gown was gorgeous. But up close, I could tell why the dress I tried on was cheaper than the ones in the designer’s official bridal salon. If name is more important than the overall quality of the gown, then this is not a problem and definitely a way to go. If it bugs you (like it did for me) read on!
4. Compromise on design elements
If your budget doesn’t allow you to pick the gown with all the creative elements, focus on a few. When working with lower price points, it’s better to find a balanced dress with a gorgeous detailed skirt and a simple bodice (or the reverse) versus trying to replicate an ornate gown that looks poorly constructed or cheap up close. Not only does your money go farther, but simple clean elegance is priceless and will always photograph well. Remember, with the money you save on the gown, you can still purchase accessories like a bridal belt or brooches to give additional pizzazz to a plain gown.
5. Trunk Sales & Sample Sales
If you’re a discerning bride who knows specifically the type of gown she wants, these can be great ways to snag a pricier designer at a reasonable price. A trunk sale is when a specific designer holds a showcase at a bridal salon. Normally the designer (or their rep) will be in attendance. Gowns from that designer that are purchased during the trunk sale are usually offered at a significant discount (sometimes as high as 30% off).
Sample sales are when bridal salons need to move out of season gowns to make room for the new styles. Unlike faux samples sales that happen around NYC where it’s really excess merchandise being sold off, these are legit sample sales. These are the dresses that other brides to be have been trying on all season to order a gown that is specified to their measurements. The upside to a sample sale is that these gowns will be deeply discounted to offset the reality that they’ve been “loved to death” with all the daily handling they’ve endured. The downside is that you need to factor in a much needed trip to the tailor and cleaner to make minor repairs like rips to crinoline, loose straps or a bead or two that needs to be replaced - in addition to a good cleaning to bring it back to life.
There’s no question that being a model can be grueling work. It may seem like a fun lifestyle, but early AM call times, back to back runway shows and jet setting from casting to casting can take a toll on your skin. There are a ton of tricks that MUAs can use to hide signs of tired skin and to make models look fresh faced and dewy. But when you actually have fresh dewy skin it’s like building a house on a solid foundation that makes your entire beauty look infinitely better. Lately, however, there’s been one go-to brand that’s become an industry insider secret in the fashion industry - Skyn Iceland.
I was first introduced to Skyn Iceland last year when I launched my first Bridal Must Have Guide last Fall and I’ve been a fan ever since. Skyn Iceland is a brand that’s become a staple at New York Fashion Week and is featured consistently in backstage areas from Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to independent shows, & everything in between. Born out of necessity, Skyn Iceland was developed by founder Sarah Kugelman (who I chatted with at several backstage events this NYFW) after a quintessential NYC lifestyle left her skin zapped and unhealthy. After a trip to Iceland, she learned that the nation’s mineral rich glacial water had properties that were essential for replenishing and renewing skin. Armed with this knowledge, she created a complete vegan friendly skincare line that detoxifies and balances your skin to restore a glowing even and youthful skin and appearance.
So bringing it back to NYFW, if you go backstage to a show, you’re sure to see models sporting Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Face, Forehead & Eye Gels before they hop in the makeup chair. It’s a skincare staple that translates from “runway to realway” These drip free, no-mess self adhesive gels actively cool the skin to reduce puffiness and infuse hydration. Outside of a fashion show, brides and bridesmaids should rock these before getting their makeup done to ensure that any traces of a “last night as a single woman” party don’t leave any residual effects on your big day!
When it comes to hairstyles for your wedding day, there are literally an infinite number of options! Updos, straight, beach waves…anything is up for consideration. But something I love that has such a glam aspect to it is big sexy curly hair. This isn’t those traditional Shirley Temple curls that you see in the half updo styles trending on Pinterest. I’m talking Disco era ’70s glam hair. And I have some tips for you on how to recreate that look!
Earlier this week I dropped by the Georgine backstage for their Spring/Summer ‘15 runway show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to cover Alterna Haircare. I met with Ric Pipino, the lead stylist for Georgine’s show and his best takeway was that regardless of what style you opt to wear, it all comes down to proper product. But when you’re looking to infuse big sexy hair, reach for a great texturizer - which of course Alterna carries!
So if vintage glam Disco-esque big sexy hair is a look you want to achieve, Ric offers the following tips below: