INTERVIEW WITH WENDY LOUISE FROM BELLE FOLIE DESIGN STUDIO
FOR QUEENSLAND WEDDING & BRIDE
Briefly tell us about your business Belle Folie:
Belle Folie is a creative collaboration between Rebecca and myself. I have been designing and creating jewellery for 30 years with Wendy Louise Designs and Rebecca Cobbing Couture’s award winning designs have a reputation for originality and a growing national following.
What inspired you to get in to the industry/start your business, and how do you work together?
We met while studying millinery at TAFE , we were both already working in the industry and studying to further our skills, we believe you never stop learning and growing in this field, and although we had distinctively different styles and experience we shared a real passion for original fashion and good design. I love vintage and have a good knowledge of historical styling ,art and antiques and Rebecca has a modern innovative approach to couture with advanced technical skills in garment construction and corsetry. I think we work well together, we bounce ideas off each other and collaborate on many pieces, while other work will fall into either Rebecca’s or my area of expertise, I think between us we have a lot covered, jewellery, accessories, couture, millinery, corsetry, styling, etc. we specialize in Bridal but do so much more.
Its hard work and very hectic but I love it, we constantly challenge and inspire each other to create and innovate, I think the energy and enthusiasm we share with our clients make this a great work environment.
How can you re-style ? Please list and describe at least 5 different popular options, explaining how they can transform a gown
There are many ways to personalize your bridal look. The most common requests involve customizing an existing gown or creating options that take a bridal dress from the ceremony to the reception with two different looks.
We personalize looks with bespoke couture belts, jeweled straps and vintage detailing. You can emphasize or divert attention from a particular feature with the clever use of embellishment and accessories. An ornate strap can add a touch of drama or volume to the bodice, the right belt can emphasise or create the impression of a tiny waist, there is no set rule its often a matter of experience and an eye for balance.
We love making unique collage pieces for our brides, belts, combs, headpieces etc. We constantly collect rare vintage pieces, beautiful French Chantilly and beaded lace, crystal vintage components etc. Often girls have a special item that doesn’t look quite right with their gown but it means so much to them they want to wear it close, we can work in a vintage brooch, button , string of pearls or even a piece of silk or lace from Mum or Nanas collection, I love making these pieces they are so special.
Adding a coordinating garment such as a bolero or an overskirt allows a bride to have two distinctive looks – one for the ceremony and one for the reception. A bolero is a great way to create the illusion of sleeves to a strapless gown. This allows for a more conservative look for the church whilst retaining the strapless option for the reception. Overskirts are great for the bride that wants a dramatic look for the ceremony and a more manageable style for after.
How important are accessories to completing a gown/wedding look?
Personally I think a bride is the star, she has to shine and look fabulous, I want to hear an audible gasp when she enters a room, that is both my job and my passion!
I don’t think a bridal look is really finished without a beautiful headpiece, comb or veil, it may just be a simple sparkling art deco hair clip or an ornate headdress and veil, so many different styles but to me they all say “here comes the bride!”
How can accessories transform a gown? Please explain how different pieces can add a new dimension to a gown – please be as detailed as you can.
Accessories can create a mood or theme, they can emphasize a feature or disguise another, they can take a look from simple and fresh to glamorous and sophisticated and they can transform a stylish dress to a fabulous bridal gown so I think they are very important.
It’s hard to know where to start, it’s quite an involved process I suppose but after 30 years I think it just seems natural, it depends on the gown and the bride, each girl is different.
Some girls have a picture in their mind they have carried for years, we have to work with them to make it happen.
You could take 1 simple ivory strapless gown with a full skirt for example and turn it into a vintage “Dior” style piece of sophistication, long gloves, handmade silk flowers and pearl accessories or a 1950’s vintage look with lace bolero, detailed cocktail fascinator with vintage veiling and retro jewellery or a Glamorous Hollywood diva dripping with jewels, chandelier earrings, sparkling jeweled belt and dramatic side comb. .
A long line slip style dress could be transformed into a Gatsby extravaganza, with rows of waist and hip length pearls and crystals, long drop earrings, an edgy art deco clip or headband a pair of sparkling deco brooches or dress clips worn at the shoulders. Or you could add a bespoke garland headpiece of vintage silk flowers , baroque pearls, rose quartz and natural gems on a low slung belt for some boho chic
Do you find brides sometimes start with their accessories and then choose their gowns, or is it always the other way around?
Very rarely – Occasionally a bride will just fall in love with one of our pieces and then work their look around it but that has really only happened to me a few times in the last 30 years!
How can the wrong accessories overwhelm a gown and what should brides-to-be avoid
It’s just a matter of balance really, I advise brides to choose one major piece to be the focus then coordinate all the other elements to work with it, if you have too many different elements they compete with each other and look cluttered and messy.
Anything else that you would like to add.
Finally it’s not about rules and conventions, designer labels or huge budgets, it’s about finding a style and a total look that is right for you, harmony balance, emphasis all play their part in creating a finished look. You should be comfortable, feel beautiful, happy and confident and express your own style, a bit of professional help never hurts but we are only here to help you look and feel at your best, that’s our job and we love it.