Charlie Brear has carved a reputation for a clean and contemporary aesthetic. Established in London in 2005, her design house rapidly found an audience among fashion-forward brides. Here, Charlie describes her design process and how she works with brides
I would say our gowns are identified by a fashion-led aesthetic that’s clean and contemporary with a feminine edge. Alongside our dresses we are best known for our Styling Additions collection, a customisable range that allows our brides to style one of our simple crepe or satin dresses by layering different separates over the top – from tulle, embroidered and lace overskirts and dresses to cropped tops, jackets and capelets.
As well as bridalwear, we offer ready-to-wear and quite often our brides will shop both collections in order to create their bridal look. Because we have experience in both, our bridal collections aren’t dictated by conventional wedding styles.
Weddings tend to be much less formal now and consequently brides are more confident in choosing a look that fully reflects their own sense of style, rather than having to follow traditional notions of what bridalwear should look like. I’d say that most of the brides we work with are seeking out modern, effortless styles, but also maintaining elements of tradition. This is where Styling Additions is useful – enabling every bride to create her own individual take on our gowns. It offers endless possibilities to transform a look to take her through the day and evening.
“Today, brides are more confident in choosing a look that fully reflects their own sense of style”
We have a dedicated style team based at our London flagship in Queen’s Park and their role is to guide brides as much or as little as required. Some women are very confident in their style and need little or no advice, whereas others prefer more reassurance from an experienced guide. We will talk a bride through our collection, picking out a number of dresses to choose based on their personal style and shape, and then suggesting accessories we think might work for them.
My advice to brides is always to wear something that makes them feel totally at ease – both physically and emotionally. A beautiful bride is one who is relaxed and comfortable, and so it is important to pick a wedding-day look that’s in keeping with their signature style – whether that’s romantic and floaty or pared back and minimal.