29 February, 2012

Designer Love: Angel Sanchez

If we're being honest, then I will tell you that Angel Sanchez ($$$$$) was definitely an acquired taste for me.  Mostly, it was an aesthetic dissonance.  It took me a few seasons to warm up to him, but now I am really excited for this 2012 collection.  Mr. Sanchez has been an influential name in bridal couture for some time now and I can see why.

From NY Magazine:

           Angel Sanchez founded his eponymous eveningwear label in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1987, after working as an architect for two years. He moved his corporate headquarters to New York in 1997 and launched a popular bridal collection in 1999. The label is known for architectural, contemporary silhouettes and monochromatic, brightly colored cocktail dresses and evening gowns. Sanchez launched a collection of lower-priced cocktail dresses and separates in the U.S. in spring 2009 called Angel by Angel Sanchez.

Now for the fashion!

I am such a sucker for blush wedding dresses.  It's such a romantic, feminine color and, when done well, can really push the boundaries of a simple silhouette.  I'm loving the modified trumpet and modest chapel train.

This dress is a little more my speed, I think...although I'd prefer it in off-white.  I'm dying for that bodice!  The lines are clean, but super exciting and that's just enough ruffle to fall head over for.  The slit was a little worrisome to me upon first inspection, but I really do think it offers some serious sex appeal.  I love drama and this gown has it in spades.

This is actually the first dress I saw from this collection-and I have but two words:  I. Die.  I nearly passed out from over gasping.  The floral detail is stunning and the asymmetrical neckline-forgeddaboutit!  This dress will set you back quite a bit (did you see the dollars signs, yo?) but it could be a perfect addition to your splurge list!

Let me tell you, there are so many great gowns from the Fall 2012 collection I didn't even get to, not to mention other seasons!  Oh, and before I forget, Mr. Sanchez has an ah-MAH-zing eveningwear line as well.  Check it out, might be perfect for your 'maids.  You should really do yourself a favor and check out the website.  Local gals, you can find Angel Sanchez here:

Gigi of Mequon

1550 West Mequon Road
Mequon, WI 53092
Phone: 262.241.1123 

Photo credit: angel sanchez

27 February, 2012

Designer Love: Matthew Christopher

Hey gang!

So, I'm in love with Matthew Christopher!  Although, newer to me, Mr. Christopher ($$$$-$$$$$) has been a big name in bridal fashion for awhile now.  His website is full of amazing accomplishments (like striking out on his own with an award winning bridal line at the age of 26!) and outstanding designs.  This New York based designer is known industry wide for his daring, indulgent designs and showstopping silhouettes.  Now, I usually just pick three dresses to showcase the range and versatility of a designer, but I fell head over heels for this line-and I think you will, too.

To the fashion!

Appropriately named 'Liz Taylor', this gown reminds me of the absolute best of Old Hollywood.  The stunning floral applique on the skirt of the gown is deliciously understated.  The deep plunge neckline is sexy and seems perfectly appropriate for a busty bride.  Sporting a chapel length train, hidden pockets (!!) are easily the best detail on this dress.

This is Grace.  Le sigh!  That Queen Anne collar is killing me!  Think it can't get any better?  Take a look at the back!

Whoa.  I literally have no words for how freaking stunning this is.   And yes, that is a modified chapel train on that baby.  

Bandeau.  Delicious.  Now, I know what you're thinking: "It looks like two dresses mashed together, E.  What are you thinking?!" But just look at it.  It's so beautifully avant-garde light.  I really like the off-shoulder neckline and the modified trumpet is ridiculous...ly amahzing!  That draping is freaking blowing my mind, y'all.  Wait until you see the back...

Arabesque.  I am IN LOVE with tea length dresses for Spring and Summer.  So sweet, so chic.  I also really love that this is (and really, all of MC's dresses) available in off-white.  Note the modified birdcage veil. 

The Bardot might just be my favorite in this collection.  At first, I was concerned about the bias strips going from head to toe, but overall I think it's pretty brill.  We get a really dramatic feel with the bias strips and the seemingly fly-away tulle.  I do think some brides might run the risk of getting overwhelmed in this dress, however.  It's a '10' for me, though.

So there you have it.  Five of my favorite pieces in the Matthew Christopher Spring 2012 Collection.  If I were you, I'd browse around the totally fab website.  So much deliciousness.
For you local brides, you can find Matthew Christopher at the following area locations:

7857 Big Sky Dr  
Madison, WI 53719
(608) 833-6006

Gigi of Mequon
1550 West Mequon Road 
Mequon, WI 53092
(262) 241-1123

photo credit: matthew christopher dot com

16 February, 2012

You Asked for It: Conflict-Free Beauty

Hey Goldiluxe!
A bit of a Q for you:
We try to live as peacefully as we can.  To us, that means we may not want diamonds in our rings.  What are some of our options, diamond and non? Where do you stand on the issue?

Great question!  I shall do my best:

My stance on diamonds is complicated*, so I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version.  I choose not to purchase diamonds.  I choose not to directly support an industry that has its roots firmly planted in pain and atrocity.  I do not support DeBeers and their horrifying ties to diamond wars in Africa.  I have, however, received diamonds in the past from loved ones and I wear them proudly.  The world around us is so beautiful and holds so many amazing secrets.  Each gift I’ve received was given to me with love.  Love is beautiful.  Why should I be ashamed of that?  But.  I also wear them as a reminder.  A reminder that the stones themselves are not the problem.  The greed and deceit surrounding them is.  So, my diamonds remind me of the best and the worst of our world.  They remind me to make the world better.   

That said, none of the stones in my wedding set are diamonds (I’ll get to that later).  When we looked at rings, I wanted to be able to think about my husband, our marriage and everything good the world has to offer.  No gray areas, no reminders or lessons, just beauty.

Regardless of one’s stance on diamonds, there are lots of ethically sourced and traded bridal jewelry stores out there…you just have to look for them.  Here are some of my favorites**:

1.  Brilliant Earth- This is a great source not only for conflict-free diamonds, but other gemstones as well.  Click here to read their Conflict-Free Guarantee.  One can also purchase antique diamonds here, as well.

2. Nexus Diamond Labs- The lab created revolution is here, indeed.  All diamonds featured here are lab created.  Lab created diamonds are indiscernible from mined diamonds, but exponentially more affordable.  Click here to read about the lab process.

3.  Moissanite- Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral consisting of silicon carbonite.  It can also be lab created as finding it in its natural form is extremely rare.  Fun fact: It is named after Henri Moissan, the man who discovered it.  Like the lab created diamond it is identical to a mined diamond.  The biggest criticism of Moissanite I have heard is that it is far too brilliant.  Fun fact #2: My wedding set is Moissanite and I love it!

4. The best resource I have ever seen for alternative jewelry is Offbeat Bride.  Seriously.  It’s one of my favorite websites evah, and they have three amazing stories about where to find the bestest in ethically sourced, conflict-free bridal jewelry.  Check it out.

*The thoughts on this blog are mine alone.  I do not pretend to be so sanctimonious as to condemn the choices and behaviors of others or push my beliefs onto them.  I do not support the purchase of most legally traded diamonds.  However, the choice should be made by each couple, thoughtfully and individually.  

**The sources on this blog have been researched by me and meet my standard for ethically sourcedand traded jewelry.  I encourage my readers to do their own research on the listed companies.  This way, you can make educated choices on your own, based in your own beliefs.

Photo Credit: brilliantearth.com

15 February, 2012

Designer Love: Rosa Clara

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the Rosa Clará Spring 2012 Collection ($$$$).  This Spanish designer is known world over for her breathtaking pieces. I'm a big fan of the details in this collection-you'll notice lots of clean lines, big beautiful skirts, and simple, understated necklines.  Ooh, also, pay attention to the fab lace bridal tops (another Rosa Clara signature)  Without further ado…

 Ah.  Number 119-Alcantara.  I am dying for that fab train.  Again, with the wispy skirt, I know but just look at it.  A dropped waist to die for.  All pulled together with that lovely jeweled sash.  You know, I'd also really like the sash to be in a color...

Ok, so this is #160-Arkansas.  No joke.  I love this little dress so much.  I really appreciate the nod to the prairie skirt style.  I just think it is so sweet and simple...it really is like a breath of spring.

And, finally, #211.  Adorno.  Wow.  I love this dress.  The back is killing me and so is that ultra fab lace jacket.  For me, this has a really vintage sensibility.  It looks a lot like something Grace Kelley might have worn.  Just a perfect 10 in my book.  Le sigh...

There you have it, y'all.  My favorite looks from the Spring 2012 collection.  The great thing is: I haven't even scratched the surface.  So, get on over to the website and get ready to swoon!  And for you local gals, I'm sorry to say no one in the Metro area carries Rosa Clara, but it's just a hop across state lines to the following CHI area locations:   

Le Salon
Chicago - 120 E. Delaware
60611 Illinois, Illinois
847 416 4483

Eva's Bridal of Oaklawn 
5269 W. 95th St 
 Oaklawn, Illinois 60453
708 422 5599

photo credit: wedding inspirasi dot com

13 February, 2012

You Asked For It: The Elephant Trunk & Democrat Donkey

I am a friend on Facebook.  I also follow your Goldiluxe page.  I am growing my own small business.  I wonder though, how do you reconcile being so openly political on your Facebook page.  Do you ever worry that you are alienating potential clients? 

Whoa.  Okay.  This is seriously one of my favorite questions.  Here goes:

The short answer is: I don’t know how to live any other way.  I don’t know how to separate myself from what I believe.  There are many times when I wish I could.  

The long, tedious, mildly pretentious sounding (but totally true) answer is:  You know, it’s funny.  I’ve never been afraid of politics.  I just chose to keep my opinions to myself.  I didn’t really want to rock the boat.  Then my Dad taught me a lesson.  

My Dad is one of the coolest, smartest people I’ve ever known.  He’s all the things a man should be.  He’s also a staunch Republican.  Me, well, not so much…or rather not at all.  So, there are a lot of debates, natch.  Sometimes they’re heated (which means I get all worked up and cry, because I have big feelings that are easily overcome.) But, debating with him about things like civil rights, the war on drugs, and the crumbling education system constantly reminds me of the humanity of politics.  That underneath all the rhetoric and anger are people, standing up for what they believe, trying like hell to leave this place a little better than they found it.  Forget all the things that divide us, forget the labels the pundits throw at us.  We are just people fighting for our families, for our lives.  This lesson I’ve learned from him is one of the most profound of my life.  No matter how “mad as hell” we are, we must never forget our humanity.

How does that translate to social media and to Goldiluxe?  Well, I’m not for everyone.  No business, no person for that matter is suitable for everyone.  I suppose we could be if we’re willing to hide the “controversial” parts of ourselves to suit public opinion.  But, I don’t want to be two people.  I am asking people to trust me.  To trust I will give them a memorable experience that no one else can.  How can they do that if they don’t know who I am?  So much of the world lives for money.  They cheat for it, steal for it, and lie for it.  I choose not to be one of them.  My principles, my integrity, my humanity must come first.  That’s how I will run my business.  

As far as Facebook goes, I want the Goldiluxe page to be a shining, glittering place; full of beautiful gowns, wonderful parties, love and friendship (I know, I know).  A place where everyone feels welcome and everyone feels safe.  My personal page is my outlet, my little portal to the larger world.  I have every right to express my opinions there.  You have every right to judge them.  No one has the right to silence either of us.

08 February, 2012

Designer Love: Justin Alexander

As I was flipping through my Martha Stewart Weddings mag a week or so ago, I happened upon a delicious little ad for one Justin Alexander ($$$). Color me intrigued, I thought.  So, I strapped on my cutest pair of Internet wranglin’ boots and headed off in search of more! 

I was not disappointed.  I found a great website crammed full of ah-mah-zing bridal gowns.  My faves from his Spring 2012 collection are below:

Umm, whoa.  I love the lace detail and the high (without being dullsville) collar.  Cap-ish sleeves usually make me a little peevish, but I love them on this dress.  Oh, what does the back look like, you say?  

Yeah, it's pretty much perfection.  Then, there's this:

Love it.  End of story.

How sweet is this tea length number?! Just deliciously chic and adorably simple.  I love the retro look the collection has generally, this dress especially.  Perfect length for a bold shoe, no?

And finally, my ultra fave:

Le sigh.  I don't know what it is with me, I am loving these giant, wispy, smoky looking dresses.  I just can't stop myself.  I'm also loving that jeweled sash and birdcage veil.  You know, I could see this dress with a dainty lace bolero in say, black.  Or blue.  Hmmm...

Well, there you have it.  Unbelievable beauty from the Justin Alexander Spring 2012 Collection.  Delish.  Check out the website.


Photo credit: justinalexanderbridal.com

06 February, 2012

Sneaky Peeky: Heart of Stone

Getting progress photos of heartthrob cupids for the 90's party?

Just a typical Sunday night.  Breathe it in, lucky readers.

Inspiration Board: Heart of Stone

Because we want you to know it's not all fun at games here at Goldiluxe, we thought we'd share some of our favorite images from the Heart of Stone inspiration board.  Enjoy our super hard work:

You're welcome.

Did we miss anything?  Leave it in the comments.