Hope you are ready for a whole lot of pretty because that's exactly what this month's featured vendor is bringing! Haute Bride is a bridal boutique and jewelry design studio based in Los Gatos, California. Every time I'm walking down Santa Cruz Avenue I still can't help but stop and look at the gorgeous gowns in their window. Inside, the shop is warm and welcoming and filled with wall to wall sparkle. The Haute Bride girls are all so sweet and helpful and we were lucky enough to have one of their wonderful bridal consultants, Ariana, take some time out of her morning to tell us more about the shop.
How long has the salon been open and how did it transition from accessories to full bridal?
We moved down from San Francisco about five and a half years ago and we've been right here on Santa Cruz Avenue since then. We did start out when Lindsie [the owner] designed her accessories for her wedding day and just really fell in love with the process. She felt like she hadn't been able to find what she was looking for and it kind of blossomed into creating things for brides that were a little bit more customized and personalized. She actually started making relationships with wedding dress designers to have dresses to pair with the jewelry. So she did start doing dresses back when we were in San Francisco and by the time we got here we had really great relationships [ie: Hayley Paige who is originally from Los Gatos].
How do you select the designers you carry?
We carry designers that we really believe in in terms of their designs and their commitment to great products and quality and who create really beautiful, very stylish options. We very rarely bring new designers in. If there is a hole in our collection though and we're hearing from brides that there's something they're really loving and we just don't have a designer that does that style, then we'll bring somebody new in that might be able to accommodate that look or have something fresh that they bring to the table.
Which designers' gowns are available at Haute Bride?
We've got the signature Hayley Paige collection as well as her Blush by Hayley Paige, which is a little bit more of an affordable price point. We have Matthew Christopher, Made With Love, a Canadian designer called Mikaella, Theia who has some really fun mix and match separates options to really personalize a look, Christos, Amsale, and Augusta Jones.
How does sizing work at Haute Bride?
Typically the sample size is around a bridal 12, which does run larger than a traditional retail size. That's usually the recommended sample size from the designer and what they make their samples in. It's a size that can be sized up to fit a bride who may need a little bit more room or sized down to fit a bride who is a little bit on the smaller side. We use a lot of clips and inserts to perfect the fit and since our dresses are made to order we do measurements and go off each designer's individual size chart and we'll recommend the size that we think will be the best fit for the bride. Then she'll work with a tailor that they select (we have a list of great recommendations) who will perfect the fit.
When do you recommend a bride start looking for her dress?
We recommend at least eight to nine months to have the dress made, shipped and tailored so ideally you're placing the order with at least that amount of time to go before the wedding. We definitely can accommodate a little bit of a shorter lead time for some of our designers. They might have an express style that takes less time or a rush option. We do also have a selection of sample sale dresses if there's just not time to have something made at all. I would recommend starting preferably a year in advance just because then you have time to find something you fall in love with. You don't feel like you have to make a decision.
What does it look like when girls make their appointment at Haute Bride? What can they expect and who should they bring with them?
We do ask for a maximum of five guests. It's partly because our salon is a little bit more on the intimate side and we do two appointments per time slot so we want to make sure everyone has a great experience. We also want to make sure our brides bring people they trust who are going to give them honest feedback but will let them decide what they love. It's really important for us to have our brides find a dress that they feel beautiful in so we want to make sure that they're bringing voices that are going to be really respectful of that. We do hour long appointments on the weekends but we are happy to make longer appointments available during the week. We do have the option if they are just having a hard time saying yes, to schedule a return appointment to come back and revisit their favorite styles and they can also come back to focus on accessorizing. We hope brides come in with a little bit of an idea of what they like but I recommend having an open mind. We have them pick the first few dresses to get a sense of their style and then once they try them on we see what they like on and then we can start making some recommendations to hopefully narrow things down.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the accessories?
If you see a sample on the floor that is in silver but you want it in gold or rose gold or you want to adjust the color palette a little bit we can do that. The pieces aren't fully customizable down to the last stone, but we do have a lot of options and because they're all made in house our team is really knowledgeable.
How would you describe Haute Bride and the styles you carry in three words?
Overall I would say fresh, feminine and romantic. I think we tend to have a little bit more of a nontraditional style. Some pieces are very classic, elegant and timeless and then others feel more unique and full of personality so brides can really pick something that suits their style.
Did you attend fall bridal fashion week?
Yes. We show twice a year at fashion week just like bridal designers. We bring our new collection of jewelry. This is our flagship boutique and the only place that we carry our designs with our dresses but there are retailers all over the country that carry our accessories in their salons. So we go and scope out the shows for designers that we carry and then we showcase our new designs. It's really fun and it lets us see what people are bringing to the table and what kind of styles are going to be great for the season ahead. The show we just attended, those gowns will be arriving in store probably around May/June. But we do have trunk shows, which is a sneak peek and our 2018 shows will be starting in January. We get the brand new collection, straight from the runway so brides can see the new styles, try them on and get an early jump on those dresses before they're available in store.
What were some of the trends you saw at October's bridal fashion week?
People are having a lot of fun with the fabrics. I'd say very textural dresses are really coming out. We're starting to see more separates and jumpsuits. A lot of mix and match and detachables- Hayley Paige has a recent dress that's a beautiful silk crepe column with a Swarovski jewel collar and it has a detachable overskirt. So you go from her very signature full silhouette with the layers to something that's a little bit sleeker. Really fun playful options! We're definitely seeing a lot more color as well. We've got a lot of champagnes, some blush, nudes, and blue-grey.
What do you enjoy the most about working with brides?
It's such a fun process and it's really about finding what they feel confident in. You can tell when a bride is wearing a dress that she loves because she just lights up and doesn't want to take it off. It's such a great feeling when you find that moment and you know they're going to be excited to put this on on their wedding day and look back at their photos. And we can just make it so much more personal with all of the accessories and styling, it's just really fun when you can take their personal style and translate it into something that feels like a once in a lifetime wedding look. That's the most important thing to us. If a bride buys with us, we want them to leave feeling so happy, so excited. It's such a big moment for them and we want it to feel really special.
If you are in the midst of dress shopping and haven't stopped by Haute Bride yet, you can make at appointment with them by calling the shop at 408.827.4775 or visit their website at www.hautebride.com. The goodness doesn't end there though, friends. We were able to do a shoot at the salon and would love to show you some of the gorgeous dresses and accessories that you can find there!