What a busy, busy, busy month it’s turning out to be! And I’m loving every single second of it, though what with throwing myself into new projects and travels to London (various visits) and Barcelona recently to enjoy the White Gallery and other bridal fashion shows scattered across the city, it is feeling pretty full on right now. Good job I thrive when it’s like this, and especially so when I get to work alongside really talented individuals like Georgina Harrison (our new partner photographer by the way) and get to visit super cool brands like Houghton NYC.
I need to tell you all about Houghton NYC; clearly a New York based label, this sexy, alternative, modern brand of bridal fashion was founded by designer Katharine Polk. Katharine was named after actress Katharine Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn’s middle name was Houghton. “The Houghton brand is always inspired her”, Katharine told me, “her affinity for menswear and her free spirit.”
This is certainly not a brand for ‘Daddy’s girl’ – the Houghton bride is independent and fearless – she wants to look chic and sexy on her wedding day. But equally so, this is neither a brand reserved for cool, modern fashion loving millennials. I took several video clips of designer Katharine speaking during my time with her in London earlier this month – one of my favourite clips involves Katharine talking about how her brand is as much for the older bride, she in her 40’s and 50’s looking to tie the knot in something different.
“Houghton Bride offers a whole new vision of what bridal wear can be: unpretentious, comfortable, easy luxury, inspired by style icons Katharine Hepburn and Bianca Jagger. I wanted to develop a business that catered to a totally different kind of woman, and whether it’s her first wedding, or her third – because many women now are choosing to get married in their 40’s and 50’s, well, they don’t want to go and try on (and I don’t mean this in any offensive way at all) a strapless princess dress.”
Photography by Georgina Harrison
I first met Katharine in 2015 during Barcelona Bridal fashion week – I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to dine with Katharine and her team. Sadly, poor Katharine was rather ill with food poisoning that evening and so we didn’t really see her (though I did get to meet the rather charming Christy of Loho Bride and her equally as charming partner). So it was wonderful to finally get a chance to meet and chat with Katharine earlier this month when she visited London to showcase her new collection to the press and bridal buyers.
One of those buyers in town was Emma Marshall of Miss Bush Bridal. She had been to visit Katharine and her assistant to view her collection at the Dean Street House Hotel a couple of days before we did. As photographer Georgina Harrison and I were leaving our appointment with Houghton Bride that day, my mobile phone pinged with the arrival of a new text message. It was from Emma; “Tell Katharine I’m going to confirm an order!”. This made me very happy indeed. I knew in an instant that it meant that the super cool and edgy Houghton bride label I adore so much would shortly be making it’s way to Miss Bush Bridal in Surrey.
I wanted to invite Emma Marshall of Miss Bush Bridal to share a few words on her soon-to-be stocked new bridal fashion brand. As ever, she’s captured the spirit of the Houghton bride most perfectly in her choice of words….
“Years ago, when I was complaining to anyone who would listen, that I was uninspired by British bridal trade shows I was advised to go to Barcelona. For over a decade it has been my go to destination for cool brands and last year New York brand Houghton was invited as a guest exhibitor.”
“As I took my seat with Annabel to watch the Houghton fashion show, the runway covered with Afghan rugs, we were treated to a spectacle that was pure fashion. Sheepskin gilets were teamed with trousers, exclusive prints showcased colour and brutal minimalism was softened by light as air silks. Extreme androgyny and extreme femininity blurred the traditional binary world of bridal wear.”
“This season Houghton is coming to The Chapel. Inspired by my own wedding dress hunt, the US concept of a wedding wardrobe for your entire weekend and designer Katharine Polk’s philosophy of chic, sexy fun and fearless dresses with serious wear again potential I have selected key pieces which I know brides are going to love.”
“As the internet continues to shrink the bridal fashion to an Instagram boutique and a new daring demographic emerges I get more excited season after season to be able to share braver, ground-breaking labels.”
I adore the polka dots above – imagine this with a delicate underslip and a killer statement pair of heels? That’ designer Katharine Polk below (I took this image on my trustee Olympus Pen cam – my favourite toy EVER).
Houghton Bride’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection is inspired by shapes and effects created by layering. There are feminine and romantic silhouette’s a plenty, only with a cool, modern edge – there’s a distinct undertone of subtle sexiness throughout which I adore. Just enough to make a statement, not too much that it becomes contrived.
The collection has been designed with a ‘ready to wear’ vibe in mind – Katharine says her brides aren’t the kind who will want to wear a dress once then put it back in a box – she designs for the bride who wants to wear her wedding dress again and again.
You can find out more about Houghton NYC by visiting houghtonnyc.com. You will also find Houghton NYC on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can also connect with Miss Bush Bridal through Little Book For Brides, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
My love and thanks to Georgina Harrison for working so hard in London with me over 3 days shooting a billion images as we worked our way through all the new bridal fashion collections. Georgina is an incredibly talented wedding photographer who loves to shoot both film and digital. Take a moment to find out more if you still have not booked your wedding photographer.
Love Annabel x