All the stops were pulled out last Thursday evening at the newly converted Waldorf Astoria Chicago (formerly the much-acclaimed Elysian) to impress fashionistas and bridal couture connoisseurs alike for Belle Vie Bridal Couture's spring show.
Guests were led to the fifth floor and into a mirrored ball room, featuring grand cylindrical chandeliers, stylish black and white decor, and of course a red carpet. The audience was ironically a sea of mimicry: sleek, black mini dresses and slim skirts, with the odd pop of cherry red from a bright blazer or a pair of tights, served as the unspoken dress code for the evening.
An evening of sophistication with the likes of Valentino and Lanvin is surely not complete without Dom—and 2002 Vintage it was, flowing freely from the bottles of the servers in anticipation of the main event. After passed first-course nibbles of fish and chips and shrimp cocktail, the lights dimmed and the first models emerged from the curtains: two beautiful little girls escorted by a handsome little man in fine leather oxfords who couldn’t have been more than five. They scattered rose petals around the mirrored platform and arm in arm, retreated back down the aisle without so much as a misstep. The show was surely off to a perfect start!
First up, designer Elizabeth Fillmore. The gowns were romantic and some barely-there, with cuts that hug the figure just so. From my seat on the left side of the platform, the lighting made it difficult to capture photos of the front of the gowns—but was perfect for shooting the lovely details of the back.
After a second course of passed steak tartar and especially delectable cheese gougeres, spring gowns from designer J. Mendel took center stage. Known for his elegant, modern draping and modern smocking, Mr. Mendel did not disappoint—though the fur shrugs that interestingly accessorized each design were a bit of a distraction from the main event.
Truffle mushroom risotto bites and caprese skewers whet appetites for the next course: the iconic, ever-revered Valentino. The Italian designer surprised with two short, shimmery gowns—of course, right on pointe with the season’s trend. A sparkling champagne drop-waisted ball gown and a sleek, modern long-sleeved gown with a twist V-neck rounded out the collection.
Belle Vie saved the best for last—the first Lanvin gown was truly a stunner and my favorite of the evening. A fabulous belt added a serious bling factor to an otherwise simple, romantic piece. A draped, soft one-shoulder gown (also belted) was a close second for me. A flowy lace number and a classicly chic ballgown–t-shirt combination finished out the evening.
The lovely and always gorgeous Amanda Bonnell, owner of Belle Vie Bridal Couture, took center stage to thank guests in a covet-worthy, diamond-print Lanvin, which is yet to hit stores. Passed white macarons and parting bouquets of red roses, in lieu of swag bags, were the perfect ending to a night of high-class bridal fashion in Chicago.