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In-Depth with ANNE BARGE
Award winning bridal designer, Anne Barge has become the epitome of classic wedding gown design in the bridal industry. Anne Barge's creations of new world elegance are reminiscent of the past, but truly the vogue of the wedding fashion industry today!
Anne Barge’s dream of being a wedding designer started at the young age of three years old. It however, was not what everyone else was dreaming she would be! Anne’s mother, an accomplished pianist, signed Anne up for piano lessons at the age of two. Anne would attend wedding events, while her mother played the piano all through her adolescence. Anne’s mother soon realized though, Anne’s interest lied in the dresses she saw on the brides at these weddings and not in the music she heard. Anne’s mom resolved to allow Anne to continue her dream of being a wedding gown designer, as long as she continued her piano lessons!
Anne’s interest in fashion continued to heighten over the years, especially when her aunt moved to Paris and would send her fashion magazines on a regular basis. However, when it came to post-secondary education, becoming a designer was not her parent’s first choice. They encouraged her to educate herself in a field that would bring her a secure income. In 1966, Anne attended the University of Georgia to pursue a career as an art teacher.
Anne’s heart stayed true to her dream; in 1969, during a student teaching assignment in Atlanta, she learned that a well-known designer - Priscilla of Boston was coming to do a trunk show. On a whim, she convinced her teacher to drive her to it. When Anne showed her sketches of bridal gowns she was hired on the spot and started as an apprentice at Priscilla of Boston for head designer Jim Hjelm.
Anne’s honed her skills in several facets of the fashion industry before she was beckoned for the position of Managing Director for billionaire mogul Richard Branson’s “Virgin Bride” store, based in London England in 1990. For Virgin Bride, Anne designed a private label introducing British brides to chic modern designs that were not prevalent in the United Kingdom at that time.
In March of 1999, with the encouragement of friends and family, Anne launched her own label at the New York Bridal Market opening eighteen accounts in North America and one in England under the “Anne Barge Bridal Collection.”
Today, with a studio and head quarters in Atlanta, Anne features three distinct collections: Black Label, Couture and La Fleur. In spring of 2007, Anne Barge Bridal Collection became the licensee of bridal gowns for Badgley Mischka. Anne also opened a new retail store in February of 2007, Anne Barge Atelier, in Atlanta’s prestigious Buckhead district.
Timeless and elegant, Anne’s gowns are created with the finest of materials using museum quality accents of beading and embroidery. Since launching her private label, her romantic collections have been featured on television and in magazines. Anne’s work is always exquisite in detail with cuts that flatter the feminine silhouettes of today’s modern intelligent women.
While famous for her bridal designs, Anne also has one-of-a-kind, custom-made evening gowns available. The Anne Barge Bridal Collection is represented at the finest bridal stores throughout North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.
Anne Barge's Interview with TheRingbearer.ca
Q. What type of bride wears your wedding gowns?
A. The type of bride that wears an Anne Barge gown is a classic, refined and elegant woman who believes that a good design is timeless.
Q. Do you have a signature style you are known for?
A. A-line split bateau neckline and museum quality accents of beading and embroidery.
Q. What trends can we expect for the upcoming wedding season from the Anne Barge Bridal collection?
A. Trends for the upcoming season will be alternative necklines to strapless, and if the gown is strapless, it will have a lot of unique detail about it in fabrication and silhouette.
Q. What recommendations do you have for a bride picking a dress for her Anne Barge wedding day?
A. Recommendations for a bride selecting a dress would be to select the venue before starting the search. The place and the time of the wedding set the level of formality for the gown. The second most important consideration is budget and the third would be your height and an idea of flattering silhouettes.
Q. What recommendations do you have for a bride bringing her bridesmaids to a boutique to pick her bridesmaids dresses?
A. I would recommend that a bride take only one bridesmaid or her mother to shop for bridesmaid gowns.
Q. How far in advance to the wedding should a bride place an order for her wedding gown?
A. A bride should order her gown as soon as she finds it! Then, it is easy to make other decisions about the wedding.
Q. Destination weddings are very popular right now. What type of fabric travels well and what gowns would you recommend from your collection for a bride travelling to a tropical location for her wedding day?
A. Fabrics that travel well are cotton and Alencon laces, chiffons, embroidered nets and silk taffetas. We have a number of gowns in these fabrications which are more narrow silhouettes and are great for destination weddings.
Q. Accessories are so important for the finishing touches to your bridal ensemble, what do you recommend for your brides?
A. Usually, I recommend a drop earring and possibly a brooch or bracelet depending on the gown. Accessories really depend on the gown and the amount of embellishment.
Q. Are your brides requesting more than one dress for their wedding day?
A. Some of our brides wear a gown for the ceremony and change to another for the reception. Usually, the second gown is short or straighter and lends itself to dancing.
Q. Can a bride customize a dress to suit her? For example if she wanted a top from one gown and the bottom from another would you accommodate this?
A. We customize gowns 80% of the time! We are happy to accommodate the wishes of a bride as long as we know the gown will turn out beautifully.
Q. If you could pick a celebrity to design a wedding gown for who would it be and why?
A. The celebrity I would most like to dress is Reese Witherspoon. I think she fits the classic, timeless image that we have.
Q. Do you have a line for plus size brides?
A. We do not have a line for plus size brides because we can make any of our gowns in any size. The styles of many of our gowns are great for plus size brides.
Q. What do you consider to be the core values of your company and how have they influenced you as a designer over the years?
A. The core value of our company is customer service and the highest level of integrity. We hold our retailers and brides in the highest esteem.