Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lu Raquel Custom Gowns

One of the perks of Lu Raquel?! Any customization you can dream of on our gowns! Showing off a little custom love to our Giselle and Elizabeth. What changes would you make to your gowns?

On our Giselle, we added gorgeous illusion petal sleeves and raised the neckline slightly for a more modest take on one of our partner store's stock gowns.

The Elizabeth has some flirty flair with a neckline change, taking it from a sleeveless illusion, to a strapless sweetheart.
We LOVE options, and love even more when a twist is put on our gowns to fit a specific shop or bride.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Our beauty! The Helene is the definition of sophistication. The sexy low cut neckline and the Queen Anne collar give a perfect balance to this stunner. For the modest bride, we have so many different ways to create a unique look and make it just a bit more conservative. Take a look at one fun option...an illusion lace panel at the neckline. We absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! Visit www,luraquel.com to see this beautiful gown and other fun customization ideas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan! How we love thee!!!

As a design team, we are constantly working to come up with new inspiration and gowns for our new season. In all the hustle and bustle it is so easy to forget how much we love our past seasons. Today we are highlighting the "RYAN" our simple and elegant peplum gown. The proportions are spot on and this gown flatters like you would NOT believe. For the bride that is hesitant of the peplum or just flat out against it...give it a try!!!! This silhouette will surprise the heck out of you! We will say it loud and proud...

...We love the peplum! 
Visit our collections at www.luraquel.com!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

         Our featured dress of the week the Olivia Jane!

Every Collection needs a crop top! This simple but elegant lace bodice has a beautiful illusion scalloped lace edging with just the right amount of Swarovski crystal to create the perfect amount of bling! The skirt is a natural waisted ball gown made of a beautiful 50/50 silk an taffeta blend.

#LuRaquel #WeddingGowns #OliviaJane #Fierce #BridalMarket 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We love our interns..meet our international student Yini!

We love our interns. Watching them learn and grow each day is such a wonderful thing to experience. Yini has a bachelors degree from Shanghai University in China, and is doing her international studies at Gonzaga University. We just lover her and the extremely important role she plays in our company. Today Yini blogs on the her views regarding her role with Lu Raquel! Enjoy!


Blog No.7
I began participating in meetings in the morning since last week. Although I need to get
up one hour early , having opportunities to meet everyone in the morning and listen to everyone’s objectives and daily quotes makes me feel that I am really a part of the team, which is awesome. Knowing what each team member does for each day’s work helps me know their responsibilities and roles for the team. Thus, it will be really helpful for me to write the paper about the company’s organizational structure because I have a clear idea of each one’s position, job and duty.
In addition to observing and exploring others’ work, I should also spend more time

thinking about what my role is in the team just like what Sarah asked me this morning in the sales meeting. Because I am an intern and do not have a title of work, which means there is no specific thing that I am taking charge of now, so it is a little bit hard for me to find the role I am playing in the team now. However, it does not mean that I do not have a role. I did not realize that I had a role until Sarah asked me that question, I started thinking about that and my lovely coworkers complimented me on doing good with my job. I super appreciated what they said about me. I was strongly encouraged. I felt I was meaningful and valuable to this team and the company rather than just being like a short-term intern who does a little work, does not have a title, so does not worth to be valued. I was so so glad that what I did have been seen and been appreciated. Not every company treats interns just like treat any other regular employees, but Lu Raquel is that kind of company caring each one of the employees. Thus, I am so happy that I am here, not anywhere else. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Behind the scenes with the Lu Raquel Design Team

There is no way to describe the joy that comes from designing.  The moment the pencil touches the paper it seems to take off in all sorts of directions. We can't say that we were expecting everything that has been thrown at us, but we can say we are absolutely thrilled!!!

Currently Lu Raquel has begun the design process behind the Fall 2015 Collection and we cannot put into words how ecstatic we are  to be a part of this amazing experience.  The thought of collaborating with amazingly talented designers is truly inspiring.  Did we mention the fact that our Spring 2015 gowns have already debuted and can be seen in bridal shops here and abroad?!  Every day we are so thankful to be doing what we love with a company that has just as much heart and drive as we do.  What more could we ask for as designers?

For our interns who are young, fresh and out of design school, formal training has bombarded them with all of the "correct" ways to draw inspiration.  A huge thank you to all the amazing professors that have helped this talented group of people become the designers they are today . It seems that inspiration surrounds them daily. They take from what women are wearing on the streets, national trends, color trends, movement of garments on a body, wedding trends, bridal shows, TEXTILES, and brides themselves (thank you Pintrest) and are constantly coming up with ideas for our collections. Below are a couple of examples of non traditional sources of inspiration for this creative team!

Nature.  Cliche? Perhaps. However, the great outdoors is an amazing inspiration on a daily basis.   Peonies, daisies, roses ! It is amazing what inspiration you can get by just  taking a moment to analyze the beauty and structure of any flower.  There's a reason women are so often compared to flowers.  The curves, the subtle elegance, two definite inspirations that can be seen within our designs.

Taste.  Food and drink, we find that in an odd way food and drink can definitely enhance the design process.  Whether it's the tartness of a blackberry, creaminess of frozen yogurt, or richness of milk chocolate (okay those were all foods) they inspire the flow and structure of many of our  garments.  It may not come off initially but trust us...we can see it.

even our sketch books are chaos

Flats are a pain in the tookus!  That's all there is to it and there is no avoiding it.  When it comes to working and communicating with the factories, there is no other way to get ideas across.  You may have the most beautiful sketch in the world, but at times there's only so far that can take a designer.

What can you expect to see from our collection?  We're really digging the idea of mashing up ready to wear and bridal.  We want brides to be comfortable yet still glamorous on their big day!  We are loving peplums, lace, keyhole and illusion backs, breathtaking details, dramatic necklines, intricate bodices, classic silhouettes and with each design...something that's never been seen before.  After all we are not just designers...we are innovators.

Until next time, 
Lu Raquel Design Team

All designs are property of Lu Raquel Inc.© We reserve the right to take legal action/prosecute if any designs are copied.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Ryan - Oooooh, she is a stunner!

This one is definitely ahead of the curve...one of the most unique in our collection!  Without further ado...

The Ryan

 Exuding elegance, she is polished in every way...

however, she commands a room with her magnetic persona and alluring identity.

Love from all of us, 
The Lu Raquel Team

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Elizabeth

"She exudes class, elegance and charm... while remaining sexy and daring."
- The Elizabeth

Made of gorgeous lace and dutchess satin, the Elizabeth gives a luxurious feel to a classic design. It boasts a natural waist line and a beautiful illusion neckline that we just can't get enough of this season! Box pleats gracefully fall to the ground for a beautiful ball gown effect and pockets give this dress that hidden touch that is both convenient and unexpected.  Make no mistake, this gown will catch the eyes of many long after the big day is through. 

Find this gorgeous design at www.luraquel.com in the Spring 2015 collection!

For more information on how you can purchase a Lu Raquel gown,
 please visit our website at www.luraquel.com 

& don't forget to follow us on

-Lu Raquel

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inspiration Is Everywhere! Even at Walmart..


As a gown designer, you learn over time to draw inspiration from anywhere you can get it. Being innovative and on the cutting edge of design is a requirement of the gig. Our design team strives daily to develop modern designs with a hint of traditionalism, to ensure our gowns work for all kinds. The internet provides us with endless ways to draw inspiration. However, being a traditionalist myself, I still prefer the daily experiences, people around me, and nature to inspire ideas for new collections. Such small unassuming things can get your creative mojo flowing and it can literally come out of no where...

Yesterday, while trying to find a parking space in the Walmart parking lot (not a task for the faint of heart) I stopped my car as a little old man walked into the store. He was frail and walked very slowly. I noticed he had on a WW II hat and jacket with multiple military patches, clearly proud of his service to our country. A car coming the opposite direction was full of young teenagers who were bothered by waiting for this old man to cross. The driver laid on the horn letting this old man know that he was clearly inconveniencing them and their busy schedule. The old man stopped, looked at them, then slowly kept making his way into the store. While watching this all unfold (and walking up to the teenage driver to let him know he better show some respect...I just couldn't help myself) I noticed some things about the old man. He had such a kind, pleasant face and a twinkle in his eye. He took pride in his appearance, and he was wearing a wedding ring. Looking at him, I knew almost instantly that he had enjoyed a long, very happy life and I started to imagine all the amazing stories I am sure he had to tell. His wedding ring clearly showed that he had someone he loved. This imagination of mine started wandering. I started imagining a World War II romance...one where letters professing their undying love for one another and sadness because they were apart, was hand written in hundreds of letters back and forth. I imagined a beautiful young gal waiting and praying each day that the love of her life would come home so they could start their life together. On and on played all different scenarios about this great love that the hopeless romantic inside of  me couldn't help but conjure up. Brought back into the real world by the honking of a vehicle behind me, I parked and went about my day.

Later that night, I pulled out my sketch book and started sketching different outfits I imagined the leading lady in my story might have worn. I thought about the styles of the late 30's and early 40's. The style was so polished, so put together. The women were WOMEN and there was no mistaking it. The fabrics were feminine, the silhouettes were modest yet sexy. The women understood their curves and they dressed to accentuate it. The natural waistline was making its debut and it showed the beauty and femininity of the waist and hips. Along with celebrating the natural beauty of a woman's figure the women of this era began taking on a role in society that they had never taken before. With the men away at war, the women took over as the head of household and provider. They started working outside of the home to provide for their families and to take jobs needed by our economy to support the war. The strong, masculine roles these ladies filled could also be seen in their fashion. The skirt suits with strong collars, became a staple in each ladies wardrobe. Jackets with shoulder pads gave each ladies silhouette power and strength and the natural waist line still kept the feminine sex appeal.

This was an incredible era for sexy and strong women, and the fashion showed us that! I can't wait to use this inspiration in our future collections and I hope we can remind everyone of the importance of sexy and strong in women's fashion!

Til Next Time Ladies,
Lu Raquel

Friday, April 18, 2014

Design vs. Embellishment

Looking at designs recently I have found that more and more bridal styles rely heavily on the use of embellishments over design.  Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bling-ing out a wedding dress, I cannot stop drooling over sheath gowns dripping in beads and crystals now that this 20's and 30's art deco movement is making its way into the bridal industry.  However, when a dress has great design underneath, that's what makes it great, not the overwhelming everything thrown on top of it.

I completely agree with the infamous quote from Miss Chanel, "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off."  Funny thing is, I think that this directly applies to a gown.  If it's over embellished, it looks as though you're trying too hard, or just don't know when to say no.  Less is more, and this goes with bridal gowns as well ladies.

So where is the line drawn?  It's all a matter of taste and to be quite frank, your body.  A woman who is short may not be able to pull off as much sparkle as a taller woman who has more surface area to fill.  I don't mean this to be overly-blunt, but c'mon ladies, I'm not going to sugar coat the fact that every woman is different.  AND THIS IS NOT A BAD THING!  I wish that more women would be comfortable in their skin.  It's the age-old battle of "I want straight hair even though mine is curly".  Let's embrace our bodies ladies, and dress it accordingly, especially on one of the most important days of our life.

To quote Coco once more, "Fashion is architecture: it's a matter of proportions".  This is SO TRUE!  It relates directly to the idea of matching the amount of embellishment with ones body type and goes into my next point, and rather the main point that I've been skirting around.  Fashion is architecture, if the base of that gown is nothing to be gawked at, then why wear it??

Case in point: Project Runway, season two, episode one.  One of the designers went into the first challenge with a very cute little ensemble that was white lace with brown accents.   Remember??  (okay, perhaps I'm the only project runway junkie...)  Anyhoo, it was pleasant enough, not anything awful but not particularly spectacular when Michael Kors asked her to something that I'll never forget.  On the runway he asked her to remove the lace over the top and the ribbon on the bottom and cinching her waist.  As the model stood on the runway I then realized this was one of the biggest mistakes a designer could make.  Standing up on that runway was a white jersey pencil skirt and bandeau.  Over embellishing resulted in her being "out" on the first round.  

So where is she now?  An incredibly talented designer, her designs have shifted dramatically to basic to simplistic and modern.  And that right there is all it takes.

My point is ladies, is that there is no reason to hide behinds pounds of embellishments.  More than anything you are there to shine and the dress is meant to compliment you.  When you're falling in love with a gown now, take a good long look at it.  Is it an innovative design?  Or is it just embellished to look modern and new?  Don't let embellishment fool you, it could be something old hidden behind layers of beading, or it could be something divinely gorgeous with embellishments there to compliment the overall design and make you look even more lovely.

Until next time,
Lu Raquel

Monday, April 14, 2014

Design Inspiration

As much as I hate to the act of flying, driving, and all the traveling prior to the travels to come, I absolutely adore traveling and exploring the great wide world.  This weekend I was lucky enough to travel to see my cousin get married, so congrats to the newlyweds and welcome to the ridiculous Tallent family Bri!  Anyhoo, there are two surefire ways to keep me content when dealing with the annoyance of flying; a great book, and loading up my computer with great films.

This weekend, I took pleasure in turning on the 2005 redition of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice.  If you've yet to see it, please do.  The classic romantic story, breathtaking scenery, and most importantly, the fashion will inspire you.  The 1800's was such a glorious time for fashion, even the upper-class seemed to have a bit more of a relaxed feel in comparison to the fashion preceding this era (which then quickly fell back into more opulent fashion).  I cannot get enough of this movie's fashion though.  Jacqueline Durran, you are a goddess, and your work in this film was nothing short of brilliant.  Such simplistic designs that gave an immediate sense as to who each character was.  Kudos.

My point in all of this gushing is, there is one scene in particular that sparked my interest because it immediately made me want to pick up my pencil and sketch.  The white ball at Netherfield.  Ah, so beautiful.  All the women dressed in white of course my mind went straight to wedding, but then I thought, how could this be interpreted?  Of course there are many designs out there with an empire waistline, but how do I create something that is fun and modern?  Furthermore, do I really want to stray from that historic feeling?

I am in love with the dress Miss Elizabeth donned in this scene.  So light and airy, especially with the romantic and sweet sheer sleeve.  My one worry, do women think of this as a more juvenile design aspect as compared to a sleeve that is more sleek and fitted to the shoulder?  I know that I myself love the look of a slightly puffed sleeve but do feel a bit like a little girl in the silhouette.

Then comes the overall silhouette of the gown.  So easy, sweet, romantic, and comfortable I find that a design as lovely as this would be divine on any woman's wedding day.  Think about it, getting rid of the hassle of your train, being able to expose a gorgeous pair of shoes with added ease and lets be real here, a woman would look STUNNING in this!  Effortless elegance.  Easy and fresh.  I'm particularly loving gowns like this for summer weddings.  Getting rid of the stiffness and allowing yourself to breathe and enjoy your day, instead of wondering if the part of your gown that is three feet away, still looks good.

And then there's Jane at both the white ball and the scene where Mr. Bingley proposes in the drawing room.  So sweet and romantic, I just adore the pop of color and ease of the skirt.  LOVE.  There's so much inspiration to be taken from all of these gorgeous costumes.  So much room for interpretation and modernizing.  I can't wait to see how more research and diving into the mid 1800's to the 1900's will take my future designs.  Especially with the rise of Downton Abbey addicts (myself included) I predict that there will be many more designs in the future that will draw upon eras past (and not just the 20's due to Gatsby).

Until next time, 
Lu Raquel

Blush, pink, ruby!

White was the original wedding gown color. Although many bride's still choose white, one of my favorite trends I see hitting the runway more and more are the gowns with hints of color. Blush to be exact. At first, my traditionalist instinct was to shake my head as I thought color didn't belong on a wedding gown. However, I am falling head over heals for this sweet and soft, yet fresh and exciting look. Reading an article from the Chicago times this year, in reference to more blush tones on wedding gowns, Ines Di Santo was quoted as saying, "It's flattering to many skin tones and hair colors. Who doesn't look pretty in pink?"

I couldn't agree more. When I picture a bride on her wedding day, I see a beautiful smiling face with rosy cheeks, excitement bubbling over in her eyes and a skip in her step. When I imagine her wearing a white, stiff gown, it almost subdues her outward appearance. Then, if I imagine a soft, chiffon flowing gown with a fitted bodice, sweat heart neckline with a few embellishments around the waist line...the gown seems to match her inner attitude.


Again, I wasn't the type who thought I would ever like color on a wedding gown. However, how can you not love these brides and their beautiful gowns? They shine and that is what a wedding gown is supposed to do- reflect who you are and how you feel. So enjoy today and think pink!!

Lu Raquel

Monday, March 31, 2014

CUSTOMIZATIONS... Your path to the dress of your dreams.

Customizations? ...through a Lu Raquel partner store..."brides can work with designers to design their own exclusive gown outright, and even have their own name on the label!

Too often I recall being in a bridal shop appointment when a bride would say, "If only this dress had the same top as the last dress it would totally be the one." Having some flexibility, I sometimes was able to accommodate her needs if the designer allowed this. Customization is one of the most overlooked services a designer can accommodate and if you do have this capability you could be losing out on sales day after day.

Add a gorgeous
sheer back
When speaking with shop owners across the country in regards to the question of them having a designer who could do customizations, I was surprised how many did not. In all my conversations, owners were thrilled to hear our gowns are not only 100% customizable, but they can also work with us to create their own exclusive in house designer line with their name in the label. I can recall having one shop who said customizations were sort of available through their designers, however, it was too difficult for brides to imagine what their gown would look like, so they did not take advantage of it.

Add a lace-up inner corset
Although I did not immediately question this owner as to what type of brides she had in her shop, I pondered this later. In my experience in a rural, small town, I rarely had a bride who was not able to envision her dress once she had the opportunity to customize it. If she could not, it just was not the one. However, almost every bride I helped made at least one customization to her final gown. I found this not only helped her pick out a dress and feel better about it, she was getting what she truly wanted and was able to design her own wedding gown without paying an unreasonable, high-end designer fee attached with it.

Add a lace-up inner corset
Going forward with our own brand, Lu Raquel, we thought let's take this a step further and not only allow shops to create their own designer line but also allow brides to fully create their own gowns as well. We can put their own name in the label, and for years to come they can show off their wedding gown as a creation of their very own. The equally thrilling side of this is that our partner stores are also able to design their own "in house designer label" line. What this means is they too can have their shop name on the tags of the gowns and work directly with a designer at Lu Raquel to create their one-of-a-kind line, only available in their own shop. Talk about exclusivity.

Being able to write about this excites me as I feel the bridal industry is truly needing this service by a designer. Brides today know what they want. Through sites like Pinterest. they are overloaded with ideas for a dress which often times can not possibly be encompassed in one single gown. By being able to incorporate aspects from multiple gowns into one, brides can finally be truly satisfied when they look in the mirror before making their once in a lifetime walk down the aisle.

Chanelle for Lu Raquel

What's in a train? Length that is...

The infamous moment when a bride reaches her groom at the end of the aisle and her maid of honor gently takes the back of her train, throws it in the air and everyone watches it make its graceful way to the ground, is generally the time when the gown's beauty is in full affect. However, train length is often overlooked as a unique and important aspect of every gown design. 

Sweep Train

Barley 'sweeping' the floor, a sweep train is generally three to six inches longer than the front of the gown's hemline. During the design process, sweep trains generally coincide with gowns which are sleek and sexy in nature. A gown that 'hugs' a bride's curves creates enough star power that a dramatic train is not needed. A single layer of fabric, such as a delicate lace or a stretch satin, is perfect to pair with a simple, sweet and a no-fuss sweep train. Since a sweep train is so minimal, no bustle is needed; and really a bulky bustle is the last thing you should see on a sheath, slinky wedding gown. 

Court Train 

Much like a sweep train, these are found on more fitted gowns. A court train, shown to the right, extends out two to three feet from the waist of the gown. Gowns that typically have this train are ones in which details on the back of the gown are not meant to be covered by a bustle. Also, since they extend out more than a sweep train, you will find more design aspects on the train, for instance, embellishments, lace appliques or a gorgeous lace scalloped hem shown also in the picture.

 Panel and Watteau Trains

The difference design-wise between these two is where the train begins. In the first picture, you will notice a panel train starts from the waist of the gown while a Watteau train starts just below the shoulders on the highest part on the back of the gown. Designers often put these trains on gowns which they want to show movement. During a runway show, a designer also may use a panel or Watteau train to break up the monotony between the majority of their other gowns in which the train is just an extension of the gown, not its own complete piece of fabric. What can make these trains such a unique design detail on a gown is they are often removable. Underneath the panel train you will find a sweep train or none at all. 

Chapel Trains

As you may have guessed, a chapel train is the most common train length found on gowns in the market today. This train extends about four feet from the waist of the gown and gives the effect of a fuller train without being so cumbersome. From a design aspect, chapel trains are found on wedding gowns where the skirt is fuller. The chapel train, and Cathedral train, are the types of trains where the aforementioned tossing of the train by the maid of honor give the largest effect.

Cathedral Train

Often a cathedral train is described as the most formal of the trains. The cathedral train truly creates a dramatic effect and from a design point of view, finding a way to not let the train overwhelm the entire gown can be a challenge. However, when done correctly, a cathedral train can make a gown truly unique and standout. Cathedral trains generally extend about 7 feet from the waistline. My favorites are those which have embellishments and details throughout the full length of the train. It is a mesmerizing sight as your eyes can not possibly take it all in during one short walk down an aisle. 

Alternate Trains

Reem Acra , recently had their Spring 2014 Runway show and I saw two new design elements that were different in regards to trains. First, their opening model (shown to the right) was carrying an umbrella with a veil that hangs over the umbrella extending to the floor. The model is wearing a short gown underneath, however, the veil over the umbrella gives the effect of a chapel length train on a gown in which otherwise would not have one. This theme was repeated a couple times during the show. There were also a couple short dresses featured in which no train was there at all. Although not traditional, these really caught my eye. I look forward to observing how all designers can be creative with train lengths in the coming seasons.

Lu Raquel

A Girl and her Clothes...

Every day I have the same fight with my two year old daughter. She wants to wear her favorite dress everyday and I have to explain that it is dirty and try to talk her into wearing something else. What usually happens is I have to get out her 'dirty' dress, show her where it is dirty and then she is somewhat willing to wear something else. However, I am always limited to skirts and dresses. On the other hand, her twin brother loves to pick out his own clothes as well and unfortunately he is not as fashion savvy as his sister. Yesterday he wore basketball shorts with a thermal long sleeve shirt. Not very fashionable, but he was happy.

1960s womens fashion 7 300x245 1960s womens fashion
Ladies Fashion in the 60's
That is what fashion is all about anyways, right? Feeling good or happy about yourself? For decades women have followed trends, or started them, all in an effort to feel good about themselves when they walk out the door. I know the smile across Chloe's little face is priceless when her favorite dress is clean. Its almost as if her entire day is made just by this one fashion statement.

I decided to see if this is true across the age spectrum. What is the correlation between women being happy and clothes? I had to find out.

First, I found an article from Time.com where it stated, "A new series of studies shows that attractive people earn more money and marry better-looking spouses, and that the economic benefits of being good looking make them happier than their homely counterparts." Well, this was a start. This study basically was finding that beauty equaled success which equaled money and happiness. Interesting, but what about us average ladies who have to work to look beautiful? The article went on to say that plastic surgery, designer clothes and make-up didn't prove to make people happier. But rather it stated, 'it’s the people who obsess about their personal wealth and/or attractiveness that are less happy.'

However, in the middle of the article it made the point I was really wondering about from the beginning. It said, “For a woman, it just matters to walk down the street being good-looking. It hurts to walk down the street being bad-looking."

As women, we want to look our best as it makes us feel our best. I found another article on ScienceDaily.com which did a study about what clothes women wear when they are happy versus depressed. The entire article is quite interesting, however, I was only concerned with if certain clothes make women happier. This is what one professor from the University of Hertfordshire found, "Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore. This demonstrates the psychological power of clothing and how the right choices could influence a person's happiness." She went on to say, "The study found that 'happy' clothes -- ones that made women feel good -- were well-cut, figure enhancing, and made from bright and beautiful fabrics."

Chloe in her favorite dress
All in all, I couldn't agree more. When I am wearing an outfit which is figure enhancing, well cut and ultimately makes me look my best, I am going to be happier than if I was just in a pair of sweats. Furthermore, watching my daughter get dressed everyday, I have learned this starts from a very early age and will continue throughout adulthood. Therefore, one key to happiness I can now say is choosing to wear your favorite clothes everyday. Well, I guess Chloe can wear her dirty dress one more day in a row, right?

Ah, the peplum...

As I was clicking through pictures of wedding gowns tonight I came across all the beautiful gowns in many of the Spring 2014 collections with peplums, and I got to thinking, what is the story behind the peplum? Where did this trend begin?

1940's style peplum

In researching the history of the peplum I was surprised to learn although it first made its debut in the 1800's, the peplum we know and love today became popular first in the 1940's. Then it had a brief comeback in the 1980's as well. In the forty's you can see the classic peplum shape while in the 1980's there was more of an alternative take on the peplum. Being an 1980's baby, I recall wearing these dresses and never would have known this was a revised peplum skirt- although, I wasn't too into fashion in the 1980's either as I still wore MC hammer pants with banana clips in my hair.

1980's style peplum

Back to the peplum though. The word peplum is derived from the Greek word 'peplos' meaning 'shawl'. The current definition defines the peplum as 'a flared ruffle attached to the waist of a jacket, bodice, etc.' Essentially, when it made its debut in the 1800's it was an overskirt designed to highlight a woman's waist by accentuating her hips. Today, it seems the peplum has come back with the same concept in mind. I adore a peplum skirt on all dresses, but mostly I love it on a wedding gown. The way a peplum skirt can be exaggerated, the use of different fabrics, and the way it draws your eye to the smallest part of the waist are all reasons why I love the peplum skirt.

marchesa peplum combo 
Marchesa peplums - exaggerated and different fabrics- ahh love the middle one!

Although we love it on a wedding gown, the peplum can be found everywhere. Beginning in 2012, the peplum made its current comeback and can be seen not only on the runway, but in department stores as well. The everyday woman, as well as bride, have been drawn to the way it does in fact highlight a small waist while accentuated the hips. The peplum truly is an amazing design. It has a way to not only accentuate these womanly features on a woman with curves, but it can also give curves to a woman who does not have any. I always love the element of surprise as well, so for me, a fun twist on a peplum for a wedding gown would be to have it removable.

No matter what type of gown it is worn on, I do not see the peplum trending out soon. It is classic, eye-catching and again, truly shows off a woman's gorgeous curves. No, rather it seems we can look forward to ways designers can bring new light to the peplum in the coming seasons.

Lu Raquel

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Great Gatsby Inspired Gowns...

Gorgeous beaded gowns, headpieces, bangles, long pearl necklaces, and of course, jazz, bring us back to a time in America when money was flowing, music made you want to dance and the fashion risks to this day make us ooh and aaah at the 1920's. Warner Bros took the acclaimed book by F. Scott Fitzgerald and with music from Jay Z, to actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Toby McGuire, they struck a cord with American brides. Embracing the 'Gatsby' theme, designers this Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 are bringing their own style to this long ago introduced look of the roaring twenties.

Headpieces. These alone are a theme to talk about. They are the perfect reminder of the look of the 20's. Usually off-centered on the head, they are adorned with beads, Swarovski crystals, lace and of course pearls, your eyes are immediately drawn upward to see the intricate piece of art. Although, headpieces are just an accessory, they area a must for the Gatsby theme look.


Cap sleeves.  Shown above, wedding gowns with the Gatsby theme demonstrate how absolutely stunning a cap sleeve can be. Look how the bottom of the cap sleeve even has the famous beads that dangle just above the elbow? When you think back to jazz dancers from the 20's, they always had these at the bottom of their gowns to give an allusion of more movement when they danced. Beads. Ahh! The bead work on these gowns is amazing. They represent all the glitz and the glam that was the 1920's. The jewelry. Again, like the headpieces the jewelry may just be an accessory to the gown, but a must have. Long, pearl necklaces and the way they swing around while the bride walks down the aisle or is dancing her heart away at the reception, again represent the jazz age perfectly.

Lastly, the silhouette. Nothing says sexy like a sleek, stunning, sheath beaded gown such as the one shown above. Hugging curves, flowing around the ankles and enunciating all that makes a woman beautiful, this gown is definitely going to stop people in their tracks. From the headpiece, to the delicate cap sleeves, bead work from top to bottom, what's not to love?

How I wish I could go back to the 20's and meet the designers who first came up with these gowns. Although they were made for jazz dancers, the transition to bridal is only natural. Sexy and alluring, unique and dramatic, the perfect wedding gown covers all these descriptions.  We have seen the Gatsby look begin this summer and going into the Fall and Spring I am sure the trend continue.

Why White...

Recently, I began to wonder why white for a wedding gown? When did this tradition begin? Researching, I found an article by Readers Digest at www.readersdigest.com.au/white-wedding-dress which broke down when this tradition began. It was 1840 when Queen Victoria, whose picture is in one of our previous blogs, wore a white wedding gown in her marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg, that this tradition began. However, even before 1840, a dress has always been the desired article of clothing for brides as far as back as history will take us. Throughout history, women have worn many colors depending on their religion, position in society, or place in time.

Kathryn Chemise Gown
Kathryn Chemise Gown
For instance, early Celtic brides wore red as a symbol of fertility. I decided to research this further and see if this tradition has carried into the current century. What I found were Celtic wedding dress sites, Ebay listings and lots of pictures. It appears the medieval and fairy tale type of wedding dresses, shown to the right, may have a small place in the bridal gown industry. The description of this gown, from www.medievalcollectibles.com, describes the Kathryn Chemise Gown as: "A very pretty long sleeve chemise dress that is made from a lightweight poly/cotton blend fabric that is very breathable and has a elastic neckline giving you the option to wear it on or off the shoulders depending on your mood." I just love the reference that you can wear it 'off the shoulders depending on your mood!"

Modern Bride in Celtic Gown

The bride shown to the left is a modern example of a Celtic bride wearing a red, satin Celtic wedding gown. The fabric is rich, luxurious and can easily be envisioned in white. However, rather than follow the newest tradition of white, this bride choose to wear red as she was inspired by a show on BBC titled, The Tudors which is set in Celtic sixteenth century England. The ruched, fitted sleeves are a modern element she added that makes the gown a little less medieval and creates a more flattering look for the bride. Even though only pictures of Celtic wedding gowns are shown, red is also seen on non-Celtic gowns this year.

Sky blue wedding dress

Another unique color worn in the past was blue, by early Christians. This was because most depictions of the virgin Mary show her in blue and bride's wore this as a symbol of truth and purity. What I first wondered when reading this in the aforementioned Reader's Digest article, was if there was a correlation to the tradition of wearing 'something borrowed, something blue.'  I did not find any information to support a correlation, however, I did find blue is another common color to be worn by brides in 2013. This blue wedding gown is a gorgeous shade and I love the white and blue criss-cross stripe pattern throughout. 

Although white is considered the newest color to wear for a wedding gown as of 1840, that is over 170 years ago. The most popular colors for wedding gowns today are of course, white, followed by ivory and champagne. However, I think women today are ready to see how designers can incorporate new colors into wedding gowns.  As seen above, wedding gowns are already being worn in different colors, and I for one, am looking forward to what other ones may show up on the runway this Fall!

Lu Raquel

Confessions of an Intern...

Intern Kelley! Enjoy her debut blog!!!

Hands down…it is much easier to design a gown when the mannequin is a sketch of you.  From day one interning at Lu Raquels’s, I observed that the design team each has their own unique and conceptual fashionista character wearing every gown they designed.  I am convinced Sarah’s “croqui*” character is a depiction of her alter ego or some fabulous heiress bride that used to be a client of hers.  I also took it in my liberty to call the assistant designer’s character Lola.  And my fellow intern, Jessica, has a beauty with a long flow of mermaid hair.  But I found when I was put to the test in designing my own gowns as a beginner, I felt designing in fashion came from how I would look in a gown.  My own unique character was a highly exaggerated illustration of myself, with my most distinctive characteristics: straight blonde hair, dark almond eyes, and glam makeup.  After I developed my unique “croqui”, I was in business.
I was placed in Sarah’s empty office alone and asked to come up with new designs today.  Staring at a blank wall, it was difficult to get started.  Like any young woman, I took a gander at my fantasy wedding on Pinterest.  I also snooped around in Sarah’s very own collection of fabric “swatches**.”  Eventually, it resulted in messing up Sarah’s highly organized office into a chaotic mass of tinsel, lace, and art supplies.  As an aspiring designer, I must say I felt like a true artist.  Surrounded in this creative clutter, I then designed a few of my own bridal gowns.

If I submitted my work to the design manufacturer, I am sure they will mistake my gown as made out of fishing wire, paste, and glitter.  Yet, I am glad Sarah asked me, a marketing and business major, to experience the process in designing to better understand the industry.  I have found a new appreciation for bridal gowns and what it takes to generate an idea from the designer to the bride walking down the aisle.  The design team here at Lu Raquel’s has many exciting new never before seen bridal gowns.  I have seen some of the sketches, which in themselves is a piece of art.  I can only imagine what the actual dress would look like.

Design vocabulary/lingo:
*Croqui [kro-ke/] from croquier to sketch, rough out, literally, to crunch. Noun.
Origin: 1805; French
Source: Merriam-Webster
**Swatches [swotch] a sample of cloth or other material.  Noun.
Origin: 1505; Scottish and northern English, or uncertain origin.
Source: American Psychological Association

Nautical, Country or maybe a little Diva?

Destination Wedding: Incorporating Design Elements to Emulate According to Region

Coastal: The bride of style and class. Lobster tails, yacht clubs, and the smell of sea salt. The landscape for her wedding back drop is; old money, preppy, with a hint of tradition.
Style Elements: When selecting a dress for a coastal wedding you want to focus on traditional elements with a modern take. A strapless gown A-line gown that cascades at the natural waist is a beautiful way to showcase this. Also opting for a gown that has been in your family, possibly your mothers or grandmothers, and reworking it into something new can be a sentimental and thoughtful touch.
Inspiration: Think Blaire Waldorf. Something traditional and modest, without sacrificing fashion. You can never go wrong with guiding your bride with anything in the navy, khaki, or coral family as accents.
Possible Location: Maine.

Beach: The bride of ease and grace. She wants tropical scenery, an ocean view and sand. A relaxed and romantic vibe is what she wants to convey to her guests.
Style Elements:  When helping a bride choose what gown to wear for a beach wedding it is important to remember that light and airy fabrics are going to be the most flattering for the weather and esthetic of the decor. It is also likely that brides who get married on the beach will want to incorporate elements from the ocean. While this can be done beautifully with; a mermaid, short, or sheath gown some brides find this too typical for a seaside affair. If you have a bride feeling limited by her options, go the more subtle route. Opt for something that is more muted, for example instead of the obvious sea life accessories, show her how pearls can be used in an understated way but still correlate with her theme. Introduce a dress with tiers, showing the way they embody the waves of the ocean. Another option is a dress with cut outs. This will allow the bride to choose any silhouette but will also keep it casual.
Inspiration: What guests expect to see at a beach wedding is the obvious incorporation of the scenery around them. Don’t be afraid to use anything from the landscape to the water to the exotic flowers, to draw inspiration for helping a bride find the perfect dress. To go with the whole laid back feeling of her big day, you should also keep in mind how her whole appearance is going to be presented that day. When helping her decide on a veil and hair accessories, suggest she keep it simple. Have her Blake Lively up that hair with a fish tail braid or some tousled loose curls!
Possible Location: Hawaii.

Winter: The unconventional and unique bride. Think icicle, snowflakes and horse drawn carriages. This bride wants these crisp, cocoa drinking winter months to convey the gorgeous twinkle light lit coziness of her wedding.
Style Elements: Recommend the whitest of whites for the color of her gown. There is a certain indescribable beauty in the photographs when you can’t see where the snow stops and her dress begins. Remember that due to the weather this brides gown will spend time being covered up either by a wrap, shrug, or jacket. Help the bride decide what she will wear over her gown in order to style her accordingly. The most typical dress for this time of year is a ball gown. With crystal embellishments and a fur shall it will take this expected silhouette to something extraordinary. It’s easy to see why the ball gown is known as the ultimate wedding dress because even with a wrap of fur it is not overpowered, still shows off her waist and always keeps her feeling like a true bride.
Inspiration: While everyone is having their weddings in the spring and summer she chose a time that is severely underrated for how beautiful it can be as a back ground for a wedding. Encourage her to have fun with this winter wonderland theme; adding gloves, crystal jewelry, or metallic accents.
Possible Location: Aspen.

Desert: The daring and risk taking bride. A wedding with cactuses, rust colored sand and a sunset. Some say this is where the sun meets the Earth making this a perfect destination for a bride seeking an unforgettable ceremony.
Style Elements: One thing to keep in mind when having a wedding in the desert is the weather. While it goes without saying it’s going to be hot, but not only that, there is going to be wind blowing in from every direction. Direct her towards dresses that are not too form fitting and will flow beautifully not only in the wind, but against her body. A sheath, short, or drop waist gown would be a great choice. Another thing to consider is the color of the gown. Ivory, off white, or a dust color will be beautiful with the landscape and will keep the bride stress free for the evening because I can guarantee if she chooses a gown that is stark white, that sucker will get dirty in a second.
Inspiration: While the desert is known for being desolate and flat, one of its best kept secrets is its sunsets. Drawing from the colors; deep rusts, purples and greens make an outstanding accent to a wedding with this background. Another thing that keeps this wedding destination unique is the plants and cactuses. Suggest creative ways for your bride to incorporate this into her dress and accessories.
Possible Location: Arizona.

Country: The bride of simplicity and natural beauty. With pickup trucks and cowboy boots, this back road, invite only ceremony surrounded by fields is a country girls dream.
Style Elements: Like the landscape, her simplicity should be showcased in her gown. However his does not mean plain by any means. The key here is to keep the bride seeming understated without appearing boring. A straight silhouette with off the shoulder straps is a prime example of how to add interest to a gown. Another way to show a bride how to spice up a simple dress is by choosing a certain part of the gown to be avant garde. A unique neckline, full skirt, jeweled ribbon belt, or contrasting fabrics are all great ways to do this without overpowering the theme.
Inspiration: Emulating a southern belle doesn’t have to consist of big hair, bling, and an expensive venue. You can still guide your bride toward a dress that will make her feel like a Miranda Lambert country princess without sacrificing her desire to keep her wedding simple.
Possible Location: North Idaho.

xoxo Jessica