We’re over the moon to have been able to get to know the designer behind one of our most loved collections, Astrid & Mercedes. During an interview we held with the beautiful Lea-Ann Belter herself, Lea-Ann gave Novelle Bridal Shop the inside scoop on where she finds her inspiration, the dress of her dreams and more!
We love that your nieces inspired you to create the Astrid & Mercedes line. Are there any other places you gain your inspiration from?
My nieces’ vibrancy is the soul of Astrid & Mercedes, and it’s when we’re together that I really get inspired. Earlier this year, we visited the Art Gallery of Ontario. The girls were entranced by the Impressionist works on display and fascinated by the notion that an art movement could influence culture. That experience, as well as 1900s France and Claude Debussey’s famous piece, “Clair de Lune,” all influenced the gowns in my 2016 Astrid & Mercedes Clair de Lune collection.
Who is the Astrid & Mercedes bride?
Both my Lea-Ann Belter and Astrid & Mercedes collections are made with a strong, independent and creative woman in mind…they are designed to help the beauty of the woman wearing them shine! An Astrid & Mercedes bride is plucky and a bit unconventional. She’s drawn to playful, airy design and isn’t afraid to follow her heart.
What is your favourite Astrid & Mercedes Gown?
What a tough question! My favorites change from day to day, and I love the gowns from both my A&M Ingenué and Clair de Lune collections. Lately, though, Lovely keeps catching my eye. She was the very first gown I designed for A&M and will always hold a special place in my heart. I’d pair her with my Lea-Ann Belter Marion jacket for a really classic ceremony look, and then a sassy brooch at the décolleté for the reception.
Lea- Ann's Favourite: Lovely Dress
Lea- Ann Belter’s favourite: Lovely dress with Marion Jacket
You use a lot of silks in the Astrid & Mercedes collection; what is your favourite part about this fibre?
It’s so important to me to use the highest quality textiles possible, and silk dupioni is such a great one. I love its subtle sheen...it drapes just beautifully, and, while it does offer structure, it’s also perfect for twirling!
All of the names of your dresses are so fun! How do you decide on each name?
Usually they have something to do with the inspiration of the collection they’re a part of. Since I was so inspired by my nieces’ reactions to Impressionism and Claude de Bussey’s classic piece, the names I chose for the Clair de Lune gowns reference a mixture of France and the mood of Clair de Lune.
What advice would you give to a Novelle Bride-to-be who is shopping for her wedding gown?
Leave your expectations at the door. So often women have preconceived ideas of what they’ll like, what they should wear, or how it should feel when they find the right gown. Approach the experience with an open mind and listen to your heart. When it flutters just in the slightest, you’ve got a winner!
Novelle's Favourite Picks
We thought we would also share with you one of our favourite Astrid & Mercedes dresses. We LOVE the Exquisite! It’s soft silk organza with a love-knotted sweetheart neckline makes this dress so special. We picture this dress on a young, sweet bride who is energetic and radiates natural beauty.
We also wanted to feature our newest edition to our store, the Graceful. This dress is clean and classic. We love it as is, or as a blank canvas that we can add the beautiful different Astrid & Mercedes accessories to. Check them out!
Dress: Graceful / Top left, Camellia Sash / Top right, Mackenzie Jacket with Divine Veil / Bottom left, Crystal Jacket / Bottom right, Mackenzie Jacket
We can't wait to meet our future Astrid & Mercedes brides-to-be!
Special thanks to Lea-Ann Belter for answering all our questions.