BIJOU INVESTIGATES – THE HIGH STREET BRIDE

Thursday June 23 2011.

by

Hello Bijou brides,  I’ve recently been assisting a bride with only a month to plan her big day, aye curumba I here you cry!  This is where the Great British High Street and its latest foray into Bridal wear has a chance to shine!  Following a dash around London’s key shopping mecca Oxford Street here is my dish on what the High Street has to offer you Bijou brides, the wedding dresses, the stores and the overall experience.

COAST

Regent Street

This is a rather small store that wasn’t that appealing upstairs but take the mirrored Labyrinth staircase downstairs to a more inviting space where the bridal wear is stocked.  Wedding dresses was set apart from the other Coast ranges being placed on a higher rail towards the changing rooms.  Coast offer an impressive selection of wedding dresses from classic strapless styles to some rather fashion forward pieces – applique flower details, very Chanel Couture and grecian styles that you could mistake for Jenny Packham.  I was also very pleasantly surprised by the price tags considering the luxurious fabrics and complex designs most dresses hover around the £400 mark.  The only chink in Coast’s armour is the disappointing lack of sizes available in store and rather lacklustre staff.  No one seemed to pay much attention as we trotted into the changing rooms, which are few but well designed with large booths, good lighting and a mirrored wall outside.  Coast also get extra points for having a selection of high heeled shoes available to ensure brides get a proper feel for how the dress will hang rather than trying to parade on tip toes.

In Summary: All brides want to feel special no matter where they buy their wedding dress so Coast should pull their socks up and instill some passion in their staff for the great wedding dress collection on offer.  

An admirable 8/10 Bijou points

MONSOON

Oxford Street

An incredibly busy store but like Coast the bridal and occasion wear is on a separate floor.  Wedding dresses were given the luxury treatment with different hangers and short plastic covers over some.  The wedding dress designs here are probably most suited to beach and destination weddings with long cotton cutwork embroidery styles, empire line silks and short embellished smock wedding dresses.  And with prices between £100 and £280 you can afford a change of wedding dresses from ceremony to reception!  The bridal wear section within the store was small and doesn’t offer the full Monsoon Wedding Dress range but unlike Coast there were lots of sizes of the designs available.  Changing rooms were a little cluttered and lacking in wow factor but staff were friendly and ready to help with our requests.

In Summary: Brides you won’t feel special shopping here (there is a better selection online) but with the amazing prices you can make the day memorable by treating yourself to Champagne with your girls.

6/10 Bijou points

BIBA @ HOUSE OF FRASER

Oxford Street

Although this House of Fraser has a Wedding lounge we needed buy now options and I was keen to see the new Biba bridal wear range that is available exclusively at House of Fraser.  The women’s fashion area in the store was undergoing some refurbishment and it was difficult to find the Biba section but once there it is has a decidedly boutique feel with plush walls and high circular rails showcasing the vintage inspired designs.  There are only 6 wedding dresses in the collection which launched in February but everyone was available in the Oxford Street store albeit with a limited amount of stock.  As mentioned the wedding dresses would suit a bride looking for Vintage elegance crafted from luxurious fabrics.    The most expensive of the High Street ranges we tried from £595 – £725 but that’s fair given the designer and fabrics.  The staff were very friendly and the only ones to ask if we needed assistance, they also had great knowledge of the range and fit.  Changing rooms were in all ok but could do with being slightly bigger. 

In summary: An impressive wedding dress collection that if you can ignore the fact you’re in a department store is almost a luxury boutique experience. 

Looking forward to the next collection 7/10 Bijou points

And just to show that you can look amazing in High Street bought wedding dresses, check out this gorgeous bride wearing Monsoon (photographed by Lucy Shergold

Coast Wedding Dresses Online: www.coast-stores.com 

Monsoon Wedding Dresses Online:www.monsoon.co.uk

Biba Wedding Dresses Online: www.houseoffraser.co.uk