Wedding Ideas last featured Chanticleer a number of years ago, I am therefore delighted to be able to take responsibility for featuring this wonderful British bridal wear designer again.
Chanticleer is known for its gorgeous feminine collections of stylish and handcrafted wedding dresses, and the “Shakespeare in Love” collection is no different; it perhaps pushes the designer’s usual style and approach just a little further. Tracey continues, without fault, to offer the same ethereal, feminine, and graceful characteristics to brides in this collection, featuring dreamy designs with lace embellishments, exquisite necklines, brocade, and floral and sequin elements on soft tulle and organza – all signature elements of this wonderful designer.
I have a rather personal connection to “Shakespeare in Love”, having been asked by Tracey to photograph it for her. This followed a beautiful editorial shoot we did together at the Hampshire venue Penton Park, celebrating its first open day in 2015. Photographing this was not only a career highlight for me, but also allowed me to apply the gentle touch I take with my beautiful brides to capture some wonderful images for a lady who is as passionate about Chanticleer as I am about Ikonworks.
I am very proud Wedding Ideas is able to provide support to designers, and offer a platform promoting the incredibly talented British bridal wear creatives we have in this country to our readers. Personally, I am even more delighted to write a feature like this for first time, as not only have I been able to photograph a beautiful designer and her extraordinary creations, but I have been able to photograph her working with a bridal client at a designer day, and work with her to create images of her Cheltenham studio for her website. I remain inspired by her ability to do something very special for each of the brides I have watched her work with. Tracey has an inbuilt ability to understand, interpret, and create something perfectly bespoke for each bride, from a brief conversation at the start of a consultation.
I asked Tracey how she would describe a Chanticleer Bride:
“A Chanticleer Bride is a woman who knows her own mind and style, who has a vision of what she wants but who needs me to inspire her creative side.”
Working with a small, highly trained team, which combines over 60 years of bespoke bridal wear experience, Tracey’s focus on quality craftsmanship ensures that all of her designs are British made under her careful supervision. She said says: “It’s really important to personally ensure the second-to-none quality of every gown leaving our studio, which is why I appreciate the work of my trusted team so much. All of our dresses are not only made in Britain, but crafted by our close-knit expert team”
“Shakespeare in Love” provides brides with classical, elegant, and timeless gowns, certain to never go out of style, in an array of silhouettes, styles and fabrics, which include the addition of a soft pink and stunning rose to the iconic pallet of Chanticleer shades of ivory.
Tracey told me: “The Shakespeare in Love collection encapsulates the beauty and fragility of a love story from a bygone era, represented by style icons include Shakespeare’s ‘Juliet’ and ‘Ophelia’ ; both of whom are strong passionate woman. These character-filled dresses are all very close to my heart for many different reasons.”
The gown named Rosalind, featured below, is Tracey’s favourite. She explains: “This was partly because I was out of my designer’s comfort zone in terms of the fabric [the dress] demanded to be made from, and also because there was something that just kept drawing me to ‘her’ design.” Rosalind is the heroine of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Her character is intelligent, witty, warm, and strong, and she possesses an unshakable integrity.
With the collection drawing on such inspiring female characters, Tracey wanted to make sure each dress was a perfect addition to the other seven significant Chanticleer collections. Chanticleer’s collections are launched each year in the autumn; whether it’s the ‘Blue Ribbon‘ collection inspired by the romance and celebration of 100 years of the Titanic, or the ‘All That Jazz’ collection, inspired by a Caro Emerald jazz song, Tracey mainly looks to media, film, music and current culture to bring beautiful and creative designs to each collection. The 2014 ‘Anniversary‘ collection was inspired by period dramas and historic influences, while 2015 ‘Eden‘ Collection embraces everything ‘Floral’, entwining both Vintage and Art Deco in beautifully feminine styles, combining lavish 3D fabrics, soft antique spot tulles to delicate beaded laces.
The Chanticleer brand celebrated 25 years of UK design and manufacturing last year; a fantastic achievement. Tracey talks about her career highlights being the purchase of the Chanticleer brand at just 27 years of age, and her absolute delight at being successful in ensuring brand moves as effortlessly as her dresses into the 21st century. She says, “Each year pushes my creativity. Every year I feel the label becomes more successful, vibrant and recognised within the industry, ensuring brides associate their special day with our gowns.” I asked Tracey what her motivations are when it comes to designing. She replied: “I’m inspired by the every day, real woman, her soft femininity, her perfect imperfections and her graceful attitude.”
What is the Chanticleer signature style? Kate who organises everything for Chanticleer, from the designer days and photo shoots, to the wedding fayres, and the press coverage says, “Classic, traditional and timeless – consisting of beautiful corsetry and romantic gorgeousness.”
Personally I think one of the standout parts of the Chanticleer experience is having Tracey herself involved in an integral part of your design process. The re-assuring interaction between the designer and client is extraordinary to behold, and I only wish I had had access to this when I selected my wedding dress 16 years ago. The meticulous step-by-step process, from the initial design to dream dress, is unique in so many ways.
I asked Tracey: “If you were not a bridal designer, what would you be?” She replied: “I honestly cannot imagine my life without being wedding dress designer. It is something I simply adore, and having our brides select Chanticleer for their special day, and feeling their faith in our designs, skills, and brand gives me goosebumps every time. When we receive pictures from our brides after their wedding day, it honestly makes us very, very proud.”
I am looking forward to putting together a collaborative article from several designers and stockists soon, which will feature the perfect advice for a bride selecting her wedding dress. When I asked Tracey what important advice she would give to the Bride setting out to find her perfect wedding gown she said, in a heartbeat: “Always, always be true to yourself; don’t try and please everyone else. I am there to work with you to create something extraordinary, ensuring that when you look back at your wedding pictures in twenty years time you still feel as special, as beautiful as you did when you exchanged rings and said “I do”.
“The Shakespeare in Love” collection begins at £1,195. Should you wish to learn more about any of the designs you see in this article today, please contact the Chanticleer Boutique directly here, or call your nearest Chanticleer stockist – a full list of stockists can be located here. You can also follow Chanticleer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and catch up with all the news on their blog here.
Laura Ward of Brides of Winchester says, “Chanticleer has been a leading design label since brides of Winchester opened 6 years ago. Our brides love the level of flexibility in Tracey’s gowns, which allows them to express their individuality, ideas and vision. Each Collection includes gowns with fabulous corsetry that Tracey is so well known for, whilst her exacting attention to detail produces simply the most beautiful handcrafted wedding gowns that are every girls dream for their big day!”
The photo shoot
Kate says, “After months of planning, we decided to shoot our 2016 ‘Shakespeare in Love’ collection at the fabulous spooky Woodchester Mansion, in Gloucestershire. Tracey and I visited the Mansion in September and were hugely excited by the stunning natural light and the contrasts it created against the unfinished interiors of the mansion. The charm of the Cotswold stone enhanced the natural beauty of a time gone by, and ensured we literally had everything we wanted in a venue for the shoot.”
She went on to say “Bringing on board the gifted Tasha Newland of Ikonworks in Hampshire ensured we would have exquisite images to share with our Brides and Stockists, perfectly representing the collection. We were totally blown away by Tasha’s amazing photos at the ‘Penton Park’ shoot back in July, especially the gorgeous image of our ‘Peony’ dress from 2015 ‘Eden Collection’. Using the lovely and artistic Sharon Dawson from Eyecandy hair and make up and the super creative Will Eagles of Cream Hairdressing also ensure our already gorgeous models Sophie and Rachel transformed into our Shakespearean characters flawlessly. In addition, using Flowers by Ellie for the flower crowns, and Rachel Simpson Shoes completed the looks we envisaged when first designing this gorgeous collection.”
Stunning corseted low back bodice with pearl and sequin lace overlay, V-neckline, low scoop back and capped sleeves onto a full organza dreamy circle cut skirt.
A classic drop waisted gown encrusted with heavy embellished tulle, sweetheart neckline that balances the illusion V back onto a soft draping tulle skirt.
For the bride who couldn’t decide, a soft high neck tulle dress with sweetheart neckline, illusion tulle keyhole back flows onto a delicate lace column skirt. Added to this detachable soft tulle over skirt with detailed embellished satin belt. Option to purchase as separates.
This romantic traditional A-line gown features a stunning 3D floral organza skirt with duchess satin belt tied into a cute bow back.
Delicate low backed lace gown with sweetheart neckline in antique lace. The softness of the antique rose lace encapsulates the overall outline of the gentle flowing fishtail skirt.
Subtle pink prettiness is translated onto this sculpted sweetheart A-line gown. Featuring an opulent pale pink tone of silk organza, with delicate lace overlay. Small embellished belt sits on waist.
The graceful Lady Montague features a sequin lace bodice with bateau neckline and full length lace sleeves. A sweetheart corset flows onto a soft organza A-line skirt. The lace and sequin flower belt adds a touch of sophistication to the overall gown and nips in the waist.
This stunning lace and tulle bateau neckline is the definition of sophistication. Pearl and lace bodice cascades over a soft bridal chiffon skirt. Featuring illusion back with button detail.
Our very own sparkly ombre effect gown, perfect to add a little bit of glitz to your special day. Featuring a soft A-line tulle skirt, full button back and sweeping train.
The sassy Nerissa features a dramatic lace shadow train that forms this structured lace fishtail dress. A low sweetheart neckline complements the low v back with delicate lace straps and buttons.
Stunning high waist A-line satin gown with soft lace bodice and cap sleeves. The V-neckline adds a little drama to the overall softness of the dress and pleated waist detail nips the waist in magically.
Simply classic silk crepe boat necked gown with elegant lace sleeves and satin waist detail, gently flowing onto soft draped silk crepe skirt.
Classic and elegant, Perdita consists of a deep V neck bodice covered in sequin embellished lace, pleated satin waist fanning out into a sweeping back train.
Gorgeous Portia has a gentle softness to her shape. Off the shoulder floral neckline and an organza bow belt sits beautifully over the soft A-line skirt featuring our floral raised organza.
Simply stylish, this stunning off the shoulder classic silk crepe dress features a ‘vintage’ style satin roll cuff.
The show stopper, a corseted bodice with illusion neckline, encrusted embellished tulle overlay cascading down a soft flowing bridal tulle skirt with sweeping train.
A corseted sweetheart necklined bodice, overlayed with lace to create a delicate halter neck. Bouncy knee length full lace and satin skirt finished with a cute satin bow.
Romantic high neck gown with fluted tulle sleeve decorated with sequin and diamante floral motifs on shoulder. The floral tulle gives an illusion brocade feel to the soft A-line skirt.
I’d like to thank Tracey and Kate from Chanticleer for allowing us to share these images with you today, and I sincerely hope you find something you love, and are inspired to get in touch with this wonderful British design house.