written by Ryan Licata

 

When it comes to designing bridal gowns, Charles W. Bunstine II is a maestro of synesthesia – his designs combining his intuitive sense of touch and sight with a miraculous finish that is orchestral with comparable musical flourishes, reaching subtle high notes of lace above the deeper tones of draped fabric, a seemingly seamless leitmotif of multiple seams. Music is, indeed, a favourite metaphor of Bunstine himself, and, when thinking of his gown creations, it is the embellished compositions of jazz that come to mind: bridal gowns that begin with a classic standard silhouette that is then brilliantly improvised on and around the individual bride – bringing out her finest qualities; because each woman is different, so each gown is unique. 

 

Anna Maier Alberta Wedding Dress

Alberta Wedding Dress - Floral French lace gown with fluted skirt and double charmeuse undergown. 


Of relatively humble beginnings, Bunstine is now the owner of the luxury couture bridal house Anna Maier, which was once owned by his great grandmother and originally established by some of the finest tailors in the Alsace-Lorraine region of eastern France. Knowing how to handle a needle and thread at a young age, Bunstine stitched his way up in the fashion world, and by the age of 26 he ran a large number of stores for the American clothing company The Limited. It is Bunstine’s awareness of fashion trends outside of the bridal gown background that makes his garments so unique. He is a collector of inspirational ideas, be they in fashion or from the world of art or design – he is always on the look out for fresh and exciting ways to innovate the classic, making it a perfect fit for the modern bride. 

 

Anna Maier Wedding Dress Mirielle

MIrielle Bridal Gown - Corded rose floral French lace over double charmeuse underdress. 

 

Bunstine’s vision of what a high standard couture house should be is inspired by the English fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth who is considered the founder and godfather of 19th and early 20th century fashion design. The quality that Bunstine shares with Worth is undoubtedly the individual attention he shows to his clients, creating unique pieces tailored not only to each woman’s taste and body, but also personality. The relationship between the design and the fabric is mutualistic – one depends on the other. When a composer writes an opera he knows when the desired emotion calls for the voice of a soprano or a tenor. The same analogy applies to the creation of Bunstine’s designs. Each fabric brings with it the possibilities the design demands and one fabric sings where another may falter. And Bunstine has the gift of lifting the musical notes from the lines of lace.  

 

Anna Maier Bridal Designer wedding dress called Bianca

Bianca Wedding Dress - Stricking one shoulder reengineered French lace slim column gown with taupe double charmeuse


Moods and emotions are essential to the creation of a bridal gown. Bunstine’s designs consider the natural elements of perspective and light. His eye works like the panning lens of camera, viewing his creations from a distance or close up, designing his gowns with the specific occasion in mind. Perhaps the Cathedral silhouette for the grand affair, a chapel design for the more intimate ceremony in a small church, or the court gown for the more laid back ceremony in a garden, courtyard or on the beach. His gowns are harmonious with the atmosphere and themes of the ceremony and with the wishes of every bride’s dream wedding day. 

 

Anna Maier Bridal Dress Renaude

Renaude Dress - lace off the shoulder dress with tulle overlay skirt and horsehair trim 

You can book an appointment to see the full collection at Les Trois Soeurs Bridal bouique in Canary Wharf London. 

 

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