By  on January 2, 2007

ATLANTA — Anne Barge is thinking bigger.

The bridal designer will open a new 5,000-square-foot retail space, Anne Barge Atelier, on Jan. 15 to showcase her own collection as well as the bridal line she now designs for Badgley Mischka Bridal.

The store will be in a former Wachovia bank building that is being reinvented as 79 West Paces Ferry. The three-story space, in the heart of Buckhead, an affluent district 10 miles north of downtown, will include other high-end retail that will be unveiled later this year, said George S. Morgan, chief executive officer of Morgan Capital & Development Co., the project's developers.

Barge outgrew the showroom in Atlanta's Four Seasons Hotel, where she has shown her wholesale line for the past five years. Adding to the squeeze for space, Barge began designing bridal gowns for the Badgley Mischka label after announcing a partnership last summer as the licensee for the label, now owned by Iconix Brand Group.

Her first 26-piece Badgley Mischka collection for spring bowed Oct. 15 at the Essex House in New York. Her own line sells to 101 accounts worldwide.

Barge is no stranger to retail. She owned her own boutique, Anne Barge for Brides, from 1981 to 1994, then managed leased bridal space in Saks Fifth Avenue after Kleinfeld Bridal bought her business. For two years beginning in 1996, she oversaw Virgin Bride, designing a private label line and running a store in London, at the request of British mogul Richard Branson.

For the first Virgin Bride fashion show, "Richard shaved his legs, wore full makeup and dressed in a minidress bridal gown, drawing all the media attention we could want," said Barge.

The new store will carry the complete Anne Barge Collection, including The Black Label Collection, with lavish hand-beaded and embroidered gowns in Italian silk and French lace, priced from $5,000 to $15,000. The Couture Collection, with metallic embroidery and beading, ranges from $3,000 to $6,000, and La Fleur, a more moderate line, is priced at $1,800 to $3,500.

The store also will include Badgley Mischka's complete bridal line: the current spring group and a 12-piece fall collection to be launched in April. Barge said Badgley Mischka's gowns, which range from $4,000 to $13,000 retail, are sexy, more inspired by "Hollywood, red-carpet glamour," than the Anne Barge line, which is more oriented to a "classic, traditional bride."The foyer of the new space is visible from the huge glass wall that frames the store. Inside, 9-foot white Corinthian columns add a stately elegance and a 40-foot mirrored runway allows brides-to-be to simulate their walk down the aisle. Dresses are visible on the sales floor, displayed in cases, with inventory stored in the old bank vault, which was kept intact.

Along with Anne Barge and Badgley Mischka gowns, the store will carry shoes by Badgley Mischka and Filipa Scott, jewelry by Debra Moreland and Carole Tanenbaum and an assortment of veils and flower-girl dresses by Joan Calabrese.

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