When I see the ocean in the distance, the wreaths in the hair, and the nonchalant, effortless beauty portrayed in the paintings of Victorian artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, I can literally feel the sun and smell the flowers on the breeze. I wanted to take you all with me to this Earthly Paradise, from the gowns to the styling of the show. Of course there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes…Heaven wasn’t created in a day, right?!
Fabrics to drape, embellishments to design, cookies to bake (yes, those are cookies!), programs to paint, and chai tea lattes to drink…some very talented collaborators joined me in this process, and crafted quite an experience for our guests.
We created our own “painting” for the backdrop, combining petals, sea and sky, and continued the illusion with the addition of over 100,000 rose petals. When the massive canvas was unfurled during NY market week, and we began to scatter the petals on the runway the morning of the show, even I was amazed (and thrilled) with how perfectly our blank slate was transformed!
Hair and make-up were key in fashioning our modern goddesses, and I made these wreaths for each model while casting at the hotel (nothing like a little multi-tasking!) We even enlisted a few gorgeous immortals to escort our guests to their seats…and of course I made wreaths for them too!
Finally it’s time to welcome our guests with champagne flowing, programs ready on the chairs, models dressed, and a final word of direction before they cue the music, and the whole thing is over in about 15 minutes! Literally 6 months of preparation to make it all happen…kind of like a wedding!
I owe the artists and poets who have come before me, and the Earth and the sea and the flowers, my deepest gratitude. A huge thank you to our partners behind the scenes:
Photography & Video: Collective Edit
Rose Petals: Petal Garden
Programs: Kristy Rice of Momental Designs
Cookies: Sweet Ambs
Wine: OneHope Weddings
Hair: Giselle Modeste for Ojon
Make-up: Romero Jennings for MAC Cosmetics
Tags: Alma-Tadema, bridal, Couture, Designer, Fashion Show, gowns, inspiration, Runway, Wedding Dresses
As some of you know, my latest collection entitled, “An Earthly Paradise” was inspired by the many paintings of Victorian-era artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. In my research, I pinned many of his lovely images to my walls, studied the titles of his pieces to name the dresses…I have an Alma, a Laurence, and a Devotion in the mix.
This morning my social media team asked if I was ready to resume posting. In light of the horrific tragedy that occurred on Friday, we took a break this weekend as we felt it would be inappropriate to share our latest accolades, or photos of joyful days while we are all morning such a loss.
As I was preparing a post for today, I thought, there must be a lovely image I can put with it. I remembered that in addition to his images of adults lounging about, and gorgeous marble and ocean scenery, there was one of a mother and child. I opened my book, looked up the painting titled “An Earthly Paradise” and saw this. Heart stops, tears streaming. I completely forgot that this was the painting. It wasn’t an image I referenced when creating the collection, but I thought the title so perfectly captured the mood I hoped to share. The painting was inspired by a quotation from Algernon Swinburne, “All the Heaven of Heavens in one little child”. There really are no more words.
This is not a place where I post political or personal statements, but before we go back to “normal” posting about loveliness and beauty and all things wonderful, I must pray that the sweet angels lost
inspire us to be better.
Once the last model exits the runway, I have two seconds to take a breath, and the reporter’s questions begin, “Claire, what are the latest bridal trends?” When I design a collection, so many things inspire me. This season was all about a dream-like goddess walking through rose petals (I guess it’s no secret I’m an unabashed romantic!).
But I don’t pay much attention to trends. Although one movement I do fully support is the shift towards individuality in weddings. I actually was a pioneer in offering brides an alternative to the strapless ball gown, so it really warms my heart to see more and more brides confident in their personal style, and resisting the pressure to fit into a particular “bridal” mold. Antique lace, illusion backs and floral embellishments… these are all things that stir my soul, but really, it’s not about a sleeve or a sash. Does this gown stir your soul and make you feel a bit overwhelmed (in a really good way)? Do you feel beautiful and so ready to meet your partner at the end of that aisle?
Read my complete thoughts on why you may want to ignore trends for your wedding on Huffingtonpost.com
I am so excited to announce that the Claire Pettibone bridal collection is coming to Australia! For years, our very determined and lovely brides have been seeking us out and either A.) ordering dresses through the mail/phone from our Flagship salon (without ever seeing or trying on the gown in person) or B.) making the long journey to another continent just to see the collection. Either way, quite a dedicated and devoted leap of faith, and I’m just so completely flattered that brides will literally go to any length to have my creations!
Well good news, things have just become a bit easier! It’s taken a while, but we have finally found the perfect home for our dresses in a fabulous new salon in Melbourne called Intique & Co. Owner/creative director Natalie and her team have been styling and planning unique and inspired weddings…just the kind our brides swoon for, and now, Intique is expanding into a full service Bridal Salon! The doors will open very soon…official launch is September 8th, but they have just received some of their first Claire Pettibone gowns, and are pre-booking appointments already!
Please check out their website, give them a call, and by all means enjoy choosing your dream dress and planning a fabulous wedding with Intique & Co!Intique & Co Bridal Styling & wedding design
| 283 Bay Street Brighton VIC 3186, Australia
1300 858 016
Just had to share this gorgeous story photographed in a mystery garden somewhere in the English countryside…
Venue: that’s a secret!
Photographer: Sarah Gawler
Styling: Hannah Gooch
Dresses: Claire Pettibone
Linen 3 piece suit: A Suit That Fits
Hair: The Hepburn Collection
Make-up: Daniel K Palmer
Flowers: LK Lily
Vintage china: Roses All Over
Cake: Tempting Cake
Dark corduroy suit: Favourbrook
Jewellery: Libery in Love
Shoes: Jimmy Choo available to hire from Cinderella Me
Floral headband: What Katy Did Next
Jewelled headpiece: Jenny Packham
Wire Chandelier: Rayment Wire
Models: Kate and Dag from MOT models