That irresistible feeling of luxury and lightness…lush textures, details galore, and yet, sweet simplicity. Genevieve was inspired by a languid summer in the French countryside…here she is photographed by the talented Sarah Gawler in one of London’s most beautiful settings, The Orangery. A glass and stone palace built for Lord & Lady Holland’s soirees, it provides an elegant and charming space that is now one of my favorite daydream getaways…I can just imagine the guests, the cocktails, the dancing…isn’t it the sign of a great party, when the ladies are wearing ethereal, and flowing formal gowns, but the vibe is kick-off-your-heels relaxed?!
I’m longing for an end-of-summer party in full bloom. Can’t you just smell the jasmine wafting on the soft breeze of a warm night? What a lovely mood to capture for a summer wedding…
Photographer: Sarah Gawler
Venue: The Orangery, Holland Park
Stylist: Hannah Gooch
Hair and Make-up: Daniel K Palmer
Model: Zsanet - MOT Models
Stylist Assistant: Emily Nicholson
Florist: LK Lily
Cakes: Victoria Made
Jewellery: Alex Monroe
Plates: John Lewis
Cutlery: Zara Home
Table linen: The Linen Works
Vintage jewelry often finds its way into my mind when designing wedding dresses (and often, onto my fingers, ears and neck!) Many years ago, before the current trend of “vintage weddings” appeared, I devoted an entire collection to two of my favorite eras of jewelry design: Art Nouveau 1890-1910 and Art Deco 1920-1939.
Still one of our most popular silhouettes, Cloisonne features intricate “inlaid” velvet on delicate tulle embroidery with ribbons and beading along the neckline…almost takes the place of a necklace, although a lovely pair of earrings might be nice!
The Art Deco style of the 1920’s has always been a favorite of mine (and many of my brides). The Renee gown has vintage brooches at the bodice and the lace rose motif is based on the classic Paul Poiret rose seen in his classic “La Rose de Rosine Parfum, 1912.
This season, I’ve been tempted to visit this era again, especially with a couple of gowns, Haviland and Deauville…1920’s glamour seems oh so now! How to keep it modern yet timeless? Don’t OVER-do on the vintage details…if your dress is classically retro, keep the shoes modern and sexy. Maybe the venue is city chic, and you arrive in a classic car and serve Absinthe! Or vice-versa, and the venue is a 1920’s estate, and you add some modern clean lines to the décor…or how about your whole décor and story IS retro, but you have a rockin’ band and the bride and groom each sport a few tattoos?! You know me, I’m really not one for “rules” about a wedding…to me, the magic lies in each individual couple telling a story that is so perfectly “them”.
I love to see how our brides interpret these fabulous eras as inspiration for weddings…they always look like such fun parties, and so memorable for their guests! It’s all about finding your own personal details and inspiration to create a love story uniquely you.
My husband and I built our business with a lot of hard work and long hours, but we loved it because it was “our baby”. Well, we reached that age (or at least I did!) where we had to decide if we were going to fit a real baby into our lives. Lucky for us, our little Lorelei came along about 10 months after that, and as any of you parents can understand, we are just beyond in love with her!
Since our daughter arrived, I’ve joined the society of “Women Trying to Balance it All” and not to brag, but I think 5 years in, I’m getting the hang of it! I don’t work quite as many hours as I used to, but I am for the most part, focused and productive. We get home in time to have dinner together as a family, and most weekends are fun-filled. It’s not perfect, but she is happy and knows with a profound certainty that she is loved. Our business is supported by the great team we have built over the years, and as any small business, we’ve had our challenges, but having a child does give you a bit more perspective on those, doesn’t it?!
I am extremely passionate about my designs and love the sense of purpose, fulfillment and creative energy that happens each season. People say that having a child changes you, and it certainly does…it opens your heart and makes you a better person…more patient, more humble, more loving…all good qualities in a bridal designer! Lorelei, even at this young age, has an understanding of what her mommy and daddy do, and has been to quite a few NY bridal markets and Trunk Shows!
I am heading out to Bridal and Formal in Cincinnati this month, and the owners were so sweet to invite the whole family! So, I’m looking forward to meeting you all, offering tips and dress advice and hopefully helping brides-to-be find the perfect Claire Pettibone gown. This will be my first visit to Bridal and Formal. They have been carrying the collection for quite a few years now, so it’s long overdue! Can’t wait to share the collection with you there, and if you see a 5 year old hiding behind the dresses, you’ll know that’s my new assistant!
Dresses arrive Friday, and I personally will be there all day Saturday and most of Sunday.
Be sure to make an appointment July 13-15
I’ve been art-directing photo shoots even before we started our business, and in those years, I’ve
worked with a lot of photographers. But every now and then I’m privileged to see a real artist at work.
Elizabeth Messina has a soul and talent that shine through in her images, and stand out in a sea of
photography. I knew her photos long before we met. She had been photographing my dresses and
lingerie for various magazines, and one day, she just called me out of the blue…”Hi, this is Elizabeth
Messina, and I love your work…I think we should meet” So the rest is kind of history…I sent her gowns
for her workshop in France, she photographed my lingerie collections, I created a French inspired Beau
Monde bridal collection, so naturally, who did I think of to photograph our campaign?
It is one thing to capture actual emotional moments (as she does so brilliantly for the lucky couples who
book her for their weddings) but what makes Elizabeth so remarkable, is that she is able to “create”
moments on a set that convey a real mood and feeling. Part of it is her technical skill, part is her warm
energy that brings out the best in her subjects, and the third part is pure magic…that thing that others
try to imitate but it just comes out flat. She so perfectly captures the genuine beauty that I also strive
to share with the world, and every time I send her pieces to photograph, I can’t wait to see the dreamy
images that come back! As she once said, “my camera wants to date your lingerie!” well, my gowns
want to MARRY Elizabeth!
Her new book, The Luminous Portrait, will give everyone a bit of insight and ideas for creating their own magic. I’m so proud and honored to have some of my designs featured in this gorgeous book, and can’t wait for our next collaboration!
The Luminous Portrait, by Elizabeth Messina available on Amazon.
Chantilly gown shot by: Max Wegner Photogrpahy
Having celebrated Father’s Day with one of the best fathers on the planet (that would be my hubby Guy), and my own fabulous father paying us a visit from the East Coast this week, I guess the men in my life are on my mind. Without them, what would all this wedding fuss be about anyway?! I loved this quote recently posted by our friends at Little White Dress…so romantic…all he wants is you! And of course all you want is him too, so here’s a little attention for the grooms. Some seriously stylish ones here!
Photo by: Andrew Weeks
In most weddings, so much of the focus is on the bride (as it should be, and our grooms wouldn’t have
it any other way!) but without your one-in-a-million-man, you wouldn’t need the gorgeous gown, the
cascading flowers or the perfect medley of sweet and savory…at the heart and soul of every wedding,
are the hearts and souls of two becoming one.