Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday night reads - from A to Biba


From A to Biba - the autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki. Published by V&A and available to buy here

Barbara Hulanicki founded Biba, the most exciting shopping experience of the late 1960s through to the 70s and probably of all time. This book is a rollercoaster tale of the rise and sad fall of Biba that will have you inspired to imagine endless possibilities.

Anna first introduced me to Biba whilst we were at Uni, I never liked Sixties design (something I still class as evil most of the time) and wasn't immediately drawn to this subject. She then showed me an illustrated Biba book that had just been published. Seeing the parchment pages and scribbled drawings of 'In Biba' I eventually got it. Biba is exciting and so is the whole story.

Branding, business and fearless creativity are what it's all about. Fashion was the starting point that led onto a whole department store of the Biba brand, Biba baked beans, Biba make up, Biba rock star gigs, Biba flamingos!

I'm amazed that there is so little of Biba left now, I have found the odd dress but they aren't really the exciting part. My most treasured item is an original mail order catalogue. I will share this at another date, Biba can fill pages and pages of blog posts!

Just read the book. Xxx

Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday Friends - Laura Michelle, 'Power' photographer!

Laura Michelle Photography
Laura Michelle Photography
My Friday Friend this week is Laura Power of Laura Michelle Photography. I have been waiting to write this for such a long time, and at last I can share this amazing lady.
Laura first came to me for bridesmaids dresses after a vintage wedding fair, I was in the changing rooms at the time and Anna pointed at her across the room saying this girl just came over and wanted a dress. Laura was at another wedding dress stand and didn't come back, so I assumed she was the one that got away!

Thankfully she emailed me a few weeks later and came to visit the studio where we chatted bridesmaids dress and she told me she was a photographer. I thought nothing of it until I looked her up and fell head over heels in love with her blog and photography skills.

This is just a selection of my favourites, she is able to make beautiful the most mundane things and she was the only option when it came to shoot the bridal collection. I'm a complete control freak and we usually do all the photography ourselves but Laura is one of those people you can totally trust and is great to be around all day. She's also one of those uber talented people who doesn't have any idea quite how talented she is.

Here are a few other things about this wonderful photographer:

- Laura has seven (yes, 7 like a doctor) years of photography study behind her, a degree, two years of black and white study and two years of colour study

- She's super passionate about photography

- She has so many different cameras, lomo cameras, Polaroids, all sorts of gadgets to make amazing images with.

- I loved that she said that it doesn't matter how expensive your camera is, it's the skill in using it. The two photographs below were taken on a cheap digital point and shoot.

- She's a very lovely person that you would want at your wedding, not bolshy, just lovely.

- Laura will capture the most amazing moments when your not looking and get images of your family that perfectly represent their personalities. At the same time she is brilliant at directing models/brides to look your very best.

- She's very well traveled, has a black lab named Alfie and is getting married herself this year too! 

- Here are the photos Laura took at her first bridesmaids consultation at the studio.
- Here are the behind the scenes images of the bridal shoot! 

This image Laura took whilst in San Francisco of a couple at sunset, this is how great she is at capturing split second moments, even with a crappy camera.

The ceiling in the Bellagio Lobby, Vegas

My favorite image of the bridal shoot taken on the beach.

I know, once again I must seem like I'm totally over the top about this lady but she is wow factor, up and coming and soon to be up with the very best. I was blown away when I saw the shots from our bridal collection, the above image is exactly what I dreamt of and there was no way I could have taken this image myself.

NOTE: Now I've seen some terrible wedding photos, the type you want to hide they are so bad, taken by people who call themselves professional photographers.. And that's the one thing from your wedding that you keep and look at again and again. The photographer is even more important than the dress!

We all need to value genuinely talented photographers like Laura far more, it's certainly not just pushing a button on an expensive camera.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Sketches - Bridal 2012

Here are the watercolour and ink sketches from the forthcoming bridal collection along with a little intro as to what you can expect.

Title: The Seven Brides

The basic brief: Seven dresses for seven individuals. Each dress you can wear, dance in and still feel independent in whilst being showstopping. Nothing too serious, nothing too white and nothing too 'bridal'.

The inspirations: Once again dresses that can be worn on the red carpet or down the aisle and old Hollywood film star nuptials. It's a little more low key in silhouette but with added glitz and glamour. Each dress has a style and character of it's own which I will share in detail over the coming weeks, seven dresses for seven brides.

The fabrics: lots of silk taffeta, tulle, rhinestones, beading and texture to make dramatic silhouettes.

The colours: I tried really hard not to use white, but then fell in love with a white polka dot tulle, the colour pallet is blues, champagne, silvers with a big splash of dramatic colour.

So watch this space over the next two weeks, I just had a disc full or gorgeous images of the dress from Laura Michelle this morning. I can't wait to share them! 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mood Board - Bridal Collection 2012

Monday's Mood board, a little nod towards the new Bridal collection, all of the above ingredients are included ........... candy stripes, blushes, champagne, blue, roses and glitter. The sketches are coming up tomorrow and for a sneak peek behind the scenes take a click over here to the photographer, Laura Michelle's Blog. xxx

Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday Friends - Part 2

Photography by Oscar and Rose

Oscar and Rose photography
Emma of Oscar and Rose is quite a talent and we were so, so, so excited to see these photos she took at the Mansion House of us with the Marry Me Somerset girls. There will be more images coming up in a separate post but for now I just love this image. I think I'm supposed to be looking wise in some way but I was more entertained at Lisa's face. She didn't stop us giggling all day!

Marry Me In Somerset - these ladies are organisational wizards and fabulous at bringing people together. We have been to a few of their events and all have been great fun and really important in getting to know more people in the industry. I owe a lot of my growing confidence in speaking to people to them.
They have a directory of carefully selected wedding businesses based in Somerset and are genuine in their passion to promote excellent quality, so there is no longer that feeling of being ripped off when you are trying to organise your wedding. Use this site.

The wedding reporter

Before I met the infamous Cloggins I really didn't get what the wedding reporter was all about.
I'd followed her tweets and heard so many people talking about her that I was desperate to find out more, and I am so glad I did. I get it now!
She 'writes love stories' and you're the characters. Cloggins will get to know you, attend your wedding and write your story. It is then bound into a beautiful book (she collaborates with designer/illustrator Leah Spicer) that you can read over and over again, your own personal love story.
A genius idea of which she is the inventor of, the original, one and only wedding reporter.

Note: I'm so sorry if my grammar is terrible! Cloggins is a highly skilled writer stressing the importance of good grammar, as it represents you and your business. She's wise and true.

A stunning Bramble and Wild Bouquet. Photography by Oscar and Rose

Bramble and Wild Floral Emporium

So pretty the flowers and the ladies, just like a florist in a movie wearing a gorgeous dress in her flower shop. Bramble and Wild Floral Emporium is based in our favourite town of Frome on Catherine Hill and I just love the rustic natural style to their floristry. It's not just putting a bunch of flowers together, they understand colour and shape and design every time they pick up a bloom. 

Aunties Vintage China

Now I love a vintage tea set as much as everyone else, especially an art deco one but lately I have seen many, many vintage tea cups. What I loved about Aunties Vintage China was that they showed me something new at the wedding fair. A completely beautiful fine china brooch bouquet.
 As you can see it's full of colour, texture and indulgent prettiness. I remember seeing these delicate little brooches on my travels over the years and buying a few keeping them wrapped safely in tissue. Seeing them all together in a bouquet, glossy and bright is wonderful. Read more on their website here.

The Little Wedding Helper

Kirsten aka the little wedding helper is a super lovely lady here to co-ordinate the styling for your wedding.
She'll also help put all your decorations together on the morning of your wedding so you a free to spend all your time concentrating on yourself, friends and family. I can doubly vouch for this lady as she styled Sara's wedding into a candle lit, Phantom of Opera affair!
I love the Coco Cola styling with the polka dots and stripe suitcase, we just need Minnie Mouse to sit atop.

It has been really fantastic to meet all of these people, and there were so many more that I just didn't get a chance to properly speak too. Hopefully I will meet you again at another Marry Me Event xxx

Friday Friends - Part 1

Last Sunday the 11th March we were delighted to take part in the Wedding fair organised by Marry Me Somerset at the Mansion House, Bristol.

 Marry me Somerset ladies Abi and Lisa wore two dresses we designed with them in mind and looked fabulous all day whilst whizzing around the Mansion House keeping us all happy.

The Mansion House, Bristol, is a wonderful location and a real hidden gem. Not many people have heard of this beautiful Mansion, official residence to the Lord Mayor of Bristol and just off Clifton Down. Surrounded by a road of historical grand mansions this is a prestigious address that has real wow factor when you step inside. 

Our stand at the fair with Mum hosting and looking gorgeous and smiley as always. We are still getting into the swing of fair set ups and decoration, many levels will be our next stage with exciting props.

We were upstairs in a grand room with all of these wonderful designers and makers. At first we all thought it would be a little awkward but then you realise that we are all so different in our styles. I had an amazing time getting to know all of these fascinating and talented people, that I would have previously been way to scared to talk too ........

A suit that Fits - super suave, expertly cut suits for gents and ladies.David the studio manager knows how to wear a suit well and not only sent us home wanting to suit up our husbands but added a 'Suit That Fits' tailored jacket and shirt to my want list. I love the tailored womens jacket with bow tie, so Chanel in the 20s with an equestrian cut.

Lisa Keating bespoke corsets - This lady is such a huge inspiration. Lisa studied at the same University as us and has already has a long career in corsetry making the most wow factor corsets I have ever seen. They are made with such skill that they look like prized museum pieces. Lisa designs corsets for underwear (this is what I want everyone to wear under dresses!) and as outerwear for bespoke bridal gowns and any occasion. Her current project is a corset for a burlesque star.

These really are works of art up close when you see the bead work, lace applique and her signature hand sewn roses. I'm going to get back to burlesque as soon as I possibly can so I can reward myself with a cupped, sequined affair or at least learn how to make one in one of the workshops Lisa runs.

Beth Philpot Bridal and Jewellery Designer - Beth is a totally gorgeous lady and one whom we need to shout about as she isn't the shouting type.
Beth's bridal wear is again bespoke and cinematic romance is key to her style with flowing, ultra feminine lines. When you read her vast CV in costume design for film and opera it makes perfect sense. Her dresses are beautifully cut with considered detailing at every point then complimented with her oh so pretty jewellery.

Each of the roses was handcrafted by Beth at her studio in colours perfect for this seasons pastel tones. She too runs workshops and hen parties.

Lily and Louie Bridal and accessory designers with a stunning antique dress collection that I fell head over heels for. Jayne is the lady behind Lily and Louie designing with a real genuine passion for vintage dresses and style. We both chattered on about how much we both love, love dresses to the point of obsession and her bridal collection too is just gorgeous. I wanted to buy the whole rail of vintage dresses and wear them with all of her hand made accessories.

Madeline millinery and accessories, stunning designs and wow factor hats!!! When I suggest to people when visiting the studio to get a hat or head piece, this is what I mean. No silly bits of feathers that make your head look massively out of proportion, these are proper sized, beautifully, beautifully made and elegant. You should never be afraid to wear a substantial piece like these, as they are designed to give you that wow factor finish.
I was hugely impressed with this lady, the designs are something really special and I just wish I had spoken for longer to this super talented designer.

This was only half of the wonderful people we met, part 2 coming up later ...........

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mid week Movie - My Week With Marilyn

My week with Marilyn directed by Simon Curtis 2011 and written by Colin Clark and Adrian Hodges.
We watched this last night for the first time. I want to watch it again, and again.
Michelle Williams (Marilyn) and Eddie Redmayne (Colin) were fabulous, she got the character of Marilyn perfectly without it being an impression, making the role her own. I could have watched those two for the whole length of the film, maybe bringing in the Arthur Miller character (played by Dougray Scott) for a scene as he looked amazing too.
The one thing that didn't seem to sit well on first viewing was that it felt a little forced with such Great British cliches in the story (which I'm sure really happened!). Visits to Eton and Windsor castle, Judy Dench and the cast that made it appear there are only five British actors in the world. They are brilliant actors but the old familiar faces were quite distracting for this story, some unknown names could have been better.
Its difficult when the story involves film stars that are inbedded in our memory, and have become almost untouchable. We're all going to be critical if they don't meet our set fantasies of the Hollywood stars.

My favourite scene - when Marilyn first steps off the plane and the press conference. I just love Marilyn and Arthur Miller together. The next scene is the skinny dipping, she just seems to capture that sexy, exciting side that everyone imagines Marilyn Monroe must have had.
My favourite costumes ........... By Jill Taylor
Colin's suits, the wide cut trousers and longer fitted jackets with the shirts.
Arthur Millers shirts and chinos, effortlessly so handsome with the glasses
Of course Marilyn's Prince and the showgirl hourglass white dress, I'm sure there's some padding in those hips which make her curves just look incredible. (must research)
Marilyns chined waist wiggle dress with the empire line cut tightly under the bust with darts to make it pop at a fabulous angle.
Marilyns super simple camel pencil skirt and cream shirt with the collar folded back. It's all about the cut being so perfect to show of the figure and the waist at its best.

Inspirations it's left me with - to go blonde, wear red lipstick, hourglass cuts in plain fabrics and silhouette, silhouette, silhouette.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Moodboard Monday, the hollywood wedding

This weeks mood board is one from the forthcoming bridal collection. Once again it's about Hollywood, with inspirations from low key romance to red carpet.

The weddings above are, Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher, I love the sheer cowl and hood to her dress.

Bridgette Bardot rocking the bridal basque and veil, this is how I like my brides the dress under the dress, you don't want to ruin the illusion with the beige support pants.

One of the most romantic marriages on screen from Baz Lurhmanns Romeo and Juliet. There should be more secret weddings.

Carrie and Big in Sex and the City (the movie) town hall wedding in a vintage suit.

Catherine Deneuve with a wind swept full skirt and matching knickers, super cute complete with the shoulder length veil.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in Vegas, I love the collar and the prettiest looking cake.

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, this is so understated and so unbelievably cool. They were so in love all she needed was a suit. They also have a similarly pretty cake to Paul Newmans, I like the topper with the arch, it's more extravagant than the dress.

Audrey Heburn and Dr Andrea Dotti, looking so chic in a white mini dress with head scarf.

Marylin and Arthur Miller, super sexy in a three quarter length wiggle dress and simple jaw length veil.

Sammy Davis Jr and Loray White in Vegas, these cakes do seem to be quite something! I lover her dress with the pussy bow collar and the waved crown veil. It all looks so elegant together.

And finally Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner in a gorgeous two tone dress with matching shrug to frame the neckline.

I know most of theses marriages ended in divorce but it is Hollywood. I love that the most glitzy industry in the world had such low key, understated weddings.


Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday Friends - Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair

 On the 26th February we exhibited at our first wedding fair of the year with the fabulous organisers Bristol Vintage. I will talk about wedding fairs and shows sometime in the future and I have to say that this was one of the best from an exhibitors point of view.
I stupidly left the card out of my camera but we had a really great day. Many Many Thanks to Ali from Bristol Vintage!

Bristol Vintage
Image credit to Bristol Vintage
Planners and stylists of all things lovely I can definitely vouch for Bristol Vintage as not only do they have my favourite Babycham glasses for hire they are incredibly well organised and lovely people.

What they say about Bristol Vintage

" Bristol Vintage is a Bristol based company working throughout the south west co-founded by Ali Cook & Katie Daniels. Between them they have over 10 years experience organising boutique events, weddings, parties and film premieres. Inspired by their passion for vintage and love of tea-cups and cupcakes, Bristol Vintage was born!
At Bristol Vintage we scour the land so we can provide you with the most unique collection of vintage and mismatched crockery in the country. We take pride in delivering you the best service at the best price."

Bristol Zoo 

Well, the Bristol Zoo Pavilion was a stunning venue, light, impressive and screaming of period grandeur with crystal chandeliers and high high ceilings. They also have the best carpet I have ever seen, leopard spotted!

Photography by Dawn Wilkins
 Anna and me at the fair with our tape measures and lollipops!

Photography by Dawn Wilkins

Photography by Dawn Wilkins

During the day we were very honoured to have our tulle prom dress modelled by the completely stunning Sonali Patel. We were very proud of our girl looking just amazing all day long as she walked around the fair with her hair styled by Shear Madness and photographed by Dawn Wilkins.

Sheena Holland

Image credit to Sheena Holland

At the fair we were positioned in between some amazing ladies. I had seen Sheena Hollands work before at vintage fairs but this was the first time I got to really look close up at the sparkling, jewelled delights that Sheena had designed. Jaw droppingly, want inducing. I fell in love with the green feather hairband and most of the day I was distracted (whilst speaking to people) at the twinkling pieces as people kept trying them on across the room. Thankfully she has an online shop as she travelled all the way down from Derby. I've got some saving to do as I don't think I could buy just one! Take a look in here shop here

Meticulous Ink

Images copyright to Meticulous Ink
 Athena of Meticulous Ink, Bath

 On the other side of our stand was the beautiful Athena of Meticulous Ink, Bath. I firstly noticed Athena's beautiful curly hair with a huge corsage which left me feeling very jealous that I cut my hair off! But when I went to say hello and looked down onto the table to see some of the best hand pressed, stationary I have ever seen. You have to see their website to get it and if you happen to be handed a business card, it's something to treasure. It is really wow factor in weight, texture, the raised gold logo, the varnished lettering, perfect spacing. 
I love my business card design but this is another world in terms if paper stock and is exactly what they say, Meticulously fine design and printing. Take a look at their website here. They have an etsy shop too just so you can buy a little of the quality.

Note: I know I get excited about things easily but I am in all honesty very hard to please, especially when it comes to the way things look. I expect the very best talent from people and I just don't talk about the rest. So these Friday Friends are people and businesses that I think really are something very, very special indeed.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Mid Week Movie

Wing and I watch a lot of films and use them as a major source of inspiration for our work. Each week I'm going to share a mid week movie that's inspiring, brilliant, beautiful and something I come back to again and again. It will be a film I have watched during the week so it's my perspective at the time not me just reminiscing (too much!).
Be prepared for lots of pretty, singing, dancing and happy endings. For me films are escapism and fantasy and this is only my opinion of what I like, I'm no film critic.
However, I certainly don't want to escape to a grim, grey miserable world, so you won't find realism, British misery, requiem for a dream here. There's plenty too much misery in the world in real life.

This weeks film is ................ Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann 1996

I hadn't watched this in ten years until this week whilst hand stiching a wedding dress. I always used to switch off the ending as it annoyed me that the priest didn't just wait in Juliet's tomb to tell Romeo that she would wake up in a bit. Watching it again I realised how much older I am, I must have watched it, over and over as a teenager.

When I first watched this film - I think we watched some parts at school in English Lit lessons but I watched it again at home so many times properly. I, along with every girl on the planet developed a major crush on Leonardo DiCaprio who is now like a comfort blanket, you know you're safe in a film with him.
I also listened to the soundtrack constantly, it's full of 90s pop that plays an all important role in the film. Both the main and the classical versions are excellent.

Favourite Scene - now it's the dressing at the Capulet mansion, Juliet's mother (played by Diane Venora) as Cleopatra with the corset lacing and cigar smoking edit that is genius. Her running around in a vintage corselette and pink feather trimmed dressing robe, hollering for 'JULIEEEEEEEETE'. It's just perfect.
I love the Verona beach and theatre scene with the sky changing colours and the silhouettes created by the sun. The location and scenery are amazing with so many Shakespearean winks.

And of course the wedding scene, how could anything be more romantic than this? Find a beautiful chapel and elope with two witnesses, I don't think there is a more heart fluttering wedding on film or in history?

Favourite Costumes by Kym Barrett - this will have to be a list ....

Juliet's chiffon angel wing chiffon dress, I think it's the fact that the wings look like real wings, they might well be? Will need to look into this.
Romeo's knight in shining armour worn grunge style so coolly
Hawaiian shirts, I think they are needed this summer boys and girls. It's time.
Juliet's wedding dress, the white cutaway shoulder,  button down, full fifties tea length with a simple bouquet. Understated in it's crisp whiteness.
Mercutio's diva sequins and white Afro wig.  Lipstick on boys is the way forward.
Juliet's mother's Cleopatra dress and all trimmings. 

What inspirations it's left me with?

Nineties beach trash versus glam versus beauty combo. The importance of setting the scene, (Baz Luhrmanns L'Amour Coco Cola sign in particular) backgrounds and a soundtrack. Hawaiian shirts with white Catholic cotton and a sprinkling of sequins and so much romance.

I know most of you have watched this film, if you haven't get your 14 year old head on and watch it. 

Enjoy the break, watch the movie and share your thoughts on the film after with a little cake.

We'll start a film club!  xxx