In the depths of last winter, Sarah (of Lyra and Moth fame) and I were talking about Kate Moss’s Galliano wedding veil. It’s got this glorious silhouette, it’s utterly recognisable and beautiful. The lace is beautiful, it completely stole the show. We had an idea to do a shoot inspired by this veil, perhaps something outdoors and with that same golden light. The “Secret Garden” thing is really hopelessly over done in England, and frankly that book is not at romantic so I’m not sure why.
We thought instead we’d center this shoot around a smaller, outdoor picnic style wedding. Sarah put together a Pinterest board which she then immediately forgot she’d done, whenever I referenced pictures from it through the rest of the process she went “yes that’s perfect!!”. I know Sarah. It’s from your mood board. I started designing and the first thing I really decided I wanted was the spotted tulle that gives this dress so much texture and depth. I couldn’t get any from my regular suppliers so I went on a bit of a hunt around, and I found a few really beautiful spotted tulles that handled really differently- a slightly stiffer, really beautiful one that I will absolutely use in another dress and this really soft dance fabric that handles like butter that I thought would be just perfect.
I typically work with a very specific design in mind, pattern cutting at my table, doing a first draft of the dress in cotton and generally doing 100 sketches and lists before I get going. This dress was really different because I wanted to try something a little more structured and boned than my usual work. The inside of a 1940s dior gown really caught my eye and I wanted to capture that balance of really immaculate structure and the beauty of imperfect hand stitching. I had a light bulb moment looking at the inside of these historical gowns recently that the hand sewing isn’t immaculate but that it makes the garment more beautiful anyway, and I’ve been trying to embrace that in my own work.
So I started the bodice, using the measurements Lowenna gave me. I really loved how it was looking but honestly I still hadn’t made a decision about how I wanted the skirt of sleeves to look. I was really enjoying the nude colour shining through the tulle so I brought that through in the skirt and at that point I did sit and sketch out sleeve options. Sarah had a strong preference for these gathered juliette sleeves and they felt really fresh and unusual. With sample wedding dresses I’m always looking to include something interesting, to give brides ideas outside of what they might already be seeing.
For the rest of the shoot planning Sarah and I worked together to style the picnic scene, the groom and the bride’s other accessories. We wanted to keep the hair and makeup as relaxed as possible to reflect the fact that our real brides don’t always book professional hair and makeup.