Real housewife getting framed

So i’ll admit a guilty pleasure. I love Real Housewives. Whether that’s Real Housewives of New York, Orange County, Beverly Hills or whatever. I love it! I love the fashion, the apartments, the shenanigans and of course, I love any hint of a wedding.  On the season premier of the Beverly Hills housewives, I caught a glimpse of something that I had to go back and watch again. Blink, and I would have missed it so I re wound and watched again.

One of the things I love about the show is the size of the closet (yes, walk in wardrobe definitely has the envious factor) and the rails of clothes and shoes contained in them. What I wasn’t expecting to see was a fabulous wedding gown framed and hung on the wall. Now, I’ve heard of ‘Cherish The Dress’, good friend Chris Hanley, photographer of Tuscany is the creator of this genre of photography and I’ve heard of Trash The dress (nothing to do with Chris) and of which isn’t among my favourite things to do with the most significant gown you are ever likely to wear, but never framing it.

If you’re not really sure of what to do with your wedding gown after the big day, what options have you got? Box it? Sell it? Dye it to wear again? Have it made in to a christening gown? Again, not sure I would ever take scissors to my beloved gown. It hangs in my wardrobe as  the window to the most important day of my life.

  I Googled “What to do with my wedding dress” and most of the above came up, but it seems not many people have heard of framing it.

Real Housewife, Adrienne Maloof did just that however and tweeted it.

The idea of getting more for your money and immortalizing your gown behind glass means an original and unique piece of art for your room and most definitely a statement piece in your home.

There is another option. Displaying your gown on a dressmakers dummy. However, if you’ve ever experienced making a ‘visit’ in the dark and coming face to face with the Woman in White like I have on many occasion in the past, I wouldn’t recommend it. Apart from getting the fright of your life on a regular occasion, it can get a little dusty!

 What to do with my wedding dress.

Anyone frame a wedding dress?

Kate Middleton’s wedding gown on display

Among Knights and Princesses- Rebecca gets married

I love to open my e mails and discover images from a client. Rebecca was married at Bamburgh castle, Northumberland, recently. Studio shots of her in the studio were blogged about here, but I so want to share the official images from her wedding day.

Rebecca’s gown was a gorgeous 100% slinky silk satin and Chantilly lace, but the request for a structured internal corset to define Rebecca’s bust and waistline meant adding the corset attached at the shoulder only. The body is naturally proportioned, except for the small distance from ribs to hips so the corset enabled us to lower Rebecca’s natural waistline slightly and gently elongate her torso to accommodate the gown style. A soft satin sash at the waist would be tied into a soft knot at the back.

Along with the images, Rebecca said. “Thank you again for making me such a beautiful dress, it received many compliments and, had you not emigrated, you would have a waiting list of my soon-to-be-bride friends wanting something similar!”

Congratulations to Rebecca and her husband. We think you look amazing.

Catherine Walker- Royal designer

Born: June 27, 1945
Died: September 23, 2010

London based designer, Catherine Walker, was originally born in France as Catherine Marguerite Marie-Therese Baheux. Catherine can be remembered for designing and supplying over 1,000 gowns and outfits for Diana Princess of Wales who was also buried in a black gown designed by her.

Her commercial life began selling children’s clothes before moving on to designing and specializing in high-end evening wear, occasionwear and wedding gowns. Catherine Walker had many noble clients, her most memorable being Princess Diana of which Catherine was among her favorites. Her professional relationship with Diana began just a few months after her marriage to prince Charles and continued until her death providing the Princess with many iconic gowns including the ‘Elvis’ gown shown below.

Lady Helen Taylor, daughter of the Duke of Kent, wore a gown designed by Catherine Walker ( below) that was inspired by the architecture of the wedding venue, St Georges Chapel Windsor, when she married Tim Taylor in 1992.

Catherine’s designs have also been chosen by Kate Middleton and her mother, Carol. Carol wore this pale blue Walker design at her daughters marriage to Prince William.

Kate herself chose a Walker design in this red coat while on her tour of North America.

The designer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and was treated surgically but sadly died from the disease on this day, September 23 2010.

Are women really a size 6?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average woman weighs in at 70kilos (that’s 11 stone for uk conversion) and looks a little like this.

 I guess this calls me average or ‘plus size’ as I look a lot like the woman in the picture, in fact, rather than using a photo of what the media consider a plus size ‘model’ I thought it only fair to post an image of me. (I’m the one in the middle) I’m not shocked to know I fit into this category, I’m not the most health conscious of people. I try to eat at least three portions of fruit or vegetables a day, but as a working woman, sometimes a piece of toast at lunch time enables the work-on-the-go approach. If not toast then a bowl of cereal. I guess I could fit in more exercise, but with the demands of a growing family, a husband, my work (which can sometimes trickle in to the wee small hours) I simply don’t have the time to work out. My life is pretty full and if I did, something would have to give. But, that’s my choice and I accept that.  I wouldn’t consider myself fat, chubby or flabby, I may have a bit of a muffin top ( the phenomenon of overhanging skin when it spills over the waistline of pants or skirts) but since the lowering of the trouser waistline, you can’t actually contain anything  any longer! The benefit of high- waisters!  I can fit in a pair of size 12 jeans and at times can feel pretty good about myself, however, with a BMI of 28, I’m considered overweight!

I’ve just read a letter from a reader in a magazine. She is right when she says wearing correctly fitting clothes in the right size can make your body look slimmer. Trying to squeeze into something that simply does not fit just to say you are wearing a smaller size is madness. Sizing shouldn’t matter. Style and comfort should.

 Bigger women are clearly not a priority for a lot of the high street stores, even though they make up the majority of the marketplace and as a designer, it’s impossible to design a ‘one style fits all’ gown. Curvaceous figures demand a different aesthetic and you simply cannot design a gown without considering the major factors which are a) the client’s body shape and b) the cut and style of the gown. This also works for a client who is completely at the other end of the scale, a little like our client Pip who married recently. Petite in height and petite in frame. My client base ranges from sizes 8 through 32. It works both ways!

The amount of clients I’ve had in the studio who tell me. “I loved this gown, but it just did nothing for me when I tried it on.” Or, when they open their beautiful bound folders containing cuttings and images – everything related to their dream gown and say. “It just didn’t look like that on me!”

Women just don’t need this kind of anguish in their lives.

Why are we still seeing size 4 on the catwalk and in the glossies? Is it because us ‘plus size women’ who are more than familiar with our bodies don’t actually want to look at it? Are we all craving to be more like ‘the models’ than the body we actually possess? If this is the case, then we really are setting ourselves up for a fall because each and every client who has passed though my door has a different body shape to the next. A client who is short waisted to one who is long makes ALL the difference to their look. In essence, there is really nothing wrong with the bodies we live in. It’s making sure the cut and the style works for us!

The only one woman to ever have had the biggest impact on fashion.

I had intended to compare two beautiful women and their choice of fashion in this post, but the more I researched, the more I could see that this is one pair of Jimmy Choo’s that simply cannot be filled.

 Designed by Victor Edelstein . Black silk velvet edged with black ribbed silk. Diana wearing this dress adorns the cover of Life magazine, November 1997

Princess Diana dressed to suit her mood as well as every event she dressed for and when she first walked out on center stage at her wedding in 1981 the world watched. Her evolving style played an important role in creating her public image choosing British designer Catherine Walker and other foreign designers, including Versace, John Galliano, Valentino, Ferraud Ungaro, Lacroix and Moschino among her favorites, after the breakdown of her marriage, her new image became young and confident.  For me, this is how I remember her, a fashion icon who was now injecting a dose of Hollywood glamour into British Royalty. She knew what worked for her body, the patterns, prints and colours. Hemlines got shorter, heels taller. She had a knack of making casual look chic and her choice of clothes spoke volumes as the once shy girl’s confidence grew.

The names David and Elizabeth Emmanuel surely have to be among the designers named among Diana’s favorites, responsible for the sumptuous ivory taffeta and antique lace wedding dress created for the future Princess which included a 25-metre train.  The wedding gown was described as a dress that “had to be something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved”, and of which would be “suitably dramatic in order to make an impression.” It certainly did that! All eyes on how creased it was as Diana stepped from the carriage. The gown, in true 80’s style, still remains in my list of top ten most favourite wedding gowns to date.

 Worn for a photo-shoot by her favourite photographer Mario Testino for the magazine Vanity Fair, this Catherine Walker ivory silk crepe gown with draped bodice was also worn to the state banquet for the King and Queen of Malaya. 

Diana’s style suited the pages of Vogue and Vanity fair more so than the corridors of the Palace.

Black silk crepe with asymmetric ruched bodice and side sash, designed by Christina Stambolian. Diana wore this dress in 1993 to the Serpentine Gallery.

Designed by Catherine Walker. Pale blue chiffon ball gown with matching stole.
Diana wore this chiffon gown several times in public. In 1997 at the Cannes film festival and again to a film opening.

Designed by Gina Fratini. White chiffon gown trimmed with pearlised sequins and beads.
Diana wore this to a ballet in Rio de Janiero.

Designed by Catherine Walker. This strapless taffeta evening gown is adorned with blue flowers.

This stunning midnight blue dinner dress  the Princess wore to a State dinner at the White House in Washington in 1985, was inspired by the Edwardian era. The gown designed by Victor Edelstein in silk and velvet was made specifically for the event.

Many of these gowns were auctioned by Christies. For the full list of gown information and cost raised at auction, please visit the auction website here.

In true Mary Quant style – Pip gets married

Mary Quant- the fashion designer who took credit for the mini and one of the three major fashion talents of the 60’s. Chanel, Dior and Quant.

Vintage has certainly set the trend in the wedding world with it’s 1950’s Rock n Roll style and use of huge tiered petticoats or the sleek demure style of the 1940’s, but when Pip entered the studio, I knew instantly neither of these styles would work for her.

Pip was struggling with finding anything to suit so designing something around her  beautiful petite frame meant being a little brave and not to be afraid of something novel and new. It was time to experiment!

The design was simple, something modern and fun to suit Pip, but the ability to make her still feel every inch a bride. The gown was made using  100% silk dupion in ivory and a gorgeous Guipure lace. The 3/4 length sleeves and hemline followed the cut of the pattern and silk buttons through the back.

Of her wedding gown Pip said. ” One of my best friends summed it up when they said ‘I can’t imagine what else you’d get married in that could be more you.’ The dress reflected exactly what our wedding was all about and it was an amazing feeling to know I was wearing a one off, that fit me perfectly.
Thanks so much – I’ll send you some snaps as they come through too.
Good luck with the big move – those Aussies are lucky ladies to have you around to make their gowns!
Pip x

With thanks to James Melia for the images http://www.jamesmelia.com/ Full set of Pip’s day can be found on James’ website here.

Love brought you together as husband and wife – another year in love.

10th September 2011 was the wedding of Hannah and Colm, so happy anniversary to you both. Where has that year gone?

Hannah had a pretty clear idea of the style of gown she wanted. Something vintage with a modern twist. The ivory, silk chiffon gown had a gentle sweetheart neckline. Silk slipper satin flowed beneath the chiffon and as a striking alternative to a satin sash we sourced a silver floral design embellishment, edged with silver beads on a tulle base, opaque diamantes and marquises, with silver tubular beads, sequins and thread. The ‘belt’ finished the gown perfectly adding the vintage yet modern twist Hannah was after. The gown had a beautiful flowing train and was buttoned through the back.  Hannah’s beautiful Mantilla veil made by No 9 completed her look.

We also made the soft green bridesmaids gowns (fabric supplied by Hannah) and ties for the men.

Thank you so much for the images Hannah. Happy Anniversary!

“I did my daughter proud”

There are few occasions when a whole family come together, so it’s no surprise that a little competition is to be expected between mother of the bride and mother of the groom. After all, both ladies will be attending the wedding of their beloved daughter or son and both will want to look the part.

 When I first met with Anita, as mother of the bride, she had lots of strong ideas for her preferred style of dress.

Anita loved the vintage era and wanted to bring those elements into her outfit. She brought ideas and sketches along to our consultation along with images of hats to enable us to design something that she had in her mind. We began a colour swatch search and as Anita wanted to source colours and fabrics herself she presented me with a sample she found a few weeks later. It was a beautiful Orissa silk in geranium pink and it’s unique beauty was the irregular slubs running across the fabric.  The colour of the silk and design Anita agreed on would lend itself well with the use of a beautiful lace. Sourcing a lace in a colour to compliment the silk however did prove difficult so we looked to specialist fabric dyers. Many of the dyers would only accommodate lengths of 3 meters plus, but we only wanted to dye approximately 1 meter. So, I set to task of weeks of mixing dyes and hand dying samples until a shade to compliment the silk was reached.

The end result was perfect and a few weeks ago I received this kind note along with the images.

“Hi Linda

I hope you are all settled in and making new contacts! I just wanted to let you know that I felt wonderful in the dress you created for me. So many people commented on it – I felt as though I had done Jenny proud. Just disappointed that you won’t be here to create another dress for Sally’s wedding.

Many thanks again and good luck in your new venture!”

Joanne and Greg’s wedding in Shaw

Joanne’s infections smile was a joy and she brought it to the studio at every visit.  When I first me Joanne, she was looking for something with a vintage feel and loved ‘Esther’

At the time, the sample gown was in new York with Annabel of Love My Dress Annabel had asked if she could borrow it so it was altered to fit and sent to Gateshead and then taken to New York.

This wasn’t an issue for Joanne and we decided the style would suit her perfectly with no adjustment or design changes. Joanne’s bridesmaids, her sister and niece, were to wear red taffeta halter-neck gowns with a matching bolero jacket. A red sash was tied to the front. Joanne completed her look with a beautiful tiara.

Joanne said. “

Hiya Linda:

We had a wonderful day, and your dresses looked fantastic!  Everyone commented how gorgeous they were. My dress made me feel like Grace Kelly in High Society.  I am really chuffed … you really made my day. It’s now dry cleaned, and presented in a beautiful acid-free box.  It’s something I will always cherish.

We would both like to thank you very much for making our day so special.”

I’d like to thank you for being a beautiful bride, Joanne. Congratulations to you both.


Images courtesy of the bride and groom.

Tags: Weddings in Shaw   Vintage Wedding gowns    Vintage wedding dresses

  Red bridesmaid dresses   Mother of the bride   Vintage Wedding gowns Perth Australia  Love My Dress