Friday, 13 April 2012

City of Steel - A Claire Pettibone Shoot Part 1

I met Chloe Curry of The White Room Bridal at the beginning of February and was immediately struck by how beautiful her place of work was.  It's quite difficult to quantify it, as it's so much more than just an ordinary bridal boutique - it's much more about the experience of being there. The only way I can describe it is to say  - think of the most perfect bedroom or boudoir and fill it full of beautiful gowns and you'd be getting there. Think utterly gorgeous, full of pretty, pretty things.

So we talked for a while about setting up and establishing businesses and how her business ethos is to work with, support, and nurture local businesses. Then she showed me some of her breathtaking gowns and told me of a forthcoming Claire Pettibone Trunk Show, and we talked about how I could become involved.  Fast forward a few weeks and on a second visit, I was really excited to find that Chloe had also spoken to fabulous photographer Cat Hepple, and together they had arranged a shoot to take place the day after the Trunk Show.  The shoot was scheduled to take place in the Millennium Galleries using two ballerinas as models.

My brief was threefold.  First I was create flowers in blues, whites and platinums to fill The White Room with scent, then I was to design and create a range of bridal flowers to compliment the gowns and lastly I was to make up a couple of fresh designs for the actual photo-shoot itself.  An absolutely fantastic opportunity, but ever so slightly daunting, as I'm sure you can imagine.

I went home and immediately started sketching out ideas.  Some of which made it to the final designs - one of which I just couldn't make work, but that's another story.  Here are a few of the designs I made initially, forgive my dreadful photographs, if you read to the end I promise to reward your patience with truly exquisite photography in Part 2!

Flowers for Chloe

A very natural, pretty, bouquet of aster, eryngium, muscari, lavender, rosemary and bear grass, which smelt divine

A larger, relaxed, sheaf-styled bouquet of aster, A1 roses, bear grass and pussy willow, which also doubled as a vase arrangement.  I imagined it to be carried in a very off-hand, informal way.

 I used Muscari for the scent and the gorgeous colour to create a very simple, timeless bouquet which was as romantic as the dresses.

A close-up of the finishing details - blue satin ribbon with a lace overlay and a pretty sparkly vintage brooch

This was a more formal bouquet of 'aquito' and 'A1' roses with scented rosemary for remembrance.  I offset this design with a collar made of strands and strands of different sized pearls complete with little wayward lengths of the finest satin ribbon to create a more relaxed, but opulent feel.

I always feel that attention to detail is incredibly important and used this lovely embossed rose ribbon to compliment this design

Another hand tied posy, this time using aster, 'vendella' roses and bear grass for a 'just-picked-from-a-meadow' look

I also made a really large vase display for Chloe's window, which I filled with pearls in the water.  The arrangement contained lots of eucalyptus, fabulous white prunus and lots and lots of the flower materials in all the blues and whites and creams.  It sat on an elegant wrought iron, mosiac topped table.  Stupidly, I completely forgot to take even a bad photograph of this!

Flowers for the Shoot

For the shoot I made two further pieces - the first of which, is this pomander.  When I was thinking about the designs I really wanted them to capture the romance of the gowns and although there wasn't an empire-line in sight, there was something quite Byronesque about them.  I also didn't want to make something too overtly bridal or weddingy - so, it just had to be a pomander.

I used beautiful anemone with a steely grey centre, wax flower, muscari and eucalyptus 'baby blue'.   

The pomander with finished with delicate trails of organza ribbon to which I attached the tiniest muscari heads, wax flower heads, pussy willow buds and minute prunus flowers

A close up of the ribbon trails

I have to be honest here and say that I got up very very early the morning of the shoot to make the pomander, as I wanted it to be as fresh as possible.  But the problem was it took a long time to make, much longer than I first thought, as the material I used was so delicate and tiny to create that lovely soft effect.  As a consequence, I didn't photograph the design before I left for the shoot, which is why the anemomes are marked in the photo I do have.  A lesson learned I would say and a word to the wise to all my florist friends who read my blog!

Sadly, because I was in such a rush I also didn't photograph my second design of roses, eucalyptus and ammi in a cornucopia. However, happily the best by far is yet to come and in Part 2 I tell you a bit more about the shoot, the fantastically creative women I worked with, and you get to see those photographs ... truly heavenly.

'til then, enjoy

Tracey x

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