festivel_brides-130Morning, beautiful people! I could not be any more excited to be sharing this post with you today. When the opportunity arose earlier in the year for us to create a styled shoot with astoundingly talented photographer, James Frost, we knew we wanted to bring to life something original and boundary pushing for the bridal scene. I hope you’ll agree that, with the help of some of the wedding industry’s finest artists designers and creators, we unearthed a little bit of magic in this editorial.

Introducing The Sisters…

I found myself humbled and so inspired when handed the creative reins for the concept of this shoot; I guess my heart had something it wanted to say about the bridal world.

In our transforming world the topic of women, their role, their liberation and their conception, are very much the at the forefront of the equality and gender conversation. It’s a conversation that I’m sure many find themselves wondering where the ritual of marriage and the bridal world fits into; personally, I find that it can fit wonderfully. Our liberation as women is about choice; about having the choice to seek out one’s desires, to express one’s sense of self and to choose how we shape our lives.

The Sisters is a celebration of women. It’s an expression, through three different female characters, of a few of the many powerful facets of the female psyche. It focuses on the women themselves, their expression of character through their bridal style; how their looks make them feel, how they move and choose to define themselves at this pinnacle moment, as well as their bond with one another.

Gaia

An earthy woman; a pillar of strength and security, she steeped in heritage.

Clio

A playful woman; she’s sensual and feminine, yet possesses a fierce energy.

Hebe

A wild woman; she’s full of life and youth, but there’s wisdom and experience behind her eyes.

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The Shoot’s Story

Contrary to my original plan, the ever-inspiring, James Frost, encouraged me to tell the full story behind The Sisters editorial, and with good reason.

You see, the shoot was originally orientated around the south coast of England, with a Siren theme pervading the portrayal of the women. The original vision was set against windy cliffs and rugged shoreline in late Spring, giving the women a wild feel, and the shoot an impressively raw landscape.

Alas, that setting was not to be; the universe had other plans, and I’m so grateful it did. Upon changing our setting at the very last moment to our incredible Woodland in Kent, the shoot really came to life. As James will mention in a moment, these changes induced an increased sense of spontaneity and, with an enchantingly pared back setting, our team created absolute magic.

So, with all that divulged, now seems like the best moment to give the hugest, heartfelt thanks to everyone that was involved in the shoot; to James: for your incredible talent and input into this shoot, to Old Bear Films: for capturing the beauty of these women so honestly, to the ladies of Portraits Bridal: you were an absolute pleasure to work alongside, The Wild Fox: thank you for a stunning series of bouquets, to the dress designers and boutique suppliers: your gowns are a constant source of inspiration, to AM Faulkner: what a dream it was to work collaborate with you, to our jaw-droppingly beautiful MOT models: you are nothing short of goddesses, and to the wonderful people at our Woodland & Field Shelter in Kent: it was truly our privilege to explore your magical space.

And of course, to my partner in crime, Festival Brides founder, Laura. Without whom I would never have had this opportunity and who brought this shoot to life; your ideas, your support and your energy are invaluable to me. Thank you.

Introducing James Frost…

If you haven’t heard of James Frost, you need to shimmy your butt straight on over to Instagram and hit ‘Follow’, because this guy is sheer talent. We were so excited to have him shoot with us, and my goodness did he work his magic.
Born in the UK, James grew up in Spain and has been living in Australia until he recently decided to relocate to the South Coast of England, and that’s how we finally got to meet him, having adored his work for years.
Inspired by his grandad at an early age, photography has always been a passion of James’, and around five years ago he began documenting weddings and naturally fell in love with telling peoples stories. As well as weddings, he loves to shoot lots of personal pieces, including atmospheric landscapes, as well as portraits shot on medium format film, fuelling his passion for wedding photography.
We asked him a little about his thoughts on the shoot…

What attracted you to this shoot initially?

I loved that it was different to most bridal shoots, and the ideas and styling that Clare had put forward to me in the brief just captured my attention.

What were some of your favourite aspects of the shoot and how did you interpret those ideas into your shots?

I actually loved that the location changed from the original idea, putting us under pressure to create something that suited the brief. I like in-the-moment thinking when it comes to imagery.

Do you have a favourite shot?

My favourites have to be the low light black and white shots. It’s my favourite light to shoot in.

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The Film

We asked our longtime loves, Old Bear Films, to capture the shoot for us, and boy did they nail the brief!

We asked for atmospheric framing, for a portrayal of strength and flowing movement, a sense of each individual identity, but also of sisterhood among the women… And Old Bear delivered all this and more.

Here’s what their main videographer, Jack, had to say about the shoot:

This was such an inspiring brief. To be given the luxury of time to capture each of these carefully crafted bridal looks in all their glory was really such a pleasure. I focused on framing the shots to really emphasise the subject; the depth of her expression against the soft muted backdrop of the log cabin, or her powerful stance on the hillside of the Kent Downs.

The music choice for the film ‘Modibo Chante à la Maison’ by Lessazo was Clare’s choice, and together it really aided us in visualising the film: its raw, stripped-back feel unites with the natural setting, allowing the viewer to focus on the women. The picked strings of the acoustic guitar also pair perfectly with the slow-mo vibe we went for with this film; every subtle movement becomes alluring and it gives it that captivating atmosphere, like you’re pausing a moment in time.

Take a moment to enjoy…

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Look One: Gaia

Gaia was the first character that came to my mind when conceptualising this shoot. Centered around the incredible bridal head wrap we collaborated with AM Faulkner to create, this look is inspired by African heritage. Gaia embraces her roots, she is strong through her ability to show herself love and is an inspiration to her sisters.

A confident female, Gaia is daring and bold both in character and appearance. As soon as we saw Betsie Dsane’s portfolio, we knew she’d be the perfect model for this character. Her strong bone structure, maturity, dark warm eyes and elegant demeanor gave her the earthy while goddess-like poise we were looking for.

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The Dress

For Gaia’s character, we wanted something loose fitting that would move beautifully, flowing with our model’s movement. We wanted it to scream confidence and a laid-back sense of security in one’s identity so, of course, we went for a Houghton favourite, the Galina gown, courtesy of The Lover’s Bride, Soho.

With its relaxed low-slung pockets, daring deep V neckline and layers of Silk Crepe De Chine, it’s truly a stunning gown.

 

Accessories

The star of the show with this look was the incredible head wrap.

I’d dreamed of a bridal piece like this, having not seen anything like it on the market, and knowing AM Faulkner‘s incredible talent and eye for original bridal headpieces in her own collection, it was amazing to collaborate with her to create the wrap.

A double layer, with an opaque silk in Ivory underneath, and a lighter pale Ivory silk organza over top, we created delicate dimension and a bold height with the wrap; a striking alternative bridal head piece.

When it came to jewellery, we littered our model’s long elegant fingers with somewhat androgynous signet rings in both polished and matte yellow golds from ASOS. It gave her super feminine hands a strong, powerful feel and a sense of intrigue and history.

 

Hair & Make-Up

Words by Portraits Bridal 

In terms of hair, the aim was to create a gorgeous, statuesque, silhouette. Hair was very minimalist and just pulled out at the front to soften the look. The important part of this look was getting the head wrap position right, keeping the bulk of the underneath matte material at the top, front of her head, helping to elongate and exaggerate her natural head and body shape.

The main focal point of the strong Gaia character was her flawless, super glowy skin (YSL Touch Eclat Foundation) with highlighted cheekbones (MAC Stobe cream), soft brows (Anastasia Beverley Hills) and a bold deep matte burgundy lip (Bobby Brown Cheek and Lip Colour in Cherry Chocolate).

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The Bouquet

Words by The Wild Fox

The flowers paired with this dress were strong and bold romantic, almost tribal. Large headed garden roses and dahlias with their vivid shapes and textures were paired with ferns and dark foliage. English garden flowers, paired with tropical.

A statement bouquet; strong and androgynous shapes, fused with deep flushes romance.

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Look Two: Clio

Clio is all kitten. She embodies the playful, sensual facet of women. Clio is willful: she knows what she wants from life and she knows how she’s gonna get it too. A natural, doe-eyed beauty, she’s all sass and she unashamed of her sensuality.

Flirtatiously feminine, this look naturally evolved with a fun nostalgic 90’s twist; Clio’s got a fun, self-assured approach to style that she readily and fully embraces, much like her approach to life.

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The Dress

In keeping with her coy demeanour, from the moment Clio’s character arrived in my mind, I knew she had to wear a drop shoulder gown, exposing her beautiful decolletage. Pair this element, with the playfulness of bridal separates and there was no question: The Bardot by Odylyne the Ceremony (courtesy of LA Bespoke) was the perfect choice.

Flirtatious flutter sleeves, a sweetheart style neckline and a high waist, form fitted skirt that fell in to a long dramatic rounded out train; there’s just so much to love about the Bardot gown.

 

Accessories

With the whimsical detailing and enticing shape of the gown we chose for Clio’s look, accessories were kept relatively subtle. Three simple bangles by ASOS adorned her delicate wrists, while ASOS’ petite opal style ‘through and through’  stud earrings gave just a hint of muted shimmer to her ears.

Our main focus with Clio’s accessories was her layered choker necklaces. A nod to the 90s trend that dominated the fashion world this summer, and the very personification of her multi-dimensional kitten character, we layered an almost vampy black wide velvet band choker from ASOS with a refined, slight yellow gold cuff style choker by Tarin Thomas (courtesy of LA Bespoke).

 

Hair & Make-Up

Words by Portraits Bridal

We chose a carefree hairstyle to compliment the Clio character’s flirtatious neck choker. With this in mind, we created two loose messy braids with non distinguished partings. Avoiding products that are to sticky as it can be hard to braid the hair, so product free is best or a small amount of coconut oil on the tips of fingers works well. To modernise the look we aged the braids by pulling them out as far as they could go and rubbed them with the palms of our hands to make them look a day or so. Partings were created roughly with hands rather than a comb and we took a carefree approach to the overall style. Finish the look using Kevin Murphy Session Spray.

To compliment this flirtatious natural beauty, make-up was kept very natural (Armani Silk Luminaire Foundation) with emphasis on creating long fluffy doe eye lashes (Eyelure Individual Pro-Lash Extensions). A flush of dewey colour to the cheeks maintained the natural look (Bobby Brown Lip and Cheek Colour in Pale Pink and Calyspo Coral).
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The Bouquet

Words by The Wild Fox

We used romantic armfuls of simple and stunning delphinium, which playfully catch the light and glow with soft iridescent tones. This bouquet is simple and yet extravagant. The over the arm bouquet style is timeless and indulgent and works perfectly with the lines of the dress.

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Look Three: Hebe

This look was inspired by my all-time favourite muse, Bambi Northwood Blythe. Hebe possesses a youthful face, with glowing bronzed skin, but there’s a wildness in her soul and a wisdom in her eyes. She’s a spirited woman, tamed into a luxurious gown that’s as intricate and bewitching as she is.

Hebe’s undone; her hair’s natural and unkept, it flies in the wind. She chases freedom, born a wanderer. Her partner won’t tame her, he’ll run alongside her.

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The Dress

When imagining the kind of woman Hebe embodied, there was always a level of complexity to be acknowledged. That youthful complexity, a sense of running wild and free in order to find out who you truly are, to discover the layers and intricacies of your being, and thus I wanted Hebe’s dress to reflect that also. We searched for a gown so intricate it was astounding, a creation so detailed that a single layer of lace appeared almost multidimensional; and I believe we found just that in Yolan Cris’ Casteleo gown.

A long sleeved piece, this exquisite lace overlay gown is high-end couture. With it’s innovative crop top silhouette and endless overlapping laces and high quality silk, this was just the gown to capture the luxury of youth and the intricacies of self discovery.

 

Accessories

With such and incredible gown, accessories for the Hebe look were kept relatively simple; we wanted the gown to do a lot of the talking.

We subtly adorned our models fingers with a number of thin gold stacking rings by Tarin Thomas (courtesy of LA Bespoke) and to enhance that wild, gypsy soul of Hebe’s we added over sized pendant style earrings by ASOS to sway in front of her brown tresses in the wind.

 

Hair & Make-Up

Words by Portraits Bridal

This look is wild, sexy and overtly feminine. We are still totally in love with centre partings at the moment and went with this to compliment the Hebe look, keeping our model’s thick and slightly wavy natural texture. We kept hair super clean and shiny at the root and tucked it behind the ears to make this look fierce and bold, but a little quirky at the same time. This is also great if showing off a statement pair of earrings!

To create the sleek root on our model’s hair we went through in small sections and straightened approximately two inches at the root only, then used a small amount of gel pump hairspray (Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine) to add a some hold and shine. The ends of her hair were left natural, using fingers we twisted and sprayed with with a light hairspray (Bumble and Bumble). Ensure the hairspray you use isn’t overly sticky and never spray too close to the hair as you will end up with hard patches, a light mist is always best.

For the Hebe woman, make-up had sheen’s of gold (YSL Touch Eclat Foundation) with exaggerated highlighting (MAC Pigment in Vanilla). With untamed brushed brows, set with a strong hold hairspray, the focus was really on her eyes: a blown own brown and gold smokey eye (Urban Decay Naked Palette  2) and lashings of brown eyeliner (MAC Pencil in Costa Riche) and plenty black mascara (Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes) to keep eyes deep and sultry. Lips were kept dewey and natural (Dr Paw Paw).

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Bouquet

THE KEY THEME FOR THIS BOUQUET IS WILDNESS. FOLIAGE DOMINATES, WITH WARMER TONES THROUGH ANY FLOWERS.

Look three- This simple handful of dark flowers was to make way for the details and textures of the dress. The dark garden flowers are a current alternative to traditional tones. 

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The Line Up

Concept & Coordination: Clare of Festival Brides
Styling: Clare assisted by Laura of Festival Brides
Photography: James Frost
Venue: The Kent Downs
Videography: Old Bear Films
Hair & Make-Up: Portraits Bridal
Flowers: The Wild Fox
Dresses: Houghton NYC (from The Lover’s Bride), Odylyne the Ceremony (from LA Bespoke) & Yolan Cris
Bridal Head Wrap: Bespoke Creation by AM Faulkner
Accessories: ASOS & Tarin Thomas (courtesy of LA Bespoke)
Models: Betsie Dsane, Christina Colson & Lillie Bernie of MOT Models

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