Steampunk Amazones Collection, Part 1

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Well, I love Steampunk – mostly because it combines a few of my passions: history, clothing, culture.  with this collection I sought to add to the mix and enhance my perception of Steampunk through some more of my passions – horse riding, side saddle, and different cultures.

 After a few months of drawing, researching and picking up bits and pieces that vaguely went with the idea, the first sketches were ready – we had 7 amazones, from different continents and backgrounds. A few weeks later, most of the fabrics etc were assorted ( I wanted to use the stuff I had in stock, so sometimes the choice was a bit limited.) A bit of a disaster struck when we realized we wouldn’t be able to shoot the collection in the original venue as the friend who worked there, my side saddle mentor Becca Holland,had her hand in plaster and was off sick, plans had to be changed – and soon we had a solution: splitting the shoot in 2 parts, with one part taking place in the North, and one local. Atkinson Action Horses were recommended by a friend, who trains there – and the plan was hatched. We could have an action photo shoot and at the same time we got a model – not only a rider but a falconer, running Flight and Feathers Historical Falconry.

The result of the cooperation are below – let us meet  the first 4 Amazones

1. North America: The Neonavajo ( working name: Pocahontas…). having always been inspired by the Native American Indians ( my childhood nickname was Apache! ), this collection was just a perfect medium for playing around with leather, feathers and beads. The model for this look, Amy, was chuffed at being the Steampunk Pocahontas – and pulled the look off admirably!

 The initial sketch:

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Finished outfit

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The skirt was just a fun idea – 6 panels laced together – and unlaced for riding. the corset was perhaps the most demanding piece form the collection –   there is a fashion layer, coutil layer and a cotton lining. it is fully boned and sports external waist tape – all embroidered. Flossing, reminiscent of eagle feathers took quite some time ( and sore fingers…) as did the beading- we used different kinds of beads and metal bullet cases. My husband even produced some matching necklaces:-).

 To finish the outfit off, I Steampunk’d a jacket ( from Next) that I purchased at the Stamford Steampunk market – simply added beads, bullets and cogs. feathers, funk 70ties boots and some weapons, including the guns from RP Outfitters, completed the look.  The horse chosen for this character played his part extremely well – Badger was very patient and charismatic. He was fine with people putting tassels, braids and feathers on him, shooting bows off him – perfect.

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2. Europe: The Ringmistress ( still looking fora better name…)

 This was the least time consuming project as I utilized gear I already owed – the jacket i made as a part of my 1885 Riding Habit, and a corset ( 1884 Higby Patent)

 this was the original habit:

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 and that was the sketch for the Amazone:

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 Add a Steampunk topper and my hunting whip, and sorted!

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and without the jacket, with just the corset, worn on my old salsa top ( !)

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 I also wore lovely earrings from The Navigatrix🙂

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My stead was a hunter, Charlie. Charlie was one of of those horses who do not care much about anything unless they are ridden. so for the static shoots, he was half comatose, happily dozing away.  Things changed once I climbed on board and soon Charlie was cantering around the school.

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 alas, the Steampunk topper, unlike my proper one, did not sit tight enough and was blown off shortly after… still, we did have a good run!

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looking awake and happy. As is Charlie!

3. Africa ( and Middle East): The Neobedouin.

One of my favourite characters – I spent some time with the Egiptian Bedouins, crossing the White dessert, Black Dessert, and the Great Sand Sea, before staying in  Siwa, a Bedouin oasis ( and going for some sand surfing…). they were great folk, polite, with great sense of humour – and completely bonkers mad, especially when driving was involved. Great people. Not surprisingly, I have already  used the character in my previous collection – this one just needed  a slightly different look.

the sketch:

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and the realization:

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Amy was modelling thins one – and the outfit consisted of loose linen pants, original gallabiya in silk/linen -brought from Egypt a few years ago, adapted for riding. The underbust corset in sateen was decorated with leather strips, gold braid and  quite a lot of Egyptian coins… Headdress – lots of scarf ( including my Nubian one from Aswan), braid and a silk mask, based on the original mask Bedouin women wear. the hip chain and amber bracelet were provided by The Navigatrix, the gun by RP Outfitters.

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The mount was a spectacular Spanish Stallion, Almonzor.  A truly magnificent beast, very well schooled – and looking quite dashing in the Scythian tack…

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 here Almonzor just showing off…

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 Amy also brought her young kestrel, Shira 🙂

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4. Asia: Mulan? ( again, still looking for a better name..).

 Here I again combined things i love – I adore Chinese and step people clothing – and have bee fascinated with them since my tender teenage years – I have been training kung fu since i was 16, and i am now learning Mandarin. putting the martial arts, costume and equestrian ideas together was just fun.

The design:

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and its rendition:

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with Shira!

The outfit had several layers – loose silky pants, silk kaftan, leather corset and matching collar here – but there are also separate sleeves that hook up to the collar, and another kaftan, in metallic cloth, with a belt.

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As for the mounts, we first selected another gorgeous stallion

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 He wasn’t particularly impressed with having to work on his day off, and standing still was just not cutting it.  He playfully headbutted me, then kicked the owner, Ben and legged it, seeking greener pastures.

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Freedom!!!

 After a few rounds around the paddock, he consented to being caught and Ben rode him a bit – perfectly fine. still, for safety sake,we decided to get a bit more sedate mount for the shoot, and so Seamus was brought in to stand  by for Mulan’s ride. and he was perfect:-)

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we did a few charges on him too – alas, i forgot that we were shooting a fierce warrior so I was smiling a lot – not best for the shoot:-(

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a tad better, but you can still see the smirk.. 🙂

and there it is – 4 amazones, the next 3 are in Part 2 – here

credits:

photography – believe it or not, my husband ( after a  course with MOckford Photography)

Horses and Location: Atkinson Action Horses

Kestrel: Feathers and Flight

Clothes – me- So Prior Attire and our Steampunk branch, Off The Rails

jewellery, as indicated earlier – The Navigatrix

Steampunk guns: RP OUtfitters

models, Izabela PItcher and Amy Wallace

Many, many thanks to Ben and Fran from Atkinson Action Horses –  you were a great help- providing professional and friendly advice and service – the horses were turned out spotlessly ( i thought  me and Amy would be doing the horses ourselves, so that was a huge bonus – we had more time to make ourselves look pretty! ), and they were stunning and well behaved, including the young naughty boy  🙂

Huge thanks to Amy to not only agreeing to the wild idea, but also arranging the shoot, modelling and bringing her kestrel – you both looked superb!

thanks to Sarah from SDWD, who did a make up and hair trial with me!

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one eye for Mulan, one for Neobedouin…

and kudos to Lucas Pitcher who took the pictures and edited them so promptly!

jut to finish it off:, a few behind the scenes shoots… 🙂

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getting ready

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grace, poise and dignity – yep, that’s me…

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whooa! my hat’s falling off! 🙂

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Shira, like every girl, was interested in make up. a lot.

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She took a strange liking to Lucas and sat on him a lot. Shat on him a lot too…Image

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Ben showing us how it is done – mark his broken foot…

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naughty boy about to headbutt me, bless the young beastie!

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look, no hands!!! 🙂

well, that is it for now – the part 2 soon – after that the collection will be shown at the Fashion show at the Steampunk Asylum in Lincoln – and then some outfits will be put on sale:-)

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Corsetry fun – Stitch and Bitch2 -August

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 Well, I did warn you…. it was hardly a fortnight and I was back in Oxford with Julia from Sew Curvy for another stitch and bitch session. if you missed the last one – here it is… Stitch and Bitch JUly

 The day started with a cuppa and the newest bits of gossip – all the latest news, especially those relating to the  Oxford Conference of Corsetry Julia organizes for the end of August – were thoroughly discussed. I brought some more bits and pieces for the Conference Embellishment bar – silk satins, taffetas, brocades and trims, all for the participants to pic and choose and use:-)

 Gossiping continued for another hour or so, i am afraid, but at least we weren’t idle – we packed all the orders for the shop together, and i learnt how to wound spring wire and pack things nicely, the Sew Curvy way.  Naturally, there was some silliness involved – I think I know what to use as a lasso for my Steampunk Amazones collection photo shoot…..

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 Julia also introduced me the the range of leathers from G.H. Leathers – and as it turned out they have a warehouse just around the corner from where I live ( already paid them a visit…)

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 After that work started in earnest. Julia was working on producing a flossing sampler, and I had an experimental corsetry idea. Nowadays everybody is making sheer corsets – a bit weird as in this hot weather the plastic  makes you sweat a lot! still, it is an attractive look, and I wanted to explore the possibilities offered by the sheer nature of the nylon mesh. in short, i came up with the idea of using two layers of sheer and stuffing things in between them, for decoration purposes.

 I came up with a sketch, in which i was using synthetic plastic boning as decorative ‘ribbing’ on the corset.  Julia was a bit skeptical, but I decided to give it a go anyway, I do enjoy a challenge…

 I used Julia’s underbust pattern ( the same I used for the red underbust), but in smaller size – I didn’t want to waste too much sheer!

Below are the stages of how the idea was transformed into a tangible object…

cutting out…

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stitching the channels…

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using my brand new Janome HorizonMC8200 QC!

the non-sheer panels are in black sateen – love it!

Imagethen it was time to join the panels together…

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the backs

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and the fronts…

 and then the most dreaded task – cutting out the synthetic boning

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 at that point it was time to pack the things and finish the work for the day and get to Julia’s – after all, a delicious meal awaited – this time it was a healthy chicken salad…

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with not so healthy G&T in the background…

 The next morning saw us packing the orders again, and with serious work out of the way I was able to  concentrate on my experimental  underbust…

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just the binding and the proper boning to do. and the eyelets…

I finished just before lunch – an ideal time to try to lace ourselves into the thing, never mind it was too small, you always have to have a go…

here’s me:

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then it was Julia’s turn…

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Very happy with the experiment, so the idea will be expanded and i think there will be some more playing with sheer – especially for steampunk market. This one looks a bit sci -fi, indeed we may need to name it Darth corset…

 I had just two hours left before i needed to hit the road – could I make a corset in that time? I did say I enjoyed a challenge….

 In the end, I did not make one in 2 hours, and I blame Julia for it – she suggested that I embroider the panels on my new machine and I simply couldn’t resist it… that’s the state of the corset at 4.30 when we had to leave..

half made

 Still,  all I had to do back home to finish the thing was eyelets and binding, and her’s the finished thing, snapped the same evening. the corset i made in sateen coutil in ‘Moroccan sands’ colour, with exterior castings and a wide busk – all provided by Sew Curvy!

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and the side…

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It was the fastest I ever worked on a corset – and I believe it was only because I was by that time so familiar with the pattern and didn’t need to do mock ups and alternations in it that made such speedy work possible. Also, I found it amazing  that one pattern can produce three different looks – very versatile:-).

 Am looking forward to trying out Julia’s overbust pattern now… 🙂

you can find the beige and the red underbust for sale on etsy, the Darth corset will be offered for sale after the conference:-)

 all the corsetry provisions can be bought from Sew Curvy!

Steampunk Stamford market 2013

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Just back from a lovely event in Stamford –  we learnt about it quite late, when all the stalls were sold out, but since there was a cancellation on Thursday, we were invited to trade! it was a short notice, but since Stamford is only about 50 minutes drive from Bedford, we decided to take the opportunity to play:-)

 The event was organized by Lorna from Fell From Grace, and was held in a lovely town of Stamford – a historic town, all built in stone –  very, very pretty!

  There was quite a lot of Steampunk fun going on over the whole event, alas, since it was such a short notice for us, we had already committed to other plans. sill, we were happy to attend the market!

 The market was open to the public from 10 to 4.30, and was quite a busy little affair. There was a good turn out of the traders, with loads of interesting things, and there was a lot of entertainment going on on the stage, so  we were far from bored!

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All ready at the stall-  and for today’s event I chose to wear my outfit from the Steampunk Travellers collection – the Conductrice – as t is both stylish and rather comfy! I also wore my Victorian Tavistock boots ( supplier: American Duchess) from the first time – and so was learning how to use my button hook !

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 I had a quick look around the stalls before the public turned out –  lots of interesting things, lots of familiar faces – and a few new ones too!

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love the clock bag!

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both pics from a stall Pommygranit

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 The trader and his lovely boxes – from Dodo Black Rainbow

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Addixtion-designs team – plus Cpt.Bellinger temporarily absent from his stall….

and a lovely underbust in interesting fabric from the Addixtion..

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 opposite us we had Handcrafted Leatherwork with a full range of leathery things! exciting!

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 and next to us, lovely ladies from Ornamentology

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Let us not forget the organizers – busy as always!

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 and my own dear husband, intently gazing at the stage…

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and on the stage we had several things happening = poetry and rapping, magic – and most exciting, competition! the best facial hair…

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contestants debating tactics…

( the winner was Cpt.Bellinger, btw)

ther was a best Steampunk pet competition – won by Otto..

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 and traditionally., Tea Duelling..

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to add to all this excitement we had a terrible case of South Tottenham ( when the soggy biccy falls into the cleavage of the lady..). fortunately, there were a lot of volunteers ready to help…

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 And there was the public –  and it must be said that at Steampunk events the public tends to be just as interesting as the rest of the performers – we had a few really lovely chats with interesting people!

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 Here we met Navigatrix and Matt from Arcane Armoury

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 outside, the two worlds mixed a bit more – and not a few people wandered inside, lured by the costumes and colorful, unusual things – many said that they have never heard of steampunk and that was their first contact – and that they enjoyed it immensely, liked the idea, the gear, the creativity and the ethos behind it – so there may be a few more fledgling steampunks in Stamford by now”

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 And to boot it all, at the end of the day we were all treated to delicious scones!!!

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  and me, as always,  managed to get a few pics snapped, to show off my new boots!

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 and after last minute purchase of two Chinese parasols ( really, we grabbed the things as they were being packed and carried out of the hall)…

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 we packed up and it was time to go home.

  I must admit i was a tad tired…

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but happy with my own purchase – a prop for the photo shoot of our next collection, Steampunk Amazones – a lovely whip!

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  And now, I think it is time for a glass of port and some rest! Hope you enjoyed the write up, many thanks to all the organizer and participant for a fantastic day!

Izabela PItcher, Prior Attire – and our Steampunk page:  Off The Rails

Summer Bride 2013 Collection

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 Well, I must say it took Paul record time to sort out the official images – 2 weeks and all done – brilliant:-) all editing done, we can now have a proper blog  entry! 

 I have to admit this shoot was slightly problematic  to organize as just a few weeks before the date the venue changed their mind and decided to charge us for using the premises. Well, that wasn’t going to happen, so we needed t find another venue available on that day ( many of us had already booked a day of work). Fortunately lovely Allyson from St.Audries Park, our own venue, stepped in, and put us in touch with Laura from Gosfield Hall- a truly spectacular place in Essex. Laura was only too happy to help us us and the shoot was sorted out in no time at all, it was a bit of a drive, but not too much – and the location was more than worth spending two hours in the car:-)

 

We picked Sarah, out usual MUA and Emily, one of our models, on the way through Bedford andwe off we went, in a rather convivial atmosphere:-)

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travelling in style…

On arrival, Laura greeted us and showed us around the venue – needless to say, we were hugely impressed and started planning the shoot straight away. The boys had their own room to store their toys, and Sarah was more than happy with our changing and prep room

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 Paul and Jason arrived shortly after, and Anette, another model joined us before 11. everything was ready for the shoot. we started with the Edwardian Bride – getting ready photos., shot amidst the elegant splendour of the  Queen’s Suite..

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Sarah worked her magic on my face and hair, and i was ready to be laced in the long line Edwardian corset… the result below…

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antique camisole, and a corset and drawers by me:-)

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Paul wasn’t too happy about my period stockings but in the end the ‘wool socks’ worked out just fine..

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absolutely loving the antique effect on this one:-)

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being a wistful bride…

 Paul didn’t take any other full gown pictures of this one – Lucas did it instead – ,:-)

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 As Emily was preparing for her  session,  Paul was taking a  few product shots:-)

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  Then it was Emily in Arabella – very much a Disney princess!

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Cindrella running from the palace at midnight:-)

and the real Emily….

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Next in line was Anette transformed into a Grecian goddess…

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I  manged to snatch a quick photo on my mobile too – Anett’s reaction when she saw the room – absolutely breathtaking splendour of the Bride suite…

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and some more of Paul’s magic

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All that excitement meant we were quite hungry at that point – but luckily enough Laura was  ready with our lunch – freshly prepared by the chef – and it was simply delicious!

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girls hard at work… 🙂

Refreshed, we had two more frocks to do – first Emily in a rather stunning corsetted outfit…

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and a close up…

and the beautiful flowers….

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The last frock of the day was Jeanette – and Anett definitely had some fun  pulling Marie Antoinette persona and acting it all up 🙂

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last shot of the flowers, and that was it!

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 but just for fun, here a few behind the scenes pics:-)

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boys hard at work , in the Bridal suite… 🙂

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the bling!

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Anett rocking the Athena look!

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a trophy wife?

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Paul teaching some modelling tricks…

 And that’s it , folks! more info on the frocks themselves, designs and pricing in the part 1 here

 Many, many thanks to all the team –  you were all superb!

Credits:

venue: Gosfield Hall
http://www.countryhouseweddings.co.uk/gosfield-hall/

 Photography: Paul Mockford: http://www.shearsmockford.com/

Bespoke Bridal gowns: Prior Engagement www.priorengagement.co.uk

www.priorattire.co.uk

Styling, hair, makeup: – Sarah Dunn from http://sarahsdoowopdos.wordpress.com/

 

Bridal bouquets: Flowers by Eleanor, http://www.flowersbyeleanor.co.uk/

Bridal shoes and accessories http://www.crystal-calla-tiara.com/

 

Jewellery – the Unfound Door: www.unfounddoor.co.uk/

 

  well,hope you enjoyed it, am already thinking of the autumnal collection… 🙂