Forget weddings, Jubilees and Olympic Opening Ceremonies this wash out of a summer posed a major threat to the success of the Autumn Most Curious Wedding Fairs shoot! We had big plans for it to be in the Norfolk Woods, where much of the flat landscape looks like the set of Spike Jones’s Where the Wild Things Are and we were all set to go with the theme, woodland maidens being chased by hirsuite men in felt animal heads, a big production was the plan with that ‘golden hour’ of mid-summer 7pm sun glowing behind the models. But alas the day was upon us and stylists, photographer, make up artist, stationer and florist alike had sad faces at the windows strewn with drizzle, which eventually turned into full blown rain, which eventually turned into hail.
Time for plan B! Well, first our favourite photographer Joanna Millington, nipped to the offie to see if a little glass of vino would help, but then it was time for Plan B. Luckily our makeup artist Nova of Milk and Honey, had put on an amazing night market event the month before, at a beautifully crumbling down and disused 18th century building close by, where years of layers of wallpaper was in just the right state of shabby and had plenty of nooks and crannies to make it interesting on the eye. If a battered, period house had been the Plan A you know that we would have spent years looking for this exact setting, so adjusting our mindset from Max and his Wild Things to something more akin to Wedding Creatures in the Attic, we realised how lucky we were to have it and were ready once more!
Founder of the Most Curious Wedding Fair, Becky Hoh-Hale, had spotted the fantastic animal heads the year before at a design show and had been determined to use them in a shoot the minute she saw them. They are by Sussex-based artist Barbara Keal, who hand makes the masterpieces from felt.
‘They just capture the ethos of A Most Curious perfectly, we want to showcase suppliers that are artisans, dedicated creators of beautiful, inspiring things that could make a wedding that bit more special and representative of couples who are passionate about the aesthetic of their big day,’ describes Hoh-Hale. ‘Curiousness being something that makes people want to look further, find out more and draws people to it and these heads also have that right mixture of quirky, vivid expression and, let’s face it, kinda eye catching oddness that inspires Most Curious and its followers. Most Curious will always love and represent vintage but vintage is now not enough, people are looking for more and the Most Curious Fairs do not want to limit themselves. They are just about what is cool, now and next, for weddings - an amalgamation of pieces that people who love design, love trend hunting, love fashion would want at their weddings – that’s what we bring you.’
So the heads were the starting point. Then came the desire to put the groom under the spotlight. But what do are target audience of men think look cool? Day of the dead face paints and ‘folk-core’ outfits of course – think a Biffy Clyro video meets a Mumford and Sons wardrobe. And of course the animal heads. We visited men’s fashion boutique Seven Wolves who provided us with soft linen shirts and heavy wool trousers and with a little help from Ruby Tuesday Vintage we complimented this with threadbare waistcoats and tailcoats to give this farmer’s son chic it a little more groom ability.
In keeping with the beastly theme we went with a beautiful feathered gown from Casa de Jus, stocked exclusively by Luella’s Boudoir and some more pared back dresses from Lily and Louie’s new collection, which feature overlayed lace. These would let the crazier, bigger, textured hair styling we were going for shine, which was executed wonderfully by Lisa Marie Cooper of The Hairdresser.
The fifth dress was actually a vintage piece found at Frock Me which Hoh-Hale wore for her own wedding! The bespoke rope and lace belt was made by Vintage Knit Knacks. A sixth gown was put together simply in sheer fabric by stylists on the shoot Most Curious team member and set designer Gemma Goodwin and Textile graduate and visual merchandiser Amie Farr. Farr also put together the accessories on the day, making a head piece from vintage jewellery and bejewelled fur collar inspired by ‘elf-ware’ sported in Lord of the Rings and all fashion conscious Narnians.
The brief had already been set for London and Suffolk based florist Clare Robinson of Love Blooms to create ‘woodsy’ themed pieces who put together an amazing twig heart bouquet, centre pieces, a flower curtain (yes curtain! Breaking Dawn wedding scene anyone!?) and even moss, so in this new location we improvised - with a moss cake surround and laying it across the floor underfoot of the models. If we couldn’t get into the woods, we’d bring the woods to us!
The cake itself, as well as the topper, was by Most Curious’s favourite stationer I Like Pens who also put together cute paper pom poms and signage for the day.
The day was a challenge because the feeling that we should have been in the woods and more importantly, all the things we made and sourced should have been in the woods was hard to shake off. But through sheer determination, dedication to the brief of creating images that would inspire fashion forward and oddity admiring brides and grooms we managed to pull together something we were all proud of and successfully the tone for the wedding fairs. Bring on October!
|All photography: Joanna Millington|