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Beckon Bombshell | Retro Styled Shoe Clips

If you’ve seen the Beckon Couture website recently, you’ll notice a range of luscious new shoe clips!

Sequined hearts and pin up bows add a pop of colour to your wardrobe, and a touch of glamour to your life. Everything in the new Beckon Bombshell range is handmade by yours truly, and where possible is sewn – not glued – for extra durability and long life.

Here’s a select few of my personal favourites, check out the rest at the Beckon Couture online boutique.

colourful bow shoe clips

‘ I Want Candy’

Red sequined heart shoe clips

‘Be Still My Sequined Heart’

pink tape measure shoe clips

‘ Crafty Dame’

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments

Preen Like You Mean It

I don’t think I’ve ever shared these with you? While I made the tailcoat and top hat set a while back, I never blogged these photos – shame on me!

Some time ago I came across a length of cobalt blue raw silk. Silk so luminous, so electric, that I couldn’t pass it by. It came home with me, and yearned to be made into a garment worthy of its lustrous textured sheen.

This is that garment. I call it the Preen coat, a shimmering tailored confection of vibrant blue, lined with peacock-ish teal. The clean lined style of this jacket leaves the colour perfectly uncluttered.

Admire these images by photographer Richard Leonard. Imagine how you’d strut in this tailcoat. Visit my new website, and maybe, make it your own.

Preen Tailcoat

Preen jacket Preen ladies tailcoat

Modelled by the lovely (and extremely tall) Roni. x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 1 comment

Aethercon 2013 | The Pretty Persuader Costume

So Aethercon 2013 was last weekend! Such a busy weekend with so many amazing costumes to see and people to meet. A lot of you stopped by our stand to say hi which was fantastic!

James and I debuted the full “Pretty Persuader” costume which went down a treat (we won first prize in the fashion contest!), but I can tell you, that sucker gets heavy after a while!

Here’s some of my favourite shots of the completed costume…
(These photos by Directive Photography and Darkroom Photography, they rock!)

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You can see a whole album of  this costume here, or see about a million photos from the Auckland Aethercon event here. I’ll be posting more of my personal favourites from the day soon!

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, FASHION STORIES, 0 comments

The Goddess Project: Nemesis

Hello and good evening!

As some of you may know, I am a Nocturne Girl for Nocturne Magazine. Early this year we shot the Goddess Project – each Nocturne Girl representing a goddess in a shoot destined for Issue Five of the magazine.

I chose to depict Nemesis.

Since Issue Five has now been released in all its obscure, artistic splendour, I can now share my photos with you!

Vengeful and remorseless, Nemesis was a Greek goddess. As the spirit of divine retribution she balanced the happiness and sadness of men, and punished those guilty of  hubris. Derived from the Greek word ‘nemein’ , her name means ‘to give what is due’. A chilling thought for those who had offended the gods….

The idea for my photo set was to depict the goddess is a modern time, holding onto her old ways. In a time when natural disasters are affecting so many it seemed appropriate to choose a coastal urban location.

When designing the gown for Nemesis I wanted something fluid and dramatic, with Grecian references in the styling. Heavy jewellery was a must, and MUA extraordinaire Pearl DuNasemant did an incredible job of working chains and hair extensions into a goddess-like updo, tousled from centuries of smiting! Visit the Cog & Compass Facebook page to see some preliminary sketches.

Like most of my photo shoots, I couldn’t have pulled it off without my mum Dianne and my Everpatient Husband James, especially seeing as my arm had just come out of a ROM brace!
I really do appreciate the late night cups of tea, taxi services and putting up with my fabric all over the house haha. Behind every creative person is a very patient person with a broom and a reality check!

All photos are by Meagan Kerr Photography. Meagan is great to work with, really down to earth (and she’ll wait while I eat my chocolate bars)!

Visit the gorgeous new Nocturne Magazine website to view the Goddess Project in it’s entirety. (May as well grab a digital copy of the magazine while you’re there, it’s super affordable!).


Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, PINUP, 0 comments

The Puriri Moth Corset – 1860’s Corset and Pantaloons


A corset and pantaloons crafted from an 1860’s style pattern, sewn using both machine and handstitching. Traditional details including hand stitched eyelets for the busk and metal lacing tips meet modern colours and embroidery designs

A steel busk closure and spiral steel boning provide support, as does the starched canvas inside layer.

Inspired by the colours of the Puriri Moth (native to New Zealand where I live) I chose a brilliant green raw silk for this corset, shot with a touch of orange highlights. I hand embroidered vines and moths around the front busk, and moths at the base of the back lacing.

I chose the cotton lace for it’s wing-like flower pattern, which echoes the embroidered insects. I also tea dyed it to better tone with the embroidery colours.

The pantaloons are made from fine lawn, and have a placket front with closed crotch (unlike the historic originals!).






Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 2 comments

The Raven Mistress; Couture Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe

So often my designs are inspired by words. A paragraph, a single sentence, the shortest heartfelt lyric. Left to stew in my mind these can blossom into a concept or character, just waiting to be tweaked and evolved by pencil on paper.

My favourite creation was one such idea, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s masterpiece ‘The Raven‘ . Verses seven and eight in particluar…

“Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'”

The description of the raven as stately and beguiling lead me on a path. Were the ravens intentions good or ill? Was it simply the puppet of someone behind the scenes, hoping to drive Poe to madness?

After tons of research and development, these questions lead to “The Raven Mistress”. This gown is a dark, dramatic representation of Poe’s Raven, and its ability to hide its true nature and intentions behind a beguiling facade. I explored themes including the power and decadence of high social status and manipulation through beauty.

One of the mood boards I created during the design process.

I sketched pages and pages of concepts before the final design was developed.

The Raven Mistress is a gown of raw black silk, overlayed with fine net. I sewed much of the gown by hand, using couture construction techniques. Even the huge hemline was handsewn (and what an undertaking that was!).

The velvet bodice is embellished with hand woven beaded feathers. I crafted each of these to a specific size and combination of white, silver and black Japanese glass beads to create the gradient of colour through the bodice, before individually sewing them in place. Hundreds  of hours went into this process, leaving me almost as mad as Poe by the end!

More net flows elegantly from the shoulders, blending with the overlay of the gown to create layers of shifting black over the shine and texture of the silk. Long strands of faceted glass beads loop to the wrists and down the gowns train, creating a stylised Raven wings and tail.





Words can lead to things we never imagined, so go forth my friends, and read! ( I’m not suggesting you become obsessed and dedicate a few months of your life to one dress, but a smaller project could be just as enjoyable, and somewhat better for your health.)

If you’d like to explore more of Poe’s work this website is very helpful, even providing a list of Edgar’s more uncommon vocabulary with definitions.





Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments