The Bride Wore Black | A Gothic Wedding in NZ

The Bride Wore Black | A Gothic Wedding in NZ

I spent hours trawling through images of artist Vivien Master’s amazing big fat gothic wedding trying to pick my favourites.

They’re all gorgeous… It’s a hard life…

But two cups of tea and many biscuits later, here they are – wedding photos proving that brides can wear black, gothic weddings can be classy, and that getting married your way is the best way! For all the wedding details visit the photographer’s blog, she’s captured them so well.

Fashion geeks can find full details and workroom photos of this bespoke wedding gown and it’s layers on my workroom journal post. ( I know you’re wondering how we supported those dramatic skirts, or how she no one tripped over the incredible veil!) I designed and made this black bridal gown back in 2014 and it’s still my favourite. Probably because I would 100% wear it myself!

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This is my favourite photo in the world right now..

Outfit Details

Couture wedding dress, foundations & veil | Velvet DeCollete ( That’s me!)
Floral Headress | Created by the bride, Vivien Masters
Shoes | Pinup Couture

Vivien looked like some kind of aristocratic vampire queen and couldn’t have been more beautiful. Imagine how those taffeta skirts rustled as she walked down the aisle. Imagine Nick’s jaw dropping when he saw this vision in lace, her ivory skin glowing against the black. It’s just too perfect.

I can never stress enough how personal wedding gowns are, and how the right one can fill you with confidence. It’s not a day to compromise on style, to bow to someone else’s demands or to water down your own unique flavour. It’s your day to celebrate your love. So be you! Be the most you possible and experience the pure joy that brings.

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I often make little information sheets for my clients, because it’s easy to forget hidden closures and details when you’re excited. While my info sheets look a lot fancier these days I found it so sweet that the wedding photographer decided to include Vivien’s in her photographs.

When I create custom wedding gowns and costumes, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients

Making once in a lifetime dream gowns makes me happier than anything else. Nothing beats seeing someone put on their custom made dress and absolutely light up because they feel so confident! If you’d like to chat about having a unique gown of your own feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to make you feel like a million dollars x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments
Lilac Romantic | A Burlesque Costume

Lilac Romantic | A Burlesque Costume

Lilac Romantic –  that’s what I call this costume in my head. It’s kinda classically feminine yet sexy. It’s also kinda almost finished. (Update, since I wrote this post, it’s now finished! Some parts have changed, it’s encrusted with rhinestones and on tour in the USA!).edit 3

This soft lilac, mottled purple and black 5 piece burlesque costume consists of a boudoir robe, corset, panel skirt, bra and G string. It needs fittings and some adjustments to make it perfect, and a half ton of rhinestones need applying by it’s new owner. However I’ve been worked my butt off non stop to have the main parts done by an early deadline so it deserves to be seen!

I’m so excited to finish this and see it adorning MisRed Delicious as she struts (…grinds/shimmies/twerks..) her stuff!
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‘Til Death Do Us Part | A Victorian Steampunk Wedding

‘Til Death Do Us Part | A Victorian Steampunk Wedding

Recieving photos from my clients is one of the most exciting parts of my job! Always accompanied by my squealing with delight and making my Ever Patient Husband look at every. single. photo. I gush over every detail, thankful that I get to be a part of your special events.

I shared some sneaky preview shots of Marshelle’s gown with you a few weeks ago, and now I can finally show you how fantastic she looked on her big day!Marshelle wed Reagan in a detail laden gothic ceremony at Auckland’s Hopetoun Alpha – a beautifully restored historic building. Their theme?                                                                                                                                                                               ‘Til Death Do Us Part. 

Lush Victorian styling, a generous serving of skulls and – wait for it – a cemetery on stage ensured their wedding was a theatrical start to a lifelong commitment.

gold and purple steampunk bride and groom
Marshelle dreamt of a lush Victorian inspired gown with a black, gold and purple colour scheme ( I spent a whole day trawling fabric stores for that specific shade of royal purple!). It had to incorporate an elaborate corset she had chosen, and she needed to dance in it. During the course of our meetings and fittings I designed and constructed this gown with bolero jacket to fulfill her dreams and flatter Marshelle’s bombshell curves.

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This regal lace and taffeta gown has options – the dramatic train can be bustled to floor level, making it practical for dancing and enjoying your reception (in my mind this is a must. Those finger loops are super annoying, who wants to hold their dress up all night!?). The cropped jacket lends some extra coverage for the ceremony, and I just adore how the brocade pattern echoes the pointed cuffs! Even the wide lace straps I added to the corset can be removed at the brides whim.

I designed Reagan’s waistcoat to match the gold panels on Marshelle’s gown. There really is nothing better than a well dressed couple!

historical goth inspired bride in a top hat

Could that happy family be any cuter? Hades the dog looks very proud.
custom made metal wedding outifts

Black lace bustle steampunk wedding gown


Photos | Erin Currie
Bridal gown and jacket | Beckon Couture
Groom’s Waistcoat | Beckon Couture
Groom’s suit | Ebay


Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 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.





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