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Casually Glamorous | Michele’s Glittering Bridal Party

Casually Glamorous | Michele’s Glittering Bridal Party

Some things happen for a reason. In this case I’d say that reason is love. Michele and Rob were meant to be, and their wedding was one of the most joyous and emotional I’ve seen.

The Design Process

When it came to gowns bride Michele and her daughter Kathryn knew what they wanted. With inspiration images and (sparkling, enchanting, ocean-esque) fabrics in hand they arrived on my doorstep for Michele’s first consultation. The theme was casual glamour – glittering gowns and romantic flowers in an outdoor wedding ceremony, followed by the reception was in an adorable rustic hall.

By the end of that consultation we had sketches for a glamorous wedding gown and three bridesmaids, each tailored to the individual body shape of the wearer.

The custom design process always has ups and downs. Weight loss and a last minute bridesmaid swap due to pregnancy threw some spanners in the works. Luckily creating dresses for happy people is a great motivator and a few late nights later I was back on schedule. Keeping calm when hiccups happen is part of my job as the designer – the bride has enough on her mind!

 

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Velvet DeCollete, Second wedding, second wedding dress, mature bride, mature wedding dress, colored wedding dress, wedding dress designer , wedding dress maker new zealand, waikato, mangawhai, beaded wedding dress, navy blue wedding gown, beaded bridal jacket


That Beaded Jacket

My favourite detail of Michele’s bridal gown? The beaded lace jacket. Designing garments around lace patterns and hand stitching lace and beads is my specialty. ( Vivien Master’s gown is another example of my love for lacework, check out her delicate corded lace bodice here. )

I carefully cut the jacket from the center length of the embellished lace, placing each pattern piece to ensure a symmetrical result. I then trimmed the wide scalloped border from the lace and hand applied it to the constructed jacket to line up with the existing motifs. Careful cutting and overlapping of the scalloped border created the right shape and fit around the hem of the garment. Any stray beads were then resewn into the design. The dress itself features beaded lace motifs on and under the bust, making the jacket and dress appear as one piece.

The result is a garment that looks like it’s made from one piece of specially designed lace, when in fact it’s made from many. As a bonus, the separate jacket can worn over any dress, so Michele can enjoy wearing this sentimental piece on special occasions.

 

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All of the gowns are fully lined and boned to give flattering support and shape. This is essential when creating strapless dresses – there’s nothing worse than seeing a beautifully presented woman hiking the top of her dress up all the time!

If you’d like to enquire about creating a stunning gown of your own, feel free to contact me. I promise it’s a relaxed process and not at all scary! More beautiful gowns and happy clients can be found in my design gallery.

With Style & Sass,

       Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Your Personal Style | Insider Secrets with Miss Pinup NZ Fran Robertson

Finding Your Personal Style | Insider Secrets with Miss Pinup NZ Fran Robertson

Some people have an impeccable sense of personal style, they know who they are and exactly how to express it.  They’re the ones that make us say “that jacket is just so -insert name here-“. This outward expression of your inner soul doesn’t come naturally to all of us ( I’ve had some horrific style phases over the years) so who better to share her innate knowledge of style than the queen of colour, makeup artist, designer and Miss Pinup New Zealand Fran Roberston?

No one. That’s who.

Read on below for her expert tips, plus bonus info on building your own capsule wardrobe for easy dressing!

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Among many other things, I work as a personal shopper and wardrobe stylist!
People often employ the services of personal stylists when they’re going through a period of change in their lives – a new job, a big move, or a fresh start – and want an opportunity to re-invent themselves, but maybe need help figuring out a style that works for them.
It’s such a rewarding job – People don’t always realise how important style can be to the way people perceive themselves. If you know you look good, you’ll feel good and be more confident, which is so so so important!

1. Only wear things you like.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but unless something makes you feel happy, there is absolutely no point in owning it. Obviously work uniforms are exempt from this rule, but there are ways to make them less awful – Get your corporate uniform shirts tailored to fit you properly, for example!

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2. Take inspiration from your accessories
Most people start with the dress, or the top, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit, or you end up just wearing the same combinations all the time! Rather than viewing your accessories as an afterthought, basing outfits around them forces you to think about the clothes you own in a different light. Pick out a necklace and choose a shirt with just the right neckline to show it off, or choose a pair of earrings and then do your hair around them.

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

3. Find a silhouette that works, and own it
My wardrobe is full of swing skirts, and dresses with nipped in waists and full skirts. This would still be the case if I had no interest in vintage, because this is a silhouette that works for me and my body shape. Jackie O almost exclusively wore sheath dresses, because that was her silhouette of choice.

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

4. Keep track of what you have, and what you need

Take note (on your phone, or in your diary) of your favourite wardrobe staples, and the things that you are missing. This way, if you pop into a shop on your lunch break and they have brightly coloured belts, you know which colours you actually need rather than just buying double ups.
I also have close up photos on my phone of the prints in my wardrobe that are tricky to match things to. I can look at them when I’m out, which reduces the chance of buying things that don’t match anything!

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5.Break the rules!
There are so many ‘rules’ that just shouldn’t exist – Fat girls shouldn’t wear stripes, no pink over 40, ‘less is more’, short girls can’t wear maxis, etc.
( Side note from Velvet: Amen girl! Where did these rules even come from?!)

The only rule that matters is that you have fun putting your look together.

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

Bonus Tip! Building a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe leaves you open to a whole bunch of different combinations, you can choose shapes you’re comfortable wearing, and you can add to it easily enough as you become more confident choosing pieces.

This is the basic formula I follow when building a ‘capsule wardrobe’ for someone, which can apply to almost any style!

  • 1 x Printed Dress
  • 1 x Plain Coloured Dress
  • 2 x Printed Tops
  • 2 x Plain Coloured Tops
  • 1 x Jeans / Pants
  • 1 x Printed Skirt
  • 1 x Plain Coloured Skirt
  • 1 x Jacket – Blazer / Motorcycle Jacket / Denim Jacket / Lightweight swing coat
  • 3 x Cardigans / Boleros / Casual Cover-ups

Tips for getting the most out of your capsule wardrobe!

  • If you are starting from scratch, pick a colour palette that you like, and buy things that fit within that. A favourite of mine is White or Cream with Navy, Red, and Tan, but I am also partial to Black, Cream, Tan, and Gold.
  • Make sure your plain coloured items match the colours in your printed pieces, so you can mix and match
  • There’s no hard and fast rule about accessories, but they can really transform an outfit. I try to have necklaces, belts, and scarves in all the colours that show up in my printed pieces.

Fran has a treasure trove of outfit inspiration on her website, Facebook and Instagram which I’d really recommend following if you need some style motivation! You can also hire her to make you sassy things or do your hair and makeup.

 

Photos | Elizabeth J Photography, Zandy J and Glory Days Magazine

 

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Happy Endings and Disney Dreams | A Floral Fifties Wedding Dress

Happy Endings and Disney Dreams | A Floral Fifties Wedding Dress

I’m a sucker for a cute love story . Occupational hazard I guess. But Justine’s, Justine’s got me right in the feels…

A Disneyland visit,  a teacup ride proposal, a fun romantic country wedding – it was a happy ending fit for a fairytale! But a Disney heroine needs a suitably wonderful dress. That’s were I come in.

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Justine is a hilarious, energetic, no nonsense kind of gal. She wanted a wedding dress, but liked the idea of a high-low skirt that wouldn’t get in the way of dancing, carousing or shenanigans . It had to suit her sassy personality and vintage fete wedding. . Most of all it had to be sexy; in a classy, classic kind of way.

With Justine’s desires in mind I designed a bold yet timeless floral gown. A 1950’s inspired dress with a full skirt and  boned sash to define the waist. The fluttering satin train is removable, making her dress more versatile (both on the wedding day and after), while matching satin trim defines the sleeve hems and flattering boatneck. I love how the peacock blues made her red hair pop!

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Photos | Kate Little Photography

Justine knew what she wanted from her wedding dress and it made me think: There can be a lot of pressure to please people on your wedding day. Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunties, they all have their idea of what a bride should wear.
What really matters is what you want to wear. I’ve made coloured dresses, short dresses, enormous dresses, and yes – white dresses – and every bride has been beautiful, confident and most importantly… herself.  No two women are the same, so don’t feel like your dress should fit someone else’s mold.

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Who Do? Voodoo! A 1920’s Voodoo Cabaret Costume

Who Do? Voodoo! A 1920’s Voodoo Cabaret Costume

Halloween darlings …. the best holiday of the year. 

Macabre temptress Bay of Bay Stagewear hosted a spooktacular pre-halloween shindig for those of us that feel one All Hallows Eve simply isn’t enough.
I was there with bells on.

Okay maybe not bells.
Or a shirt.
But there were definitely bones, feathers and a pair of green silk pasties.

voodoo priestess 193-s costume halloween

This is possibly my favourite last minute costume to date!

The Concept: I didn’t have a clear vision in mind when I started this costume, I just wanted something fun. Fun turned out to be a New Orleans Voodoo inspired 1920’s cabaret costume. I do believe it came out rather well.

The Makeup:  Influenced by stylized skull makeups and the lush greens of my headdress. I’m certainly no expert but I found a white eyeliner useful for mapping out the skull shape and mixing a little foundation with the facepaint helped it go on easier. Hit me up if you’d like a tutorial!

Scroll down for an Outfit Breakdown or click on the images to see the costume in more detail.

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voodoo cabaret circus performer 1920s jazz new orleans style halloween costume

feather and skull custom made voodoo tribal headress hat

Outfit breakdown
Tailcoat | My amazing Mum made this for me ten years ago. I sewed skulls and chicken bones on to it two days before the party.
Headdress + Necklace + Pasties | Beckon Couture
Wig | Trademe – trimmed by me
High Waisted Underwear | Kmart
Stockings | Fiori Hosiery
Shoes | Op Shop find

Just one piece of advice dears; If you happen to be storing a large box of cleaned animal bones for an occasion such as this – make sure you seal them with resin first or you might retrieve them to find a box of dusty bone shaped chalk!

Happy Halloween, see you on the other side!

                                                                          Velvet x

 

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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

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