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

RiK Photoshoot: Part One (Warning – Nudity!)

Of all the photographers wanting to borrow designs for photoshoots, Richard Leonard is one I am always happy to oblige! He shot one of the very first sets for Cog & Compass ( and myself as a model ), and is so easy to work with.

His latest shoot featuring my couture work explores the connection between fashion and the female form – making a more direct link between skin and adornment. The theme starts with artistic nude shots and flows into an edgy fashion style. These first photos are my pick of the nude shots – I love the sense of vulnerability and softness.

fashion nude 1
fashion nude 2
fashion nude 3

fashion nude 4

Photographer: RiK // Model: Rose // Accessories: Cog and Compass by Beckon Couture.


When asked what his vision for the photoset was RiK replied;
“I have been shooting art nudes for quite a number of years & although I will continue to do so, I wanted to start to create some images that expanded my view of the human form, joining forces with other creative minds… Designers create clothes & accessories to flatter & show off the body, so I want to create images that illustrate a direct connection. “

Collaborating with designers and stylists, he’s creating works that expose more flesh than your run-of-the-mill fashion photos, showing the human form as both clothes-horse and muse.

I’m still making my way through the more… attired… part of the shoot, photos to come in the next few days!

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 2 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 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