The bride wore a halo

One of the most famous brides of history, Queen Victoria, defied tradition and wore an orange blossom wreath with her veil instead of a tiara.

“…the monarch wore a wreath of orange blossom, a Mediterranean symbol of fertility, to hold her veil in place.”    Fogg, 2011

“…the monarch wore a wreath of orange blossom, a Mediterranean symbol of fertility, to hold her veil in place.”

Fogg, 2011

In my collection of 1930’s wedding photographs, the brides stand alone or with their bridesmaids, poised and posed. All of them wear veils.  In the midst of the great depression they stand swathed in silk satin, the highly reflective surfaces rippling and cascading around them. Their veils mist around their heads and shoulders add to the drama of the occasion. Their wedding attire is familiar to us. The brides wear white, heads are draped with veils, holding bouquets. Not much has changed in 80 years.


She stands like a goddess with a halo around her head.

She stands like a goddess with a halo around her head.

 

For a while the flower crown usurped our taste for veils, veils were seen as too traditional. The huge media coverage of the recent Royal weddings has definitely revived our interest.Meghan’s veil provided a soft contrast to the sleek sculptural lines of her wedding dress. She continued a tradition in the Royal family of including the floral emblems of commonwealth countries in her veil.

The embroidered edge of Meghan’s veil was embellished with flora from Commonwealth countries.

The embroidered edge of Meghan’s veil was embellished with flora from Commonwealth countries.

This bride from the Edwardian period references an historical idea figure of Juliet situated in the Renaissance.

This bride from the Edwardian period references an historical idea figure of Juliet situated in the Renaissance.

What does a veil do?

It signals to us that the wearer is the bride - there can be no doubt about this.

It adds a definite sense of drama mystery and theatre.

Why wear a veil?

It might seem anachronistic for a bride to wear a veil at a modern day wedding considering that in the past the veil symbolised virginity and modesty. For some women wearing a veil is part of a cultural tradition that they want to honour for others it is part of being a fashionable bride. Some of the veils recent popularity is because of nostalgia and the interest in vintage fashion.

Today women are wearing veils because they choose to not because they have to.

Imagine the drama of wearing a veil. They add to the visual impact of the bride’s entrance. Veils take on the environment around them, and are equally wonderful with lighting and in natural light. They are full of movement in the wind and gently ripple in a breeze. A veil adds volume, height or length (or all of these).

Veils invoke the past, referencing heroines like Juliet or Ophelia (never mind that they were tragic). The tiara or circlet holding the veil in place can suggest angels and spirituality.


What makes a beautiful wedding veil?

Candice’s silk tulle veil takes flows with her movements - photo by Suegraphy

Candice’s silk tulle veil takes flows with her movements - photo by Suegraphy

This veil is edged with tiny antique glass beads and embellished with lace to match the brides gown

This veil is edged with tiny antique glass beads and embellished with lace to match the brides gown

Start with the fabric

Even the simplest of veils can be beautiful if the fabric is. Most veils are made from tulle, a net like fabric. There are different types of tulle available. At Pearl Button we use silk tulle for its diaphanous and lustrous qualities. We attach the veil to a metal hair comb with a silk binding. It’s all about the details. If lace is used it is applied by hand with tiny invisible stitches. We often use antique glass beads to weigh the edges down and still keep it light. I think that if it’s made from beautiful precious materials it’s more likely to be cared for and passed on to become an heirloom. Plus a veil really doesn’t take up much storage space.

There are so many things you can do with a veil. A veil can be embellished with a tiara, real flowers or a vintage orange blossom wreath such as Queen Victoria’s.

Traditionally the veil covered the bride’s face until after the vows had been exchanged then came the big reveal. Just like in a theatre when the curtain opens.

Let the celebration continue!

 

Pineapples and pincers waste not

Pinatex+fibre+jacket

The fibre of the future will waste not

Pinatex pineapple fibre jacket

Things are really moving along in the sustainable and ethical fashion sphere and we have to give thanks to @legacyfashion @mrspress and @rawassembly for doing it. It takes a whole lot of dedication and passion to get these events happening and happen they did. The after-buzz is palpable. I’m excited and I know that everyone else is too. And if that isn’t enough we’re also excited to share what we learnt with everyone that’s willing to listen – and those that aren’t.

What do pineapple waste and crab shells have to do with fashion?

You might order your beautiful Pinatex pineapple fibre jacket online and it might arrive in a compostable bag made from crustacean waste - that’s what.

Who isn’t excited by the idea of pineapple fibre Pinatex and packaging made from hospitality refuse in the form of crustacean shells? The biggest take out as a designer is a feeling of comradeship. It is not often that fashion and sharing go hand-in-hand. But this is what’s happening. It’s because we are true believers. We truly believe that there are alternative models in design, business, fibres, fabrics, finishing, construction, delivery packaging – the list goes on. The Legacy fashion summit was about big picture ideas and the raw assembly showcase gives us the tools to achieve them. I saw and handled some amazing silks that I want to use in my garments.

We’re willing to share this information because we know that sharing benefits everyone on this planet. So hurrah to the organisers of these events and their dedication to the cause! Check out their websites for some of the incredible presenters and suppliers that were there from Outland denim to Carapac, there’s lots to be excited about!