This is a shoot that will knock your fluorescent ’80s socks off. It celebrates same sex weddings, kitsch, 1980s, and has touches of Jean Paul Gaultier in the fashion and styling, and David LaChapelle in its fierce colour palette. It’s not your usual bridal shoot, and Amen to that. Safe to say that I was all over this in seconds.
Lauren from French Made, who conceptualised this dream, told me,
My inspiration for this shoot was some of the French ’80s artists I grew up admiring. There was a huge kitsch trend in France at the time, with artists like Lio and Rita Mitsouko, also Pierre et Giles and their collaboration with fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, and British singer Marc Almond: bright, colourful costumes, lots of sequins and glitters, a bit twee, a bit ‘anarchic’ but with a touch of cabaret glamour, fun and open-mindedness.
This was the inspiration behind our styled shoot, with an emphasis on equal marriage.
Paola De Paola, the photographer, couldn’t have been more ideal for this project. As well as being a super talented photographer, she specialises in same sex weddings.
So super kitsch we went and boundaries we pushed…
Paola goes on to say,
When Lau first mentioned to me the idea of this shoot. I was literally over the moon. Eccentric, OTT, colourful, alternative? Oh, yes please. I adore kitsch, I love quirky and diversity. Putting the shoot together was a lot of work and a lot of fun, too. We couldn’t stop giggling! I loved every minute of this project. I am crazy about everything visually unconventional and creative. Being able to work with talented artistic wedding suppliers on this styled shoot was very inspiring. Our focus was on bright colours and eccentricity, reminiscent of the 1980s. The retouching was very extreme to give the skin a plastic feel; very surreal.
The video put together by Digital Bohemia reflected Paola’s images perfectly. They managed to capture the essence of the day, and really showcased the team of suppliers, without whom this crazy magic wouldn’t have happened.
Gwenda from The Vintage Floral Design Co. tells us that,
The artists who were our inspiration for this shoot typically used a lot of artificial flowers in their compositions, so this was a good excuse to go faux! Fusing two of the prevailing themes, I chose a mix of exotic orchids and ferns and garden roses. From these I made two bouquets for our brides and officially the craziest tablescape I have ever had the pleasure of creating – complete with a light-up bunny and reproductions of the retro classic Featherstone flamingos for the ultimate injection of kitsch!
The second stylist, Lou from Beyond Vintage, who’s worked in the fashion industry for 14 years, did an amazing job at arranging the props together, and even created the stationery! Lou says,
I love Lauren’s passion for the ’80s, and it quickly grew to seeing the vision for the shoot. I really loved creating the stationery. It was so much fun pushing the boundaries, with my normal clients being quite pastel vintage, here I got to use colours and still use vintage inspiration from the ’70s and ’80s. It became quite surreal adding in gnomes and tropical flowers like an hallucination or psychedelic dream.
Oversize is often associated with kitsch, so Cathy from The Origami Boutique created a single stem statement bouquet, a truly over-the-top piece, perfect for a quirky couple. She says,
When I was invited to be a part of this shoot, I was really excited. The ideas came flowing, and I knew it was my chance to try a few different things.
For the bouquet, I went for an oversized version of the existing giant rose one.
For the backdrops I kept it simple. First, a heart wall with different sized hearts, which brought to life the simplicity of the bricks behind it and symbolises the true nature of love. Secondly, one of the themes was ‘under the sea’, so the contrast of the white waves against the blue was just what I was looking for, and the fish, stars and shells made the sea come to life.
For the cakes, Lauren made two matching tiered cakes in the colours and themes they chose,
Plastic flowers and other props, such as religious icons and other unexpected characters, were used to accent the cake and drink table. At French Made, we usually specialises in rustic inspired designs, such as naked cakes, but my love for the alternative also drives me towards some more ‘out there’ creations.
The girl models wore beautiful dresses by The Couture Company. Jo, the owner, says,
We always love to get involved in creative wedding shoots, and this one had us hooked from the start. We do love a bit of kitsch and also love the images thrown up by religious iconography; it proved a really interesting mix of colours and textures, and enabled us to get down and gaudy with the embroideries for the frocks.
Nina, one of the hair and make-up team, tells us,
I was the make-up artist to the beautiful Emily and Lukaz. With Emily, the look I went for was an OTT, theme-based look. The base was quite fresh and luminous, with a little contour and blusher up to her temples. For the eyes I did a cut crease, which deepened towards the end and extended with glitter liner on the bottom lash line and I teamed this with a bright pink lip. With Lukaz, I wanted a very polished, sexy, dreamy look. I covered any imperfections, groomed the brows and beard, added mascara to the lashes, and contoured the face.
Myriam from La Dame au béret, the milliner extraordinaire, sourced a variety of items: the handmade floral headbands (using vintage flowers, exclusively); the halos, like those found in religious iconography, for our brides, Emily and Yaourou; and some vintage headwear (military/navy pieces and traditional fez hats) for Lucaz and Jon, our grooms. She says,
Having been a part of the French alternative scene in the ’80s too, Lau and I were on the same wavelength. I was overjoyed to join the creative team again. We had so much fun during the shoot,especially with our two male models, who were the stars of the show! I hope those good vibes will bring inspiration and also a smile and some gaiety to everyone who sees Paola De Paola’s images.
It does that a thousand times over. I am so very much in love with this shoot and this team! What’s your favourite thing about this look? How will you incorporate the ideas into your wedding day styling?
Venue – Brixton East
Concept/coordination/cakes – French Made
Photography – Paola De Paola
Video – Digital Bohemia
Styling #1 and stationery – Beyond Vintage
Styling #2 and flowers – The Vintage Floral Design Co.
Make-up #1 – Mel Kinsman
Make up #2 – Nina Bains
Hair – Philippe
Headdresses/hats – La Dame au béret Millinery
Dresses – The Couture Company
Origami bouquet and backdrop – The Origami Boutique
Shoes – Art and Sole Customised Shoes
Save the date magnets – Love Me Do Designs
Cockatoo lamp, mushroom and rabbits – Maiden
Models – Emily, Yaourou, Jo and Lucaz
All the Pictures…and a Video!