Patti Smith once said that punk was about freedom: “the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are.” If you’ve followed this blog for a while (and if you have, thank you so much), you know that our beating heart will forever belong to punk. Our dedication to modern romance stems from everything it taught us, including that freedom for everything and anything. In our Pretty in Punk shoot, we definitely had the freedom to create – and, without blowing our own trumpet (which, to be honest with you, isn’t the most punk instrument ever…) we think we had the freedom to be pretty successful, too.
Dreamt up with the super talented Oobaloos Photography, our intention was to explore a prettier, more contemporary incarnation of the original punk subculture of the ’70s and ’80s. We looked back to the era and thought about which bits would inspire the couples of today, and what they would want to incorporate. It was all about the harsher edge of pretty (hence the name), and Upcote Barn’s rustic surroundings had a perfectly elegant feel that we could really rough up. The bare walls and airy open space gave us this amazing blank canvas to make a grown-up sort of punk look, and the dark and moody shots of our model in front of the white draping are almost angelic – some kind of punk vision, or visionary. The Flower Girls’ jaw-dropping florals were perfect for this, bringing a gritty and dramatic edge to the arrangements. Pampas grass added roughed-up texture and the jewel tones of the burgundy ranunculi kept the palette deep and dark, whilst eucalyptus and cream roses brought the pretty, angelic theme back into play.
Teapots and Tiaras provided props that kept the feel fun and almost fantasy-like. Delicate china tea sets (have they never heard of the proverbial punk in a china shop?) nestled among crystal chandeliers and vandalised busts gave the shoot a dreamy quality of absolute perfect mania.
Erin visiting Jan at Atelier 19’s shop was a little like if you imagine a magpie at a Lirika Matoshi runway. She was a sugar-drunk child at Christmas, poring over her collection of vintage and designed pieces to find the perfect outfits. Armed with images of tulles, embroidered upcycled dresses, tailored separates, heavy costume jewellery, slogans and song lyrics, undercuts, DIYed and paint-scrawled tees, Valentino and Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen in Lee’s days, Sid and Nancy and Manic Street Preachers in the early days, they set about making the vision a reality. Jan punked original ’80s items up with pins, paint and patches to create the perfect looks.
Emma and Kelly from Frock It Bride also went on a curiosity voyage (when ’80s references collide…) to hone the ’70s-’80s image. They went for the slightly darker, more gothic edge to ‘pretty’ and all of its manifestations, utilising a vintage black slim fit suit from a flea market, which they re-studded, and a Bowie-inspired t-shirt from Lush Stuff. They also took a current season H&M denim jacket and wickedly reworked it: cutting it down, bleaching it, and adding studs, fine chains and pink-hued flower patches to it to make the perfect pièce de résistance.
La dame au béret’s additions to the shoot were also invaluable, providing magic in millinery format. Inspired by Debbie Harry’s bleached blonde hair and trademark bleached denim jacket, she made a bright pink and black lace pillbox, and a black damask hat with a military feel, inspired by Siouxsie Sioux in her fetish gear at the Screen on the Green Sex Pistols gig. Along with some accessories, shoes and tableware, she brought a ‘baroque ‘n’ roll’ edge to the shoot, again exploring the harsher edges of pretty. Gemma Sangwine’s showstopper of a tiara was also a glamorous, more baroque take on punk; it was made from recycled pieces of diamante jewellery and inspired by John Galliano’s opulence and Alexander McQueen’s dark decadence.
These worked perfectly with Joanna from Vallender Salon’s insane hair creations – and works of art they were indeed. Armed with a brief of faux hawks, pins and studs and more traditional undercuts, Joanna created intricate work that can only be described as architectural – and, of course, embellished with safety pins, the symbol of punk. Sandie’s make-up looks were equally as artistic yet wearable: a modern take on an almost eighteenth century Versailles look with stained doll-like lips and strong, streaked cheeks. Heavy eyeliner also featured as a non-negotiable!
French Made’s white buttercream creation was laced with black and purple touches, paying homage to the models’ make-up, and finished with studded denim ribbon, which was an inspired choice. And best wordplay of the day goes to DeWinton Paper Co., who emblazoned the wedding stationery with ‘God Save The Date.’ (Someone give Harriet from DeWinton an OBE, please.) Inspired by the subversive, anarchic nature of punk, she reimagined the wedding stationery in a playful and chaotic style. Just like the cut-and-paste mismatched-style font that has come to be the era’s iconic style, Harriet combined watercolour, brush lettering and typography, all drawn from iconic album artworks of the time.
Creative, playful, heartfelt, pretty perfect and imperfect – this shoot just shows what magic happens when you get the right team of suppliers, and a brief that expresses what truly matters to you as people. Modern romance, vintage love – forever and always.
Creative direction and styling | Way Out Wedding
Photography | Oobaloos Photography
Dresses, bustle, jewellery and embellished leather jackets | Atelier 19
Tulles and DIY ‘Pretty Vacant’ shirt | No Debutante by Way Out Wedding
Veils and headpieces | Gemma Sangwine
Millinery | La dame au béret
Suit and embellished denim | Frock It Bride
Heroes t-shirt | Lush Stuff
Hair | Joanna Vallender at Vallender Salon
Cake | French Made
Stationery | DeWinton Paper Co.
Flowers | The Flower Girls
Props | Teapots and Tiaras
Crockery and tableware | Wild & Violet; stylist’s own
Venue | The Barn at Upcote