Last week, I had the privilege of styling the photos for (what will become) Anna Be’s first bridal look book. Over two days, in a freezing cold studio in South Denver, among racks of the most sublime bridal fashion available and a table of baubles that would make your head spin (generously lent by local superstars Carla Morrison Fine Jewelry and The Woods Fine Jewelry), my A-game combined with the incredible talents of Matthew Morris Salon stylists, photographers Tory Lea and Ali Vagnini, and the guidance of owners Anna and Breanna, created style magic.
The Dresses- When it comes to bridal fashion, both the traditional and the progressive, no one in Colorado can match the selection at Anna Be. Although I am a veteran student of fashion, I am a newbie to the bridal world; seeing these worlds combine in Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and others was a real treat.
The Jewels– As soon as Anna and Breanna asked me to be a part of this project, I knew that securing incredible jewelry was a top priority. The traditional polish of Carla Morrison (brushed gold, pave diamonds, rock crystal) combined with the rougher edge of The Woods (rose cut diamonds, agate, oxidized silver) presents as both unexpected and ideal. Additionally, dresses of this caliber beg for fine jewelry and good design as each elevates the other.
The Models- Whenever possible, I prefer to showcase real women. As beautiful as they are, they are also relatable. All of the ladies had done a bit of prior modeling and were comfortable in front of the camera, patient during the long days, and gracious and flexible while being poked and prodded by me and the hair stylists. They also helped create a relaxed and fun atmosphere that sustained our energy over two long days.
The Accessories- This was where things got really fun. Using both pre-determined pieces and organically evolving touches, the accessories made the looks unique, inspired, ours. Fiori Flowers donated a crown, necklace, corsage and boutonniere (made of gold spray painted flowers) that we wove through updos, pinned to dresses, and added as a final touch to many of the looks. The traditional bouquets from Plum Sage Flowers yielded unexpected and organic touches like a headpiece made of greenery that, combined with a dress of white lace, felt simple, natural and elegant. Bridal style is not complete without killer shoes. We brought in both the traditional (satin and silver) and non (blue suede heels, gold flip flops, patent watercolor stilletos), finishing off each look with distinct style.
The days poufy shoulders, a marathon of fabric and matching everything are over. Bridal style has evolved into true style, and Anna Be sets the standard.
One of my biggest design pet peeves is a room with too much furniture, so I am always looking for ways to cut down and use spaces more efficiently. One way involves a more liberal use of wall space, specifically in bedrooms and entryways. This shelf from West Elm can replace chunky (and expensive!!) bedside tables and/or function in a small entry area that can’t fit a traditional commode.
Prior to this weekend, I was 16 the last time I visited Vail. At that time, the shopping (as I remember it) consisted of stores for funny hats and t-shirts. While the purpose of my recent visit was non-work related, I am still me and thus had to check out the fashion/style scene. Things have definitely changed since 1996. If you find yourself in Vail, here are my recommendations for the best shopping spots for your closet and home.
Perch– Definitely the best contemporary boutique in the valley, Perch is an adorable space and carries a variety of lines I consider ‘fan favorites’: Theory, DVF, Clover Canyon, Tibi, Rag & Bone, Vince, Twelfth Street, etc. If you’re looking for something new for a night out, this is the place you’ll find it.
Cos Bar– Sephora, eat your heart out. This thoughtfully curated cosmetics boutique carries all the quality, gimmick-free brands you need (Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown) without any of the junk. I was especially impressed with their stock of Tom Ford (unisex perfumes and cosmetics) and Cle de Peau (which boasts the best under eye concealer on the market).
Betteridge Jewelers– In the jewelry industry, Betteridge has a long and distinguished history. As a teen living in Connecticut, I remember the dazzling estate pieces that decorated the windows of their Greenwich Avenue store. For browsing (or gawking), it’s worth a visit.
Worth Home– This store gets it exactly right. A synergy of high-end home furnishings and accessories in the rustic contemporary style, this is the stuff you save for, splurge on, and will have forever. If you need a hostess gift, their candle lines are fabulous.
Matsuhisa– Unlike many lifestyle blogs, I intentionally stay away from food-related topics. However, a visit to Vail’s most chichi restaurant is about the cuisine as much as the architecture and design. The restaurant’s interior, with its soaring ceilings, massive windows and mountain views, is a revelation.
While much of my work with clients entails paring down/getting rid of/streamlining and organizing, there is also the opportunity to uncover treasures and bring them back to life.
In the spare closet of one of my regulars? Her mother’s dress. A combination of Asian influence and preppy sensibility, utterly unique and spectacular. It made me see her differently, both providing a strong context for her inherited style while also elevating it far past anything I’d ever done for her.
Paired with a classic shoe (silver peep-toe Manolo Blahniks, a score from Common Threads the previous Summer), one piece of jewelry (a gold cocktail ring*) and her totally modern ‘do (bob+bangs), it was a show-stopper, a game-changer, a ‘dreamweaver’.
Michael Kors likes to reference ‘the right girl in the right dress’; this is Katy in her mother’s dress.
*You can always mix gold and silver!