{Inspiration} Art Deco

One of my absolute favourite design styles–for architecture, interior design, and fashion–is Art Deco. Art Deco emerged in Paris in the 1920s and spread internationally over the next 10 to 15 years. It’s influenced by several early 20th century art movements, including Neclassicism and cubism, along with the art of ancient civilizations. Art Deco, from my observations, is marked by geometric patterns with clean lines. It is simultaneously intricate and simple. For me, Art Deco also has a certain coolness factor that I haven’t identified in other art forms. Perhaps its birth during the Roaring 20s–as hemlines rose, bootleg liquor and ‘speakeasies’ proliferated, and Coco Chanel debuted the ‘little black dress’–lends an air of je ne sais quoi to Art Deco; but whatever it is, Art Deco has always, for me, symbolized cool, stylish, and chic.

I first fell in love with Art Deco during a a high school trip to New York City. I was enamoured by the architecture and interior design of buildings like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. I found the colours, shapes, and geometry glamorous, interesting, and surprisingly modern. A solo return trip to NYC in 2009 as a “more worldly” 29 year old continued, if not strengthened, my adoration of Art Deco.

When I got engaged, I really wanted to incorporate Art Deco into our wedding’s style. At the time, though, I wasn’t sure how to fuse Art Deco into my traditional Sikh ceremony and Punjabi reception. I thought the styles were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Also, when I discussed my interest in Art Deco with others, I often got blank stares; one potential vendor even said, condescendingly, “So…you’re artsy, eh?” (I am anything but.) I figured if these creative folk can’t help me, I must be off the mark. I dropped the idea.

But, as I’ve blogged over the past year and seen more weddings, I’ve been revisiting that idea and think that the drama and glamour of Art Deco are perfectly suited to South Asian weddings. With that in mind, I’ve been working on a series of posts exploring how Art Deco architecture, art, and fashion can inspire different elements of South Asian and fusion weddings. Over the next few days, I’ll share my musings and hope that I can also inspire new brides and grooms…and maybe even comfort some “off the mark” brides like me.

As a prelude to upcoming posts, I thought I’d share images of the interior design of some Art Deco buildings…as that is what most enthralls and inspires me.


xoxo,

LBB

{Image credits: Feature collage (Clockwise from Top Left): 1920s Fashion; BlogTO; Dreamstime; My Home Design ; Picture 1: my personal photo of the Chrysler Building; Pictures 2, 3, 4 all from Art Deco Weddings}

Lemon Truffle Designs {Decor Highlight}

Lemon Truffle Designs is a relatively recent event design & decor company to join the South Asian wedding industry. Amna Rather, founder of Lemon Truffle, started her design career in creative gift baskets and interior design. She fell into event design almost by accident when a corporate gift basket client asked her to decorate a holiday party –and she hasn’t looked back since! Amna took on her first wedding project last March and has  quickly developed an impressive portfolio.

Amna describes her style as “modern, chic, elegant and not overly traditional”. She loves playing with colours and textiles through the use of rich fabrics; she’s also a fan of shimmer and all things pretty. In her wedding designs, she tries to incorporate custom touches to give each wedding its unique and personal feel. When it comes to working with clients, Amna enjoys collaborating with couples who are involved in all aspects of the decor process.

Currently, Lemon Truffle’s services include the following: Design/Décor Consultation; Backdrop Design; Stage Décor; Chair covers; Linens; Centrepieces; Tablescapes; and Floral Design. Amna is planning to collaborate with photographers to provide styling and props for engagement shoots (an AWESOME idea!). She’s also aiming to expand on creative shoots this upcoming year. She collaborated in a spectacular vintage Alice in Wonderland creative shoot last year. Please check it out! If that shoot is any indication of her awesomeness, I cannot wait to see what else she has in store!

Below are images from Lemon Truffle Designs’ recent projects. What I appreciate about each project are the layers and details. I can definitely see the play of textures and colours; there is also an element of familiarity with the use of traditional colours coupled with elegant, glamorous, and sometimes unexpected details.



What a spectacular ceiling!! I love the cystal lanterns!!

For more decor goodness, please check out Lemon Truffle Designs’ website and Facebook page. And if you haven’t already, check out the beautiful Alice in Wonderland shoot.

xoxo,

LBB

{all images courtesy of Lemon Truffle Designs}

New Year, New Look

For the blog, that is. I already introduced a new personal look last month when I chopped off my hair. It was the best decision ever, and I am now addicted to the scissors!

New Look

So I spent an unreasonable amount of time editing and re-editing and obsessing over little details. I hope the new layout is cleaner and easier to follow, and I feel I can make most effective use of widgets and sidebars with this layout.

I also grew tired of my old banner and, with my limited photoshop skills, created the new one above. I think it’s a better representation of the blog itself, though I’m not sure I am 100% loving it.

So what do you think? Love/hate the new layout? Love/hate the new header?

New Categories

I deleted repetitive categories, created new ones, and re-categorized some posts. I’m aiming for fewer categories with titles that better represent the post’s content. I may continue to edit over the next little while.

New Vendors

I am also updating the vendors list, and I would love suggestions and recommendations. If you’ve had great experience with a vendor and the vendor is not listed on my site, LET ME KNOW!!

If, on the other hand, you are a vendor yourself and you meet the following criteria:

  • excellent skill and ability
  • innovative style and vision
  • outstanding customer service

I would love to list you on the site. Please leave a comment or send me an email (littlebrownbride {at} gmail {dot} com). I believe strongly in giving due recognition to people who are skilled at their craft; but more importantly, I am interested in people who are personable, care genuinely about their clients, and–in more simple terms–are not douchebags. I am also here to support the “little guys”. I understand how tough this industry is, and I would love to give some exposure to those who are deserving.

Thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to a new year of blogging!

xoxo,

LBB

Happy 2012!

2011 has been a roller coaster of a year for me; despite the highs and lows, it’s been a great ride and I’m looking forward to 2012.

I wish you all a very happy, prosperous 2012 that glitters like gold…and like my gold inspiration board!

Images L to R (clockwise): Wedding Trends; Ruffled Blog; Martha Stewart Weddings

xoxo,

LBB

{Guest Blog} The Silent Killer: The Dupatta by Amplified Soul

I am honoured today to welcome Shobana from Amplified Soul Make-up + Hair Couture as a guest blogger. Amplified Soul has become one of the most sought-after make up and hair teams in the wedding industry, and they have the exquisite (and rightful) honour of being listed in The Wedluxe Glitterati. In today’s post, Shobana shares her expertise about the dupatta setting, which, oddly, is often an afterthought even though it is central to a South Asian bride’s look. I remember purposely choosing a light dupatta, with simple detail for my wedding outfit so I wouldn’t be weighed down. However, in terms of styling, I didn’t even think about it. I figured a dupatta is set in one way and there’s not much else. In her article, Shobana trumps that idea pretty quickly, describes the factors that influence a dupatta setting, and reviews the range of options available to the modern-day South Asian bride. Enjoy! (All photos, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of Amplified Soul.)

***

Of all the planning that goes into a wedding, the frequently overlooked factor is the dupatta. The beautifully adorned piece of fabric affects your look, comfort, and outfit security. It can be very light or heavy, applying weight to your head, shoulders, and back.

Avoid the hunchback syndrome by choosing a lighter version. Net is your best friend without compromising the beauty or elegance of your look. It’s the quality of work that makes it spectacular, not the quantity of work; this is especially important for shorter or petite ladies. You want to wear the dupatta, not have it wear you. Ideally, choose a light dupatta with a light to medium border. Make sure the lining on the border isn’t stiff, otherwise it won’t have a flowing quality. Factors to consider for the border include: material, lining, crown, width, & weight.

When wearing the dupatta on your head, have a strong blouse to support with the right lining, bra holders, and a blouse tie at the back, so the weight of your dupatta doesn’t cause your blouse to sag.

Dupatta Settings:

There are several dupatta setting options to choose from when draping a dupatta on your head. Important factors include the height of the dupatta and the style of your hair: 

  • Dupatta heights can include: no height, natural (moderate), majestic/rani (high)
  • Hair options can include: no part, centre part, side part, front poof, finger curls, bangs
  • You also want to consider whether you want to remove the dupatta after–this will also influence the dupatta setting you go with.

Real Bride examples of Dupatta Settings:

Option 1: Poofed front, Low Dupatta Setting; hair was styled to facilitate easy removal of the dupatta

Option 2: Traditional Slicked Center Part, Moderate Dupatta Setting

Option 3: Traditional, Peek-a-boo, Loose Center Part, Moderate Dupatta Setting

Option 4: Peek-a-boo, No Part, Moderate Dupatta Setting

Option 5: No Part, Moderate Dupatta Setting

Option 6: Center Part, High Dupatta Setting

Option 7: A growing trend: wearing your hair down. Styles that work well are half up, half down, waves to one side, a vintage braid, or finger curls

***

Thinking back, my dupatta setting was a cross between Option 3 and Option 6. If I could do it again, I would go for the last option. I really love the romantic feel of this setting. Rather than leaving my hair out, though,  I would opt for a vintage braid with a modern…parandi! Yes, I said parandi!! The following look would be my inspiration:

Definitely not your Aunty's parandi! Image from fash4girl.com.

Thanks to Shobana for her informative guest post! For more on the trend-setting Amplified Soul team, check out their site and their blog.

xoxo,

LBB

The Shopping Uniform: What (not) to wear when shopping

As I contemplate hitting Boxing Day sales this week, I started thinking about appropriate shopping outfits–outfits that I would feel comfortable in, I could easily slip on and off, and that would be neutral enough to match with most clothing options.  In that process, I realized I have a “Shopping Uniform”, which is essentially the same uniform I wore when shopping for wedding outfits!

I hate trying on clothes, particularly the process of taking off my own clothes and putting them back on. I aim for minimal layering and fitted options that are easy to try clothes on top of. Here are my tips, from head to toe, for wedding outfit shopping and “regular” clothes shopping.

Hair:

Keep your hair simple. If you’re wedding shopping, take an extra few minutes to make it look nice, but not fussy. Either wear it down or a very simple chignon so it doesn’t ruin easily when you try things on. You can’t get a feel for the outfit if your hair is frizzing out or totally unkempt.

Face:

Again, keep it simple. If you normally wear make up,  minimize the foundation (you don’t want it to get on clothes, especially wedding clothes!), but take time to wear concealer (if needed), maybe some mascara and blush. You want to look well-rested and “fresh”, particularly if you’re trying wedding outfits on. It’s hard to appreciate a wedding outfit if you look like you just rolled out of bed

Jewelry:

None; if you must, wear small earrings and jewelry that won’t snag onto or clash with clothing.

Bra:

If shopping for regular clothes, please wear a neutral coloured bra that fits and supports you well–no wireless, “Sunday” bras here, ladies!. If shopping for wedding outfits, wear a supportive strapless bra. Wait–even before you venture out shopping, get fitted for a bra if you haven’t already. Your girls need to be properly supported to get an accurate feel for how a top or dress will look on you.

Tops:

My personal preference is  a fitted, white or black tank with thin straps, like this top from Revolve Clothing:

with a long, thin cardigan, such as this Theory cardigan from Revolve Clothing:

This tank + cardi combo is perfect because it keeps you warm and it’s versatile. It works in winter and when the weather is warming up or cooling down.  The cardi is super easy to take off and on, and the white cami allows you try to tops that might require a camisole underneath. It also works, however, even for tops that don’t require camis. When Indian wedding shopping, the cami provides you with some extra…coverage, as experience has taught me that several Indian clothing stores don’t have the most private of change rooms…For example, I’ve changed in a storage room, a “lunch” room, in a room with large cracks in the doors, behind a curtain that covered very little…and the list goes on. In warmer weather, just opt for a simple tank or t-shirt–nothing with buttons or zippers.

Undies:

Please wear underwear that does not show pantylines!!! There are excellent seamless panties and thongs out there–check out the Commando line. I actually wore a pair on my own wedding day, which I bought  from Secrets from Your Sister  (also an excellent place for bra fittings!)

Bottom:

My personal preference is  black leggings (I hope they never go out of style!!). Leggings are awesome because they are super comfortable and they are almost like a second skin. You can try on quite a few outfits without taking them off: dresses, shirts, skirts, saris, lenghs, even shalwars! And again, the leggings offer that extra coverage if you prefer not to have your ass on display for any Indian store employee or customer leering at you through the crack in the changeroom door.

Shoes:

Sandals preferred if it’s summer; and not your Birks or Mephistos, but  something comfortable yet feminine. If it’s colder weather, comfortable flats. Stay away from the sneakers if you can; they often look bulky and scruffy. If it’s cold (kinda like now), choose boots that are easy to slip on and off. If you’re trying to match shoes with an outfit, take the shoes with you and try them on with potential outfits.

Coat:

For us unfortunate cold climate dwellers, do not to wear your heaviest, warmest coat. You will melt. If you’re at a mall, leave your coat in the car and sprint to the mall from the parking lot. If you’re going store to store, for example if shopping on Queen West or going from one Indian store to the next, wear the lightest, but warmest coat you can, which preferably has a zipper–much easier to handle than multiple buttons.

Purse:

Wear a messenger bag or another type of bag that you can wear across your body. A messenger bag keeps your hands free to browse through collections and carry purchases. Keep your purse items to essentials. Minimize any extra weight.

Overall, minimize any “extras”: no buttons, no belts, no multiple layers, no turtle necks, no buckles. The simpler your outfit, the better! You’ll be able to spend less time undressing and re-dressing and more time shopping!

And also remember to eat a good meal before you head out and take water with you. You will not be able to make proper decisions on an empty stomach or if dying from thirst. I know I can’t!!

Happy Shopping!

xoxo,

LBB