{Inspiration} Colour me Art Deco!

Continuing my Art Deco Inspiration series, I’ll focus this and the next post on wedding decor.  Decor, in my opinion, is essential to establishing your wedding’s mood. Art Deco design is definitely for the bride and groom who like glamour, are looking for a perfect mix of vintage and modern, and want something a little sexy. There’s also a masculine and industrial feel to the style that might appeal to some grooms–at least when compared to a frilly pink princess theme!

Regarding South Asian and fusion weddings, recall that Art Deco has many influences, including art from ancient Egyptians and Mayans. (I also wonder if imperialism, still the rage in the 1900s, impacted Art Deco style?) Due to its multiple influences, gold, silver, and bronze are elements common to Art Deco, which lend themselves easily to South Asian wedding decor. Contrasting metallics  in South Asian fashion and design, though, metallics in Art Deco are noticeable, but somewhat subdued; they often have a brushed look with a slight sheen.

The patterns, geometry, and colour combinations in Art Deco offer loads of inspiration for colour schemes, linens, table settings, and so on! I created some colour inspirations boards below. When creating the boards, Art Deco posters and textiles served as my jumping off points, almost similar to the interior design process when you choose a painting you love and then design a room around the painting. Along with inspiration from posters and textiles, the colour boards are also influenced by my personal preference for creating a warm and cozy setting amidst glamourous and grand details.

A caveat to start…there’s a lot of black!

Red, gold, & black
{Image credit: Paramount Hotel; Art Deco wallpaper; Parisian poster}

Olive, gold, and black
{Image credit: Vogue cover; Ralph Lauren Art Deco Collection; Art Deco Wallpaper}

Purple, black, and ivory{Image credit: Art Deco wedding; Art Deco cake; Purple textile}

Red, silver, and black

{Image credit: Peninsula Restaurant in Shanghai; Art Deco Fabric}

Some more pretty images for inspiration…

{The Salon by Erte}

{Sampson & Delilah by Erte}

The following prints are by Frank Mcintosh, who designed many covers for Asia magazine through the 1920s and 30s. His work has an interesting combination of Asian and Art Deco styles; granted, some of his work has an air of Orientalism…but, the images are pretty….(ooh, how the 22-year-old-anti-establishment-undergraduate-LBB looks at me from the past with disgust).

{In Agra and On One of the Seven Seas}

{Indian Dance and Winged Guests}

In the next post, I’ll share some pretty table settings!




{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.



{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}

Vintage Romance

Absolutely love artist Aparna Caur’s painted rendition of Raj Kapoor and Nargis in love under an umbrella (image from Tribune India).

I would love to have this framed and hung prominently in my home. There’s just something about this painting that warms my heart. How cute is this for an engagement shoot inspiration?



Wedding Trends 2010: Brown Bride Style (Part 2)

Hey all,

Continuation of my previous post, Wedding Trends 2010: Brown Bride Style. The trends already covered: Vintage Styling; Sustainable sit downs; Fashion forward head pieces; Small, intimate affairs.

5. Wedding videos as cinematic events

My sister was married 11 years ago, and we have 3 (maybe more?) VHS tapes full of  wedding footage. It’s boring, uneventful, and did I mention boring? Mercifully, the unedited, 9-hour long wedding sagas of years past is no longer in vogue.

Click on the link below for the video highlights of a grand Sikh wedding by the amazing Phototerra team. They captured the energy and the scope of the wedding impressively well. (A little tidbit for the bhangra fans out there: Watch out for Malkit Singh–he performed at this wedding!!!!)

A  caveat if you’ve never been to an Indian wedding before: this wedding’s a bit on the extravagant end of the spectrum. For those of you coming to my wedding, it will (hopefully) be awesome, but not in the unlimited budget awesome kinda way this wedding was. Malkit Singh will be there, but in the itunes version.

http://phototerra.com/#Portfolios/Videos/Harmanjee & Brahmjot/1

6. Dramatic, tiered cakes

I’m not really feeling this trend. First off, I can’t eat regular cake (I’m allergic to wheat and dairy), and secondly, I think money can be spent elsewhere. Nonetheless, we are entitled to our opinions, and a beautiful cake is priority for many couples. Cakes are universal and can be easily adapted to meld with an Indian wedding.

Beautiful mendhi-inspired cake with gold ribbon. Kinda matches my reception lengha. Cake designed by Schockley's Sweet Shoppe; photo by David Schwartz Photography

Inter-cultural cake topper. How cute. (Image from Novelty Cake Toppers)

7. Bright coloured bridesmaid dresses

Us brown brides have got this one down–bright colours and Indian fashion are like Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski: meant to be!  However…I’m not the biggest fan of matching Indian bridesmaids outfits. The hallmark of Indian design is its one-of-a-kind appeal, and it’s slightly disorienting to see 5 women wearing the same sari or suit. I’m also noticing many Indian brides dressing their bridesmaids in neutral colours, especially beige. With so many beautiful, vibrant options to choose from, why beige???

A cool take on this trend would be to dress your bridesmaids in different bright colours. For example, see pic below of a bride with her bridesmaids. The dresses represent the colours of a rainbow, and they go together beautifully. The overall look is fun, fashionable, and individual. Love it.

Image from Ruffled.com (photo by Joel Flory from Flory Photo)

And now, imagine a bride surrounded by bridesmaids in colourful saris. Pretty, no?

8. Alternative registries

Rather than registering at the Bay for towels or Williams Sonoma for flatware, many couples are creating registries for honeymoons, cars, even their wedding photography. These alternative registries are geared more so for couples living common law prior to marriage.

How do you brown bride-ify this trend? I dunno. Maybe make a registry for your gold wedding jewelry? That ish is crazy expensive.

9. Wedding night staging

For those of us who grew up watching Bollywood movies, seeing the newly married bride and groom enter their room with a beautifully decorated matrimonial bed was a common sight. A Night of Romance, a company based in Toronto and run by two South Asian-Canadian women, borrows from this tradition and specializes in romanticizing the matrimonial suite. Their “Bollywood Night to Remember” package uses South Asian decorative elements to create a sensual suite made for the likes of Abishek and Ashwairya.

That’s all for tonight, folks. I’ll be busy the next few days. My friend from grad school is getting married. I’ll be attending my first Ismaili wedding and I am so excited! It’ll be a fun time catching up with old friends and participating in general wedding awesomeness.



Wedding Trends 2010: Brown Bride Style

Though 2010 is half-over, The Globe and Mail recently wrote an article discussing the top wedding trends for 2010. As usual, this article is geared towards the typical Western, white wedding dress style wedding.
Here’s my brown bride take on these trends:

1. Vintage Styling

Vintage Bollywood or Bollywood movies set in a historical period are good inspiration for beauty. For brides, styling your outfit, make-up, or jewelry (or all of the above) with inspirations from 50s/60s Bollywood films or period films (e.g., Devdas, Umrao Jaan, Jodhaa Akbar) would be  a wonderful salute to Indian vintage.

50s Bollywood

For beauty, you could opt to keep your make up simple: neutral eyeshadow, dark liner, lots of mascara, a dark or red lip, a heavy brow, and hair tied in a simple chignon, a la 50s film acrtresses Madhubala (image from www.movietalkies.com) and Waheeda Rahman (image from Indian Vintage):

60s Bollywood

Alternatively, you could opt for a 60s Bollywood screen siren look:  dramatic, wing-tipped eyeliner, false eyelashes, nude lip, and Indianized beehive hair. See Sharmila Tagore in pics below:

Image from movies.sulekha.com

Sharmila Tagore (image from http://www.sulekha.com)

50s and 60s Bollywood actresses kept their jewelry to a minimum, but wore 1 or 2 dramatic pieces, like the large earrings, tikka, and choker in the above pics.

Period Films

You could also opt for a Mughal-inspired maharani look, which is probably the most “traditional” of all Indian bridal looks. Now, I am not an avid Bollywood film watcher, but based on my limited knowledge, I have to say that Ashwairya Rai and Rekha “do maharani” the best.

Promo for Jodhaa Akbar (image from bbc.co.uk)

Still from Jodhaa Akbar (image from http://www.bbc.co.uk)

The below pics are of Rekha in Umrao Jaan–I realize she plays a courtesan in this movie, which is, to some extent, the antithesis of a bride. Ironically, her look is quite appropriately bridal with the heavy dupatta, the intricate and ornate jewelry,  and the anarkali suit.

Rekha in all her glory (image from http://www.movies.sulekha.com)

2. Sustainable sit-downs

Measuring the carbon footprint of an Indian wedding would be an interesting endeavour. Many families travel to India for their invitations, clothing, jewelry, gifts, and even decor. If families don’t travel to India (like mine), most wedding goods are made in and shipped from India. Hmm… I’m starting to feel slightly guilty about the environmental impact of my wedding…

Most often, sustainable and eco-friendly equals locall grown and/or created or reused. At first, I was stumped–how do you eco-chicafy an Indian wedding?? I rubbed my LBB brain cells together and came up with some quick ideas…

  • Old becomes new: use your mom’s or aunts’ wedding outfits as your wedding outfit or create a new one using their outfits! Use family heirlooms and family gold for jewelry
  • Skip out on the flowers: decorate mandaps with dramatic draping, lighting, or unique structures rather than garlands of flowers. Make creative centrepieces for your tables that don’t require flowers. Or use flowers that are locally grown and in season
  • Make your own invitations, using a eco-friendly paper supplier and printer. Or choose an eco-friendly invitation design company, such as Canadian-owned and -operated pistachio. It is very possible to incorporate Indian design elements with a non-Indian vendor. Additionally, your guests won’t experience the diesel intoxication that commonly occurs after opening an invitation made in India
  • Use eco-friendly mithai boxes (e.g., skip out on the shiny boxes, consider resuable containers)
  • Ask your caterer to use locally-grown food and locally-cultivated alcohol. Indian food is no longer “exotic” and I think many of our ingredients can be locally sourced
  • Skip out on the hummer limo and opt for a eco-friendly ride
  • Rethink the favour: donate to a charity in your guests’ names or give something useful that minimizes waste. Pack the favour in a recyclable container. Maybe something edible. Do your guests really need another picture frame??

3. Fashion forward headpieces

If you’ve been reading my blog or know anything about me, you know I’m all up on this one like Lindsay Lohan on a bottle of Vodka. For Sikh and Muslim brides, wearing a fascinator or birdcage veil during the ceremony might be somewhat impractial and awkward, as our heads are already covered with the dupatta or hijab, but wearing an awesome hair accessory at the reception (or any other wedding event) is certainly an option. For Hindu brides, though, using a modern hair accessory to replace the marigolds or jasmine flowers commonly worn in your hair would be a nice way to modernize your look.

4. Small, intimate affairs

Small. Indian. Wedding. One of these just doesn’t belong here, no?

Though for many, to say small and Indian wedding in the same sentence would be an outright contradiction, I’m convinced it can happen–especially if the couple is footing the bill. An option would be to invite all guests to the ceremony, which are usually held in a gurdwara, mosque, or hall; this would allow for the community to congregate and celebrate the union. The ceremony is, after all, the most important aspect of a wedding. The reception can be the smaller, intimate affair. My friend recently attended a wedding similar to the one I just conjured; there were only 30 people at the reception, and she said it was the best wedding she’s been to.

I’ll post the brown bride version of the remaining trends (there are 4 more) later this week!



My Wedding Alter Ego

Perhaps it’s because growing up, seeing the white dresses on the pretty white ladies on TV seemed so far removed from my reality, but for some reason, I have always considered Indian weddings and North American weddings as two entirely separate entities.  I’ve always thought you can either have an Indian wedding or a “white” wedding–the two styles can’t be melded together coherently.  It’s a strange thought in our multicultural era, I know.

Through this wedding planning process, I’ve realized I have two wedding brains: one that plans the Indian wedding, and one that plans the “alternative” (i.e., “North American”) wedding. My alternative brain is inspired by the countless North American images she sees and starts automatically creating a fantasy wedding. My alternative wedding brain is galvanized by vintage Hollywood glam and modern day minimalism, and she was knocked off her feet when she came across this wedding on Ruffled.com (an awesome site that profiles vintage-inspired and quirky weddings). The details are impeccable: the red roses, the red lips, the mink stole (I actually almost bought one for fun last year), the birdcage veil, the charcoal/silvery grey colours, the vintage feel, the urban photography, the minimalism, the elegance, and the understated glamour. The one thing my alternative wedding brain would change, however, would be the dress. Something shorter with a dramatic neckline would be preferred. Regardless, this wedding is breathtakingly beautiful. Enjoy!

All pictures by Lindsey Thorne and courtesy of Ruffled.com. Click on the pics to enlarge them!

How incredibly gorgeous is the couple??



Are you there Wedding Show Gods? It’s me, LBB.

(Quick update: we met with Wedding Decor on Tuesday evening. The Perfect Setting cancelled due to illness, and we rescheduled for this upcoming Tuesday. I will give a detailed account following our meeting with The Perfect Setting, but for now I will tell you that our meeting with Wedding Decor was a bust.)

Image courtesy of http://www.thedrakehotel.ca

Dear Wedding Show Gods,

Are you there? It’s me. LBB. You are probably familiar with me and my fiance. J and I have been to two wedding shows so far. We went to a “Canadian” one in January at the Direct Energy Centre and to Suhaag in February. I wasn’t overly thrilled with either. The “Canadian” one was nice, but I didn’t walk away with much that was relevant to me. The Suhaag show was good (I met my design soul mate, and I won a prize for having the best engagement story–will post deets about the story one day soon), but the cacophony of sounds, colours, people, and general overstimulation was draining. The energy inputted did not equal the energy outputted.

Tomorrow (May 1, 2010) we are going to the Drake Hotel for The Spring Wedding Show, held in conjuction with The Wedding Co. I am super excited for this show because: 1) it’s at The Drake, so that means small and intimate and not gargantuan and overwhelming; 2)it’s at The Drake, so that means West Queen West and that means unique and creative…so hopefully that means lots of INSPIRATION (I am taking my camera); 3) West Queen West means West Queen West artisans; 4) West Queen West artisans means  a booth (or two or three!!) devoted to hair accessories, and that means I will be in hair accessory heaven!

As you can tell, ye Almighty Wedding Show Gods, I am looking forward to the show tomorrow. It’s going to rain and since I forgot to pick up my discounted May metropass from work, I’ll be walking to The Drake in the rain. I am sacrificing a good hair day and a stylish shoe day to make it to this auspicious event. I am asking you to promise me an eventful, idea-filled, and inspiring day.  Please, Wedding Show Gods, don’t disappoint me. You know me well. I’m LBB: cute, funny, witty, unforgettable, and totally awesome!