From the very start of Love My Dress, supporting independent designers has been of paramount importance to me. My passion for getting behind these designers stems from the fact that I am married to one myself. When I met my husband, he had not long graduated in fashion design, and was in the process of setting up his own business. This was pre Instagram days (can you imagine?!). Cripes, it was pre social media full stop (c.2000/02), so the only effective way to get yourself ‘out there’ was to pay thousands of pounds to exhibit at one of the trade events in London. Supporting him at the time (I wrote a business plan that secured funding from the Arts Council and Princes Trust) made me appreciate more than ever how challenging it can be getting becoming established as a designer – and how talented those who have chosen to work with fabric truly are – from the design to the technical pattern cutting process, it’s a creative form that fascinates me.
My personal experience of supporting my husband has provided me with a deep appreciation of the independent designer – one of the best I know in the bridal fashion world is Joanne Fleming.
Brighton based Joanne Fleming is an exceptionally talented designer. I’ve been aware of her from the very early days of Love My Dress, c. 2009/10, and I wore a bespoke dress made by Joanne for my book launch 4 years ago. One of the things that sets Jo apart is her lack of fear of exploring the less traditional aspect of ‘bridal’, as these images I’m sharing with you today so exquisitely illustrate.
“Although we of course offer most of our gowns in the traditionally beautiful bridal shades of ivory, champagne, oyster and blush, we are getting more brides-to-be coming to the studio specifically because they want to explore the possibility of using a wider palette of shades for their wedding gown.”
Photography by Jacqui McSweeney
“For someone who wears a lot of black (or white in the summer!), I have always loved using more vivid jewel tones in our evening wear styles, and now find that the line between these pieces and the ‘bridal’ range is increasingly blurred. It seemed like a good time to get together with long time collaborator Jacqui McSweeney Photography to plan a shoot to demonstrate just how versatile colour can be in this context.”
“Fortunately we knew just the spot, a hidden little gem in the heart of the Sussex countryside, somewhere you really wouldn’t know was there unless you knew it was there! A little grassy path leads in between rocky escarpments to a limpid pool, which is half covered with huge white waterlilies, and is completely surrounded by airy deciduous woodland filtering the sunlight through a leafy green canopy.”
“We were fortunate to have our favourite milliners Lomax and Skinner join us with a couple of their striking hats, and also the beautifully delicate work of accessory designer Samantha of Isobel Hind, with her exquisite wired bead and crystal headpieces.”
“Floral and botanical themes are key elements of many JFD styles, so it was great to have florist Miss Mole create some lush pieces for our shoot in her Brighton Flower Emporium.”
“Makeup Artist Harriet Rainbow created that flawless porcelain look on our beautiful natural redhead model Ann Charlotte, with Liz of Simply Beautiful Wedding Hair styling her locks in an intricate knotted and plaited arrangement that had the added benefit of creating beautiful loose waves when let down.”
“We really enjoyed bringing you these more vibrant options, and hope it has inspired you to consider how you might use colour as part of your bridal look…”
My love and thanks to the incredibly talented Joanne Fleming for sharing this collection of images today. You will find Joanne Fleming Design listed in our Little Book For Brides and you can also connect through her beautiful Instagram account @joflemingdesign.
Love Annabel x
- Fashion - Joanne Fleming Design
- Photography - Jacqui McSweeney
- Millinery - Lomax and Skinner (with Fragonard, Gainsborough, Millais)
- Hair Accessories (with Tadema and Tennyson) - Isobel Hind
- Flowers - Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium
- Makeup Artist - Harriet Rainbow
- Hair - Simply Beautiful Wedding Hair
- Model - Anne Charlotte c/o MK Model Management