Notes From The Designer
Theresa of Rossetti is inspired by the sensuousness and flowing lines of Pre-Raphaelite paintings - especially those by Rossetti, Waterhouse, Kate Bunce, and Burne Jones. This, inevitably leads to an enthusiasm for ethereal and elvish Medieval styles.
If you would love to wear the Pre-Raphaelite style for your Wedding you will probably find inspiration in such films as "Lord of the Rings" (Galadrial and Arwen's elven costumes), "Game of Thrones", "First Knight" and "The Lion in Winter". To explain the look they are trying to achieve, many of Rossetti brides have referenced or shown in "mood boards" the costumes in "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves", "Legend", "First Knight" and "Merlin". The girl band "The Mediaeval Baebes" are often attired in fantasy style medieval gowns. Paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite artists Waterhouse ("The Lady of Shalott", "St Cecilia", "Ophelia", "The crystal Ball", "The Enchanted garden"), and Edmund Blair-Leighton ("The Accolade", "Godspeed" , "The Call to Arms"), all offer timeless inspiration.
A combination of fabric: a sumptuous silver and green damask, and model: a willowy figure and classic Pre-Raphaelite curls - came together as the original inspiration for this Medieval wedding dress design. It was one of the very first Rossetti designs, quickly proving popular for brides of large bust and small, wide hips and narrow, tall and short. I will not give away the cutting secrets (!), but this shape manages to suit all frames.
When two brides on opposite sides of the world (Canada and London) approached me in the same week to make a wedding dress using the design brief of "The Accolade" by Edmund Blair-Leighton, I started to suspect someone was pulling my leg! As the Pre-Raphaelite designs evolved, they turned out to be very different - one version in quantities of chiffon with a hand-beaded girdle belt; the other taking a beautifully embroidered indian sari as a starting point, and using an original antique (victorian!) punched metal belt. What both brides had in common was their wonderfully attired knights!
"The William Morris Collection"
Two wedding dress designs in the Pre-Raphaelite/ Medieval style - inspired by this stunning Arts and Crafts-type gothic brocade.
"La Belle Dame"
I always enjoy this design because brides's seem to relish the challenge of finding toning/ matching fabrics amongst my vast choice of silks and trimmings. It is enjoyable to limit your choice of silks to eight rather than just one! The basic shape of the gown is quite streamlined (with an inner corset if wished) to balance the richness of the various textures: satin, dupion, taffeta and velvet can all be combined in one design. A classic fishtail shaped skirt at the front the Art Nouveau inspired wedding gown can graduate into the sumptuous folds and train of the original sample, or can be cut with a more modified train.
"Fantasy Mediaeval Wedding Dress"
Inevitably, the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy inspired many brides to look for an "elveish", Celtic or Mediaeval wedding dress design. This is a style which manages to have the appeal and romance of a more traditional wedding dress, without straying into the territory of the classic "meringue". This fairytale style can be as suited to a handfasting ceremony in a woodland, as to a civil wedding service in a monumental castle. Both situations also give brides a great excuse to also order an ultimately romantic silk or crushed velvet hooded cloak just in case it is a little chilly!
"Artemis" was designed, but not constructed, before I was asked to make versions of "The Accolade" (above). It was intended, as a medieval bridal gown design, to be as different as possible to "Raffaella" (above). Where "Raffaella" always works best in an opaque, firm fabric with a quite stream-lined A-line skirt and minimal tailored hanging sleeves; "Artemis" is in a sheer, drapeable fabric - many more metres of fabric are used, and the sleeves are long and flowing. Basically, cut and tailoring, versus ethereal and fairytale. I tend to find that if brides suit one Mediaeval style, they will NOT suit the other; there are few exceptions - it is something to do with stature, hip shape and bust size.
Requests for different interpretations of the famous "Accolade" painting by Blair-Leighton led to a lot of consideration on how to represent the intricate embellishment shown around the hem of the gown in the original painting. Heavily embroidered and beaded saris are the perfect solution. It is possible to find ivory and pastel shaded saris, but if you are looking for vibrant colour, the traditional wedding shades for indian weddings are red and pink - usually combined with gold. If you wish to source your own sari for this design I can recommend where to visit, or you can choose from those I have in stock.
Rossetti link to www.fantaysia.co.uk - a specialist site for Medieval weddings.