A Dark & Dramatic Black Swan Styled Shoot
I remember the first time I watched the movie Black Swan, I hadn’t seen Swan Lake before, only odd snippets and I didn’t really know what to expect when I settled down into my cinema chair with my big box of popcorn, but to say I was hooked was an understatement. As soon as it started I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen for the whole film and for days after watching it I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Psychological thrillers have that strange effect on me, it was fascinating to me to see the mental strain it was having on Nina to capture both the white swan and the black swans personality and all of the cast involved did amazing jobs at playing the roles, which is exactly what happened when these fabulous suppliers got together to create a Black Swan styled shoot! I absolutely love the styling and inspiration for this shoot and I know you will too…
A few words about the shoot…
“Having designed a beautiful Ballet and Rose theme for one of my couples earlier in the year, I was desperate to revisit the ballet theme; this time in a darker, more dramatic fashion. Knowing some really creative wedding suppliers and one make up artist in particular who wanted to demonstrate her passion for editorial style make-up – rather than just pure bridal – it was easy to source a team to make this shoot a reality.
As the black swan, white swan concept developed, we decided to tie in some vintage which enabled us to show off some amazing dresses and appeal to a bride who wanted to keep some vintage wedding elements. Saxon and Wolf sources unique clothing from both modern and antique designers and on this occasion found us a wonderful black 1950’s taffeta dress and the most gorgeous off white vintage Frank Usher dress. We finished off the bridal attire with two stunning feather and crystal tiaras from Holly Young Headwear in black and white – which had recently been on show at a London fashion exhibition! Holly’s work is usually used on film and at the time of the shoot she was busy making headwear for Warner Brothers.
It wasn’t just the attire that was creative and beautiful; having chosen a dramatic 18th century manor house for the shoot, Eastington Park, full of black and white details and features such as the black spiral staircase, we were spoilt for choice of areas we could add our own creative decor. As soon as we saw the bridal suite and the four poster bed, we knew we had to create something that echoed theatre curtains and could be ‘opened and closed’ for performances – i.e the poses that our model, Sarah, did for us. The monochrome shades of the paper decor reflected the white swan, black swan design concept. The paper feathers were all hand drawn, traced on the computer and cut out and finally stitched together. The paper pin wheels featured musical score detailing which also referenced the ballet.
Another area we got creative with is with the floristry. As Eastington Park had quite a blank canvas, we were able to go all out with floral details. For Jodie, our florist, a swan evokes 2 images; pure natural grace and beauty, and a savage strength. She wanted to capture both of these with the flowers she used on this shoot and also with the shapes and lines she created. She wanted the bridal bouquet to be ‘fierce’ and the staircase to be flowing yet rugged with the use of succulents and curly kale. Black jack tulips were integral here, as she chose to arrange them out of water so that they could eventually find their way to emulating the curve of a swans neck.
As we knew white swan, black swan was quite an old concept, we decided to mix the two up – with each swan demonstrating elements of the other’s personality. It was as though each swan was in transition. The icy and cool looking make up, with dark feather eyelashes on the white swan shows this. In fact, crystals were also added to the face to give an ice queen look. We wanted to show that nothing is ever black or white in life.
As the ballet theme was a really important element of the shoot, it was important to get a ballerina on board who could both perform and model. Luckily for us, we found Sarah. Her poses on the stairs, bed and next the the mirrored ledge (just like you’d find in a ballet class) were perfect.
Watching her dance on shoot day was amazing, we just had to capture it on video – and had the fabulous Mrs.Mashup to do so. The photography too was very dramatic and as the theme concentrated mainly on a black and white colour palette, Christy (our photographer) made sure to enhance this contrast by making the model stand out from the background. She focused on using one light and lit the model from the side to create shadows, definition, and drama.
Whilst the shoot took place at a Gloucestershire wedding venue, had elements such as vintage dresses (which could be worn by a bride), wedding ‘performance’ stationery, a two tier cake (with feather detail) and dessert table and the bridal bouquet, the alternative take on the theme, make-up and creative design made the shoot really unique and something which other brides could hopefully aspire too. Whether they decide to opt for a vintage dress rather than a typical bridal gown or get creative with their wedding colours or paper detail and backdrops – we wanted to show how versatile bridal style and weddings can actually be. ”
Fab Suppliers: // Venue – Eastington Park // Planning & Concept Design – Sophie, Weddings by Sophie // Styling – Kate , Lavender and Linen // Model – Sarah // Creative paper props – Laura, Things by Laura // Dresses – Elizabeth, Saxon & Wolf // Floristry – Jodie, Acacia Floristry // Hair – Sandie, Bella bridal hair // Headdresses – Holly, Holly Young headwear // Make up – Vanessa, Make up by Vanessa // Photography – Christy, Christy Blanch Photography // Sequin Tablecloths – Bee, Gilded linens // Cake & Dessert table – Bee, Contemporary cake designs // Stationery – April, Bluebird wedding stationery // Videography – Mrs.Mashup //
I love the contrasts between the black swan and the white swan, seriously awesome…
Much Bespoke Love