Heirloom Gowns & Pandemic Weddings – Part 3

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Continuing our blog series with Bride Kristin and Groom Sven, we have the final part, part three! In this blog we will share more about the couple’s love story and how they navigated their wedding plans during the unpredictable moment of the pandemic.

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Kristin and Sven had a long engagement and meanwhile were traveling the world together. After three years of being engaged they had some exciting wedding plans in the works for 2020. They decided to get married underwater by the President of Palau (Micronesia) in May 2020 and then to come home to a lively New York City 350-personal black tie wedding party on June 20, 2020, Of course, the pandemic completely wiped these exciting plans away. 

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

The couple ideally wanted to wait to re-plan the wedding celebrations until the pandemic was a thing of the past. But sentimentally, Bride Kristin, felt it was important to find a way to move forward with some type of celebrations. Wearing her grandmother’s wedding gown and honoring all the women who had worn it before while also inspiring future generations of brides was very important to her. As the pandemic continued to carry on, Kristin began dreaming up a “deconstructed wedding” where special parts of the wedding would all be celebrated individually. And then, their plan B for the wedding began to take form.

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

In the end, the couple opted to do a small elopement, traditional Tahitian “ring” ceremony, at a small island in southern French Polynesia called RURUTU (Australe Islands north of Antarctica) in October 2020. Then they came home to Maui, and Bride Kristin worked together with Jennifer to finish the restyling of her grandmother’s dress. She then began planning a bridal portrait celebration and a blessing which would take place on their island home of Maui. Kristin wanted to include some special women in her life, junior and senior bridesmaids. They held a lovely procession at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center under a rainbow and then were blessed with a rain shower as the officiant did a traditional Hawaiian blessing. They did a pikake lei ceremony which was common in Hawaii in the early half of the 1900s. They also shared their vows on their 81st month anniversary in the fast ice of the Weddell Sea near Snow Hill Island on the continent of Antarctica! 

In the end, the couple had a very beautiful and memorable wedding celebration. We were so happy to get to work together with Bride Kristin and we are very happy that they were able to find a way to make their celebrations special even amongst the chaos of the pandemic. Congratulations Kristin and Sven! We wish you endless love and happiness in your new life together!

 

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Photography by Madelynne Lorraine

Wedding Vendors:

Dressmaker/Restyling: Jennifer Oberg Atelier | www.jenniferoberg.com | @jenniferobergatelier

Jewelry: Vintage Yves Saint Laurent limited edition | www.ysl.com | @ysl

Shoes: FENDI | www.fendi.com | @fendi

Photographer: Sean Michael Hower | www.howerphoto.com | @seanmhower

Photographer: Madelynne Lorraine | www.madelynnelorraine.com | @madelynnelorraine

Venue: The Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center | www.huinoeau.com | @huinoeau 

Makeup: Jessica Waite | www.jessicawaite.com | @jessicawaite 

Hair: Catalina Drouillard | www.threesixteenhairhaven.com/catalina-drouillard-hair | @catalinadrouillardhair 

Floral Designers: Jeanne Givens | www.dellables.com | @dellablesfloraldesign 

Officiant of Blessing: Euta Lightsy | www.kahulightsy.com | @maui_officiant_lightsy

Heirloom Gowns & Pandemic Weddings – Part 2

Photography by Sean M Hower

Continuing our blog series with Bride Kristin and Groom Sven, we have part two! In this blog we will share how this gorgeous 1940s heirloom wedding gown became strapless and all of the extra pieces added to complete the look.

Jennifer has always been passionate about heirloom pieces. When working on heirloom dresses she is careful to maintain the integrity of the gown. For this particular gown, there were a few tweaks made to the dress in order for it to be more comfortable for Bride Kristin and to give it the personalization it needed to fit her as if it were a custom wedding gown. 

The back of the new strapless dress.

The Bride decided on going for a strapless dress. Jennifer cleverly tucked the bodice inside, and retained the sleeves, so that the dress could be completely reconstructed if needed in the future. The dress had already been worn by several women in the family, and it was very likely it would continue to be worn by future family brides.  It was exciting for Jennifer to work on this gown, knowing its history over the past 80 years and knowing that it could be worn again 80 years in the future.  

The ties for the 3 tier French bustle. The ties are color coded.

The addition of a built-in corset and petticoat under the dress gave the gown shape and fullness. A silk charmeuse ruffle was added to the bottom to provide the length needed for the bride. These few tweaks completely transformed the gown on the bride while maintaining the elements that made this family heirloom piece uniquely one-of-a-kind. 

The dress and veil ready for steaming.

In addition to restyling the dress, a beautiful peacock feather train was created. Bride Kristin wanted to honor Queen Kapi’olani and the historical monarchy of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The train was inspired by a famous peacock feather gown worn by Queen Kapi’olani, commissioned for Queen Victoria’s Grand Jubilee in 1887. Lastly, a 1940’s antique veil and headpiece completed the look.

Sophia sewing the peacock feather cape.

And below is the final look with Bride Kristin. Stay tuned for even more photos from the wedding day in the next blog!

Photography by Sean M Hower

Photography by Sean M Hower

In our final blog, we will share the exciting twists and turns the couple went through in the planning and changing of their wedding. Stay tuned for the final blog!

Heirloom Gowns & Pandemic Weddings – Part 1

At the Atelier, we have enjoyed meeting the many brides courageously finding ways to make their weddings possible during the pandemic. One very memorable Bride and Groom we met was Kristin and Sven Lindblad. Their love story, their eloquent navigation of their wedding celebrations amongst the constant changes, and of course, the 1942 heirloom wedding dress worn by the bride, left a very large impact on us. This is a story we just had to share with our clients! As this is a longer story, we will share it in three parts.

Kristin and Sven are travelers, environmental conservationists, and passionate about philanthropic causes. Kristin Lindblad is a former PR and communications consultant.  She now focuses on managing philanthropic efforts and serving in an advisory capacity to NGO’s focused on cultural and environmental conservation. Sven Lindblad, is a second generation Swedish explorer and founder of Lindblad Expeditions. Sven’s father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, is known globally as one of the “fathers of eco-tourism”. Together, Kristin and Sven, have traveled all over the world. Naturally, their wedding plans were just as exciting as the life they live.

Kristin came to Jennifer in 2019 with her grandmother’s gorgeous heirloom ivory satin wedding gown from 1942. The dress had since been worn 4 times by other women in the family.  It was in amazing shape for being worn many times, and the satin was clean and intact.  It was a very special gown and Kristin wanted to find a way to wear it for her wedding but with some new additions to personalize the dress. Jennifer collaborated with Kristin to restyle this vintage gown into something truly special and unique. 

The first issue to be solved was that the wedding gown was too small for Kristin, both in the bodice and in the length.  Apparently the women in her family were extremely tiny!  So Jennifer started the process by taking fabric from the long train and adding panels in the sides to make the bodice larger.  

The next decision to be made was whether or not to keep the sleeves.  They were typical 1940s style long sleeves with covered buttons at the wrist.  Kristin and Jennifer went back and forth on this decision for a while, taking time to sleep on it, thinking about it.  In the end, they removed the sleeves, which resulted in a strap over the shoulder.  Then they discussed whether or not to remove the strap and make the dress strapless. 

Kristin was concerned about making too many changes to the dress, and consulted with her family.  They gave their blessing to whatever she wanted to do.  In the end, that was the final decision – to make the dress strapless.  What a change from a traditional 1940s style gown with long sleeves to a modern strapless wedding gown!  

Stay tuned for part two where we share how the gown became strapless and the extra items that were added to complete the look.

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 4

Wrapping up our dressmaking tale of the adventures in recreating the Embassy Ballgown Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1964 film My Fair Lady, we have the final blog with the finished gown! 

From hours of research to hours of production, the finished gown was finally completed after numerous fittings and consultations.  The team spent over 400 hours creating this gorgeous piece.  A long, yet extremely enjoyable and rewarding process of creation for a magnificent gown.

Amidst all the creation came the complex coordination of fittings, consultations, and flights. The bride flew from Austin to Maui twice for fittings, staying multiple days each time.  Jennifer flew to Austin for a fitting, working on it at the home of the bride.  Jennifer needed to take it with her back to Maui to do the final work.  When the gown was complete, the bride flew to Maui one last time to pick up the dress.  Jennifer held an Open Studio for friends to view the gown, have pink champagne and meet the bride.  It was a glorious time with friends who appreciated the fine work and the story behind the gown.  The story was written up in the Maui News, too!

The final gown was exquisite and eloquent. Over 20,000 beads, crystals, and sequins were hand sewn onto the outer layer of silk gauze. Handmade silk flowers adorned the gown. The under dress was made out of a luxurious 4-ply silk crepe, with a buttery-soft silk charmeuse lining. The vintage trim that Patty Robison provided was the perfect decoration on the edge of the gauze hem.  

Jennifer is still looking for the original Embassy Ballgown and will fly anywhere in the world to see it. If you know where the original gown is, let us know! 

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 3

Continuing our dressmaking tale of recreating the Embassy Ballgown, we move on to the production process.  After spending roughly 50-70 hours on research and development on the gown recreation, Jennifer was ready to begin.  The dress was deemed to be in two layers.  One – a slim underdress to be made of 4-ply silk crepe, lined in silk charmeuse.  Two – an overlay to be made of diaphanous silk gauze with custom beading and embellishments.  Jennifer began draping up the layers according to the bride’s measurements. 

Jennifer hired colleague Patty Robison, a Master Bridal Tailor from Washington State, to consult on the beading and embellishments for the gauze overlay.  They met through the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals, of which they are both members.  They had many discussions via email and phone, trying to decipher the complex design from stills from the film and archival photos.  Patty created samples of the beadwork, including the beautiful beaded fringe on the edge of the collar and sleeves.  She recreated the small silk embellishments found on the skirt and helped in so many ways. After several weeks of communication, sample making, and mailing samples to Jennifer, Patty flew out to Maui for a week to assist with the sewing process.  

A paper pattern was created to determine the layout of the beading and embellishment.  All the work was original, meaning every bead and detail was sewn on by hand.  There was no existing beaded fabric for this project.  It had to be created from the ground up by applying the beads and embellishments on the silk gauze overlay.  The only piece that came ready-made was 5 yards of a vintage beaded embroidered trim that Patty had in her stock.  That piece was placed on the hem of the dress. 

Maui-based Cindy Wilson assisted Jennifer in creating this gown as well.  With over 20,000 beads, crystals, sequins and other embellishments needed for the gown, we needed some extra hands to help sew these on. Three friends, Melinda Neuwirth, Cheryl Tipton, and Kathy Baldwin, volunteered their time to hand sew beads onto the dress.  It was a labor of love with friends and colleagues who value beautiful design.

In our final blog in the series, we will see the finished gown.

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 2

Continuing our dressmaking tale of recreating the Embassy Ballgown, we have the elaborate process of researching and discovering many mysteries along the way. After discussing with the bride about this exciting wedding gown assignment, Jennifer immediately set off to find all the information she could gather on this iconic gown. Many hours were spent on research and development for this gown. 

Jennifer had high hopes of finding the actual gown from the 1964 film for inspiration in her recreation. However, tracking down the actual location of this gown turned out to be quite the scavenger hunt. Jennifer tried to locate the gown through her connections in Hollywood from her time working on various films and tv series as a costume shop supervisor. But much to her surprise, no one knew where this dress could possibly be. Warner Brothers did not have it in their costume vault. It was not in any museum. The head of the UCLA Costume Department said the gown had most likely been auctioned off, and was in the hands of a private collector. On the internet, the rumors said that this gown was actually borrowed from a person in the UK and was then returned back to the original owner after the making of the film. To this day we still have yet to find out where the original Embassy Ballgown is located. If you know where it could be, let us know. The mystery is yet to be solved!

Another exciting discovery Jennifer found while researching this dress came from Cecil Beaton, the Costume Designer of My Fair Lady.  He wrote a diary of his experience working on the film.  Jennifer found this entry about the Embassy Ballgown:

Wednesday, 19 June (1962)

“This afternoon, however, Eliza’s ball dress was pinned, in rough form, on a stand for the first time. This is a dress that everyone will see. Agnes has the responsibility of creating this gossamer shift. She started to cut the sequin, crystal and chenille embroidery from a genuine 1910 evening gown which will be an invaluable guide for our embroideries. Absorbed in such fascinating detail, I didn’t realize the day was long since over, yet none of the women seemed in a hurry to get back to their homes.” 

So, it appeared that the gown was modeled after a 1910 evening gown that a dressmaker named “Agnes” cut apart to use a guide.  It seems that the gown Audrey Hepburn wore must have been an original gown made in-house at the costume studio.  Jennifer longed to find out who Agnes was, but never figured that out.  If anyone knows about Agnes, we’d love to hear!

After accepting the fact that the gown could not be seen in person, Jennifer set off to find some high resolution photos of the dress in order to really see all of the intricate details. Jennifer ended up spending hours studying photos from Warner Brothers, still shots from the film, and through watching the film over and over again. After gathering as many details as she could from these resources, she came up with a design for this gown. Having the initial vision of the dress was thrilling! She knew this was going to be a very memorable experience in dressmaking and design.

Researching and creating the first design and sketch of the gown was the exciting beginning of a long dressmaking process. We will pause the dressmaking tale here for now, and continue back in part 3 on the process of creating the gown and the many adventures as a part of the creative process. See below for some photos of the research process… 

James Bond film Casino Royale Inspired Gown

Here comes another exciting dressmaking tale! With the recent release of the new James Bond film, we thought it would be fun to share a past wedding gown we created.

Several years ago Jennifer had a bride who wanted a replica of a dress from the James Bond film Casino Royale! The bride loved the look of this gown and was comfortable with the sexier look of the dress. So Jennifer went to work and brought this Casino Royale Inspired dress to life for the bride. Bride Saida and Groom Sol had their beautiful wedding celebration in April 2012 on Maui.

Here are some photos of the inspiration from the James Bond Film…

And here are some photos of the wedding gown Jennifer created…

We love when our clients come to us with such fun dressmaking ideas and visions. It’s always an adventurous task recreating a gown, especially from a film. Have you seen our previous blog posts on the adventures of recreating the embassy ballgown from My Fair Lady? Check it out here

Brides-to-be get in touch for all custom wedding gowns, we are happy to take on all sorts of dressmaking projects. From the classic wedding gown to 007 inspired gowns to My Fair Lady inspired gowns, we love creating them all!

Embassy Ballgown Recreation Series – Part 1

Kendall Jenner’s dress at the Met Gala has us reminiscing on the time we recreated Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Embassy Ballgown from the 1964 film My Fair Lady. This is one of our more adventurous, exciting, mysterious, and elaborate dressmaking stories that we just have to share with you! Due to the length of the process of this recreation, we are devoting a short blog series in order to share all of the juicy details from this dressmaking tale.

A few years ago, Bride Lorri from Austin, Texas, reached out to us about recreating Audrey Hepburn’s Embassy Ballgown from My Fair Lady for her wedding on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  It had been her dream as a girl to have this dress for her wedding gown.  Her fiance Michael searched online to find the best dressmaker for the job, and came across our website.  We were blown away that they reached out to us, all the way on Maui!  But it was the perfect match. Jennifer had spent years working in professional costume shops in theatre and Hollywood before coming to Maui, so she had the connections to find out as much as possible about the gown.  And of course, she is a master dressmaker.  Sometimes when a person wishes to recreate a piece they’ve seen in a film before, the finished product might appear “costumey”.  But with Jennifer’s extensive background, she was able to make the dress into a true couture gown worthy of a beautiful wedding in Italy.

After discussing with the bride about the vision and details of this wedding gown recreation, Jennifer immediately dived into the long process of researching and investigating this famous beaded gown. And this next part of the story is where the mystery and searching began! But this is to be continued in part two of the series. For now, check out the photos below of Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala gown, Audrey Hepburn’s Embassy Ballgown, and the Bride Lorri’s wedding gown. 

Kendall Jenner at the Met Gala

Audrey Hepburn’s Embassy Ballgown in ‘My Fair Lady’

Dressmaker Jennifer Oberg with Bride Lorri

Lorri and Michael on their wedding day

Bride Lorri in her wedding gown

Inventing the Abbotts

Inventing the Abbotts + 1950s Dresses

When I worked in Hollywood, I made costumes for various films, tv shows, and private clients (you can see the full list here). Inventing the Abbotts (1997) was a fun assignment. I worked on a vintage 1950s dress for Liv Tyler which was worn in the dance scene. The dress was covered in a beautiful small flower trim. It turned out that the dress was too small for her. Our skilled costume shop team had to get creative to find a way to make it fit just right!

We ended up adding panels on the side to make it larger around the body. Then we went on a scavenger hunt for that vintage trim in one of Los Angeles’s enormous fabric stores. Guess what?! We found the exact same flower trim to match the dress! We carefully attached the new trim to the panels and blended it seamlessly with the old trim. It was perfect! The dress fit perfectly and you couldn’t even notice the difference where the new fabric and trim were added. 

Recently, we have been working with a client who had the same issue. She came in with an adorable 1950s style dress that was too small. We took fabric from the skirt and made clever panels on the sides to help extend the dress to fit her just right. It was the exact same problem we had with Liv Tyler’s dress. Steady, careful sewing by skilled artisans make this problem not a problem anymore. It is amazing how any dress–too small or too big–can be altered to fit just right.

Also, fun fact, Liv Tyler is the daughter of Steven Tyler who happens to live on Maui. It is a small world!

A story behind the gown

We worked with the award winning graphic artist, Wailani Artates of Artistry8, on a custom wedding gown a few years ago. Wailani came to me with a clear vision of what she wanted her wedding gown to look like. It is always such a treat to create and collaborate on a dress with another artist.

Wailani recently won her 4th Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for the graphic designs of Amy Hānaiali‘i’s 15th album, Kalawai‘anui, alongside Kumu Hula and fashion designer Micah Kamohoaliʻi of Waimea. We did a Q&A with Wailani to chat more about her custom wedding gown inspirations and process, memories of her wedding, and about her recent award! Find out more below…

Q: What was your inspiration for your wedding dress?

A: Well, at the time, I despised anything sparkly and lace for some odd reason. My tastes were more structured, less traditional. I actually couldnʻt find a single silhouette that had this shape without sparkles. We even traveled to Oahu to find something that sufficed. 

Q: What was the dress design process like for you?

A: Being a designer, I literally took two silhouettes and photoshopped them together to create what was in my head. I then found Jen by googling “seamstresses on Maui” and was so lucky to have found her.

Q: How was it working together with Jennifer? 

A: She is the most amazing person, with or without a needle and thread in hand. We became fast friends andended up creating together at different capacities beyond my dress. She suggested this structured translucent fabric for the bottom half of the dress to provide some texture and it was gorgeous, something I didnʻt think of. She also created a bra in the dress because the back was low and it held up literally so well.

Q: What was your favorite memory from your wedding?

A: My favorite memory was seeing my husband cry when we said our vows. He is a reserved person and doesnʻt show his emotions publicly ever, but as he said his vows he cried. It was unexpected for me and such a beautiful memory Iʻll always hold dear.

Q: Can you share more about your recent win at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards! 

A: Sure! The Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards is like the Hawaii Grammyʻs. Itʻs such an honor to just be nominated. Iʻve been nominated 7 times and won my 4th this year. The gravity of being a Hoku award winner is huge for me, being on a stage and holding an award that music legends my grandparents grew up with, music that we were raised appreciating, itʻs just so big for me and my family. Music plays such an important role in life, it takes you to a time in your past, an instilled memory. We create these memories for our children and music plays a big role in our day to day from morning jam out sessions to bbq live streams (these days). 

The other part of this event that I love is the fashion. Oh, the fashion!!! Jen and I should get together one year. Every year, my husband and I try to be thoughtful of the album Iʻm nominated for by being inspired by  the experience, the name of the album, or even the artist to honor them and that process in some way. We also love to honor our ancestors and Hawaii. One year we wore kapa, another lauhala. I took my daughter one year when it was too difficult for my husband to leave our baby, and we wore lā’ī (ti leaf) that was treated to look like leather. Always so fun to do it up and try to top it every year. 

We can’t wait to see what Wailani creates next! Such a wonderfully talented artist in the community. We wish you all the best with your beautiful family! Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections with us! Follow her Facebook Page to see what she is up to next: facebook.com/artistry8. And for any custom gown inquiries send us an email! Mahalo!