Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn dreams.

New photos by Lisa Warninger of some of my ready to wear designs. Styling by Rebecca Westby. Models: Carlie Armstrong and Kayla Koff.

Every wedding needs a horse.

I just got these incredible wedding photos from Corinna and Julie's wedding (photography by Evrim Icoz).
The scene: the family Christmas tree farm.
The couple steals a kiss.
Julie wore a custom suit by Duchess, one of my favorites for tailored duds. Corinna is displaying the tear-away feature of her dress--go from long to short in an instant!
Okay, one more with the horse.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Part Time Retail Sales...plus a whole lot more.

The English Dept. is a bustling little shop with a special mission. We focus on non-traditional bridal, bridesmaid and special occasion dresses in an intimate boutique setting. We pride ourselves on providing excellent service in a relaxed environment. This is decidedly not a stuffy bridal salon. Our ideal English Dept. employee has experience, energy and enthusiasm, a cheerful and patient disposition, a ready grasp of details, the ability to learn quickly and independently, and the ability to assist a diverse community of customers with their shopping experience. It's a special opportunity for the right person...could it be you? If you are in the Portland area and think you might like to work with us, please let us know! Forward a resume to info@theenglishdept.com, including your desired hours and availability.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pretty as a picture...

...under her peach parasol. Allie just sent on these photos from her August 15th wedding. She wore the Jenny Yoo Nina dress from The English Dept. And a fine time was had by all...
You know it's a good wedding when the shoes come off.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Until the end of September, The English Dept. is hosting a sale on sample bridal, bridesmaid and party dresses. Lots of fetching styles at quite attractive prices--and already going fast! Do come have a look if you're in the neighborhood...


More pics of Serah and her smashing orange gown.
Blush silk organza and feather flower headband for Robin. Her dress was one of my very, very favorite projects this year and I can't wait to see pictures of the whole ensemble (her wedding's this weekend!). Congratulations, Robin. Have a lovely time!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What am I going to do with it? I don't know and I don't care.

Have you ever had to have something, just for the aching, heartbreaking beauty of it? This beautiful (but tattered) dress embellishment from the 1920s is past using, but the craftmanship and materials just leave me breathless. I found it tucked away in an antique shop, and had to take it home.

Silver metal lace, handmade silk satin rosettes, silver lamé leaves, and pearls. Sigh!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall colors.

Silk flower dress embellishment for Tara, and hair pieces for Emily's bridesmaids. I'm not normally a purple girl, but I do love that rich aubergine color.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do the polka!

Leah just forwarded over these photos from her wedding. I love how fresh and pretty she looks--the polka dots suit her exactly!

Something new.

Ivory silk satin bridal shrug with raglan cap sleeves and pearl closure. For Lizzy, to go over this dress.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Shayda and Ben...

...because honestly, I can't get enough.
More and bigger images here. Cheers to everyone involved...what a lovely day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Pictures from Lisa's wedding!
You see her personality in every thoughtful detail.
Hand painted by Lisa.
They look happy, don't they?
I like the "Put me in, Coach!" quality of this one.
Relaxed? I should say so.
Congratulations, fair lady.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A country hitching.

This is the very first photo trickling back from Shayda's wedding at an Oregon coast hydrangea farm. Shot by the Boston-based and oh-so-talented Shyla, this wedding was, from top to toe, the work of Shayda's dazzling imagination and do-it-yourself spirit. She was one amazing girl to work with, truly one of a kind...just like her dress. Ruched, appliquéd, and layered English tulle over duchess satin. So. much. fun.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hello, flowerbomb.

I'm starting the brainstorm/experiment phase of planning my 2010 bridal collection, and I've been falling in love with dress ideas like a girl just out of school. The fall will be filled with one-off frocks that are the results of my flings, crushes, and one night stands with new ideas and textiles. First up, flowerbomb.
My customer-model was camera-shy, so I promised I wouldn't put her face in the photo. I had to get that smile, though--how could you don those posies and not grin just a little? [thanks, Larkin!]

Friday, September 4, 2009

For the lady behind the lens.

Lisa Warninger is my clothing's favorite photographer. When we worked together on a shoot back in the spring, Lisa admired my Oysters & Pearls dress (it admired her right back). I told her, "I'll make you one!" Many months later that cavalier (but sincere!) promise has come to fruition. Lisa let me choose the color, but I had the hardest time fastening on the moody, muted, old-rose-shot-with-chocolate color I was thinking. I told her I wanted it to have a spooky, last-night-at-the-carnival 1909 feel. I dyed and redyed the dress once, twice, three times. Then finally, I finished it. Finally. I'm just wearing it temporarily--I hope to get that girl in front of the camera for some real glamour shots.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An etsy story.

You may know that I sell some of my handmade bridal designs on etsy--mostly little shrugs and accessories, because they're easy to transport and fit--but also a selection of dress designs. Late this spring I was contacted by a bride named Mary--she lives in Ireland but was getting married at a friend's house in Italy in August. Could I make a full-length version of my ghost dress and ship it to her in Italy? I could.

I packaged the dress carefully and took it to my friendly neighborhood postman, who advised me that the Italian post is "the worst" (i.e. slow, unreliable, prone to losing precious parcels). He saw the panicked look on my face and said, "Just tell the bride to run down to the local ufficio postale with a nice bottle of wine...I'm sure everything will be fine." I laughed nervously--I've been to Italy, and I knew he wasn't joking.

The box went off. Weeks passed--no word. Then a nervous email from Mary, asking if I might know when the dress would arrive? I replied with some advice about charming the officials, per my postman's suggestion. Then silence. The wedding day came and went. I felt a deep, quiet anxiety as I went about my day, finishing projects for other brides. More days passed. Still nothing.

Then, like a ray of sunlight, came this email from Mary! I'll let her take it from here:
Sorry I have not been in contact any earlier, it was a mad rush around the wedding. We had such problems with the Italian customs...I got the dress ONE HOUR before the ceremony last Wednesday! I had already given up on it when some of our friends who came over for the wedding managed to pester enough people in various embassies to get the Italians to release it. They finally released it from customs the night before the wedding and my brother drove the three hours to Milano to pick it up from the airport.....But it was all worth it... the dress is absolutely beautiful!!! Could not have had a nicer wedding dress..I loved it. When it finally arrived I put it one and it fitted perfect...there was nothing I would have changed even if I would have had the time. Thank you so much for all the extra work in making it longer and making it fit. Have not got any official photos back but have attached one a friend of ours made.
Thanks again,
Best wishes
Mary xx

How big was my sigh of relief? I could have floated away on it.
Thanks, Mary! I'm so glad this story has a happy ending.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just you and me, kid.

My favorite wedding photos are the ones where the couple looks wholly, totally in the moment--not too smiley or pose-y, just present...all a-thrill and jittery to be doing such a momentous thing together, holding tight to each other's hands. Jenny forwarded me these pictures of her wedding, and they're that kind of photos.
So very sweet. I love what she did with her hair, by the way (and her dress, of course--flower-embellished cream silk shantung sweetheart sheath from The English Dept. with lace-trimmed tulle halter straps).