September 10, 2014

{Be Exquisitely Self-Expressed}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
There's no such thing as too many musings about beautiful vintage handkerchiefs! So here's a "ps" to a recent post about my love for hankies....

I met Cynthia Brumback, author of the wondrous new book The Art of the Monogram, at a book signing in Cashiers, North Carolina last month. Of course there's more to monograms than just using on handkerchiefs and Cynthia's book covers it all exquisitely: from sterling silver and home linens to royal jewels and silk lingerie; from their etched historical beginnings to today's high-fashion runways; from grand display to intimately personal. (This book should be on your most wished-for "gift list.")

Planning a wedding, being a bride, beginning a marriage are all compelling rites-of-passage and I can't think of anything that marks their passage more memorably than to have some sort of beautifully scripted monogram to commemorate the occasion. Whether it's a vintage linen handkerchief embroidered with your initial to carry on your wedding day; or for your reception, a pair of old silver toasting goblets engraved with your new monogram, perfect for holding hand-picked wildflowers later by your bedside; or a custom-designed monogram with "his & her" initials for your wedding cake (just like William and Kate!), a design you use forever on favorite things at home.

In the spirit of honoring relationship (with yourself, with another, with your heritage), something monogramed is the perfect bit of "self-expressed" beauty to add to your life every day!

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

[Photograph: The Art of the Monogram]

August 29, 2014

{Linking Up With the Past!}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
I have a treat for you! Here's a link to my latest article in SEASON magazine's autumn issue ("A Whiter Shade of Pale" -- all about the mystique of the white wedding gown through history) ... which just happens to be an excerpt from my upcoming new book: The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding.

Plus, the link will also take you to a report I wrote about my visit in the spring to Winterthur Museum where I gave a presentation ("Vintage Inspiration: The Brides of Downton Abbey") during their costume exhibition featuring our favorite British period drama. (If you land on the cover page, then scroll to pages 88-89 and you're there!) Enjoy all the elegant "vintage vibes"....

Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia

August 18, 2014

{Handkerchief Inspired Cakes & Things}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
I've made no secret that I love handkerchiefs -- especially embroidered white vintage ones and those with a beautifully scrolled monogram, even better! My former bridal art-to-wear shop was famous for a fetching selection of them; they're my favorite gift for a bride; one of my Pinterest boards is dedicated to them; and I write about handkerchiefs in my books and articles often! (There is even a three-part series featuring the benefits and magic of hankies on this blog.)

So of course I was delighted to see this from Martha Stewart: "Wedding Cakes Inspired by Heirloom Handkerchiefs." And they are divinely charming, 'natch! See my favorites from Martha's array of delicious-looking cakes on Pinterest, along with other hanky delights sure to inspire your heart.

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

[Top image courtesy of Augusta Auctions; bottom image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings]

July 24, 2014

{Family & National Treasures}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Historically, wedding gowns had a special place in a family’s remembrances, and those bridal costumes designed to be worn only once were “often carefully preserved as a family heirloom, sometimes passed down from generation to generation” along with anecdotal stories and tenderly held mementoes.

But royal wedding dresses—and many connected to royalty—and their precious accessories are donated to a museum or historical collection for safekeeping with an occasional display to the public. Even months before her glittering wedding in the spring of 1956, Grace Kelly announced that she would give her antique lace and silk gown to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in her hometown. And within the year, she and her prince visited the exhibition in a flurry of press coverage.

Concerned her pale blue wedding ensemble by couturier Mainbocher would not be accepted by a British museum after scandalously marrying a former king in 1937, Wallis Warfield Simpson donated it to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. And there it resides to this day.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s regal couture gown went on temporary display at Buckingham Palace soon after her wedding in the spring of 2011. Following a private visit by Kate and her grandmother-in-law (the Queen!) over a half million people visited the exhibit of the dress that “reflected the vision of a new generation of the British monarchy.”

In 1997 I saw a special exhibition, “In Royal Fashion,” at the Museum of London featuring the wedding gowns of Princess Charlotte of Wales (an elaborate “cloth-of-silver” circa 1816) and Queen Victoria (sans the fragile Honiton lace frills and border.)  They are only two of several royal wedding dresses now in the care of the skilled conservation and heritage charity housed at Kensington Palace that take care of these national treasures.

Princess Diana’s shimmering pouf of a wedding gown went on display in 1998, with other bridal accoutrements, in a gallery at Althorp, the Spencer family ancestral home. The exhibition has also been on a grand tour of the world for over a decade (ending this summer) with millions peering in at the enchantment of it all!

Whatever you are wearing for your wedding or whatever you decide to do with your gown afterwards, wear it like the goddess you are…allow yourself to feel your true beauty inside and out, enjoying your own “royal” time in the spotlight.
Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
ps: This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding. Stay tuned for publication announcements later in the year!