East Meets West - Styled Shoot
Chris and Marilyn – When a German guy and a Singaporean-Peranakan girl fall in love
When we unveil the geeky side of us
“We are super competitive! We fight over the PlayStation every single day and we absolutely hate losing to each other in any game”
When we are with each other
“Outdoors – that’s where you will find us. We could lie on the beach endlessly, cycle around with no specific destinations in mind, and have picnic at random grass patches.
When eating Kueh Lapis (also known as the rainbow layered cake)
Marilyn: “I like to peel it off, layer by layer – starting from the colour I like the least”
Chris: “I just eat the whole thing. No specific order needed”
When we meet at home after work
“We sway, we hug, we bounce around. Sometimes with music, sometimes without”
Along with some absolutely amazing vendors in the industry, we put together a styled shoot based on the couple’s love story – all thanks to the couple for allowing us to share these moments with us.
It was a journey of exploring the little quirks of their relationship, while experimenting with some styles we’ve never done before.
It was simple, beautiful and most importantly, meaningful.
Scroll down to read on more about the thought process of each element in this shoot. Enjoy!
FLORALS & STYLING
Concept: Arches & Co. (Michelle L) and The Bloomish Eden (Michelle T)
Florals: The Bloomish Eden (Michelle T)
There were two key objectives from a floral point of view:
(1) have a palette that complimented the cheongsam colours and design.
(2) pay homage to both Marilyn & Chris’ heritages and relationship through subtle elements.
For the palette, it was birthed from a combination of colours iconic to the German-Peranakan combination. From Marilyn’s Peranakan side, we took inspiration from the cactus and rose colours of the Peranakan Chinese teacup. From Chris’ German side, it was inspired by the Oktoberfest blue-white checkered flag and of course, pretzels.
Next, focusing on the details of the dress, we wanted to work mainly with the lilac base, the embroidered tulips and peacocks. We expanded on the range of tulips used in the shoot from both their flower Tulipa ‘Charmeur’ and her favourite Tulipa ‘Generaal De Wet’.
By selecting the double petaled interpretations (Tulipa ‘Melrose’ and Tulipa ‘Orca’), it was a simulation of the peony-tulip look in her cheongsam’s embroidery.
For the general mood, we leaned towards a more organic, natural look to bring out the romance in Marilyn & Chris’ story.
Aside from softer foliage like seeded eucalyptus and asparagus fern, Michelle T combined the above colours to form a palette of lilac, powder blues, antique pinks and wheat to compliment the use of peacock feathers and the various bolder coloured tulips.
Wheel Wall Installation
Focusing on a romantic take on their hobby of “nerd cycling”, we worked on recreating a scene with a bicycle wheel in nature (forest / garden). Working around the pillar in the studio, we went with the vibes of a discarded wheel amongst a forest of branches, florals and foliage. With the DIY-ed rusty aluminium wheel up on the ‘tree’, Michelle T worked in varying types of foliages for texture to simulate the scene as organically possible, with just the right amount of texture to compliment Marilyn’s cheongsam. The flowers were kept only to the base for a garden-like effect and also so as to allow the colours on cheongsam to pop.
To compliment the photos of their parents’ weddings, we wanted to keep things more personal and meaningful here. Keeping in line with the wheel installation, Michelle T opted for a combination of wood and gold frames for that touch of vintage while keeping to the organic vibes.
She aged the wooden frames and had one arranged with florals ‘growing’ out of it. Placed aside their parents’ old photos, this flower frame signified Marilyn & Chris growing future, journeying through as future newlyweds just like their parents did. The floral frame is now one of her best selling items and you can get it here: https://thebloomisheden.com/floral-frames
Without stealing the limelight from Juillet’s embroidery on Marilyn’s cheongsam, Michelle T opted for a less textured bouquet that was mostly focused on bringing out the colours already present in both the shoot and her dress.
This meant the focus being on the single flower heads which was then arranged atop the foliage to have a cleaner finish. Tied off with a mellow toned habotai silk ribbon from Bertie and Fred, the botanical prints stayed true to the organic finish of the shoot while complimenting the lilac in Marilyn’s cheongsam.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY
Although this was a styled shoot, Wei Lun and Logan from TwoGatherPictures focused on creating a space where Chris and Marilyn would feel comfortable to express themselves, to immortalize the first time Chris would see Marilyn in the custom made cheongsam, and to document their letter-reading to each other.
By utilising the beautiful floral pieces and styling elements as a backdrop and morning glow from natural sunlight, it resulted in a very ethereal look and atmosphere.
For the second part of the shoot, Wei Lun and Logan aimed to create an edgy look to show the 'vogue' side of our couple. They were inspired by the bespoke cheongsam made by Juillet and both Marilyn’s Peranakan heritage and Chris' German culture, and wanted to gel these together using coloured lighting. They thought about scenes from Asian cinema (think Wong Kar Wai) and the lighting and cinematography of Christopher Doyle. Using pink and orange it created an atmosphere that transformed our shoot location into a 1980s Hong Kong shop house. They asked Marilyn and Chris to look directly at us for a very 'classic' couple portrait in order to juxtapose their parents' wedding photos on the wall behind them. This created a connection encompassing time, heritage, and celebration of union. The overall mood gave it a sense of nostalgia which we felt everyone on set greatly connected with.
MAKEUP & HAIR STYLING
Having worked with Marilyn before, Xin Er from Lush Looks already had an idea on what sort of colours will stand out on Marilyn’s tan skin because of her peranakan lineage. In order to match her lilac cheongsam that's so colourful, Xin Er picked rose gold for her point colour of her eyes and grounded the shade with dark brown eyeshadow on the outer corners to create depth. Although Marilyn already has double eyelids naturally, Xin Er still adjusted them to make them more balanced and also to make her eyes bigger. Lashes were attached individually to achieve a fan-like shape which also helped to open up the eyes.
In line with the ‘East Meets West’ direction of the shoot, Xin Er chose to create a hairstyle that's more 'westernised'. This hairstyle is a Russian bridal upstyle that she learnt from Lena Bogucharskaya. This style is more loose and free which is very similar to Marilyn's carefree personality instead of a traditional tightly pulled-together updo that is commonly seen to be donned by Singapore brides.
Tulips and peacock are the main elements that Marilyn love! Tulips to represent their love story (Chris always brings tulip for Marilyn whenever he’s back from Germany) and she specifically love Germany tulips that are usually dual tone and has bright colors. For example - fuchsia-white and pink-orange shades.
Marilyn wanted the peacock embroidery to look natural, therefore Sonia and Mei Nar from Juillet suggested for them to keep to the original colors of the peacock.
Chinese elements like peonies and cherry blossoms were added onto the cheongsam in complimentary shades to match the colors of tulip and peacock, to create further depth to the entire look.
Fun fact: The embroideries on the cheongsam were hand-illustrated and colored in via color pencil before being sent to embroiderers to work their magic. It is truly a work of art!
Concept: Arches & Co. and The Bloomish Eden