Today, we wanted to pay tribute to the recent passing of Melbourne bridal designer Jane Hill.
Jane Hill was so loved in the Melbourne bridal community and a fixture in my world of weddings for so long. You see, when I first met Ms Paisley, who is our beloved sales director, she was planning her wedding. Our days were filled with wedding plans and I eagerly awaited photos and emails of her wedding gown fittings- with the beloved Jane. I saw her dress come together from sketches, to crystal placement, to draping and piecing together, slowly becoming the piece of art that Ms Paisley eventually wore on her wedding day (see her wedding here and here).
Since then, the Polka Dot team has avidly followed Jane’s work as she headed to London and back again (and featured plenty of real weddings with Jane Hill brides)- always talking about Ms Paisley’s incredible wedding gown. So when we heard the tragic news of her passing, we wanted to do something to mark her presence in our lives. Ms Paisley has shared her story of her time with Jane Hill with us today.
A big thank you to Jennifer and Jasmine from Jane Hill for their blessing with this piece and Nikole Ramsay for sharing beautiful images of the Jane Hill salon and Jane Hill brides with us. The Jane Hill brand will continue to live on through the team Jane built.
When choosing my wedding dress 6 years ago, I had very strong ideas about what I didn’t want (no meringues, no veil, no fussy beading or crystal sprays… no no no…) but I wasn’t quite as good at pinpointing what I did.
I visited a few Melbourne bridal houses and although there were many beautiful gowns, nothing made my heart “leap”. I wanted that feeling and I was starting to wonder if it would ever happen or if I’d be destined to settle for something lovely but not particularly “me” (First World problem, indeed).
Fortuitously, I was driving down Glenferrie Rd in Hawthorn one Sunday afternoon and, stuck in traffic, happened to glance up and look into a fairly unassuming shop-front, There in front of me, was a simply gorgeous concoction – a floor-length, silver gown with sunray pleating. It was deceptively simple but I knew that whoever had designed and crafted it was akin to a magician. On closer inspection I read the signing on the shop front: “JANE HILL”.
Oh… the eponymous Jane Hill.
There and then, I knew that Jane would be the one to make my wedding gown. She did. And I wasn’t disappointed. Jane inherently understood the brides that visited upon her and created effortlessly chic designs that reflected the unique personalities and styles of her clientele.
Jane had an amazing eye for detail and proportion. She lived and breathed the mantra that “less is more”. Her gowns were made to perfection and in most cases, minimally adorned. She wasn’t about tricking up a dress with too many distractions– simplicity was favoured and construction was paramount (in fact the majority of the time spent on my own gown was the meticulous building of the foundation which resulted in an amazingly luxe couture fit).
A few girls in my office had married in the late 90s and were lucky enough to have a Jane creation. “Oh… you’re having a Jane Hill gown… [insert nostalgic/misty-eyed reminiscences about their dream dress here]… you won’t be disappointed… she’s amazing!”.
Her knack of putting you at ease (even when it was 2 weeks out from your wedding date and you were yet to see the “skirt” for your gown!) meant that you felt like she was part of the inner-circle of planning. It wasn’t forced or for show – she genuinely cared about every bride that walked through the salon doors, and wanted to ensure that they left with joy in their hearts about the wedding gown she and her team painstakingly created.
How a bride feels on her wedding day, is so inherently tied to her vision of herself as ‘the bride” and fundamentally linked to that is THE DRESS. Jane realised the importance of her role in shaping that vision, and in most cases, she perfected it to the point that it not only met, but surpassed the wildest dreams of her blessed clients.
Vale, Jane Hill.
Photos courtesy of Nikole Ramsay