“It’s just me and my designer” explains Cathleen Jia of the intimate team at her self-proclaimed “humble” bridal boutique, “so everything we do is from the heart; hence we named the collection ‘Heart Song’.”
The new ‘Heart Song’ collection includes a selection of custom gowns and hand-made in Melbourne, one-of-a-kind bridal headpieces featuring lace, pearls, jewels, crystals and chains, to complement the designs. ‘Heart Song’ continues the carefully balanced dance between the modern women who make up Cathleen Jia’s clientele and the label’s overarching “vintage bride” design philosophy.
“My type of bride is a modern Australian bride, someone who is quite relaxed. I think for us especially in Australia because we have so many beautiful scenic locations where you can get married, [a dress] needs to be able to match that mood.”
We viewed the collection at Cathleen Jia’s Elsternwick bridal salon which was filled with Lulu Bird floral arrangements of silver gum and brassicas, a Sweet Bakes tiered wedding cake illustrated with one of the collection’s gowns by Knot Now Productions as well as eccentric restored furniture and twinkling lights installed by An Eccentric Bunch – a venture run by Cathleen’s own fiancé.
With bygone-era names such as ‘Primrose’, ‘Tillie’ and ‘Rita’, the gowns themselves hark back to another era with the inclusion of unusual pinstriped laces, antique gold fabrics, beaded cuffs and straps. But the designs certainly aren’t a strict homage to the golden days. “Our gowns are pushing boundaries a little bit – we are experimenting with intricate laces or even cutting the fabric a little differently. Something that’s less traditional just to give a slightly more modern take,” says Cathleen.
Chatting over a ‘His + Hers Desserts’ table set with dainty chocolate madeleines and old-fashioned orange sponge, I wonder what is making Cathleen’s own heart sing at the moment? “I am thinking of my fiancé. He makes me laugh (at him). [He’s] my number one fan in everything I do and it’s just the small gestures that make me really happy in general.”
As I am a bride-to-be myself, I often have people ask me if the novelty of it wears off? As cheesy as it sounds, love will never wears off. The closer it gets to our big day, the more I dream about when I will become his wife. Just the romance of it all and being with him, really makes my heart sing.”
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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such a beautiful new collection – so in love with the exquisite laces!