Vampires at Gosfield Hall



I have never actually been to a proper Halloween Party, but this year we were seduced into attempting one. Admittedly most of the seduction was done by the location – we have been to Gosfield Hall before, to shoot our Summer Bride collection last year – and loved it! So the tickets were bought, and since it was Lucas’ birthday on the 1st, I treated us, as a surprise, to securing the sumptuous Bridal Suite for our stay.

And with a venue like that and  lodgings dripping with gold, I obviously needed suitably splendid attire….

Fortunately I had a cunning plan – I have designed the Batdress   several months ago, a spur of the moment thing,  and then was lucky enough to get a bargain fabric –  15m of crushed silk velvet – useless for historical outfits, but perfect for a bit of Halloween fancy dress.

The original sketch,


and a work in progress sketch – yep, that’s how I make skirts and gauge how much fabric  to use…



the foundations first – a cage crinoline, mid Victorian design, and a muslin petticoat from one of our bridal frocks….


then the skirt….


The corset was a bit of a challenge – because it was to be worn over a crinoline and not  underneath, it had to be much shorter, allowing for the skirts to billow up. As a result, it turned out to be a surprisingly comfortable  wear:-)

The corset used plain coutil as a strength layer,  tape castings for channels and cotton for lining. Decoration – silver and black lace appliques, silver thread flossing and red beads.




insides before fitting in the lining


close up of the lace


decoration complete


The overskirt/wings were made of the same fabric and lined with faux duponi silk from James Hare – and boned with thin metal flat steel.

other accessories included these..



Once the dress was done, I have 6 hours to make something more before we hit the road – and in a mad rush I made another corset, satin and calico , with lace and silk tulle decoration:-), styled for a Bridal vampiric  look…

The plan was to arrive early and shoot the bridal stuff first, then change and have fun in the Bat dress. alas, we underestimated the traffic – Friday, end of half term, halloween – we were stuck on the motorway for  much too long. as a result, we arrived in time to get ready, but not to shoot the bridal stuff – that will have to be done the following morning!

We were surprised , very pleasantly, by a nice card and a bottle of white wine awaiting us in the suite – a present from our friend Eleanor, who was also attending the party! 🙂


not a good picture, but captures the grin… and the room….

Before the party a girl needs to relax –  a bath and a face mask was in order. Lucas did have a bit of a shock when i joked I could go to the party wearing this….



but at last the clothes were on, make up and hair was done and we could take a few pictures….

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The event was very atmospheric – an amazing singer in one room, roast boar dinner and a cobweb covered pianist playing tunes from the Phantom of the Opera in the other, fireworks outside – amazing!

apart from relaxing, eating and enjoying ourselves, we did take more pictures  at the end of the night….


Batdress in its full glory



Gosfield Hall Halloween 2014-42




and one from the end of the night…. corset undone, hair loose – and yet it worked too 🙂


as to the question i was asked a few times at the party – how do you go to the loo in that?

well, the answer is simple – wear split drawers ( or none….) and go in forward….



In the morning we got up early and  shot the Dracula’s bride styling – corset with lace, with a scrap of lace as a headdress, my bridal veil and a silk chiffon skirt….

Gosfield Hall Halloween 2014-80


Vampires-11 Vampires-7

Vampires-2 Vampires-5 Vampires-6


nom nom nom

we were having so much fun we almost missed breakfast – as a result i rushed downstairs half dressed – don’t think many people minded though – the corset looked great with jeans too!



I must admit I loved wearing the Batdress – but it was a one off and is going to be put on sale ( though not before we shoot it somewhere else – the original idea was a forest or a cemetery), just like the bridal corset – no doubt next year I will come up with a different kit: – )

hope you enjoyed the madness – we did, and are planning more Halloween outings in the future!





Summer Bride 2013 Collection



 Well, I must say it took Paul record time to sort out the official images – 2 weeks and all done – brilliant:-) all editing done, we can now have a proper blog  entry! 

 I have to admit this shoot was slightly problematic  to organize as just a few weeks before the date the venue changed their mind and decided to charge us for using the premises. Well, that wasn’t going to happen, so we needed t find another venue available on that day ( many of us had already booked a day of work). Fortunately lovely Allyson from St.Audries Park, our own venue, stepped in, and put us in touch with Laura from Gosfield Hall- a truly spectacular place in Essex. Laura was only too happy to help us us and the shoot was sorted out in no time at all, it was a bit of a drive, but not too much – and the location was more than worth spending two hours in the car:-)


We picked Sarah, out usual MUA and Emily, one of our models, on the way through Bedford andwe off we went, in a rather convivial atmosphere:-)


travelling in style…

On arrival, Laura greeted us and showed us around the venue – needless to say, we were hugely impressed and started planning the shoot straight away. The boys had their own room to store their toys, and Sarah was more than happy with our changing and prep room



 Paul and Jason arrived shortly after, and Anette, another model joined us before 11. everything was ready for the shoot. we started with the Edwardian Bride – getting ready photos., shot amidst the elegant splendour of the  Queen’s Suite..



Sarah worked her magic on my face and hair, and i was ready to be laced in the long line Edwardian corset… the result below…


antique camisole, and a corset and drawers by me:-)


Paul wasn’t too happy about my period stockings but in the end the ‘wool socks’ worked out just fine..


absolutely loving the antique effect on this one:-)


being a wistful bride…

 Paul didn’t take any other full gown pictures of this one – Lucas did it instead – ,:-)


 As Emily was preparing for her  session,  Paul was taking a  few product shots:-)


  Then it was Emily in Arabella – very much a Disney princess!






Cindrella running from the palace at midnight:-)

and the real Emily….


Next in line was Anette transformed into a Grecian goddess…



I  manged to snatch a quick photo on my mobile too – Anett’s reaction when she saw the room – absolutely breathtaking splendour of the Bride suite…


and some more of Paul’s magic



All that excitement meant we were quite hungry at that point – but luckily enough Laura was  ready with our lunch – freshly prepared by the chef – and it was simply delicious!



girls hard at work… 🙂

Refreshed, we had two more frocks to do – first Emily in a rather stunning corsetted outfit…




and a close up…

and the beautiful flowers….


The last frock of the day was Jeanette – and Anett definitely had some fun  pulling Marie Antoinette persona and acting it all up 🙂




last shot of the flowers, and that was it!




 but just for fun, here a few behind the scenes pics:-)


boys hard at work , in the Bridal suite… 🙂


the bling!



Anett rocking the Athena look!


a trophy wife?


Paul teaching some modelling tricks…

 And that’s it , folks! more info on the frocks themselves, designs and pricing in the part 1 here

 Many, many thanks to all the team –  you were all superb!


venue: Gosfield Hall

 Photography: Paul Mockford:

Bespoke Bridal gowns: Prior Engagement

Styling, hair, makeup: – Sarah Dunn from


Bridal bouquets: Flowers by Eleanor,

Bridal shoes and accessories


Jewellery – the Unfound Door:


  well,hope you enjoyed it, am already thinking of the autumnal collection… 🙂


The Summer Bride Collection part 1 – the dresses


And we did it again! The Syummer bride collection is done and shoot – and while we are awaiting the professional images from Mockford Photography, I thought I’d treat you to some more info on the dresses – the story behind the dress,fabrics used, estimated cost etc. the photos used here were taken by my ever patient hubby, Lucas, in a spectacular location of Gosfield Hall

Once we have proper photos, I will put a post giving credit to all our contributors, suppliers and models:-)

To start with, I must admit that summer is not my season at all – so designing a summer collection was a bit of a challenge – especially, since they are smaple dresses, one has to make do with primarly the fabrics etc in stock. still, I hope you like the finished products!

1. Athena

The first thought that springs to my mind when you say ‘summer’ is – sea, beach, destination weddings –  and I tried to wrap it all up in a dress that woudl say it all – with a hint of a classical goddess thrown into the mix…


the original design

and 15 metres of silk chiffon later, the final product…



full view of the underbust corset…

fabrics used:

15m of silk chiffon and gold braid for the dress – for the corset, silk taffeta, coutil, steel boning, lace applique, cotton perle for flossing. Estimated cost of the sample, £400, bespoke dress in this fashion will start from £500



A proper Disney princess gown, with a 17th century inspired bodice…


the original design…

In the end I desided to do away withthe underskirt and keep the dress plain, with just gold braiding…


the gown with the sleeves…


and without the sleeves…


the back view…

Fabrics used: 10m of duchess satin and lawn for lining, 12m of gold braid, coutil for the strength layer in the bodice, boning. The dress is worn over Victorian cage crinoline in satin, but modern hoop skirts can be used instead. Cost of the sample – £600,  bespoke dress will start from £700, depening on the fabrics used – and it can be rendered in any colour, with a customised decoration.

3. Alexandra, the Edwardian Bride

This one was a bit special- I fell in love in a 1905 wedding gown from LACMA collection, and wanted to recreate the feel – perfect for summer garden party. Since  I wanted to keep it, or at least most of it, i decided to do it the proper way and stick to the iogiginal layers and design, so that i can use it later for re-enactment purposes.


Original design included a bridal corset based on the Edwardian ashions – in the end  I didnt have time to make another corset – but dont worry, it will happen :-). no time for florrs on the skirt either, they will be added at a later stage – once i make a proper, historically correct bodice to go with the dress. but for the time being, this is the result…


 and there is a whole story what is underneath… first, an antique chemise and my brand new split crotch drawers – sexy! a brouche coutil corset gives the silhuette…


 then an antique petticoat – last time I wore it for my wedding!


 and then the skirt, bodice, tiara and a veil… 🙂


Fabrics used: 6m of silk satin, the same of lawn for lining, silk taffeta for the girdle, 9m of wide cotton lace ( import from Australia…)4m of lace for the bodice. the corset: 1m of broche, steel boning, cotton lace. plus the undergarments, in cotton lawn, with lace.

Estimated cost of the whole outfit made bespoke – from £1400, depending on fabrics, corsetry and decoration used.

4. Celeste.

One of the more modern designs, at least originally –


In the end I went with an alternative skirt option, adapting an original Victorian pattern – the umbrella skirt. i still have some of the silk, so may end up making a more modern mermaid skirt with it anyway… 🙂



back view

Fabrics used: 9m of silk , and 8 of lawn for the skirt lining. for the corset – silk, coutil, silk lining, boning, swarovski crystals, andgold lace motifs for both the skirt and the corset.

estimated cost of this sample – £1000. Bespome dress, depepding on fabrics and decoration chosen, form £1200


5. Jeanette.

I had the taffeta  in bright yellow for over a year – and was looking for ways to use it. It screamed 18th century to me, and since the collection was all about summer colours, i decided to go for it…


 and the end result, worn over authentic 18th century stays,a hip pad and a net petticoat..



Fabrics used – 13m of silk taffeta, purpkle slik taffeta for thebows, coutil and boning for the stomacher;80 flowers and purple braid…

Estimated cost of the sample, not counting the stays – £800. bespoke outfit from £1000- and it can be made in any colour, not necessarily that bright:-). stays from £300


well, that’s it for the time being – more information about the suppliers  ( the usual suspects, btw, at least most of them:-0 ), the day, and most importantly , professional photos – bridal collection Part 2 -!