There are few creatives who understand the beauty of pure authenticity… those that unabashedly follow their vision, unspoilt by commercial pressures, wavering trends or preconceived, stifling expectations of what a bride ‘should’ be. They are the wildly creative souls that inspire us, challenge us, and push us… daring us to dream and redefine the bridal norms within our own work. We’re forever seeking them out across all corners of the world, which is why we are so excited and proud to share with you our latest discovery right from our own backyard, Australian bridal designer Harriette Gordon.
“I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz, or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as one loves certain obscure things, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.”
– Pablo Neruda
Harriette Gordon is a true visionary, her designs steeped in a certain unmatched poetic artistry. Inspired by conceptual forms of art, design, poetry, music and film, her design process is a fresh and intuitive one, allowing for soulful exploration and organic experimentation. Her latest 2020 collection, Sonnet XVII, is no exception, an ode to Pablo Neruda’s poem of the same name, each piece a love song poetically dancing between the ever-romantic and elegantly modern. Dramatic silhouettes of European lace, gathered featherlight tulle and delicate organza harmoniously balance with effortless, subdued silks, expressing the nuances of love and authentic connection.
Ever curious to know more of this fresh talent, we took five with the designer to hear about the story of her new collection, the evolution of her work and the craftsmanship behind it.
What is the inspiration behind Sonnet XVII?
The new collection is called Sonnet XVII after a Pablo Neruda love poem. My sister and I read the poem at each other’s wedding. There is a real romanticism in this collection and a strong feeling of movement. Sometimes a piece was designed with a sketch and sometimes with draping on the mannequin and then visualising how will this flow with another piece from the collection. I wanted the pieces to connect, following the notion of separates and pieces that can be worn and loved beyond the wedding day. Music, poetry, art, film, and places continue to inspire me. If this collection were a song, it would be ‘Didn’t I’, by Darondo.
What are some of the fabrications you use within this collection?
The pieces are made predominantly with 100% silk. Our Natural Gown collection is made with two premium weight silks – a matte crepe de chine outer layer, and a double-sided silk satin lining. The Lantern Lace Gown features laces from various places in the world – Italy for the main bodice and sleeve, India for the tiers and train of the gown. A premium weight silk organza is used in the 2.2 Mini and some of the beautiful gathered and tiered pieces. We work with Australian agents who source fabrics from all over the world.
You’ve evolved from designing purely bespoke bridal to now practising made-to-order, tell us about the process behind those decisions?
It has been a natural evolution of the business. We’re now able to meet demand from interstate and international brides by allowing them to try on samples in beautiful boutiques, knowing the brides are ordering the right size and get to know the pieces in person.
It has taken six years in bespoke to hone the Harriette Gordon design aesthetic, allowing the business to expand in this way. There is another overriding element, which is being a mother. The stockist business model allows me to design and oversee the collection, without the extremely labour intensive process of creating bespoke one-off pieces.
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you directly without problems or pride: I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love.”
– Pablo Neruda
How do you incorporate sustainability within your practices and brand?
I’ve become very passionate about sustainability. To us, sustainability needs to be applied in every aspect of the business – fabric, construction, low waste, conditions of make, anti-plastics and recycled packaging. All of our pieces come in either a calico gown bag or dust bag with no plastic coating. We make fabric waste as low as possible. Our remnant pieces of fabric are continually being repurposed into new pieces with some new exciting projects underway. We select ethically made fabrics with longevity of life. We design with re-wearability in mind, whenever possible.
What is next for Harriette Gordon?
Expansion into boutiques within Australia and in the UK. Our new US stockist, Musings Report, opens soon and we’re excited for all that will come.
Photography / Liz Looker
Model / Sophia Hansen-Knarhoi @ IMG models
Hair & Makeup / Tess De Grauw
Fashion Assistant / Anna Lucinda Baxter
Props Assistant / Gabrielle Scott
Location / The Princess Theatre
Jewelry / Penelope Brittain
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