Today, as part of my Wedding Wednesday blog post series, I’m delighted to feature an interview with wedding accessories designer, Yelena Smirnova, plus images of her exquisite floral-inspired creations.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I began to learn the art of making flowers in the 1990s. My Russian grandmother, who was a flower maker, taught me the basic techniques and passed on her antique tools to me.
I used to work in the fashion industry and in parallel, collaborated with wedding designers.
Last year, I turned my creative passion into making flowers for my own business in London.
Could you tell us how you make your floral bridal accessories?
The art of making flowers stretches back over centuries. It’s a meticulous, long, but very creative process.
Before I make an entirely new flower, I do some research and think about the fabric and colours.
My folder is full of photos, scraps from magazines and sketches. I use only fine natural fabrics such as silk georgette, organza and velvet.
Each flower requests its own fabric to achieve the best shape and look.
Once the fabric has been prepared and the petals are cut, I shape the petals with special tools to give them a voluminous effect and make the right curves.
Then the petals are joined one by one to the pistil and stem, and left to dry for a few hours.
Afterwards, I arrange the flowers and embellishment together and turn them into headbands, corsages or other required accessory.
Where do you get your floral inspiration for your designs?
I get my inspiration from art, folklore and fairy tales, but the beauty of nature is one my main sources of inspiration.
Looking at the flower, I not only enjoy its beauty but think about how I can create it from fabric.
I can spend hours studying real flowers, their stamens, colours, shape of their leaves and petals to understand how they’re joined together…sometimes pulling them apart and converting them into patterns.
It’s the most exciting part of my working process!
Can brides request a specific flower and/or colour palette?
Yes, they can. My main aim is to create a bespoke and unique accessory which will match the bride’s wedding dress and accentuate her individuality.
Clients can order hand-crafted flowers that can be found in nature or entirely fancy.
Brides can provide their own fabric or cut outs of wedding dress, or choose the fabric from our range. The fabric can be hand-dyed too, by client request.
Where can people buy your designs?
Clients can see the designs on our website and place an order by contacting us by email or completing the enquiry form.
It’s preferable to arrange a consultation to discuss the ideas, fabric, colours and embellishment.
Clients also can see our range of accessories in person and try them on.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2012?
At the moment, I’m working on my new accessories for the National Wedding Show in London, which takes place from 28th-30th September.
Also, I’ve been commissioned by wedding designer Lisa Redman to create floral corsages for her new collection. It’s very exciting!
What is your favourite flower?
It’s difficult to say…I fall in love with each new flower I create!
I love making roses. There are so many different shapes…classic roses, David Austin roses with fluffy centres and dog roses. All of them have so many different varieties of colours.
I’m also fascinated by wild flowers.
Many thanks to Yelena for all her help in putting together today’s blog post. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with her news, she’s on Facebook.
(Images : Yelena Smirnova)