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Blissful Living, Portraits of Wedding Experts
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As a way to celebrate the union of ever lasting love, we decided to speak to a panel of Experts, all of whom have assisted in creating magical moments either prior to or during the Big Day.

Meet the whimsical illustrator, Florine Asch, who has contributed to many a great wedding day. Marc Auclert of Maison Auclert – the unique destination for a bespoke engagement or wedding ring creation. Rambert Rigaud, the Parisian florist who willl make the floral arrangement of the Big Day, as romantic as possible.

And Copenhagen based Ole Yde, the creative director of his eponymous brand YDE Copenhagen, will share with you, how an ideal bride should look. Let’s not forget the importance of the honeymoon, where Pamela Fiori (also this month’s guest editor) shares her best tips with us.

Our experts also gave us their perfect wedding gift picks for the future bride and groom..... 

Our editorial director, Alexandra d’Arnoux met with them all to better understand why their respective creations stand out in a sea of never-ending professional wedding planners and generic brands.

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Thomas Delhemme
 

Marc Auclert

JEWELLERY EXPERT - RINGS FOREVER

The grandson of a French antiques dealer, Marc Auclert is the visionary behind Maison Auclert – bespoke and one off jewellery creations of what Auclert himself describes as ‘Mounted Objects’. Auclert has a passion for antique and historical pieces, but also the skills and knowledge to mount these into a perfectly modern and desirable jewellery design – dream pieces really ! They are one offs, one of a kind, unique, standing apart. A treasure for anyone looking for that special engagement.

In the words of the master himself, he plays it down a notch : “One of my pieces would never catch any interest in the Paris subway, but beware when worn at the Maastricht Fair!” Auclert is a respected veteran of the jewellery business, hailing from a long career at Chanel Fine Jewellery, where he was largely responsible for launching this jewellery to a select global clientele, followed by a second career at Sotheby’s and also De Beers. French Vogue called Maison Auclert, ‘the most precious store opening in 2012’. True to its promise, the legacy lives on and thrives on the unique aura of designing elegant modern creations from antiquities, satisfying an emerging clientele, who is looking for personal rather than generic jewellery design. 

 

Traditionally the preferred type of engagement ring chosen by a man for his future wife would be from established brands such as, De Beers, Cartier or Tiffany’s. Be it a ruby set, a sapphire ring or a diamond solitaire. These choices have become synonymous with the norm for many future couples around the world, irrespective of cultures and traditions.

Today, however, more people are seeking out a more singular, special and altogether bespoke piece to act as a symbol of their ever-lasting love. Despite the fact that a diamond engagement ring has become the international norm, jewellery in a wider sense truly remains the gift of love.

The offering of rings as a token of a future union could well be based on the old belief that a vein runs from the ring finger towards the heart. With my creative starting point being the use of original and unique materials, I pride myself in creating modern rings, be they encrusted with antique Roman rock crystals from the 3rd or 2nd millenium BC or even gold artifacts through to Greek or Renaissance intaglios or cameos...

In Auclert’s opinion, the sheer beauty and patina of an antique piece, uniquely crafted with (traditional) French workmanship, makes the jewel a one-of-a-kind with a fantastic depth of history. His aim is to create an overall sentiment of rarity: unique jewellery pieces for a discerning group of cognoscenti around the world, people looking for an alternative to today’s all too homogenous approach to design.

Auclert praises Esensual Living for its discerning eye and instinctive sourcing of specially-curated luxury items. “All pieces are rare, not necessarily in value but in aesthetics and modernity, with the added premium of confidentiality. With a sprinkle of  “je ne sais quoi” that makes an item chic beyond any possible definition!”

Auclert’s boutique in rue de Castiglione in Paris is always scented by the elegant RPL Room Diffusers. During the Winter it is Ambre Ottoman and moving to Figuier de Sorrente as soon as the sun is out. Auclert says all his clients pay great attention to the overall atmosphere of his boutique, including the fragrance, which makes for a total luxury retail experience..

Auclert wedding gift pick is: Lissoy’s Easyclip bed linen and RPL Maison's home scents

SHOP AUCLER WEDDING GIFT

www.maisonauclert.com

 

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Maison Auclert, Interior Photos by Christophe Roué, Caroline Menne and Frédéric Ducout
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Florine Asch
 

Florine Asch

ILLUSTRATION EXPERT - BESPOKE INVITATIONS

The French illustrator, Florine Asch creates the most exquisite watercolours. Romantic and fun, she has won over the social scene… Marie Hélène de Rothschild launched Florine’s career. Today she counts amongst her fans the Prince of Liechtenstein, Marie Chantal of Greece and the international Gotha as well as mega celebrities such as Lakshmi Mittal or Alain Ducasse …. Her whimsical style has also convinced top tier luxury firms, such as Hermes, Dior, Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

Asch’s lively yet delicate works all convey a dreamy fairy tale sensation - a style, which is well suited for travel and children’s books - whereas her real signature is her exquisite greeting cards, menus, table decorations and wedding invitations – captivating and elegant, a bespoke touch of illustration remains Asch’s distinct trademark.

 

The traditional wedding invitation has seen better times as young couples today don’t want to follow in their their parent’s footsteps, either for the ceremony or the reception and those who are getting remarried feel, let’s say, more liberated. When it comes to the invitation card, people are becoming increasingly  individualistic. The invitation sent to friends and family has to be special, reflect the personality and tastes of the couple. Weddings abroad or at home often take place over three days, so it should announce the festivities that will take place, before and after the great day, on decorated leaflets. When a wedding is planned, in Venice for instance, the hosts like to send “Save the Date” cards months ahead. I’ve painted angels, hearts and fans that people slip into their agendas as reminders and then use as bookmarks. Original and attractive invitations act as an incentive to draw in many guests and become souvenirs, as guests keep them and sometime even frame them! The trend is to soft pastel colours with ribbons, paper cut outs, sequins… My water-colour illustrations are often inspired by a poetic vision of the wedding settings framed with candlesticks, flowers and ribbons. Future couples like to be featured as silhouettes or in medallions. Americans love ultra-sophisticated pop’ups. To create a special stamp for the envelope with a heart, a portrait, a detail from the invitation is very popular. People remain very romantic on the threshold of their new life à deux… The most fabulous invitation I created was for Lakshmi Mittal daughter’s wedding which took place over five days in Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Tuileries. It illustrated the whole programme in a twenty five page book that was sent over to the guests on an engraved silver tray. Wedding invitations are the first step people take to officialize their commitment to each other. They are messages of love. As such they should be beautiful and unique.

Asch's wedding gift picks are: Lana linen bedcover and Cali vase

SHOP ASCH WEDDING GIFT

www.florineasch.com

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Florine Asch
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Asger Mortensen
 

Ole Yde

DESIGNER EXPERT - DREAM WEDDING GOWNS

The Copenhagen based fashion designer, Ole YDE hails from the fairytale town of Odense, also birthplace to Hans Christian Andersen. YDE founded his eponymous label, ‘YDE Copenhagen’, in 2005. The softly-spoken Dane has a penchant for all that is romantic and ultra-feminine, whilst his creations retain a quintessential Nordic expression. Already a darling of the Scandinavian jetset scene YDE has also recently been seen dressing various younger members of the Scandinavian royal families.

YDE showed his collections for the first time during the ready-to-wear season in Paris in March of 2014. International fashion critics were fast to praise him, as the ‘Yves Saint Laurent of the North’. As a child, YDE dreamt of fairies and movie stars, particularly iconic figures such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, who imbue and act as a constant inspiration to his design philosophy…… His masterly approach to fashion design  sets him apart from any of his Nordic contemporaries, as YDE’s focus is to dress an effortlessly chic woman, who is a world citizen. We chose YDE as the Wedding Dress Expert for his modern yet glamorous fashion vision; he is fast becoming the go to designer for the sophisticated woman with a discerning eye, offering the ultimate blend of style and quality. 

 

We asked Ole YDE about the evolution of the wedding gown. YDE notes, “In former times, most brides chose simple garments, that were meant to be worn for other occasions following the wedding day.

Back then, the more lavish and extravagant gowns were created only for the affluent women of the better society”. According to YDE, this has definitely changed over the years and brides look to stand out more and more. Although wedding dresses often reflect cultural and social trends of a period, a bride who is seeking a wedding gown remains an extremely personal experience. YDE continues: “The dress often mirrors personality as well the latest fashion. Many brides start dreaming about their special day from a very early age. However, wanting to look classic, feminine and romantic seems to be a common denominator. Glamour has stood the test of time. I always feel very privileged when asked to create a wedding dress.  As a designer, no other dress brings my client and myself closer and involves more emotion. “

YDE's wedding gift picks are: Twisters Vase and the Velvet Sofa Cover in Lime

SHOP YDE WEDDING GIFT

www.yde-copenhagen.com

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Photos Wedding Dresses courtesy of YDE Copenhagen, Interior Photos by Vincent Thibert
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AD France
 

Rambert Rigaud

FLOWER EXPERT - ROMANTIC FLOWERS

« I’ve always wanted to become a florist » says Rambert Rigaud who, on his 40th birthday, decided to make his dream come true.  He left behind a 17-year career as studio director for Dior Haute Couture and Yves Saint Laurent to open a pocket size flower shop on rue de l’Université in Paris. To walk into Rambert Rigaud Fleuriste en Herbe is a poetical and stylish experience in itself. The place brims over with branches and seasonal flowers and hosts a needlepoint sofa, vintage furniture and knick-knacks, an eclectic selection of vases establishing an atmosphere evocative of a slightly and deliciously decadent room. A favourite of many fashion houses and hotels alike, Rigaud works with the likes of Valentino, Marc Jacobs and his former employers for whom he creates spectacular arrangements during the Paris Fashion Week.

But above all, Rambert Rigaud is an expert in staging spectacular weddings. His eclectic taste and original vision of floral arrangements are bound to make the special day very special indeed!

 

A church, a white dress, bespoke invitations, wedding bands, bridesmaids and of course, flowers… Although, many future brides have a preference for de-structured and natural bouquets, there is no established rule.  From a simple white rose to a small bunch of fragrant sweet peas or a bouquet of country style flowers to a more formal arrangement of orchids, flowers are the final touch that will bring out the bride’s beauty and happiness. They also reveal her personality.

In Rigaud’s own words: “The choice of flowers is made according to individual taste and budget, but there is no such thing as a wedding without flowers! They are evocative of love, romance, refinement and beauty”. What young bride hasn’t dreamt of flowers entwined in her hair, of a shower of rose petals as she leaves the ceremony with her brand new husband… and how many brides preciously hang on to the bridal bouquets with the intention to pass on to future generations… As long as the tradition of marriage is kept alive, flowers will continue to be the ultimate expression of love.

Rigaud's wedding gift picks are: Luni cushions and Mistral bathrobes

SHOP RIGAUD WEDDING GIFT

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Rambert Rigaud and Vincent Thibert
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Pamela Fiori
 

Pamela Fiori 

LIFESTYLE EXPERT - BESPOKE HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS

An acclaimed writer, journalist and philanthropist, Pamela Fiori made publishing history when she became the first woman to be named editor in chief of the oldest luxury lifestyle magazine in America, Town&Country. Under her leadership, the ultra-chic and sophisticated publication became an absolute “must” expanding its international coverage of fashion and style, beauty and health, wealth management, home design, the arts and philanthropy and attracting celebrities such as Giorgio Armani, Robert Redford or Jacqueline Kennedy into its content. Documenting the changing face of affluence in America, Fiori opened the famed social columns of the magazine to socially prominent persons of Afro-American descent, also reviewing the social activities of people from other ethnicities. She launched the bi-annual Town&Country Weddings supplement.

An authority on all things concerning the most beautiful day in our lives, she is also an expert on luxury travel and a published author of six books. Her upcoming book is titled “In the Spirit of Monte Carlo” due out in the Autumn at Edition Assouline. When my husband and I were married thirty-two years ago, we had lived together, were seasoned travelers and knew exactly where we wanted to go for our honeymoon: Italy. No contest.

 

Not all honeymoons are so joyful. The Heartbreak Kid is a1972 movie about a honeymoon gone wrong from the get-go (it’s a comedy, by the way).  If there is one lesson it teaches, it is this: better be sure you love the one you wed. Nothing will bring you face to face with the truth more than spending two weeks alone with each other in a distant place.  And even if you are madly in love, things go can awry.

Here is simple checklist to avert disaster:

1. If you have less than a week, don’t travel too far. Don’t change planes and don’t cross what is called “the threshold of anxiety.” In simplest terms, it refers to the invisible border leading to somewhere that is unfamiliar and, hence, anxious-making.

2. Don’t over-program yourselves or go anywhere requiring you to rise at the crack of dawn or follow a rigid and rigorous schedule. Leave that for a later trip.

3. If you’re young newlyweds, you’ll want to be with each other a good deal of the time so avoid trips (like long cruises) where you’ll have to mix it up with other people. If this is a second marriage, you’ll be inclined to make new friends. And if it’s a third one, you’ll go out of your way to meet anyone else who’ll give you the time of day.

4. Don’t go anywhere where you have to watch what you eat or drink. If one of you gets sick, watch how fast the romance fades. If both of you get sick, you might as well come home.

Now enough of the caveats. A honeymoon is supposed to be one the highlights of a newlyweds’ life together. So here is my advice: Spare no expense, go to the best places you can afford, revel in every second; and roll with every mishap. As for where to go, here are some favorite honeymoon places:

Capri: No island is as conducive to romance. It is small, gorgeous, walk-able (no cars allowed in the main town) and heavenly. But don’t go in the middle of Summer when it is weighed down by the daytrippers. Stay at the JK Place, the Scalinatella , the Punta Tragara or, high up in Anacapri, the Capri Palace & Spa.

The Amalfi Coast: Located on the mainland across from Capri, it is a string of villages, any one of which makes a lovely base to explore the rest of the coast.. The two most famous towns are Positano and Ravello. In Positano, you can’t miss with Le Sirenuse or the San Pietro, which is carved into the mountains. In Ravello, try the Hotel Caruso. Like Capri, avoid the Amalfi Coast in the height of Summer. If you rent a car, drive carefully—the scenic road full of twists and turns and maniacs who fashion themselves Formula 1 race car drivers.

St. Barts (aka St. Barths): For a week or less, this is a great little island. French, expensive, chic and very beautiful.

Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc: Hands down, the most glamorous hotel in the world, located in Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera. It may also be the most expensive hotel in the world. Nevertheless, it is exquisite. If you are a novice traveler, don’t even think about it. It may intimidate the hell out of you. And don’t go there during the Cannes Film Festival—you will either be eaten alive by all the goings-on or ignored to the point of humiliation by the paparazzi because you’re not important enough.

Of course, if you’d rather have a romantic city experience, no two places fill the bill better than Venice (also this month's City Barometer with Laura de Santillana) and Paris (Pierre Yovanovitch's City Barometer). Taking a gondola on the lagoon in Venice or gliding down the Seine on a Bateau Mouche guarantees sweet dreams and a lifetime of memories.

Fiori's wedding gift picks are: Cashmere Jazz Throw and Gabriel bedlinen and a series of Laura Tonatto room sprays

SHOP FIORI WEDDING GIFT

 
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Christophe Roué, Caroline Menne, Olivia Magris

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