Stylist AMANDA DOUGLAS has always loved the Italian family style dinner and having recently been to Europe on her honeymoon she was inspired to do a shoot in this vein with photography KRYSTEN CATHLEEN. They actually ran a giveaway, with the prize of a styled dinner being awarded to one couple and 6 of their friends… how great is that idea? The result was this dreamy bistro lit dinner in an overgrown garden. Some of the vendors have shared their thoughts on the shoot…
From Cathleen the photographer: “In the international community, Italian culture is often respected for its focus on community, kinship, and good food. This styled session really resonated with me as it was largely reflective of these ideas. Individuals coming together, sharing a common bond over good food, and surrounded by natural beauty, is a dream come true for me. I was so honoured to photograph all the wonderful elements of this session, from the individualized oils, to the personalized stationery (amongst many others), all created by amazing local vendors.“
Stylist Amanda says, “I really wanted it to feel like a fun and bright dinner party in your best friends back yard. I took a vibrant colour palette of pinks, greens, yellows and grounded it with rich wood tones in the pottery and table, and black throughout the flatware and menus. I loved that I could show each vendor the inspiration for this shoot and because of their crazy skill I could leave it with them and see what they came up creatively. It was really a refreshing and unique shoot in that way and it left a lot of room for just want I wanted; an organic warm dinner for eight.“
Florals: These arrangements were designed with a base of beautiful ingredients: huge Garnet coloured peonies, kangaroo paw, rich-colored locally grown greens, eucalyptus, both Quicksand and Black Beauty roses, stocks and the odd cymbidium bloom. I wanted the look to be more unstructured and natural, to embrace the beautiful location and to go with the organic feel of that table settings. My goal was to let the deep colours of the flowers enhance the colours of the food and glassware, and add some depth to the table in this stunning set up.
Stationery: With Sophia Loren, Dean Martin, and Sergio Franchi crooning in my ear, my mind easily drifted away to the rustic simplicity and sheer beauty of Italy. Gardens overflowing with lush greenery and blush-coloured blooms, the clinking of silverware while dining al fresco, and the romance that seems to permeate the air. All this combined to influence a suite of stationery that includes linen textile elements, stamped ink, hand-lettering, and painted florals on a felted paper stock. Wanting to play with modern finishes, the suite is complete with custom wrap labels that not only coordinate with the invitation imagery, but address the recycled brown bag Kraft envelopes. Apothecary labels and vintage jars inspired the custom labels made for the favours of small bottles of olive oil and vinaigrettes.
The Menu/Caterer: Rustic elegance was the inspiration behind these tasty dishes. We wanted to accent the gorgeous summer table with bright and luscious food. Slices of fresh prosciutto di Parma, layered with sweet melon was the perfect way to add simple elegance to the table. Bright orange cherry tomatoes layered with creamy fresh mozzarella, aged balsamic, & fresh basil gave a wonderful pop of color. Burnt oranges, reds, and yellows in the sweet potato black bean salad added a wonderful vibrancy to this outdoor feast. To add a little crunch, we did a crispy citrus fennel and arugula salad. We then choose to fill a beautiful wooden board with earthy unique cheeses that gave the table gorgeous texture and color.