Neon Orange Orchids

Matthew Williamson “10 Years in Fashion” at the Design Museum, London, England, 2007

I’m not shy about my love for Matthew Williamson, who has been an ever-present inspiration since I attended his 10-year retrospective at the London Design Museum back in October 2007.  In my eyes, MW can do no wrong – from interesting color combinations and intricate embellishments to the artistic manipulation of his signature prints. Along the way, I purchased this silk photo-real dress from his Spring Summer 2010 collection, but until now, I hadn’t found the right opportunity to wear it. With the same mentality of my Katie Blauer custom shoe company, I like to challenge myself to coordinate with the special events I attend. Just as I had recently worn a nautical themed Alberta Ferretti dress to my friend Kate’s beachside wedding on Nantucket, this opulent orchid print from Matthew Williamson turned out to be a perfect match for my cousin Sarah’s wedding at The Taj Hotel in Boston.

Orchid Print Dress by Matthew Williamson / The French Room at The Taj Hotel, Boston, MA

The Taj Hotel enjoys a rich history in Boston, as the building was originally home to the famous Ritz-Carlton hotel – a local landmark that has anchored fashionable Newbury Street and the picturesque Boston Public Garden since it opened in 1927. After being purchased by the India-based Taj Hotels Company in 2007, it seems the iconic building has taken on a sort of British-Raj flavor – with exotic plants and gilded accents set against a traditional colonial backdrop. As predicted, with its hothouse color palette of pink and orange, bordered by elegant champagne trim, my Matthew Williamson dress was right in keeping with this theme. My next objective was to design a pair of coordinating custom shoes that would make MW proud.

The color choice for the shoes was easy – a mix of neutral and neon, which is not only still very on-trend, but also an ode to one of Matthew Williamson’s long-time favorite color schemes. Next, the photo-real orchid print of the dress dictated a need for ultra-realistic faux orchids, which I sourced from Pany Silk Garden in New York City and asked my artist friend, Allison Bamcat, to help punch up the color by adding hand painted neon accents to each blossom. I then designed a waterfall of fringe to flow out from under the flowers, which speaks to the striated background design in the print of the dress. This type of extreme fringing is another trend-right detail, as made popular on footwear by Brian Atwood and highlighted by trend blogs like A Pair and a Spare. Lastly, I added an extra layer of Poron foam under the ball of the foot to add extra comfort for dancing the night away … and believe me, I did!

In the lobby of the Taj Hotel, Boston: Matthew Williamson orchid print silk dress, David Yurman earrings and bracelets, vintage beaded purse with tassel, custom Katie Blauer shoes

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