Pretty Curls: Natural Hair Inspiration for African-American Brides
I went natural in 1999. During that time, natural hair was not as widely accepted as it is now. It wasn’t cool. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t the thing to do. There weren’t as many natural haircare blogs and products out there…and inspiration for natural girls was certainly lacking. Then in 2006, when I was planning my wedding, I had to deal with a major issue – where was the wedding hairstyle inspiration for natural brides? I remember relying on google images, Khamit Kinks and my imagination for sources of inspiration.
Thankfully, natural brides of today don’t have that issue. Inspiration is definitely more plentiful, and the natural hair revolution has taken the beauty industry by storm. But there’s still room for more. So when Lerkia Lee-Tidball of MODAGE-style, based out of DC, mentioned she’d like to contribute a natural hair bridal shoot, I was all ears. Lerkia has a great sense of style, so I knew her styling would be a great fit for Munaluchi…and she nailed it! The images by Michael of Michael Clark Photographers were the icing on the cake. After all, what good is a gorgeous model, beautiful location, and luxury dresses, if you don’t have the right photographer to capture it all? The shoot entitled “Pretty Curls” originally appeared in our 2nd Digital Edition on digital newsstands now. Below, are images from the shoot and my interview with Lerkia. Enjoy!
Tell us more about you and your companies, Savvy Soirées and MODAGE? How did you get started?
I’ve always loved planning events and planned my own destination wedding in Negril, Jamaica in October 2004. Upon my return from my honeymoon, I decided to enroll in a Wedding Planning course that my mentor Shelby Tuck-Horton taught at a local community college. I was very excited about the possibilities and to date, Savvy Soirées Event Management Company has planned over 100 social events, 50 destination weddings and 35 traditional weddings.
With respect to my bridal styling firm MODAGE, I’ve always had a deep appreciation for fashion and discovered (while planning weddings) that ultimately the “Dress” is really the centerpiece of the event. I began to breathe bridal fashion, researched my favorite designers and their signature styles. I work closely with reputable boutiques and designers locally and abroad and have connected with many bridal professionals by attending industry events and Bridal Market in both April and October in New York. My bridal styling firm “MODAGE · Where Modern Meets Vintage,” is derived from my love for “modern” pieces that compliment my “vintage” finds, so I combined the two words and established “MODAGE” in January 2009. From taking measurements to consulting on the choice of bouquet colors, our professional styling services are tailored to compliment our clients personality and style.
Who are your fashion icons?
My female fashion icon would be Audrey Hepburn, I was and still am mesmerized by her style, especially in Roman Holiday, Breakfast At Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady. Her style was very refined and so glamorous. My male fashion icon is Tom Ford because he too exudes sophistication and has an eye for unparalleled quality and style.
Who inspires you?
Right now, I’m inspired by Ms. Solange Knowles and Olivia Palermo – they both take risks and are the epitome of chic. Life itself is the best form of inspiration because it forces me to change my perspective daily. Watching old black and white movies provide me with so much inspiration as well and I’m convinced that the 1950’s was the most glamorous of decades with respect to fashion. I could go on and on.
What is a typical Modage bride like?
The Modage bride is very unconventional, she loves mixing modern elements with vintage pieces. She is a very confident woman who appreciates a timeless look that will be relevant 20 years from now. She entertains the current trends but stays true to her individual style and doesn’t mind turning heads in the process.
How do you go about styling a bride for her wedding? What’s the process like?
All of our clients complete a style analysis questionnaire before we proceed with pulling bridal looks. Once we decide on their specific needs, we assist them with their engagement session styling as well as selecting their dream gowns (because many have two) and all their sought-after accessories, including stunning shoes. We accompany them on their wedding day to dress, button, bustle, pin and prepare them for the wedding and reception. Our staff also assists with the selection of all the bridal party attire and accessories. The fun part is helping the couple with their honeymoon wardrobe, as well as their gift shopping registry.
We love the natural hair bridal shoot you did. Tell us about your inspiration for this shoot.
I was inspired by natural beauties that I would chat with in passing who were undecided as to how to style their hair for their wedding and honeymoon. Since I too have been natural for 13 years, I felt that it is time to showcase women of color who need inspiration in preparation for their special day. Many women have decided to alter their look just for their wedding because they are frustrated and unable to find the perfect style for their hair. I discussed my concept with my hairstylist and she agreed that we should begin featuring stunning looks for brides who need inspiration that would compliment their bridal hair vision. I visited Paris recently and met a natural bride and she had a vintage pearl comb in her coiled tresses and that inspired me because basic hair accessories can provide a universal look effortlessly. There are so many natural hair options for brides and my goal is to continue to partner with natural hair care professionals to style shoots that will showcase the possibilities. I’m very pleased that many women are embracing their natural state, because it is a beautiful thing.
There often isn’t enough natural hair inspiration for brides. What do you think is the reason for that?
Yes, this is true and I’ve been contacting many of my friends who specialize in natural hair and have requested that they start taking photos of their work and posting them on their personal blogs, websites and other social media platforms for natural brides to consider. I do feel that there is a shift and I believe that we will be seeing more natural hair styles since many bloggers and natural hair websites are starting to showcase everyday women rocking their natural styles. I too search the web and other social platforms for styles in between hair appointments, and I am seeing more amazing natural hair styles that can be achieved within seconds. Munaluchi Bridal Magazine is an inspiration to many and you are doing a phenomenal job of showcasing women of color and I feel that many can relate and see themselves in the pictures that you post on your website and blog. The natural hair movement is growing and I have faith that we will see more natural brides as the face of many notable campaigns in the near future.
What are the bridal fashion trends you’ve noticed this year?
Couples are really getting creative this wedding season. The demand for peplum gowns are increasing, as well as fitted beaded bodices and full skirts. We also love convertible gowns which provide brides with multiple looks for the wedding, cocktail hour and the reception. Many of our clients are stepping out of the box and using unique nail polish colors, unique colored veils and gorgeous vintage necklaces to complete their look. I’ve had a few requests for blush wedding gowns, as well as utterly feminine and romantic short bridesmaids dresses. Our grooms are wearing more tailored suits because they like the practical look but will put a spin on their attire by wearing a textured necktie or signature eyeglasses.
There’s more in the full gallery. Click here.
Thanks so much Lerkia! Anything new coming up for Modage?
Yes, we are implementing a new website and currently working on several pop up bridal fashion-inspired events this Fall in the Washington, DC area. I think it’s so important to educate and provide inspiration to couples on how to look, feel and dress on and before their wedding.
View the magazine feature below.
Florals & Decor: Samara Mendoza, By Design Events
Rentals: Juli Wolf, Vintage Affairs, LLC
Makeup: Danielle Lewis, Danielle Lewis Beauty
Gowns: Carine’s Bridal Atelier
Accessories: Randie Schoenberg-McConnell, Faye Daniels Designs
Venue: The Josephine Butler Parks Center, Washington, DC