A MIDDLE EASTERN LEGEND PERCHED BETWEEN HEAVEN & THE BRIGHT BLUE SEA
A Middle Eastern Legend Perched Between Heaven & The Bright Blue Sea
A Tribute for Peace
Traveling to Abu Dhabi is a life-changing and enlightening experience.
After all, the Middle East is just like a myth: we heard a lot about it, but what do we really know?
What’s behind the idyllic pictures of Middle Eastern beaches, or impressive skyscrapers? What truths are hidden in religious clichés’ shadows? Well, we didn’t know before we went. Yet, we were expecting a lot, and we were ready to be surprised.
What we discovered in Abu Dhabi was beyond any human imagination.
Abu Dhabi welcomed us with open arms—regardless of our origins and genders.
The generous people we met in the Middle East only added to the breathtaking landscapes, and the wonderful culture we discovered in Abu Dhabi opened up our Western minds to overflow with inspiration.
We wanted to showcase the divine beauty of a bride on her wedding day, while breaking codes and clichés about the Middle Eastern culture. For example, many people still believe that women are oppressed here; however, it’s quite the opposite.
Women are strongly respected and even venerated in Abu Dhabi, as they are a symbol of beauty, life, and motherhood.
Thus, we decided to pay our respects to this beautiful country with a bridal photoshoot emphasizing the open-mindedness of Abu Dhabi, as well as the country’s holy vision of women. We wanted these pictures to prove how easy it is to combine Western and Eastern trends to create a unique feminist tribute.
With this strong message in mind, we chose to showcase our model on a floral overwater swing, just as Psamathe, the famous sea nymph and goddess, would naturally appear above the sea before emerging to find her earthly soulmate among the sandy beaches of Zaya Nurai.
Highlighting a Western-inspired bridal swimsuit on a notorious Eastern beach was our main strategy to break any controversy and show with pure, candid, and transparent images that Middle East’s culture is as open-minded and modern as ours.
Find hereunder an interview of Teal Nicholson, Creative Director of LLG, who imagined every step of this photoshoot:
How did you come up with the concept for this shoot?
“When Lauren, CEO and Co-Founder of LLG Events, presented me with the location for this shoot, one of the first things we noticed about it was the amazing swing out in the water. Immediately, what came to mind was an image of this goddess-like bride, transcending out of the water and walking up to shore. After I had that in my brain, I couldn’t get it out. I had to see it come to life.”
Where did you source your inspiration for the design?
“The inspiration came from two things: the Goddess Psamathe, the Goddess of Sand & Sea; and Karl Lagerfeld’s last Haute Couture show, where he showcased a bejeweled bridal swimsuit with this incredibly long veil. When I saw that, I knew we were right on point and had to honor Karl by incorporating a bridal swimsuit into the attire. When I looked up a photo of the Goddess, she wore an incredible floral headpiece. We had been tossing around the idea of whether or not to include a bouquet, and ultimately decided that an over the top floral headpiece was way better than any bouquet and more on trend. Brides have been craving ways to stand out in terms of their floral components and we wanted to show how to have ‘wow factor’ florals sans bouquet. “
How did you choose the colors?
“When I envisioned this shoot, I wanted it to be at sunrise. There’s something so vibrant about a peaceful and ethereal morning sky. The colors were chosen as a compliment to that. I wanted something bold and that was part of Pantone’s 2019 color palettes. Everyone thinks of the 2019 color as being Living Coral, but they might know that it’s a part of a much more diverse and bright palette including Blue Depths, Hot Pink, Chive Blossom, and Turkish Sea (the colors we incorporated into the shoot).”
How did you present your ideas to your team and vendors?
“In order to get what I see in my head into a translatable document, I create vivid mood boards explaining my thoughts and ideas. I make sure to include the inspiration story, exact Pantone colors, and explanations next to each photo detailing what I want to incorporate and what I’m looking to achieve. A lot of what I want to create I can’t find photos of, so often I need to piecemeal ideas and conceptual photos together to communicate it properly to the teams the vendors. I’ll even create mock-ups and drawings showing a full tablescape or an idea of a new charger I want, and the production teams will create them based off that.”
Did you find the style components first or pick them based on the shoot?
“For this shoot I did a mixture of both. With the attire, I picked the pieces based on our concept. It was such a specific look that we even had a 15-foot veil custom-made! For the other components, like the dishware and chargers, because we were working with vendors in Abu Dhabi, I wanted to incorporate items that might not be accessible in the United States. For example, the charger on the table of this photoshoot is actually made of wood! I had never seen anything like it and thought it was the perfect touch based on the overall concept and vision.”
This mythical photoshoot served a purpose significantly more important and symbolic than a simple aesthetic or beauty appreciation…