We couldn't be happier to be sharing this styled shoot with you today, a styled shoot created by women for women to inspire women around the world to know that they are worthy. This shoot is centered around a theme of cultural diversity and female empowerment. To inspire brides to be to celebrate their unique beauty, to love ourselves just as we are and to celebrate sisterhood and women supporting women.
Keep scrolling to see more photos by Lena Lim and the gorgeous dresses by Gwendolynne. Flora By T created all of these beautiful florals you'll see throughout. Claudia Viota Media was there to film as this inspiration came to life and D/hen Makeup Artistry, Hair By Jc, Krystal Hairstylist, and Nhi Makeup Artistry all helped to enhance the natural beauty all these women have! All the images are in the full gallery, so be sure to click through and read on to hear more from Lena Lim.
Cultural diversity and female empowerment is a topic that is close to my heart. I want to inspire the world to celebrate women in all our different creeds and colours. To love ourselves just as we are, and to know that we are worthy.
We had a wonderful team that came together to produce this shoot. All the models are wearing delicate handmade gowns by Gwendolynne. Taleah from Flora By T provided ethereal blooms to go with the naturally lit space. Charlotte from Charlart Script worked her magic by writing a single line across the girls' backs, "we are enough, whole and worthy." It was a remarkable collaborative artistic expression created by women for women.
Gwendolynne's bespoke gowns are a relentless pursuit to create timeless, unique, beauty. Her designs often borrow elements from ornamental detailing from architecture (i.e., doors, windows, pressed metal, tiles) from around the world particularly from the art deco, nouveau eras resulting in an approach that explores tradition in a modern context, each collection evolving in a well-versed blend of historical references.
She designs her own sumptuous, embellishments that when seen up close are works of art and she produces in small quantities in her Fitzroy atelier in order to maintain quality, exclusivity, and longevity resulting in heirloom treasures for her loyal clientele. This also fulfills her deep respect for our planet by minimizing waste and appealing to contemporary brides who want to invest in designs that can be worn more than once.
Charlotte's calligraphy is not limited to paper and ink. She loves exploring new surfaces and different mediums. She has completed calligraphy through engraving on glass, on delicate wedding cakes and this time on the human skin. She can approach a wide range of calligraphic styles, but her emphasis centers around grace and flow, combining her experience in classical calligraphy with modern designs. I wanted to participate in this styled shoot because it is an important opportunity to celebrate the beauty of diversity that is so crucial in our culture. Lena and I selected the line 'We are enough, whole and worthy' because it deeply resonates with every one of us. As an Asian immigrant in Australia, it can seem ironic to people when I tell them that I specialize in English calligraphy. I feel very grateful to be part of this shoot, illustrating these special words on the ladies' backs and sharing the message that we are all worthy.
The florals for the worthy shoot were inspired by the beauty in simplicity, complimenting the models rather than making a statement. The bleached florals are a symbol of stripping back what’s on the outside and just truly showing the beauty of the inside, our worth.
The hair accessories featured are delicately handcrafted using dried, preserved Italian ruscus leaves. I was inspired by the Japanese trend of using dainty florals to accentuate a traditional bridal gown. Preserved flowers within a hairpiece balance the fresh beauty of a floral with the longevity of its artificial form.
The earrings were a traditional Indian design. I thought it would be nice to add a little bit of my culture to the diversity shoot. The mirror is an antique piece that has been passed down the generations in her family. Its design is inspired by the moghul era!
All of the models were given an opportunity to share about their experiences. Chervil who is an avid reader and writer came back to me with her story below.
Not only did I feel extremely flattered to be asked to be part of Lena’s shoot, I felt even more proud to be a part of a shoot which celebrated cultural diversity and worthiness. Having been a model of Asian race for almost 12 years and counting, it felt very empowering to be part of something that has become a daily battle for my personal life and my career.
Growing up in Australia, while I felt Australian, the industry never hesitated to remind me of my heritage.
Being an Asian model in Australia means being the “exotic” one or the token Asian when it comes to shoots and it makes it hard for Asian models in Australia to be represented in a campaign or to work for a commercial brand in which your family and friends shop at or to even work consistently.
As I continued to work as a model it became more and more apparent that there was very little Asian representation and when it came to jobs, I WAS the token Asian or the Exotic model. While that may be flattering it was also a little disappointing knowing that you will always be the support act and not the main role.
Once I travelled to Asian regions to continue my career as a model, I continued to see similar approaches. We have a strong perception and influence from Hollywood and the idolisation of American or European heritages. I have been fortunate enough to have my own campaigns and jobs where I felt I was being represented well as an Asian Model for an Asian brand. It is from experience over the years that I understood how one’s confidence and worthiness is on trial for every job and every casting and also how to deal with situations like that.
Lena’s shoot has allowed me to feel completely worthy not only as an Asian woman growing up in Australia but also as a woman. It is a tough industry to be in when it is mainly “white-washed” and you are constantly being judged based on the colour of your skin and Lena made it possible to show the true melting pot that Australia is by bringing together both amazing culturally mixed raced models and artists all of whom identify as Australian even if their cultural backgrounds and heritages differ. Australia was able to accept us into her country, why not accept us wholly into her culture too?
As the world grows smaller and accessibility to every country becomes easier, shouldn’t we become more culturally aware of each other and learn from each other as well? We’ve been doing this throughout history through food, religions etc In one way or another, we are people of the world, global citizens if you will. Cultural diversity becomes increasingly important not only in sharing knowledge but also in thriving together for the future.
Thanks to Lena and all the amazing models and artists involved, it allowed me to see that coming together and supporting each other is the way to increase awareness of cultural diversity, worthiness and women empowerment. I am grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank Lena and her team for inviting me to be part of something so important in our society and in our lives.