In April, PALETTERA had the honour of producing and art directing an editorial at the Shangri-la Toronto. The fruits of our labour are now published in the newest issue of Today’s Bride Magazine. We were privileged to shoot in the exclusive Shangri-la Suite on the 17th floor — an artful experience of architecture and hospitality. Our vignettes depict a wedding day at the Shangri-la, through a lens of distilled elegance that aligns with the hotel’s thoughtful, luxurious, and custom-tailored experience.
On behalf of our talented team of colleagues credited below, we present a contemporary editorial that brings together two main inspirations. The first, the beautiful narrative of the hotel’s space and the second, cultural influences of China’s Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a noted period in which the literature and arts flourished. We paired a palette of blue & white with Emerald, the colour of the year, and interpreted Chinese porcelain through letterpress design. To finish, the design was highlighted with warm egg yolk yellow, antique gold, wood, and jade. We hope you love it as we take you through a journey on a day in the life of a bride and groom… at paradise in the city.
A Little Love Story.
Ashton is a city girl, with a love for fashion, art, and architecture. Quick and curious, she is a high achiever and possesses a refined eye for unique objects and a passion for history. She is marrying the love of her life, Joey who is an esteemed film-maker from Italy and practices in New York. They have travelled to inspiring cities together — Shanghai, London, Hong Kong, New York and Milan, just to name a few. Together, they most value the the story behind objects, the buzz of each city, and their voices within the global cultural landscape.
Born and raised in Canada, Ashton is highly intrigued by her Chinese roots and has completed a masters degree in East Asian Studies. She wants to bring together some of the beautiful elements of her heritage, as well as the passion Joey and her have for Toronto and New york — a marriage of classic and contemporary en Vogue. She has chosen the Shangri-la hotel in Toronto to host her ceremony and reception. This location is especially meaningful as it is where Joey and Ashton first met. Ashton desires for her wedding to be distinctly her own, something refreshing, intelligent, substantial and thoughtful — a closely tailored, refined, and understated kind of luxury. Her favourite object is her single blue and white porcelain rice bowl that her parents have given her since she was 3 years old, and her most cherished piece of jewellery is a delicate jade and gold bracelet – which once belonged to her grandmother almost 100 years ago.
Unforgettable parties begin with a PALETTERA invitation. Our hand-illustrated and letterpress-printed invitation suite, is presented in a hand-crafted hardcover folio with a dragon and phoenix that is gold debossed. The mix of antiqued gold presswork and letterpress-printed cotton paper is a substantial statement piece and artistic keepsake for guests.
The day begins. A signature fruit basket is delivered in the morning for the bridal party to enjoy, once the ladies are pampered with the in-suite spa service.
The bride awaits her groom in her stunning dress, after being treated to a custom manicure and otherwise indulging in a morning of heavenly comfort. Putting on her shoes, she gracefully positions herself, as she hears the knock at the door. He arrives with her bouquet in hand.
A noteworthy feature of the Shangri-la Suite is the keyhole entranceway, with intricate Oriental sliding doors that open into the master suite. This room offers an intimate location for a couple’s first reveal.
The Shangri-la offers a spectacular tea service with accompanying teaware that is nothing short of stunning. It is captured here with PALETTERA’s custom lucky money pockets, traditional to the Chinese culture. Paired with the decadent sense of place, any tea ceremony is made intimate and more meaningful.
In addition, the tea library in the lobby of the hotel offers an intimate backdrop for the couple to share a sacred moment.
The couple gaze at each other beyond the marble seating area and deep red velvet wall — another stunning backdrop.
Ashton stands in the centre of the lobby, near the fire place. Beyond her is one of several gorgeous pieces of wall art in sweeping black brush strokes — inspired by Chinese Opera.
The blushing bride looks out onto University avenue from the lobby’s bar on the ground level. Dancing above her are hundreds of beautiful yellow and emerald glass bulbs that illuminate the space. The delicately beaded bodice of her dress, designed by Valencienne, shimmers in the sunlight.
The Art of Originality in Floral & Stationery. A gorgeous bouquet by Stemz effortlessly captures the bride’s heart — timeless, whimsical, romantic and lovely.
PALETTERA’s exquisite menu card is designed to echo the invitation. It features blind-debossed lettering with original hand illustrations of birds, mountains and peonies, all inspired by the poetry, painting and porcelain of the Ming dynasty. The matting frames the main menu like a sapphire gem with gold lettering and 18k gold edge painting.
An Oasis in the City. Dining in the Museum Room with chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking University Avenue certainly has its charm. The tablescape, designed by the team at Stemz, features a tasteful combination of authentic Ming Dynasty porcelain artifacts with fresh spring florals in whites and yellows.
A bespoke porcelain-inspired cake design by Bobbette and Belle is framed by the outdoor garden and patio space of the hotel. Sculpted and hand-painted, the cake is textured and graphically elegant. Lovely floral arrangements cascade around the cake, setting the perfect vignette.
Table top art: Chef Damon Campbell arranges the amuse bouche (seared Pacific scallop, avacado puree, pickled mushroom, tograshi rice) as though it were a piece of art on each plate.
A Perfect Pair: Each set of chopsticks at the Shangri-la symbolizes the coming together of two: the left and right chopstick are both plated in silver. They meet to form the “S” of Shangri-la’s logo.
We send our thanks to the entire Shangri-la team for this incredible collaboration, top-notch hospitality and support for our team, and for demonstrating such excellence overall. Thank you especially to David, Angie and Kerry!
Art Direction & Creative Producer: Deborah Lau-Yu
Venue: The Shangri-la Suite, The Shangri-la Toronto
Photography & Lighting: Krista Fox Photography
Decor and Floral Design: Stemz
Stationery: PALETTERA Custom Correspondences
Beauty, Hair & Make-up: Aglow by Joan
Custom Cake: Bobbette and Belle
Jewellery: Tara Fava
Models: Ashton Hong and Joey Gideon-Cavalli