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When you get an email from Anne Chertoff asking you if you want to contribute to the Vera Wang app, you jump on the chance and respond immediately with an emphatic Yes! Yes! Yes! Unless, of course, you’re me, in which case you think the email is just some mass marketing form letter and ignore it completely. Then, luckily, Anne Chertoff persists and emails you again to say she hasn’t received anything back from you, at which point you realize this is real and then you respond with Yes! Yes! Oh, if you’ll still have me, yes! And that’s the true story of how I came to make two cakes for Vera Wang’s new itunes app.
Eric Hildebrand, the stylist on the project, collaborated with Anne Chertoff, the Project Manager, and the Vera Wang art director to conceptualize several vignettes that would feature a Vera Wang dress, flatware, china, stemware, and a cake.
Eric sent over photos of the dresses and collages of the concept and asked me to present sketches. The most challenging part for me was creating a design that was true to my style but also worked with Vera Wang’s classic, sophisticated designs.
The first scenario was The Modernist and featured the Fiona dress in white with orange accents and parrot tulips.
The Modernist cake sketch originally featured three square tiers (I ended up adding a fourth tier but I can’t remember why) because I thought squares more contemporary than round. I incorporated the pleating from the dress and pops of orange found in the invitation around the plaque and dots on the pleats and edible parrot tulips.
In the end, the art director nixed the orange dots in the sketch so the pleats were plain white, and my lovingly hand-crafted gumpaste parrot tulips were replaced with real tulips.
Johnny Miller was the photographer on the project. You’ve definitely seen Johnny’s work before in Martha Stewart’s magazines and books, and while he obviously has a gift for bringing food to life through photographs, it is his personal work that really moves me. His photos are artistic and emotional, and the subjects seem so real (even when they’re not). There’s a rawness to his work that makes it accessible and not pretentious. I’m proud to say I’ve had my work photographed by him.
The Romanticist scenario featured the Hanna dress, shades of mauve, and platinum.
The cake I sketched was three tiers of ivory with a cluster of sugar roses and platinum scroll work.
I ended up with a fourth tier on this cake too. My sugar roses were beautiful, but were again replaced with real roses. (I still have them though and might need to photograph them in the future.) I do love this photo.
Special thanks to Anne and Eric for being so easy and wonderful to work with, and to Johnny Miller for capturing my work so beautifully.
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