Article
1 comment

La Noche de Novia

La Noche de Novia, also referred to as a Berberisca, Soirée du Henné, Noche de Paños or Lilat el Henna, is a traditional Moroccan Jewish ceremony that takes place during the week that precedes a wedding. The bride makes her entrance, magnificently made up and dressed in the Berberisca gown called ‘Traje de paños’, “Vestido de Berberisca” (Spanish), or “Keswa Elkibra” (Great Dress in Arabic). The costume is made of velvet, richly ornate and embroidered in gold thread. The family of the groom and bride, accompanied by close friends, gather to sing and to praise the bride. The tradition is 2,000 years old.

The ceremony has been famously depicted by many artists including Jean Bescancenot, Charles-Emile Vernet-Lecomte, Alfred Dehodencq, Camille Corot, and Fernand Georges Ducatillion. Most notably, the dress was recorded in several paintings and sketches by Eugene Delacroix, the master of the French Romantic school.

My husband’s family was expelled from Spain in 1492. After the expulsion, following the inquisition, the family traveled to Safed, Israel; Thessaloniki, Greece; and Meknes, Morocco. They finally arrived in Fez, Morocco, during the 16th century and in the mid-19th century, they moved to Tangier.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

I was lucky enough to have a Noche de Novia of my own. The special day was filled with joy, singing and laughter – not to mention alcohol and delicious food. Getting dressed for the reception took over an hour and gave me insight into the preparations such a special day must of taken in antiquity. There are dozens of pieces of the costume, each with a specific meaning, order and purpose – a belt (golel), headpiece (jemar), the jacket, the bodice, the laced sleeves (kmam) and more. Some of the items even have a superstitious and mystical connection to luck, fertility, and love.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

My dress came from overseas in Madrid, Spain. It had previously been worn by my husband’s mother and many of his cousins. I felt deeply honored to continue this tradition; especially to follow in the footsteps of many women who I respect. The beautiful ritual originates in the Sephardi Jewish Communities of Northern Morocco and its surroundings; in cities such as Tangiers, Gibraltar and especially Tetuán, which was also called “Yerushalayim Haketana”, the “Little Jerusalem”.

This ceremony is known in most Jewish communities as the “Hina”, a name that symbolizes the three Mitzvot specific to the Jewish woman: Halla, Nida, VeHadlakat HaNerot. Briefly, these actions mean lighting the candles, separating portions of dough for the creation of Challah (bread), and ritual bathing and cleanliness.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

Aunts, cousins, friends, and other females related to the bride help her to get ready for her presentation. Each detail is just so – every pin, bobby pin and tassle is fussed with. More than anything, this time was for the bride to get to know her new family without her husband-to-be. This was a private time just for women.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

I adjust the headpiece so that it is just so. The necklaces are from an aunt in Paris, France, and the Moroccan earrings are from a family friend. The bracelet I am wearing is from my husband’s mom. In this way, I wear pieces of important women in the family. The international family, and the continuation of such “seemingly-antiquated” traditions is beautiful.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

The Puntaktel is worn under the Gonbaiz and as a close fitting breastplate made of heavily embroidered velvet. The Hezam is a velvet and silk sash with ornate golden embroidered. It is wrapped around the bride’s waist several times.

La Noche de Novia Toledano

La Noche de Novia Toledano

Truly, a sign of the diaspora, I am happy to carry on traditions of a family who has been moved throughout the world often, whether due to persecution or economic need, and in each place picking up local customs and making them unique.

Article
0 comment

Meet & Greet – Michelle

Meet & Greet Michelle

Michelle Edgemont is a Brooklyn based wedding designer who specializes in custom crafted decorations, flowers, and styling for couples looking to throw conventionality out the window – and bring their own whimsical, warm, sparkling personalities into their wedding day. Her style is bright, sunshine bright, rainbow laden, a little bit sixties and with a lot of modern quirkiness. She is extremely approachable, a cross between your favorite kindergarten teacher and your scrap-booking best friend.

Michelle Edgemont / The Walkup

Michelle offers a wide range of services. She can style, decorate and make you a rustic boutonniere all in an afternoon. She’ll embroider you a ring bearer’s pillow while setting a dreamlike tablescape; she will defy gravity by hanging bunches of stemmed carnations upside down! Her clients hire her to create custom crafted elements and funky floral arrangements that scream their own unique sense of awesome.

Let’s get to know her through The Walkup’s EAT / SEE / DO / SHOP series! 

Name: Michelle Edgemont
Location: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Job: Wedding Designer and Florist
Age: 30

Michelle Edgemont Detail

I used to be of the thought that “glitter was the herpes of the craft world” but lately my stance has changed. I am now all for a little strategically placed sparkle on nails or down the aisle!

Eat: Ample Hills Creamery / Ice Cream. I have a definite sweet tooth and this ice cream shoppe in Prospect Heights is my go-to place for a few scoops. They make everything in house and have some interesting and creative flavors. My favorite is Peppermint Patty, although the Salted Caramel Crack is what got them famous. I also highly recommend a root beer float or a giant sundae covered in hot fudge sauce.
Michelle Edgemont / Ample Hills / The Walkup
See: The view out of my sixth floor living room windows. I’m lucky to live in Brooklyn and not have super tall buildings blocking my view. I can see all the way to Long Island on a good day. It’s not the Manhattan skyline, but it brings in a good amount of light and the sunrise.
The Lower Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn
The Lower Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Heights. This is how I imagine Michelle sees her world – covered in confetti! 

Michelle Edgemont Detail

The importance of photographs is closely tied to the importance of memory. Creating pictures is akin to remembering great nights and moments! Snap a polaroid and hang it by a clothespin. Put vintage images in menu holders! Spread the cheer by showing off the most important people in your life. 

Michelle Edgemont Detail

Geometric modernism meets Great Gatsby detailing! The devil, and the time period, is indeed in the details. 

Shop: Local stores in my neighborhood. There is not better way to support a community than to contribute to the local restaurants and shops that are small businesses.
Do: When I’m not consumed with my wedding clients, my favorite thing to do is spend time at the beach on a hot summer day. Counting down the days to when I can do that again! Summer, please come soon!

Michelle Edgemont Detail

Garland, string lights, fresh flowers, handmade cocktails and pops of color. Michelle can do no wrong (are you spotting her expertise in textile design? She earned a degree from Fashion Institute of Technology)! 

If you love flowers, stars, rainbows, unicorns, geometric shapes and optimism, visit Michelle’s blog for her beautiful images. Live colorfully!

Article
0 comment

Ken & Dana Designs

In the middle of Chelsea, bordering Hell’s Kitchen, rests a hidden loft space only accessible via an elevator to the fifth floor. Tucked quietly in this NYC nook rests a studio full of love stories, and unique engagement and wedding rings. The team’s eclectic creations have been worn by such luminaries as Beyonce, Rashida Jones, Debra Messing, Keri Hilson, and Rachel Ray. Ken, the jewelry designer with a long history of familial gemstone expertise, and Patty, the love of his live, married on the beach in Cape May, NJ.  Together their love inspires bridal jewelry, imbued with meaning and authenticity.

Ken & Dana Designs  Ken & Dana Designs

Vintage Edwardian details meet ultra modern ecogold pieces. The space where the rings are crafted is just as important as the jewelry itself.Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Ken & Dana DesignsRam's Head NecklacesDSC_0508Ken & Dana Designs

Ken is a quiet and reserved artist, who originally started his career on Wall Street. Inspired by  his genealogical roots, China’s rich cultural history, its landscapes and the energy in its pulse, he established a jewelry business piggybacking on what he learned from his fathers 1973 company. Patty is the loquacious consultant who can automatically read your “ring personality” and hates finger “muffin top”.

Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs

An old letterpress table, wherein typesets and lead symbols were kept, now becomes functional wall art, keeping trinkets on display.

Ken & Dana Designs

Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs As Seen on Daily Candy.Ken & Dana Designs

The boutique’s design shop is 1/3 workroom, 1/3 showroom & 1/3 party space. All the gold and diamonds are no conflict and a portion of every engagement ring sold is donated to Global Witness, an organization dedicated to ending natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses. The more one looks around the shop, the more one sees turn of the century details. Can you spot any?

   Ken & Dana Designs

Ken & Dana Designs

 Ken & Dana Designs

Ken & Dana Designs

The mannequin wears nothing more than Ken & Dana Designs and is still the chic-est in the room.

Ken & Dana Designs

Baubles and baubles.

Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs

The sculptural lines of the wire chair pair seamlessly with those of the earrings and necklaces displayed closely. It’s easy to see with a designer’s eye how something as simple as a damask fabric can inspire a gemstone choice, how a black-spined book with gilded typography can mirror a necklace’s palette.

 Ken & Dana Designs Ken & Dana Designs

For such exquisite pieces, the attitude in the space is refreshingly light and carefree. The pricing is affordable. The team does not take themselves too seriously, and truly tries to understand the aesthetic of each client. As the company says, “We make engagement rings and wedding bands that are inspired by sculpture, architecture, organic shapes, and most of all, the personal stories we hear from our clients every day. We recognize that no two relationships are the same, and only by engaging you throughout the creation process are we able to craft a truly unique product that you can call your own.”

Can’t visit in person? Shop online today! The experience is just as rewarding.