Austin Ackles sat down with Creative Director, Leo Mascotte, to discuss some of his favorite Dempsey & Carroll wedding suites.
AA: This wedding took place in beautiful Lake Bluff, on the shores of Lake Michigan, just outside of Chicago. How do you feel that location is reflected in these designs?
LM: Beautiful indeed. No less an authority on the American scene than F. Scott Fitzgerald “Once I thought that Lake Forest was the most glamorous place in the world. Maybe it was.” Chicago’s Lake Forest and Lake Bluff are, to my mind, the most beautiful, and most American suburbs in the country. Architectural treasures abound. One finds the work of Howard Van Doren Shaw, Henry Ives Cobb and Frank Lloyd Wright. But it is David Adler’s work that makes this place like no other. He designed the original club house of the venerable club, Shoreacres, where the ceremony and reception took place.
This wedding stationery, like Adler’s work, is informed by, and respectful of, a rich heritage, drawing on a comprehensive understanding of tradition and precedent. It is however, uniquely American and modern in the way it modulates a purely formal model.
The decision to use handwritten calligraphy, in this marvelous crisp style, arrives at a similar easy going elegance. The seeming effortlessness of the text is balanced by the formality of timeless hand engraving. The beveled edges, and rounded corners riff on the expected, introducing a note of cool aqua, repeated by the lovely tissue liner. Assured, and impeccable, the suite’s offhand, jazz age cool finds no better expression than its opening flourish.
AA: By comparison, this suite for a Fishers Island wedding feels so edified while still retaining an airiness.
LM: An airiness which shows that less can be splendidly more. The understated élan of this invitation and stationery suite could not be more appropriate to the wedding’s location. Set at the north eastern end of Long Island Sound, just off the Connecticut coast, this tiny strip of New York state is a world apart. Prized for its pristine beauty, privacy and remove, Fisher’s Island is timeless.
The epitome of old school, east coast, Summer as a verb propriety.
The marvelous font born of this storied way of life. Chevalier lets the hand of the engraver shine within its handsome block forms. An unexpected polish comes from the Oxford Gray ink. It softens letter forms that would have felt rigid rendered in a darker tone. But it is the white space that I find most compelling. Calling to mind trim sails, tennis attire, and freshly pressed linen collars, this suite announces with an insider’s whisper. The subtle edge treatment, like the family silver, manages to shine, not shimmer. The reception card is my favorite piece, am certain that the smart glint of it’s sterling trim won it pride of place on many a mantle. I would have tucked it just so, to remind all who saw it: black tie, naturally.
AA: For oceanfront nuptials at the storied Breakers in Palm Beach, this family with impeccable taste wanted to push their boundaries. How do you think these invitations (our largest, Empire size) strike a balance between boldness and refined taste?
LM: Is there a request more fully aligned with this location? A theatrical, larger than life, tropical aesthetic has defined Palm Beach from its beginning. Built in 1925, The Breakers tile roofed, Mediterranean Revival, Neo-Moorish stage set world defines Palm Beach. From the shops of Worth Avenue, to The Everglades Club, from Doris Duke’s Mar-a-Lago to The Bath and Tennis Club, Palm Beach’s heart beats Lilly Pulitzer pink and acid green. All this sumptuous extravagance walks a resort town tight rope of good taste, tipping it’s hat to the staid conservatism of the East Coast cities from which America’s uber-posh winter resort draws its crowd of swells.
The suite takes up this theme, playing in a key that all but glitters with gold. The sheen of the tissue lined envelopes sets the tone. This matte midas touch is echoed in the ink, a tone that harmonizes beautifully with the bold sweeping forms of the Bickham font. Gleaming hand applied leaf shimmers, setting off precious and pains-takingly hand beveled edges and eased corners. The blind engraved, marital monogram, is set apart. Like an orchestra’s rest, the matte white silence the suite’s largest motif makes for a lily that is impeccably un-gilded.