Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

  • Flowers At The Table

    Anyone who knows me, knows I could write a blog for weeks about my love of flowers and how they are at the core of so much of my design work and my personal life... I wanted to share a few photos I snapped, of my use of flowers to decorate place settings.

    1. dalia

    Even one bloom placed in a dish can be a wow at the table.

    What I love about incorporating flowers in place settings is, it’s easy, you don’t need many and I often use leftover flowers, that perhaps have broken stems or are a little wilted.


    Of course with my rose garden in California, I pretty much have 24/7 roses at my fingertips… lucky me.  But, I’m a big fan of the not so popular carnations, especially for this implementation, as they come in so many colors and their heads sit very properly in a dish or table. And then sometimes, I like to just lay tulips on the table, if they are on their last legs and cant stand up anymore…


    I have often used complete leftover rose petals to decorate buffet style bowls…  I love nothing more than to use every last scrap of beauty, until there is nothing left… Satisfying beauty.


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  • Summer Beauty Tricks

    Over the years I have compiled my favorite beauty products, that have now become my daily ritual towards my efforts of looking healthy and summery.  I can't take credit for spending too much time researching all the latest beautification products… I find it all rather overwhelming.  But I do have my little Shabby Chic bag of tricks.


    There are a million products and treatments to choose from… but here are my go to’s.


    1 - I use my hands too much to expect polish to last too long… but Essie Ballet Slippers is pale enough for the inevitable chips.

    2 - My fair English skin doesn't support sun bathing… especially my face… I find these Kate Somerville nifty (fake) tan towelettes quite wonderful and they prevent those orange palms, often created with fake tanning lotions.

    3 - I have loved Kai Body Lotion forever... one scent… so Malibu.

    4 - Those little lines and bags are creeping up, too much laughter, too much worry... life I suppose. But I find a little tiny drop of Kate Somerville Firming Eye Cream is quite effective.

    5 - And finally, just love Blistex Soft and Lush lip protection....

    dry bar

    My biggest indulgence of all though, whether I'm at home in Los Angeles or on the road, a trip to Dry Bar for a Mai Tai Blow Out… I am golden and ready to go.   As much as I have tried those "as seen on TV' hair tools and try so hard at blow drying, but it’s just not my thing.  As the years go by, insecurities set in, but I do find the cliche "beauty shines from within" a true statement, so my bag of tricks and reminding myself to also feed my heart and soul, is a good combo I think.

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  • Making Magic

    Ever since my daughter was a little girl, she has had a very specific point of view of what she wanted to wear, including her love of overalls.


    A couple decades later and Lily has her own clothing line, Lily Ashwell,  it’s been quite the journey, as any company is, especially when run by a creative mind.


    "I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world" - Thomas A. Edison


    I know, only too well, that it is a challenge to keep the balance of creativity with a responsibility to a healthy business, while keeping values and the mission of a brand.  For Lily, that is to design a collection of modern, wearable staples, inspired by delicate vintage pieces, and always made in the USA.

    #2 shoot board

    A few weeks ago, Lily had a photo shoot for her Spring/Summer 2016 Collection and the launch of her Bridal/Custom Collection.  She had a lot to shoot in a small amount of time, so creating a timeline of shooting was step number one.

    #3 loft & props

    She found a location to shoot - Industrial, clean with magical light.  From time to time I mentor her behind the scenes, where I am able.  Although I don't have all the answers, I am able to share the ups and downs of my Shabby Chic journey.  Some of which applies to her and today’s world, and some, not so much.

    #4A truck

    In this instance, I helped with some logistics (packing her truck) and some styling.  At 6am, her U-Haul rolled into my driveway and we loaded her collection, along with some props and flowers.  My years of flea market loading and packing trucks came in handy here… I can be quite nifty with the bungee cords.


    I have used my vintage floral hats a million times over in my world of styling and even though her vibe is more modern and edgy than mine, her Bridal/Custom Collection is simple and beautiful and for some shots Lily thought it would be fun to use a couple of hats to add some whimsy.  I have so enjoyed watching Lily evolve and perfect her craft as a designer and business owner. She has her own beautiful sense of style, and while influenced by growing up in the world of Shabby Chic, she has a very specific vision of which now inspires me.  For this shoot, she asked me to make some floral bouquets.  I knew she wouldn't want anything formal, so I gathered my ribbons and went to the flower market where I decided upon mainly, baby's breath, yellow roses, and dahlias.

    It was a truly magical day for me, watching Lily and her little team focused, executing her story and respecting the budget of time she had set for herself, without compromising her vision…

    #11.lily store

    Her collection can be found in her little store in Venice or at lilyashwell.com

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