Going to Montsalvat and we’re gonna get married

Never have I wanted to get married more.

On a stinking hot 30-degree day, I embarked on over an hour’s trip to the far-flung – for a well-kept South-of-the-river boy – suburb of Eltham to pay a visit to a venue I had never heard of, nor thought I’d ever visit: Montsalvat.

“Montsalvat?” many would ask me. “I think you mean Mont Albert!”

No. I did not. I have a tendency to say what I mean.

Montsalvat is one of the most gorgeous little venues I have ever visited, made better only by the people I found myself with and the glorious Melbourne day.

It is an artist’s colony and a wedding venue. Amazing, huh? Who knew something like an artists’ colony existed in the modern day?

As their website (www.montsalvat.com.au) explains, the venue was founded by Justus Jörgensen and is the country’s oldest artists’ colony and home to practising artists. It’s set on 12 acres of beautiful established gardens and features historic buildings of mud brick cottages, ornamental additions and many a nook and cranny.

I’m not an artist, nor purport to be. So why was I there? I ventured up with the one and only Iyan Difuntorum of iy.d Style, a budding young Melburnian fashion stylist with a midas touch when it comes to fashion and photography and the coming together of both in glorious surrounds or with an amazing aesthetic.

Stylist Iyan Difuntorum

We were shooting the amazing work of Sam Oglialoro, proprietor and couturier at OGLIA-LORO couture, which specialises in bridal gowns, jewellery and cocktail and evening wear.

Sam Oglialoro organising the next shot

Should I ever get married, I’ll wear anything he makes.

As the ornamental pond sploshed and ebbed to the subtle splashing of the wall-mounted fountain, the sun beat down on us and the three models we had in tow as our photographer for the day, Michelle Austin of Michelle Austin photography snapped every movement the girls made in these stunning gowns.

Photographer Michelle and her assistant

Iyan and Sam perfecting the look

Thanks to Parisian Street Society, we enjoyed the wonderful sparkle and aesthetic of some vintage designer pieces from the 80s. The likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue adored our models frames and admittedly, I just had to try on a piece for myself. When in Montsalvat, I say.

Me in a vintage YSL (80s) necklace

The shoot progressed for around three hours – five if you include the hair and makeup, which I was absent for – but resulted in some amazing shots of glamour, couture, heritage-listed backdrops and stunning girls.

You can find Sam’s work at his boutique at 71 Toorak Road , South Yarra in Melbourne. It’s by appointment only, but phone him on 03 9866 7999; he’s a very friendly man.

His pieces range from anywhere between $5,000 as a starting point, and skyrocket to around $25,000. If you’re after a unique, handmade, couture gown to accentuate individuality and make your guests’ eyes explode with amazement, he’s the man to visit and his gowns the ones to wear.

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