By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief
There’s nothing like a beautiful love story during a pandemic to inspire the heart, and especially when it comes to KTLA’s LA Unscripted co-host, Liberté Chan, and her fiancé, Luis Strohmeier. I am lucky to call these wonderful people my friends and from the very privileged perspective of witnessing their true, deep, authentic love and joy, this photo shoot was born.
Moved by the beauty of a bride about to step into a life partnership with the man she adores, I wanted to capture Liberté’s essence as she prepares to marry Luis later this year. When I first asked her if she wanted to do a day of bridal dress-up for a Coco Eco shoot, she said she’d loved to, and I excitedly went into pre-production mode.
My first two priorities are always photographer and location, and I knew exactly who I wanted to shoot this, and where. Julianne Kaye is one of our favorite artists, and as well as being an incredible celebrity photographer, she also has an impressive background in makeup artistry for some of the world’s biggest stars. Having previously photographed Liberté for our Warrior Woman shoot last year and instantly connecting over their shared backgrounds as figure skaters, she was in.
We needed a beautiful backdrop, and one that was safe during Covid. My heart was set on the Westlake Village Inn, which just 39 miles north of Los Angeles, lies on 18 lush acres, offering us plenty of private space to get creative in. When they agreed to the shoot and offered us their stunning suite, the Villa, as one of our locations, I knew a magical photo story was in place.
From there, Coco Eco required the best team. Being an eco bridal shoot, for fashion there was only one person to call, Deborah Lindquist. One of the OGs of eco-conscious fashion, she is the queen of sustainable bridal gowns. Deborah reached out to her network including her friends at Julie Harris Designs who provided beautiful veils, and Tabitha Abercrombie of eco-conscious floral company, Winston & Main, who created three gorgeous bouquets. The finishing fashion touch was a jewelry designer, and I was thrilled when Margaret Rowe agreed to come to our shoot with her boxes of pretty, sparkling pieces, which were the perfect finish to each of our looks.
For Liberté’s beauty, we needed the best. Julianne, as Lead Makeup Artist, brought in a great second and another of our favorite talents, Emily Perez. For hair, Liberté brought her brilliant stylist, Lisa Prova, who is designing looks for her wedding, and created stunning hairstyles fit for any bride.
Any photo shoot is a monumental feat, but none more so than bridal. From the bride’s happiness, to attention to detail on wedding essentials such as dresses, hair, makeup, veils, jewelry, flowers, and location, a bridal shoot is specific in the multiple requirements needed to tell a successful story. Of course, everything begins with the bride-to-be, and our day spent with Liberté was pure love and joy.
Liberté, what was your reaction when I asked you to do a bridal shoot with Coco Eco?
I was honored, excited and to be honest, a little nervous as well. I wasn’t sure if the dresses would fit and/or be figure flattering, but after discussing the vision you had for the shoot, our conversation calmed my nerves and all my concerns fell by the wayside.
It’s been a difficult year for many people, but especially for you losing your Mom. Your fiancé, Luis, proposing was a very special moment, and your beautiful love story is wildly inspiring. As you now prepare to marry the love of your life, how did you feel playing dress-up and having Luis see you for the first time as a bride?
You’re right, this last year was extremely difficult. It can be hard to focus on the positive when there is so much pain and loss. However, it’s a choice and a practice to focus on the positive and that’s how I try to lead my life. As for playing dress-up? It was SO MUCH FUN! Luis is such a gentleman and is always complimentary, but when he saw me dressed up as his bride-to-be, he was even more complimentary than usual. I’m so lucky that I have a partner who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and express his feelings. I literally said to him that day, “I feel like a princess.” And he answered, “You’re not a princess, you’re a queen.”
Luis is definitely a special man, and it was wonderful to have him join us. It was also incredibly moving having your mother’s wedding dress there. Apart from that, what were some of your favorite aspects of the day?
I had such a great time from the second I met you in the lobby of the Inn. You organized an incredible team of women who put me at ease immediately, and made the shoot so special. The hair, makeup, dresses and accessories made me feel beautiful. I loved wearing several different outfits and testing out different hairstyles. Thank you for creating such a magical day.
You are so welcome. It was an honor. Now, with your special day approaching, can you share any of the details?
I will be getting married at Hotel Bel Air, the same place where my Mom married my Dad. Both of them passed away in the last three years and even though they will not be physically with me on my wedding day, I know I will feel their presence. I plan to incorporate part of my mom’s dress into mine…even if it’s just a small piece of tulle.
As for the production? I’m working with an incredible wedding planner, Dimas Hern, and knowing that he is the creative behind the event, I know it will be beautiful. We have talked about incorporating lights, hanging crystals and the color scheme will be deep, rich jewel tones.
It sounds absolutely beautiful and I know it will be a celebration to remember. Once you and Luis are married, what does your future look like?
We have so many plans and I can’t wait to experience them all with Luis. There are trips to take, books to write, homes to build and I’m so excited to do it together. Every day with him is a gift, and it always shocks me when I wake up in the morning and find that I love him even more than I did the day before. I’ve never had a relationship like this. I have never felt more loved, valued or respected by a man, and we are both so grateful to have found each other. I think our future will be filled with love, laughter, and lots of joy.
Photography & Lead Makeup by Julianne Kaye for Exclusive Artists
Styling by Deborah Lindquist
Makeup by Emily Perez
Hair by Lisa Prova
Dresses by Deborah Lindquist, Grace Loves Lace
Veils by Julie Harris Designs
Jewelry by Margaret Rowe
Flowers by Winston & Main
With deepest thanks to the Westlake Village Inn for our beautiful location.
Go Behind The Scenes of Liberté's Photoshoot: