A cultural descendant of the African American tradition of quiltmaking, designer Cassandra Bromfield makes the most of different materials, piecing them together in an exquisitely functional whole. Since the 1990s, she has put her stamp – often patchwork – on custom designs for the bride seeking something out of the ordinary, yet elegant, with a sprinkling of magical touches for her big day. Using four-ply silk, which drapes beautifully and takes color well, she frequently hand-dyes the fabric. She’s mastered the art of embellishment with beading, embroidery, and whimsical, yet subtle applique to make each dress truly like no other. Equally unique are her bridal pillows which serve a decorative function well beyond the ring bearer’s trip down the aisle. Each stands alone as a one-of-a-kind objet d’art.
She’s been honing her craft since childhood when she learned to sew from her mother to make clothing for her Barbie dolls. A cinephile, the allure of old films, dressmaker details of vintage clothing and movie-star glamour of her own family members find their way into her designs. Bias-cut dresses skim the body gracefully, and billowing, full-skirted silhouettes float in a dreamy soignée cloud. She is attracted to the bridal market because of the opportunity it offers to create something extraordinary each time. “It’s the one day when a woman will celebrate herself and do something special even if she doesn’t do it at any other time,” she says. She taps into the individuality of each bride and helps her shine brightly on one of the most momentous occasions of her life.
Upon finding a trove of her late mother’s 1960’s-1970’s 8mm home movies and audiocassettes, Cassandra’s love of cinema re-emerged. After having the reels of film and tape transferred to a digital format, she pieced together stories much in the same way she stitches together the various elements of her garments to create montages of film clips, photographs, and sound recordings, uploading them to YouTube, where they caught the eye of a documentary filmmaker. Credited along with her mother, M. Elaine Bromfield as Archival Cinematographers, their Super 8 films found their way into the award-winning documentary short film, Into My Life, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and was featured on POV Shorts on PBS. To read the full story of how Cassandra came to embrace both her passions and realize a filmmaking dream while honoring the memory and creative wellspring of her mother visit THE TROVE.
Sharon Pendana, the creator of THE TROVE (inthetrove.com) and author/photographer of Secret Washington D.C., has variously since her days as a fashion stylist told stories through images as well as words. Though born and raised in the nation’s capital, New York City beckoned with the lure of fashion. Discovering sartorial treasures, creating narratives through style became both a way to make a living (in print, television, and film) and a way of life. She launched the online biographical magazine, THE TROVE, to profile fascinating creatives and the things they hold dear.