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Paper as Fashion: Wanda Wen's A Soolip Wedding


In addition to her status as a newly minted author—The Art of Gift Wrapping: 50 Innovative Ideas Using Organic, Unique, and Uncommon Materials goes on sale this month—Wanda Wen is also the creative force behind Soolip, a Los Angeles paper and lifestyle boutique. Soolip recently hosted their 11th annual A Soolip Wedding, an elegant event for brides-to-be in the Southern California area. We talked with Wanda about recent trends in weddings, and her passion for paper.

For most women, the word fashion conjures images of models walking the runway in shiny dresses, fur coats, and designer denim. When Wanda Wen thinks about fashion, she thinks about … paper.

Confused? You shouldn’t be. A former fashionista who has worked for designers including Perry Ellis and Stephen Sprouse, Wanda explains: “I approach paper as fashion. A woman has clothes for a cocktail party, for a gala event, for a luncheon. Paper can also traverse all forms and instances in your life. For a wedding invitation, you might want something glamorous, or innocent, or beautiful, depending on the type of event. A thank you note from a kid’s birthday party would be completely different.” Wanda transformed her passion for paper and its versatility into a business fifteen years ago when she opened Soolip, a Los Angeles paper and lifestyle boutique. At the same time, email use was spreading rapidly and “paper was becoming a thing of the past,” says Wanda. But like any good designer, Wanda knows that nothing ever goes out of style. “When things are not popular, fashion wants to make them popular!”

Just a few years after Soolip opened, the boutique had become so popular that Wanda decided to expand her reach even farther and venture into the wedding industry. “We always had these great bridal clients, and we would help them with menus and invitations, ribbons and calligraphy,” says Wanda. “And they were drawn to my aesthetic and would ask me questions about everything else—who do you recommend for a florist? Do you know any great photographers?” Likewise, Wanda had many friends who worked on weddings, and these vendors began courting her for her clientele. “So I thought, let’s just have one big party and bring them all together—I kind of felt like I was the intersection of it all.”

And so, with Wanda’s signature style and unique approach, A Soolip Wedding was born. On February 21, 2010, the event celebrated its 11th anniversary at Los Angeles’ Vibiana, a refurbished cathedral transformed into a breathtaking event space. 450 guests enjoyed a runway show with couture gowns by Monique Lhuillier (“I always want to give the brides a 7th Avenue fashion feel,” says Wanda), sampled skin care products by Kate Sommerville, and tasted delectable cupcakes from Santa Monica’s Vanilla Bake Shop. Experts were on hand to answer questions from brides-to-be on wedding day fashion and beauty, etiquette, and food and drink. To top things off was a performance by the avant-garde ensemble String Theory (“unbelievable, esoteric, ethereal,” says Wen) and a guest appearance by HGTV host Eric Stromer, who played love ballads from his new CD, “Fix It Man.”

Wanda says that some of the biggest trends in weddings today are nature, simplicity, and intimacy. She suggests incorporating personal touches, family traditions, and heritage into your celebration. For instance, “choose a flower that’s meaningful for you,” she says, even if it isn’t a traditional wedding flower like roses. “If you grew up near a field of lavender, incorporate lavender into your decorations.” Whatever you decide to do on your special day, Wanda says,”It’s not about how fashion and Hollywood you can be.” Here are a few of her tips for incorporating paper into your special day!

1) Tissue Paper Flowers: “A bouquet of tissue paper flowers would be beautiful. Then at the end of the day you can keep it!”

2) Butcher Paper Table Runner: “Take long butcher paper rolls in white or light pink. Make designs with rubber stamps or potato stamps, or fold it accordion style and cut out shapes. Lay it along a long table as a gorgeous table runner.”

3) Wax Paper Backdrop: “Take long sheets of wax paper. Lay gold or silver strings all over it in a pattern or just haphazardly, or try dried flowers. Put more long sheets of waxed paper on top and iron the sheets together (low heat). The paper is perfect for banners or table runners, or you can cut it up and put it around votive candle holders. The result is very beautiful and wedding like.”


• Read Wanda’s Soolip blog

• Visit the Soolip Paperie web site



About the Book
The Art of Gift Wrapping
50 Innovative Ideas Using Organic, Unique, and Uncommon Materials
Written by Wanda Wen
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Papercrafts
Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
On Sale: April 6, 2010
Price: $24.99
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