THE Perfect Dress | By Petrie Ninham

One of my best friends writes about her beautifully crafted dress.

"I have always had a knowing that my love for this industry was more than passion, it was an inherent calling."
- Petrie Ninham

Ninham Chapter one | Bosjes Bespoke

Written by the talented Petrie Ninham A glimpse into the years of dreaming, the hours of thought, the months of sourcing. Also the significant symbolism that unraveled throughout the designing of my wedding dress.  My perspective on life has always been to live life true to who you are, authentic. The value I place on the quality of authenticity is what influenced much of my decisions in life. It played a tremendous role in conceptualization around designing a day that would be the filled with symbolism. An introduction to the life Duncan and I would live together; authentic, unique, significant. My absolute passion and purpose; the conceptualization of visual narrative which substantiates identity and purpose would be on glorious display on our wedding day. Blessed, with a lineage of fashion and design influencers, a family submerged in creativity,

I have always had a knowing that my love for this industry was more than passion, it was an inherent calling.

Little did I know the years spent in the fashion industry , acquainting myself with textiles and design processes, had been my preparation.

Having found the one whom my soul loves , my next focus was designing the gown I had always dreamt about.

My picture of my dress was clear, yet the design expertise I would require to manufacture this creation would need to be one who could clearly understand what I would communicate and diligently interpret and apply my directions...


"I found her in Bellville ."

I found her in Bellville . Lena Lisa had worked under Casper Bosman in Bloemfontein for 3 years after which she relocated to Cape Town in pursuit of leaving her own design footprint in the world.


After months of sourcing, I finally managed to find the fabric selections I would need.

Two days before my wedding Lena Lisa and I stood I her studio pinning the puzzle pieces I had seen in my “studio” , to the nude base. We spent hours arranging the different shapes until I found the pieces to craft my dress into the image I had developed in my heart. Lena Lisa and I was in complete synchrony and the night before the wedding she had masterfully hand sown my dream into a reality. Finally, the mosaic became my masterpiece. Hours of thoughtfully and intently molding the picture in my mind into a visual reality. I felt such gratitude to have been able to apply my craft , to tell my story, to wear my decade-long dream. Grateful, to have designed a gown reflective of who I am ; the strong structural design and linear elements contrasted against the rounder softer shapes and feathers , a representation of my determined, ambitious and decisive character vs my feminine, gentler side . Characteristics which were truly awoken upon meeting my soulmate.




My gown was the pinnacle of conceptual design on my wedding day. Developed in the studio of my heart over more than a decade. I had only hoped to one day give expression to this design that would essentially be a non verbal depiction of who I had become, upon arriving at this new season in my life. This wasn’t only a dress to me. This creation was an accumulation of silent thoughts and ideas that matured and developed, like a seed that falls into the ground and dies to sprout up and grow into something new and beautiful. My gown, exemplifying this metamorphosis, a journey of transformation, hope and purpose. Reflecting back on our spectacular day, surprisingly I was reminded of the Bosjes chapel design. The structural, linear simplicity combined with the breathtaking curves of the roof , was inadvertently mirrored in the design of my dress.. A still small voice, a silent confirmation ; that which is meant for you, will not pass you by.


This dress, but my, oh my, this COUPLE



Meraci thoughts on Petrie's Creation:


I met Petrie many years ago and what struck me then is very much still true today. Petrie is unconditionally and unapologetically herself. She is very determined of who she is and her vision is clear. And the story told about her dress is very much unique to her.


I am very happy Petrie shared this lovely story with us, because when I featured their photos in December many brides contacted me about the dress. Now you know. :)


Every bride's "perfect dress" story will be different. My story differs from Petrie's because my picture of the photographer was clear, but I was uncertain of what I wanted in a dress. Our focus was different. My designer helped me to find my perfect dress.


Here are my tips:

1. Be authentic to yourself: Yes, fashion is important, but who you are, is much more important. The reason Petrie's dress works so well, is because it is authentic to who she is.

2. Budget: Do spend a reasonable amount on your dress. Quality is visible. Don't sell your car to buy your dress, but do realise that good material and workmanship is worth the price tag.

3. Good designers who a reputable: Lena Lisa is a well known designer in Cape Town and she has a good reputation. She was able to help Petrie in a short amount of time. Talk early enough with your designer, so that you get someone who is able to design your vision for your dress. Look at the reviews and the previous dresses they have designed. Good research on the right designer is key.

4. Timeline: Ensure that you book your designer well in advance, so that they are able to design your dress, source materials and make your dress in advance.

What I LOVED about Petrie's dress:

1. The material: The lace and tulle was perfectly matched. I believe that the right material can make a dress and Petrie sourced breathtaking material.

2. The Silhouette: Even though the tulle provided dramatic volume to the dress. It did not hide her petite figure. The dress is well balanced.

3. Authenticity: I could not imagine any other dress for Petrie. I love it, because it is unapologetically her! Don't be afraid to be yourself.






More about Petrie | Cheeki Cherri | Send my Style


My name is Petrie Ninham, I am the founder of Cheekicherri Trendstore a woman’s clothing store and Cheekitribe.com, an online fashion subscription platform.

Over the past 10 years , I have been immersed in my customers’ underserved needs, I have gained a deep understanding of the motivation - both emotional and functional - of why women buy clothes. This understanding enabled me to develop fashion services that truly empower women to dress who they are. Our customers, our daily experiences and our interpretation of the all of this put together, has shaped our product offering. . #sendMystyle is our personalized monthly fashion subscription , where we send beautiful garments selected for you according to your unique style profile , lifestyle and life season preferences, to your doorstep

With the craft of this unique fashion service, I get to experience on a daily basis, how it changes women’s’ perception and expression of themselves, the way their families, friends and colleagues respond to their new look and the way they feel about themselves. I thrive on seeing how the right tools transforms and enables a woman to become the most unique, authentic version of herself.

Our #sendMystyle subscription fashion service started out as a Bloemfontein service, through reviews and referrals we are now delivering personalised fashion boxes.

As a result of the lockdown, our subscribers indicated that they require assistance with managing their wardrobe. So we’ve just launched our brand new service - online wardrobe restructuring sessions. During these sessions, we demonstrate tools, tips and techniques t better use what they already have in their wardrobes. We assist our customers to align their wardrobes with who they are. During these sessions we run through an approach of developing their wardrobe around core, basic styling elements.


We then assist customers to interpret trends according to their personal style profile, because ultimately what makes your style stand out is your ability to interpret what you wear in a fresh and relevant context, each season. This not only saves our customers money, but also once they understand the basic skills behind styling, it really becomes exciting. So often women have a wardrobe full of clothing with nothing to wear. With our experience in the fashion retail environment, we discovered that sometimes an objective perspective can reinvent your entire approach, style and ultimately the way you present your true self to the world.


To make contact with Petrie:

cheekicherri@yahoo.com

For more information regarding photography contact Carine on:

info@meraciphotography.co.za

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