Pollen & Plume – Couture-Quality Bridal Accessories

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Alison Moncrief swapped high fashion for the high country—all in the name of love. Her bridal accessories collection is another heartfelt leap.

It’s hard to imagine a business that sums up a person better. Alison grew up in Derbyshire, studied fashion, then scored a job in London as a high-end embroidery designer.

After a decade jetting between Melbourne, India and Europe, she fell for an Australian man and moved with him to Yackandandah, in the Victorian high country. She now designs and makes couture-quality bridal accessories with a well-trained eye for natural beauty.

How did Pollen & Plume come about? I have two young boys, and they were starting to need me less–so I thought, time to get my creative life back! My previous career with designer Megan Park had spoilt me. I used to work a lot in India, where I’d spend weeks scouring the markets and working with karigars (local embroiderers) on designs. It was a very organic, intensive, careful process. I wanted to continue to produce special one-off items, as opposed to everyday fashion, so bridal accessories were the perfect t.

Tell us about your collection. I design and make embroidered hairpieces, wedding sashes (which sit neatly around the waist), chokers and cuffs. I use the best materials, such as hand-pressed silk petals and Swarovski crystals, and I think it makes a huge difference. A luxurious, complementary accessory won’t break the bank and it can mean you can keep the rest quite simple. I do ready-made and bespoke pieces and love working closely with brides to capture what they’re about.

Who was your first customer? I made a sash for a friend who was married in Melbourne’s biggest cathedral, next to two bridesmaids and 10 sexy groomsmen! It had ostrich feathers and Swarovski bling and she rang me in tears the day she received it to thank me. I’ve also made sashes work very well in the opposite sort of wedding—outdoor and informal events, where the bride might wear a simple dress with the sash as the special element.

Is there a meaning behind the name ‘Pollen & Plume’? I cracked the name with the help of two dear friends. ‘Pollen’, as all my pieces use pressed and veined petals, and ‘Plume’, referencing the first sash I made using ostrich feathers. It also has a ‘birds n’ bees’ feel, which seems fitting for a wedding business!

How did you fall in love? I’d met Chris before through friends in Melbourne. Then his business moved to the building opposite us in Fitzroy. Every Friday at 5 o’clock he’d open his window and call across the laneway, ‘Al, time for wine!’ I loved how easy it was to be with him—we’d see each other and never talk about what was next. Then things got serious and he revealed his ‘10-year plan’—including moving to the country. I was having a grand old time in Melbourne, and it was not on my radar. But as life moved on and we had our first son, Jack, I realised I wanted the freedom I’d had in Derbyshire for my kids. Moving to the country has been an adventure and I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone other than Chris.

How has life changed? The fashion industry is insane, particularly high fashion. I don’t miss the pressure. Now, I work from home with a view of the chooks, the hills and the bush. I get to bring up my kids in the country, design and make beautiful pieces for my brides, and sit down at the end of the day with Chris, a glass of wine and a killer view. Bliss.

Carly Tia
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