Royal wedding inspires local boutique

COSTA MESA — On the eve of the wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, Carrie von Hemert-Eyre will pull off her own event of royal proportions.

Von Hemert Interiors, a 25,000-square-foot Costa Mesa interior design store will host a Royal Wedding event April 28 with music, food, prizes and designs from local fashion and jewelry designers inspired by the royal nuptials, said Hemert-Eyre.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

"My sister and I grew up loving Princess Diana," said Hemert-Eyre, whose family has owned the business for more than 90 years. "What girl didn't idolize her?"

Hemert-Eyre has been following the approaching nuptials with growing excitement and can't wait to watch the live TV coverage on April 29, she said.

"Maybe it's that Kate Middleton reminds people a little bit of Princess Diana," Hemert-Eyre said. "She seems very humble and people adore their relationship, which seems really grounded in true love for each other. Also, during tough economic times, people need something to take their mind off of (that) and focus on something good."

The event will feature British-style décor and furnishings, a fashion show by Costa Mesa celebrity evening wear designer Oday Shakar, a book signing by design historian Emily Evans Eerdmans, a Union Jack Mini Cooper, a vintage Rolls Royce and a drawing for a Joanna Lhuillier Union Jack beaded clutch.

The gowns showcased by Shakar are floor-length formal dresses from his Fall 2011 collection, which incorporates a lot of metallic lace, sweetheart necklines and plunging backs, he said.

While Shakar did not speculate on what Kate Middleton may wear to her wedding, his collection is designed around romance, so it was a perfect fit for the event celebrating the in-love couple, Shakar said.

"Whatever she wears, I'm sure its going to be pretty dramatic," Shakar said. "But, you never know. It's 2011; it's been a long time from when Princess Di was married to now, so we'll never know what direction it's going to take it."

The event will not be the first time that Von Hemert Interiors, which also has locations in Laguna Beach and Torrance, has basked in the glow — from near or far — of royalty. In 2008, Princess Di's brother, the 9th Earl Charles Spencer, visited the Costa Mesa store to introduce the Althorp Living History collection, manufactured by Theodore Alexander after pieces from the Althorp Estate, Hemert-Eyre said.

Due to the popularity of that event, which attracted over 400 people, Hemert-Eyre needed to limit the attendance to shop's upcoming event that is to be held in the main showroom, she said.

"It was like a dream come true to have him in our store," Hemert-Eyre said.

Although the details of the royal wedding are still a closely guarded secret, Hemert-Eyre took a guess of what the direction the royal couple may go in terms of overall design.

"From just knowing a lot from where William comes from and seeing pieces in the Althorp collection, I'd guess that they are going to throw is some traditional elements," Hemert-Eyre said. "I'd say it's going to be 'clean traditional,' but not overly stuffy or 'formal traditional.'"

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