Pictures of the floating world

A photoshoot in Kew Gardens: my summer wardrobe

Hot summer required a lot of summer dresses and an exotic surrounding for the shoot – for which magnificent Kew Gardens work perfectly!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

This summer is the hottest in the UK since I’ve moved to London. This means a lot of summer dresses and an exotic surrounding – for which magnificent Kew Gardens work perfectly!

I decided to share with you my top favorite pieces and why I went for these accessories. Well, if you know me well, I’m not keen on trousers and jeans. So, frankly speaking, I would’ve been wearing the same dresses anyway even if there was an ordinary London summer. I might’ve needed to add s coat, scarf, and boots though 🙂


Shall we start?


There is no better place for the tropical photo shoot in London that Kew Gardens!

Kew Gardens are over 250 years old. Their collection of plants and their initiatives regarding scientific research and conservation are really impressive! I volunteered at BGCI a few years ago – so I have the tenderest of feelings towards this place.


The Orangery in Kew Gardens

I looked through a mixture of summery images before the photoshoot and decided to go for some Amalfi / Dolce Vita / D&G style in addition to the themes mentioned already.


Btw, I bought those peacock earrings in Italy many years ago – and I still love them! And no, they are not as heavy as they look. I won’t become long-eared like Moai, statues from the Easter Island 🙂


Blue is my favorite color and I love it even more when it’s cobalt. Off shoulder dresses are always on top of my personal list (I actually have a proof – even my wedding dress was a bit off shoulders) so this Bardot dress by Ted Baker was love at first sight. Grabbed my size and bought it without even trying it on.

Besides that, although this dress looks very simple, it’s actually not. Just look at these details and lace around the waist and sleeves! The orangery worked perfectly for the indoor pics. Love the backdrop (hope we didn’t disturb people around us too much 🙂 ) But the outdoors were as good as the indoors – thanks to flowers everywhere. This sort of bag is very USSR style (I was not even born yet when it was popular!) but I really like how those juicy lemons look in it.

The book about cacti is a recent purchase of mine. As a plant lover, I simply couldn’t leave it on a shop shelve!


Waterlily house

Another stop to shoot was a glasshouse with the giant Latin American waterlilies. Victoria amazonica is really impressive, its flowers are bigger than my head!

How old do I look with two braids? 🙂

I opted for my Ralph Lauren white dress. Although its cut is not quite complimenting my forms, I love its knitted details very much and I never miss a chance to wear it when it’s hot.

Berets are inappropriate for summer? What about a straw beret? I was very proud to find it in Isetan, in Tokyo. The bow on the backside is so cute, isn’t it?

A final touch was a straw round bag – it might surprise you but you actually can put a whole lot of things inside!

The glasshouses

There are lots of small and big glasshouses in Kew gardens. But for the dense tropics, we opted for the Palm house. Green on green might sound like not the brightest idea at all but I actually liked it!


I’ve always loved striking contrasting patterns – I think it comes from my adoration of Mondrian and other artists of the early 20th century. Nevertheless, this year those contrasting shapes evolved into the exotic, more fluid prints – such as this green dress from Hobbs.

Cat-eyed sunglasses of a contrasting color are also not bad, aren’t they? Earrings are from some Spanish designer whose creations I bought in the UK.

A hat is a nice addition to any summer look. Mine is from Dorea Accessories and it was personalized especially for me. Isn’t it too cute?

My bamboo bag actually costed little and is from Amazon. I bought this eye ring in Moscow, Tsvetnoy bulvar market 🙂

Interesting: Did you know that the Temperate glasshouse has recently reopened? It’s the biggest of its kind in the entire world!



To make a statement you might also consider adding some more contrasting accessories. I’ve chosen a red turban from Brothers and Sisters and a watch and a bracelet from Paul Hewitt.

Although I love the result, the shooting process was pretty difficult for me. Humidity and temperature in the palm house are really high.

What else would you expect from the tropics? So, one might say the environment was very authentic to the shooting theme.



The spiral staircase

The white spiral staircase is an iconic feature of the Kew Gardens. Remember that epic shot of Emilia Clarke aka Khaleesi in a pink dress for the Harper’s Bazaar? Yes, it was shot here.

Beautiful contrast between the lacing of stairs and palms is perfection, isn’t it?

I decided to choose a vividly red dress by Tommy Hilfiger to pose there. I really love how graphic the print on the dress is and the decorations of its neck and sleeves!

To accompany it, I went for gold and white jewelry. The earrings and the ring are from the real porcelain! The brand is actually called Poporcelain and originates from Denmark.


Which look did you like the most?


Please note:

I love dressing up and adding new items to my wardrobe, but I choose my outfit on the basis of my own taste, not on the ‘most instagrammable’ scale.

The most important thing for me regarding the clothes is how I feel in them – so, no patterned pants, playsuits, wide leg trousers or heavily layered necklaces. Just the pieces I really love.

So, if you suddenly decide to introduce the same pieces/patterns/colors to your /wardrobe/ Instagram feed (for which I would be extremely happy!), Instagram love is not guaranteed – but I hope that they will bring you the same joy as they bring to me!

Another important thing for me is the responsible consumption. Think about the environment you live in, reuse your clothes and recycle the ones you don’t wear!


P.S.: I have all reasons to believe that the V&A exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s art pieces has heavily influenced my anticipation of the results I wanted to get from this photoshoot – but of course, my primary intention was entertainment, not producing an art piece reflecting the tragic life of the artist.

Enjoy with me some of my favorite Kahlo’s portraits shot by Nickolas Muray.


I hope you enjoyed today’s blog!

Yours, Anna xxx


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