Sweet Inspiration: Inside Bonnae Gokson's New Book
September 3, 2018 | BY Rachel Duffel
Arbiter of good taste, Bonnae Gokson, puts her inimitable eye for wedding style—and her flair for creating exquisite cakes—on display in her new book, "Weddings, Butterflies and the Sweetest Dreams"
A towering mauve and pale pink wedding cake over two metres tall, studded with moonstones and Swarovski diamantes; a spectacular creation suspended from a ballroom ceiling, featuring 200 kilos of sugar flowers; simple but stylish one-tiered beauties—all hail from the impressive repertoire of creative visionary Bonnae Gokson.
She began her career as a visual merchandiser and fashion buyer, before working with her sister Joyce Ma—founder of Joyce—where she launched Joyce Cafe. In 2008, she opened dining hotspot Sevva atop Landmark Prince’s, where she personally designed the exquisite interiors. Sevva proved to be a huge success, as were the cakes Bonnae created for its diners, and Ms B’s Cakery soon followed.
“I’m proud to be the first person in Hong Kong to have changed the dynamics of the cake industry. We added aesthetics, texture and dimension to cakes and it’s been a great hit ever since,” says Bonnae, who soon added Ms B’s Weddings and C’est La B cafes to her portfolio. In 2013, Bonnae published her first book, Butterflies and All Things Sweet, which won awards in France, the US and Australia.
She is following up this year with Weddings, Butterflies and the Sweetest Dreams. Her second book provides insight into Bonnae’s creative process, particularly when it comes to wedding cakes—from inspiration to realisation.
See also: Inside The Design Mind Of Bonnae Gokson
The idea for Weddings, Butterflies and the Sweetest Dreams came to Bonnae after she saw photos from the wedding of a celebrity couple. “I just thought their cake was quite a let-down. It looked roughly finished and didn’t match the romantic setting of the rest of their wedding.”
In jarring Bonnae’s innate aesthetic eye, it inspired her to present a more refined approach to the subject of wedding cakes. The book features stunning wedding-related images from celebrations around the world, ranging from Indonesia and India to Mexico, Nigeria and China, to name a few.
It examines all aspects of a big day, from the dress and decor to artistry, architecture and age-old customs. These celebratory scenarios are accompanied by exquisitely crafted cakes, envisioned and designed by Bonnae to work coherently within each unique setting.
The beautiful assemblage has been more than two years in the making, each image painstakingly considered, with many sourced from high-profile photographers to accompany her carefully imagined cakes. “The book is not just for brides-to-be but for anyone who appreciates beauty, artistry and love in all its forms,” Bonnae says.
The cake which Bonnae is perhaps most proud is a sweet creation crafted to pair with a stunning couture wedding gown by Vera Wang. “I designed a cake that has our signature topping of cotton candy and hand-painted macarons,” says Bonnae. “It is unique, as it takes great skill just to style and twist the cotton candy.”
Bonnae was also honoured that fashion icons Vera Wang and Iris Apfel wrote the foreword to her book.
Similar high-precision work is on display throughout the book. There is a red cake made entirely of sugar-crafted ruby roses; a naked cake intricately covered in lace-like icing; an Indian wedding-inspired cake with gold and jewel-like decoration atop richly hued pink, orange and red tiers.
One cake is adorned with beautifully handwritten poetry; another is inspired by the details a bride might find on her wedding cheongsam; and there are cakes imagined to fit perfectly into the weddings of high-profile couples such as Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“You will see a lot of different cakes,” says Bonnae. “I don’t really have one style because I believe that when doing wedding cakes, you have to listen to what other people want—you are doing it for the wedding couple, not yourself.”
And that’s why so many couples come to her for a wedding cake. Bonnae ensures she has a clear picture in her mind of what a couple’s big day will look like, so that her creation fits perfectly. “You are trying to manifest whatever is the most beautiful for their special day.”
However, most of Bonnae’s clients like to leave their cake’s aesthetics up to her. And with her eye for style, love for all things beautiful and her enviable creative vision, what bride’s big day wouldn’t be the sweeter—and more stylish—for leaving at least the cake in Bonnae’s hands?
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