Monday, May 23, 2011

Wedding dress, part 4

This week, the lovely Maria's wedding dress is in the spotlight.

Maria came to me with a pretty specific idea of what she wanted and what suits her. I was thrilled: one of the greatest hurdles in designing a wedding dress is trying to devine what a bride truely wants when she doesn't even know herself!
Maria knew what she liked, what looked good, and what she felt comfortable in, which is a big deal as well. Many women are prepared to feel uncomfortable on their wedding day to achieve their ideal look, but it can also show up clearly in photos, and in real life, that you're not actually able to breathe, or your feet are killing you, or that your dress keeps falling down. Not a good look.

So Maria's wedding context was as follows:
 1. Setting: Winery
2. Season: Autumn
3. Style: Contemporary, 
with an Italian/Indian theme (bride and groom, respectively).

Maria bought me a few photos of the style she thought would be perfect and her ideal colour: soft, mauve-y blue. Its hard to explain.

This Roberto Cavalli gown worn by Christina Applegate was Maria's most important source photo. She loved the draping across the bodice, and the flattering boned corset shape, with the slim-line skirt and detailed back. Being petite, Maria didn't want to have a big skirt, and her wedding would not be one at a which a large white gown would have suited anyway.

So I went about finding exactly the right shade of blue chiffon for Maria, about 6 months before the wedding. This was important because colour production can be very unreliable and is determined by manufacturers trends, not what the consumer wants! 
Luckily, I found an incredible colour match at Rathdowne Fabrics & Remnants, for a great price and bought about 6m. 

When we got closer to her date, I began construction of Maria's dress. I made a toile, for the corset and basic skirt line, then got stuck into construction, proper.

We chose a silk satin, called Sea Pearl, to go under the blue chiffon, as Maria's groom was wearing a traditional Indian wedding suit, all gold and burgundy. And her bridesmaids were in augergine, so to pull all the elements together, I suggested a soft fleshy colour underneath. 

corset pieces

constructed, with boning and fusing

Corset, inside out with extra shaping fusing.

I used a lovely soft knitted fusing that went well with the softness of the beautiful satin, and didn't give it that "fused-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life" look. I also added extra fusing around the top of the bust to keep it firm against her body.

Dress underlay in Sea Pearl satin

Back/side view

The pictures above show the dress on my mannequin, which is too long for Maria's dress, hence the funny cups on the corset! 
This was actually a major problem because the next stage was draping onto the satin base, to create the blue layer.
I had to work at the hip/skirt section first, then move the whole thing up and work on the bust and shoulder draping, but it went pretty well. 

Practice draping

Almost finished, with cap sleeves

Hanging, back view

With Diamante feature, back view.

So, in the end, I was pretty happy with the result, and Maria was too; its always such a challenge to have a red-carpet gown to measure up to, but also to be inspired by. I think Maria felt very "her", and just right for her wedding, and she looked beautiful!

My next bride in the spotlight will be a Japanese-inspired cocktail-length number; stay tuned!

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