Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ice Maiden

Here is one some of my latest... icy blue a nice change from the dominant black of winter, and a good fit for the current temperatures in Melbourne.

This dress was for Miss Rosalie, as she shall henceforth be called.
Miss Rosalie has been planning to go to the Oxford (as in, University, as in England) Ball for... maybe, three years?! So obviously her dress was absolutely central to her planning: flights and accomm, travel etc, coming in a distant second.

Her brief to me was - "Make me a dress!'....Oh how I love an open book - or not. 
So after a bit of *thinking* we had a strong 1930's theme going on - lucky for me with my bias toward bias cutting! 

I developed the major features through a toile and drawings, as Rosalie was in Sydney, so there was a lot of... "You mean this? ohhhh, like a drapey thing here like that. Riiight." Etc etc.

© E.Christian
Blue Silk bias gown.

Our most contentious issue was colour! At the outset, Rosalie offered blue as a "good colour". Not one for overstatements, our Rose.
But, as is often the case she was loathe to go for an eye-popping colour; more for a restrained and elegant option that she knew was safe. She was thinking dark blues, midnight, navy, inky transparent tones.

After some sleepless nights, I had to face up to Rosalie and say I thought her idea was a bit crap. Tough. But after all that's what you hire a designer for, I would have thought. And she thought so too. 
I felt, for her colouring, a dark tone would be unflattering and boring. Combined with the very simple design, she needed a gusty, strong colour to pop on the red carpet at Oxford. As one should.

 We decided on "Kingfisher" blue; my favourite colour in the Derwent Watercolour Pencil set.
Clegs silk satin and georgette, in "Petrol" and "Marine".

I chose a combination of two silk fabrics: Silk satin crepe in "Petrol" (dark teal green), using the matte side "out", over-layed with silk georgette in "Marine" - a strong blue with a hint of green.
I felt this would play off Rosalie's beautiful pale skin and green eyes, making a stunning combination.

The dress itself was entirely cut on the cross - I dont know why I keep getting myself into jobs with many layers of filmy silk and grains going up the wah-zoo, but here we are again. 

The dress features a sleeveless blousey bodice with a pleated neckline and deep v- back.
I've always wanted to use the lovely transparent "wings" that were often a feature of the Deco gowns: a pretty fluttering, and flattering, design that can be good for hiding the back of the arm...not many people have pretty arm-backs, really. They knew that back in the day.

Skirt front is one panel, with godets to the thigh, and in the side seams. This was pretty tricky, doing georgette godets, but I was very happy with the sit. 

Blousey bodice with pleated neckline
Skirt front with godets and plaited belt

The back skirt was made in four bias panels, with godets graded into a train in the centre, and a large centre godet, for good measure, I guess. I was pretty damn happy with the fit and cut and sit, to be immodest. It was tricky!
Last fitting - two days before departure!

On the red carpet

Nice location eh?

I wish I went to the ball.

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