Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bonnie's "Illusion of Suspended Elevation"

I always ask my clients to bring me a word or short phrase that describes what their gown will be.  Bonnie brought me a unique phrase, compliments of her coach Paul Botes.  Paul tells Bonnie and her partner/fiance, (tall and dark Ed) that they must be floaty, lightweight, and ethereal, creating an "illusion of suspended elevation."  Thanks Paul!  That was a really fun phrase to work with!

We had to immediately dash several ideas.  Like, deep, dark sapphire blue, which was Ed's hope, but sadly will probably never be an obviously lightweight choice.  Bonnie had polled both of her coaches about what her gown might include and teacher Scott Anderson suggested she "Go Gold!" Given Bonnie's beautiful light blonde hair, we decided on a soft platinum gold, (the third gown in my golden autumn trifecta) and went hunting for fabric that was light and metallic at the same time.  Bonnie found this beautiful gold-embossed organza locally, and I approved!  I offered the metallic gold slinky for the bodice.  I was pleased that Bonnie chose asymmetrical style lines for her gown, and happy to balance and support them with the diagonal hemline of the overskirt and  the creamy french vanilla mesh of the left sleeve.  Asymmetrical gowns are visually in motion before the dancing begins, and usually a plus for the wearer.

Bonnie showed me the hemline of a beautifully detailed British gown with bits of feather and fabric floating along the topskirt hemline and I created some organza leaf shapes and vanilla spiral fringe to make our own floaty statement at Bonnie's hem, applied to a pale gold charmeuse underskirt.
This beautiful detail repeats on the opposite side of the gown on the draped mesh sleeve top, nicely in balance and the perfect justification for each other's presence.

Bonnie did her own rhinestone application, after we applied the large sew-on jewels to the edges of the bodice and skirt for her, and did a great job, while keeping the cost of her gown reasonable.   She did all the Crystal AB fill-in at the borders, as well as the guilding of the metallic gold slinky bodice and sleeve with Swarovski Light Topaz AB.
Bonnie's gown needed to serve for both  American Style Smooth and for International Standard.  Standard style dancing is done in hold so the costumes often include wings or floats for the ladie's gown.  We created detachable floats (very "floaty" floats, given the lightness of the organza!) for the gown that will be used for Standard and removed for Smooth style dancing.
A super treat for me is to be able to show you Bonnie in her new gown, (in its International Standard Configuration) dancing with Ed!   You can see their Quickstep at Minnesota Madness by clicking on the link below. They begin their heat at the far corner of the room.  Enjoy!


Crimson Frog Designs by Kinga Nichols said...

Spiral fringe? You must have had so much fun with this, Marsha! And I think asymmetrical is the way to go, when "suspended elevation" is the key phrase! This gown is meant to fly and shimmer. Beautiful!

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Thanks Kinga. You are right, I really enjoyed this one!

Hazel said...

Hi Marsha, I have stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed reading it and watching the video showing the dress. I have started making dresses for my daughter and made some floats that were attached with a hook and eye but they couldn't be relied upon. Can I ask what method you used to make the floats detachable?

Thank you for your help
Hazel, Birmingham, England

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Hi Hazel, Hooks can be tightened with a pliers, assuming you are using a hook that has a small bump opposite the hool itself. I usually stitch through this bump several times, and the filling of thread tightens the bump, so that you have to click the hook into place, which greatly reduces the chances of the hook unhooking. You can also use a snap, just below the hook depending on the position of the float connection. Think creatively, there is a solution of every problem. You jsut have to find it! Best of luck with yoru daughters costumes!

Lisa said...

The dress looks really great in the dance video; the perfect amount of lightness, sparkle and movement. Beautiful. I bet she felt gorgeous.

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Thanks so much Lisa. I love it when my clients share images and videos with me. It allows me to "dance along" so to speak and enjoy the fruits of our labor together. I appreciate your reading and commenting!