Thursday, May 10, 2012

Anne as Aphrodite

Aphrodite was the mythological Olympian Goddess of  love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. When Anne and I began work on her ballgown for the USA Dance Amateur National Competition this spring, Aphrodite became our muse.   

After several years of stepping away from competition to earn a college degree while working full-time, and struggling with back injuries, Anne (and her husband and partner Tom, who also wears Made for Movement) were ready to return to the National arena.

Anne wanted an attention-getting, classical, and sexy look.  She tried on a few gowns and fell in love with one with a deep keyhole front.  We had done a similar (but smaller) keyhole in a gown several years ago which was a success, so with that as a starting point we set out to create a Greek Goddess look for her.  We wanted to include white draping and golden jewelry like that worn by the ancient Greeks.  Unlike Greek clothing, our draping needed control in the interest of not adding mass. The golden details were both perfect with her blonde hair and peachy skin, plus a subtle reminder of their quest for competitive gold.

 Anne and Tom's goal for this National competiton was to "make the podium."   Just like in the olympic games, the top three couples in each championship event take stands to receive medals for photos, and they vowed to be on one of the three podiums.
No color is as visible on the floor as white, and it is often a championship gown color as well.  In addition to the gold, we chose a range of cool cabochons in turquoise, sapphire, emerald and peridot green to serve as our precious gem representatives. These colors were derived from the Greek jewelry I used as resource material.  The jewelry was mostly collar, cuff, and breastplate shapes, and very geometric in character.  I wanted the jewelry to be a part of the gown itself to allow for large shapes that would move neatly with Anne without flopping about.
We ran into a bit of trouble with the Anne's keyhole.  Before one of our fittings I reviewed the USA Amateur Dance competitive costume regulations, a very large and complex document that seems ever-changing. I developed a concern that Anne's keyhole might be more revealing of "imtimate areas" than was allowed.  I asked her to get approval for the keyhole and took a few snapshots at our fitting.  Sure enough, the USA Dance costume regulations staff determined that Anne's keyhole would be outside allowed limits.  So we filled the keyhole with a large decorative white mesh, backed with nude mesh, and embelllished with stones.  Ordinarily, nude fabrics are frowned upon by the USA Dance costume regulators, but Anne got approval, in the form of an e-mail, for this solution and carries it in her dance bag at all times.  The impression is still sexy, although not what Anne had hoped for, but I was glad to be able to avoid a last-moment disqualification for her, which can and does happen.

All of the jewelry research I did led me in the direction of geometric layouts, and I used those ideas in the collar and both the front and back keyhole treatments, as well as in the cuffs and earrings.  I loved the great matte shine of this gold lycra and think it looks almost like burnished metal and works really well in the cuffs and belt.  That belt is really not represented very well on my little half body form, but on Anne, it stretches to a sleek and beautiful fit.  With layout help and prompting from me, Anne kept the cost of her gown reasonable by applying her own Swarovski flatbacks and acrylic cabochons and did a great job of it.
We also found a great piece of metallic gold crinoline to stiffen and finish the skirt hem that really adds a lovely finishing flash of precious metal.

I am so happy to report the Anne and Tom achieved thier goal, placing third in Senior II Championship Smooth, and I look forward to seeing those podium shots!  Congratulations to both Annd and Tom on a successful return to USA Dance Nationals!  Made for Movement was glad to be along for the ride.