Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Susan's Plum,Tangerines, and Cherries

I can't wait for you to see the rest of this gown, because many of you might wonder about a combination of plum and tangerine and cerise, but there is a really good reason, and a nice cohesion to this rich, warm gown!

So, here is the explanation!  This tropical floral print was brought in by Susan, and it was a great starting point, providing the vibrant and unusual color palette for her new ball gown.  Susan trained as a ballet dancer and came to ballroom later in her career.  From watching her dance just a bit here in my studio in testing her costume, I image she is a beautiful, joyous, powerhouse on the competition floor.   This bold print and it's vibrant colorway seem just perfect for her.

When she arrived for her design meeting, Susan had this piece of fabric and a dark purple piece she thought might be an underskirt that would be visible from beneath the floral print.  I asked her to take the purple piece home.  I really enjoy working with prints, but experience tells me that a busy print requires careful design handling to be successful.  When the entire gown will not be the print, the colors used in conjunction need to be from the middle value range in the print.  Either end of that range (in this case, the white or the purple) is too much contrast, and the print and strong contrasting colors war with each other for focus.   This gown has several textures and details, but they all flow together to create an interesting whole, primarily because of the value choices.  I also find that it possible to use shapes with prints, but they must be similar in feeling, and since this print is very organic, a straight purple line at the hem would have been a clash in intention.  The diagonals, and flowing, color-shifting drape we used, have the same shapes as those in the print, and the dynamics compliment each other nicely.

Susan seems the sort to be a good performer as well, so we created a primary impact point at her face with the jewelry design, using the pale pinks in the Crystal AB Swarovski to exploit the power of contrast as a focusing tool.  I also image her port-de-bras is excellent, and the cuff bracelet will draw attention to beautiful arm use.

We also carefully kept the cutting of the fabric to a minimum with the design of the skirt shape, to allow it to be seen without interruption of line by seams any more than necessary.

Thank you Susan!  I really enjoyed making this gown and working with your beautiful print, and I love the great action shots Helen sent to me.  You really are a glorious dancer!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Terese's Hot Pink Fringe

Therese saw a fringy gown on Dancing With The Stars that she thought she might look good on her body, and visited my studio with a photo.  She had a very specific budget in mind and a wanted a vibrant, fun color, a hot pink.  

Sadly, there is very little vibrantly pink glass in the world, and I could find none of it made up into beaded fringe for purchase .  I did find a few 2" bead droppers in a somewhat bright pink, but attaching individual fringes in the density required did not fit the budget.  Also, the fringe length required was a minimum of 4" and preferably a range from 6" to 12".  Available funding also eliminated the possibility of stringing an entirely beaded fringe gown, so we decided to use rayon fringe, in beautiful, bright Electric Pink. 

One great thing about rayon fringe is that the length can be trimmed to suit the need, so it was possible to give this gown a sort of haircut to achieve nicely flowing and organicaly proportioned lines.  Applying the fringe in diagonals also helped the movement and stretch capabilites of the gown.

Therese is in excellent shape, and chose to leave her arms bare, so we connected her wrists to her body visually with lovely pave cuffs and gave her long earrings to decorate her neck without conflict with the neckline of the gown.

The color suits Therese's personality.  I have a number of clients well past retirement age, and all of them are vibrant individuals, with warm and joyful energy.  I really enjoy the idea that finding things to do that one can be passionate about lengthens and enriches lives, and Therese is living proof of that idea.

The very best thing about this gown is the movement of the fringe and I hope Therese will provide me with an action shot.  OR, maybe, with my fancy-schmancy new camera and improving photo skills, I can take one of my own at the next local event Therese attends.

Oh, and a final word, Therese's gown came in more than 20% under her budget limit, which is always news I love to give.  That doesn't happen often, but we do our best to be respectful of each clients cost requirements, and to hand over a final invoice that reflects the estimated cost.  She was pleased, and... she brought a lovely bouquet of bright red carnations.  SO SWEET!  Thank you.  :o)