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!



Joanne Teague said...

This must have been a joy to make. Love the analogous color scheme and graceful draping. The entire project is just beautiful!

Crimson Frog Designs by Kinga Nichols said...

Harmonious but daring and just so right!What thought and foresight goes into each and every piece you make Marsha... Wow! By the way, the shape of the cuff and necklace would make fantastic bead embroidered pieces as well. Just saying...

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Thank you both so much for reading and commenting!