Friday, May 17, 2013

Nancy's Silk Skirt Gets a New Lease on Life

Seven years ago, Nancy brought me a wonderful silk georgette skirt.  She wanted it used to create and ballroom costume and we decided that costume could be both a rhythm gown and a smooth dress, by making the skirt removable.  It was her first ballroom costume collaboration and the results were good!  This is the rhythm dress we created, and the skirt pulled on underneath the dress to convert it to a ballgown.

I wish I had taken a photo of the skirt alone, before I incorporated it into Nancy's new ball gown, but I did not manage to do that.  I did take a quick shot of the embellished leotard with the skirt before it was assembled into the new gown, so you can see the relationship in the graphics.

AND I can show you the skirt in its new configuration!

In both cases, the embellishment details for the gowns were suggested by the graphic design in the skirt.  The first was a simpler, brighter, bronze level result,  and the new one is, for me, a WOW! 

My partner Michele and I debated and sampled several different processes to recreate the graphic on Nancy's new French Vanilla leotard base.  We knew we wanted the lines to be defined in the same way as they were on the skirt and then embellished with jet stones and flatback pearls.  After testing appliqued strips of black fabric, and the meticulous application of black permanent fabric marker, we decided that the latter had the most similar visual effect to that of the skirt.  After careful design and planning, and much pre-washing of the red lycra to avoid any post process color bleeding, we were very plesed with our results!

This is certainly the gown of a more advanced and more experienced dancer, one who knows she will be seen, even in black.  And a more elegant and serious look than the original.  When she picked up her gown, she brought in a Light Siam choker style necklace and bangles I had made for another costume of hers, and they looked perfect!

I am really wishing I could be at the Arthur Murray Showcase this weekend to see Nancy, Christy, and also Linda, who has a new Gently Used Rhythm Gown dance, but I will be at MN Star Ball on the other end of town.  I hope you will make it to one event or the other, and I hope anyone at the Arthur Murray showcase with a digital camera might send me a few images to keep me posted on what I am missing!  Good luck to you, my lovely ladies!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Cure for the Blues for Cathy

I made this rhythm gown just over a year ago, but never got around to writing about it.  I thought I would wait until I saw Cathy wear it, so I could include photos of her dancing, but somehow, I never made it to an event of hers, and did not get the photos I had imagined.

There is another opportunity coming up, (which I would have missed again, given I will be at the MN Star Ball on that day) but Cathy broke her foot and is not able to dance in the Arthur Murray Showcase on the 19th, and I know she is SAD about that.  So hopefully, this little post will lift her couch-bound spirits!

We began with words from her teachers, and each had the word "precise" in their lists.  Also, we considered "legs" "fast" "light" and "sassy."  We also wanted a little tummy disguise, and amplification for that precise, fast movement.  We got "light" from our airy fabric choice of mesh in the kimono style top and the skirt.  We kept the skirt short, to show off those great "legs" and repeated the mesh in the skirt to allow us to see lots of leg without question of good taste.  The movement of the mesh around her leotard and compact skirt provides the amplification we were seeking, offering great light, "fast" action with her movement.  We actually added speed to the skirt with the weight of the row of stones at the base of the mesh. And the "sassy"?  Well I hope that is in all the action and swish this little gown has!  Plus, Cathy has that herself in spades!

All the lines and shapes in the gown are clean and angular, (in the interest of her "precise" dancing)from the v-shaped neckline and upper back, to the pointed open oval details we made good use of both as a collection point for the ruched skirt top, and frame for the tail of dance crepe we used.

One of my favorite parts of this costume is the jewelry!  We had originally designed something quite different, and at the final fitting, we re-designed to make better use of the angular design accent lines.  Yum!  I love the peek-a-boo necklace, and wish I had a shot of it on the form.

As she did on her last gown, Cathy did an excellent job of the rhinestone application, both as a means to stay involved with her design, and to ensure the lowest possible cost for a great result.

Cathy, I am so sorry you can't dance this weekend, but I hope this gives you a smile and some great memories.  I hope your will be up and animating this gown SOON!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dazzle for Christy

 The design meeting for this gown for petite and trim Christy was an easy one.  Christy wanted something with substantial sparkle.  She wanted thick white fringe, and she wanted white and nude, or as we talked, white and gold.
 I showed her nude fabrics and she decided on a metallic gold mesh instead, and we embellished that, rhythmically, in Light Topaz AB, in contrast to the random application of the Crystal AB on the opposite side of the gown. 
We discussed color blocking as a trend in Latin gowns, and then created soft body-sensitive blocks to help define her curves and rhythmic action.  The fringe is thick as requested, accomplished through the application of three layers of long white tactel. 
We finished the back with a triple diagonal strap detail, and echoed the combination of the three delicate straps against the chunky, jewel encrusted gown, with a cuff and three bangle bracelets.
Christy was a delight to work with, and we hope she will be back in our studio again soon for a new gown for her smooth dances.  And we wish her the best at her upcoming Arthur Murray showcase.