Friday, August 23, 2013

Tracy's Elegance

Usually, Tracy arrives at her design meetings with tremendous preparation and forethought.  But this time, she had just one goal in mind.  A new gown for International Standard Ballroom that would be the epitome of elegance and sophistication.  But she had no images. 

And she also had an idea that the gown might black.  This can be a dangerous choice, if you are not a very well-known dancer, because by default all the gentlemen on the floor are wearing black or midnight blue, with only rare exceptions, and the danger of blending in and not being seen in large heats is very real.

In Standard, the competing is done entirely in closed hold.  The lady dances in front of the gentleman, slightly offset to his right side, and does not separate from him while dancing. So the back of the gown is as important as the front, if not more so, since the back is seen exclusively, except between dances, when the couple separates.   His hand covers her right shoulder blade (or thereabouts) and so, the right side of the back is the best place for sparkle and detail.  In this case, his hand fits beneath the epaulette, and is partially masked by the generous wing.

As we hunted through fabric catalogs and looked at current styles published by my favorite supplier, we happened across a gown that seemed to have many of the attributes we were talking about.  It was black, but also had some white.  It was intensely sparkly, to help it stand apart from all the tailsuits on the floor.  And it was certainly elegant.  With that as a basis for action, we made minor adjustments to accomodate Tracy's specific needs, and had a design we both thought was a just right fit for our goal.
Generally, Made for Movement gowns are unique, but I have learned in 26 years of designing for dancers that there is nothing entirely new under the sun, and since fashion and clothing are not subject to copyright, there is no real reason to avoid creating something similar in style to existing gowns.  I usually prefer not to copy exactly, but this is very similar to the image we stumbled across.  I think personal fit factors strongly into this equation, and I also think trends and fashion dictate what silhouettes are desirable, and what colors are available for use in fabrics each year.  What is hot this year is something that every dancer wants, and at some point following a fashion trend blurs the lines of individual designs.

Tracy says "I love the boldness of the gown - people say it's unlike anything they've seen in Standard. And I love the volume of the skirt. People also said Scott and I look great together in it because we're both all in black and white. And he brought out his tailsuit for the occasion."

So, Tracy has a gown she loves, elegant, visible, and beautiful.  And we were thrilled to make it!  Now that she has a new Smooth gown, and a dedicated Standard gown, I am hoping that a new Rhythm gown might be on tap for 2014!


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