Thursday, January 16, 2014

Condiments for Julie?

Julie is one of my all-time favorite clients.  She is a professional dancer, teaching and competing with her students.  She is also a retired a professional competitor, and that helps to explain the fact that this is our 53rd project together, by my count.  She picked up her new gown at the Snow Ball this weekend, and laughed in the dressing room, telling another dancer about looking at this gown at one point in our process and seeing ketchup and mustard!  Hence the silly name for this post.  

I am particularly fond of the buttons on the cuff detail. 
Julie was not on my schedule for the Snow Ball, but was taken by surprise just before Thanksgiving when both of her ballgowns sold to another dancer.  She called to explain her situation, and despite being VERY booked for the Snow Ball, I could not say no to Julie.  Our design meeting was mostly about the hunt for, and discovery of, an interesting piece of ombred fabric.  With only the vaguest of sketches, I talked with my salesman about the fabric, to confirm color and vibrancy, and sent for a piece of it.  While the ombre flew across the pond, I basted together a leotard, since we knew Julie wanted a portion of the gown to be rhinestone-embellished nude mesh.  When the fabric arrived, Julie met with me and we wrapped it around her body and watched our design flicker into life. She is a beautiful woman and this photo, while illustrating our process, does not do her justice.

Julie's confidence is a tremendous asset in design and fittings.  Even in a moment of doubt, (like seeing condiments instead of flaming gorgeousness!) she is always willing to move ahead from where we are.  I appreciate her calmness and ability to be patient until a great next step presents itself.

The design lines and details of this gown are simple, in the interest of allowing the color shift to be the eye-catching aspect of the work.  We both felt it would need an awesome piece of jewelry to provide focus and cohesion.  We tried out a few of my patterns and Julie liked one she felt was "Amazon" in character.  I reconfigured it to allow it to drop in a v-shape, both in the front and at the back, allowing it to synchronize with and support the neckline in three dimensions. Then I devised a simple means for it to attach to the gown that allows it both to move with Julie and stay neatly in place.  After testing, my paper pattern was drawn onto nude mesh fused to ultrasuede for comfort.  I edge-stitched for durability, and painstaking cut it all out.  Here it is, ready for my syringe of adhesive and the rhinestone embellishment.  As you can see, there are also a couple of bangle bracelets and a pair of as-yet-un-trimmed earrings, at the far left of the shot.

Here are the finished bangles and earrings, and a shot of the necklace connection, which I hope you cannot see!

And here is the gorgeous Julie, modeling the finished gown.

And with her awesome husband, and amateur competitive partner, Ken, wearing one of our suits.

Gown and Ballroom Suit by Made for Movement
I have not been the best blogger in 2013, and have written about only a few of the gowns I created.  I am gong to try and play catchup, (ketchup???) starting with my most recent work, and over the next few weeks, I will see if I can't get most of last years work posted so I can move on to some things I am really excited about for 2014, among them a DRAGON DRESS!  Thanks for reading and if you are imagining a 2014 project, call today to reserve time on my schedule!