Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tracy's Emerald Vine

It's easy to make a beautiful gown for a beautiful woman.  Tracy fits that description.  The ideas for her gown came from video clips on You Tube, featuring one of her favorite Latin dancers, in three different but similar costumes.  We picked and chose components from each of the gowns, she chose her color, and we ordered Zircon dance crepe and stretch satin from Dance Sport International in England.

Most of the fabrics I use come from England, where ballroom dancing is a much bigger part of life than here in the US.  It is very hard to find fabrics in this country that meet all of the requirements of competition dancewear, and there are no suppliers devoted specifically to the needs of the ballroom.  First, we need richer, more purely intense color than is available for street clothing, since the objective is generally to be easily visible and vibrant.  Secondly, I usually need fabric of several different kinds for each gown, and usually I want these fabrics to match.  For example, this gown required a supple, soft stretchy crepe for the bodice, and a shiny, lightweight poly satin for the skirt.  Neither of these things is available at my local fabric shop. Finally, I need fabrics that have been created specifically for the rigors of competitive dance, and will stand up to sweat, not tear in aggressive movement, will travel without wrinkling, and wash easily without needing to be dry cleaned.

In the upper right, my usual favorite nude mesh, and in the forground, the same mesh with a gold metallic finish.
In this particular case, one of the fabrics we used came from a New York City supplier, Spandex House.  Tracy wanted a portion of her gown to be sheer and appear to be nearly nude.  But Tracy is a modest woman, and wanted her nude sheer not to look TOO nude.  So we used a metallic gold stretch mesh for the right side of the bodice.  The metallic sheen helped the eye focus on the surface, and not so much on what was just beneath.

This gown is also conservative in terms of visible skin, but by no means a gown that is not exciting on the floor.  The high back allows the design elements to lead the eye around the body, plus there is a wide "slit" of sorts at the skirt attachment at the left side, that is decidedly sexy.   The over-all impression is that of elegance, with a touch of racy indifference.  It was super appealing on the dance floor!  Let me show you.

From the right side, this gown has an elegant feel, because of its strapless look and length.

From the left side, this gown has a sexy flirtiness, and in action, shows lots of beautiful leg. And that metallic gold is clearly gold, and not skin.  Tasteful, but tempting, I think!

I apologize for the quality of my iPad photos.  When I am trying to both man my costume display and sneak into the ballroom to watch my clients, there is not much time to set up a tripod and deal with appropriate camera settings. But I think you can see what I mean.  And she is a beautiful woman, no?

Here's that left side, looking odd on my half form, but I wanted to talk about the gold mesh portion.  We debated whether or not to do any imagery on the gold, and initially thought that it might just be encrusted with Light Topaz AB stones.  But the Light Topaz AB and Crystal AB and very near to each other in effect, especially from a distance, and I wanted to make sure the Crystal AB swirl pattern was neatly visually isolated.  So I created the vine graphics, with an eye to making sure that Emerald AB stones sat at the edge of the Crystal AB swirl to help it pop. We also debated skirt shape and length, as there were slightly different skirts on each of the three original gowns we drew from.  Tracy's teacher Scott had some concerns about how much skirt there would be, ("that looks like a LOT of skirt") and I think we landed on a happy medium.  Notice our sexy slit hangs closed at a standstill, but opens in action, something Tracy appreciates, I think. The weight of a longer skirt would force it to hang open.

Tracy has bangle bracelets for this gown, but no necklace.  I appreciate jewelry can be warm, and one more thing to think about, but I would love to make this gown a necklace for the elegant side.  The flirty side probably likes its shoulders bare.  :)


Cath Thomas said...

Your I-phone pictures are very good, I love your reportage!!! Thank you for sharing your art with us.

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Cath, thank you!