Continuing from last week, we are creating an original gown through the Collaborative Couture project. As we are creating this gown, something to consider are trends in fashion. "Trends in fashion" doesn't refer just to apparel and accessories. Additionally, it refers to beauty, such as hair, nails, and make up, and also home fashions such as bedding, furniture, rugs, art, dishes, and a whole lot more!
Even though this is an original gown, it should still speak to the style of the time, and at least consider the current trends. After all, it's been said again and again (at least in the world of design), nobody designs in a vacuum. Things around a person, influence a person. They also influence designers. A piece that is designed today will look like it, and it should!
Trend research starts by observing what is around you. What are people wearing? What do you see in your friends' homes? What is on the shelves in stores? An important distinction is I am not trend forecasting... If I was creating designs now to be sold 18 months from now, I would need to forecast what will be happening in trends then, which is it's own statistics based art. Since this will be worn in just a few months, today's trends will most likely still be quite current.
As far as visual fashion trends, I took a look around and saw the following things (for the original sources, please see my PInterest page):
Obviously, I will not be incorporating ALL of these things into this one design. I looked at many types of examples of each of these things and saw how they are incorporated into their respective designs. Then I decided (and am still deciding) if there is a way that I would like to incorporate them into this new design.
I started by going back to my original inspiration (remember that whole Garden of Life theme?) I noticed some things in the nature /garden pictures I pinned: Ombre color effects and scallops. Additionally, since this is a ball, which is a glamorous event, I also like the sequin trend and the lace trend. I will be looking no further into Words or Pom-pom trends for this project.
I am not sure yet if we will incorporate all of the stated trends into the same gown. I do know that I love the idea of lace on a formal gown and I love sequins on a glamorous gown! With that being the case, I did a bit of fabric shopping!
I purchased some fabrics. We can't use them all. It will be too much. Anyway, to continue forward with this design, I need to pick the bodice fabric. It will determine how I choose to shape the skirt. I chose gold because it seems both formal and glamorous without being bridal-- something we want to avoid at a ball! So without further ado, please vote for one!
As a reminder, you can vote up to THREE times! On the Restitch Studio Facebook Page, on Instagram @ RestitchStudio, and right here in the comment section of the blog! Remember to share with your friends so they can join in the fun and help to create a one in a million gown, too!
In case you missed the last post, we (yes, like the collective internet, YOU and I) are designing a formal gown, through the process I have deemed "Collaborative Couture."
This is a design for the lovely, Heather Lukac, to wear to the Mount Nittany Medical Center Charity Ball, I have free license to create whatever I fancy. Since we are creating the gown together, I will put choices up for a vote on the Restitch Studio Facebook Page and Instagram account (@RestitchStudio). Some basic decisions have been made, it will be floor length, A-line, and formal and that's where I am. So what else? I need some inspiration!
Inspiration can be hard when the design it too limited, but i think it is much harder to grab an idea and make it real when it is sooo open that ANYTHING is possible. When I create original designs it is usually because something specific inspired me. I know when I say that people think of artsy things like sunsets and skylines, but for me, it is more likely something tactile-- a great fabric or technique that I just have to use. Either way, open ended-ness makes it hard to nail anything down. In this case, the event to which this gown will be worn, has a theme, Garden of Life.
I like this as a jumping off point for inspiration, but I don't want the gown to look like a costume. No giant flower interpretation or Bjork Swan Dresses. To get started, I made a Pinterest board. I pinned a word association bubble and some other inspiration to start. You can check it out here. This Pinterest board will be acting as my Mood board for the time being.
Remember this will be a formal gown done in formal fabrics. I really liked the idea of a sporty/active shape because of the Garden of Life theme-- see my word association above. A sporty shape kind of fits that idea. So here is a peak into my sketchbook so you can decide which you like better. This decision is about the back, which seemed like an obvious place to start based on my inspiration. Here it is. Please remember to vote on Facebook or Instagram! @RestitchStudio
Once this and a few other style issues get ironed out, I will make a muslin mock up. It basically acts like a prototype of the gown for fitting and styling purposes. Sometimes what seems like a fantastic idea on paper is a whole other story in fabric on a living moving body. More about that next time! Go vote!
It happens to me All. The. Time. A customer will come to me for some basic fit alterations and see something like this on my dress form:
They ask, "what's that about?" Well, in addition to being everyone's favorite ;) person to alter clothing, I am a designer. A formally trained and educated fashion designer and designing is where my true creative expression and talents are maximized!
It means that I find inspiration, research ideas, sketch designs, create patterns, choose fabric, cut and sew mock-up garments, cut fashion fabric then stitch it all together. Along the way, I am tweaking and altering the garment for the perfect fit.
If the ideas are my own, it is an original design. If the idea is somebody else's and I bring it to life for them, it is a custom design. Many times, what I create is something in between, a collaboration.
Most people don't have an idea of how any of this works until they go through the process. Over the next few weeks, I'd like to take my readers through that process with me. This will be a collaboration of sorts. I plan to post each step of the process as well as options of various design features to be voted on, on the Restitch Studio Facebook Page and Instagram Account (@RestitchStudio). Together, we will create a one in a million gown!
I hope you will join me on this journey to help me create something beautiful! Through this process, hopefully you will be able to understand what goes into an original or custom design and see that there are lots of benefits to having a design created especially for you.
If you are inspired by this process I would encourage you to contact me to start our collaboration today!
Sylvie and her (now) husband, Phillip, met while they were out swing dancing. It was only fitting that swing dancing would be a centerpiece at their wedding reception and Sylvie needed a dress she could boogie in! BUT she wanted to get married in a more traditional looking wedding gown. AND she didn't want to have two gowns-- after all a wedding dress is only worn once, and who wants to shorten its already minuscule lifespan?
She arrived at my door, with this very lovely dress. She liked the movement and thought maybe there was a way to customize it so she could get married in it long and then dance the night away in it short. Additionally, Sylvie wanted her dress customized on the back to express her personal style more so than the original plain halter strap top that it originally had-- as pictured in the stock photo-- the first one below...
So, we got to work, first adjusting it for the perfect fit. Then we took a look at Sylvie's ideas for straps (she brought sketches, this is a lady with vision!) She wanted something a bit more interesting than traditional straps and came up with lots of variations. Here I am trying a few things out and the end result:
We thought that the direction of the straps flowed nicely with the direction of the shirring on the bodice.
That'a all well, good and very lovely, however, the BIG thing was how to transform a traditional wedding gown into a dress suitable for swing dancing!?
Basically, I created a bubble by engineering a hidden loop and tie system, the ENTIRE way around the gown. For even more fun and to test my problem solving ability, the gown had a built in tulle petticoat underneath which was necessary to give the dress the proper body when long, but when the dress was bubbled, it made it look like Little Bo-Peep. (No there are no pictures of this, you're welcome, Sylvie.)
To get around this snag, the petticoat got sliced off at the thigh (above where the puffy tulle started) and snap tape was attached to both pieces. This allowed the petticoat to be snapped on while it was gown length and detached before the dress was tied up and made swing dance length.
It was quite the undertaking, but here are the results! Totally worth it, especially considering that not even the groom knew about Sylvie's dress-shortening plans and was completely surprised that he would get to swing dance after all!
Gown length for the wedding...
Swing-dance length for the party!
As a bonus...
Sylvie, married in early October, decided not to pack away the gown-turned-party-frock, in moth balls. Instead, she decided to wear it again, for Halloween....
(photos courtesy of Sylvie)
Please join my in congratulating Sylvie and Phillip and wishing them a lifetime of happiness and swing dancing fun!
If you are a bride with BIG visions for your wedding dress, drop me a line! I love a challenge!
I'm Denise Meyer, apparel designer in State College, PA, saving the world one clothing problem at a time!