Archive for the ‘Fabric’ Category

Royal wedding gown revealed

April 29th, 2011
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Kate Middleton brought back the long-absent matrimonial veil and train.

The monthslong speculation over just what Kate Middleton’s wedding gown would look like ended last night, with the newly minted royal wearing a gown designed by Alexander McQueen successor Sarah Burton.

Fashion writer Robin Givhan reported in The Daily Beast: “The Alexander McQueen wedding dress that Kate Middleton wore to marry Prince William was a glorious sweep of ivory and white silk gazar with hand-embroidered English and French Chantilly lace and 58 organza-covered buttons snaking up the back. It had a discreet v-neck, long lace sleeves and a train that measured nearly nine feet long. Middleton’s slender waistline was emphasized by the gown’s narrow bodice and slight padding at the hips—a nod to Victorian style. It was a dignified acknowledgement of Arts and Crafts tradition but bore the streamlined, body-enhancing silhouette of contemporary fashion.”

Earlier in the week I had asked bridal boutique owners Gladys Agsalud of Casablanca Bridal, and Cecilia Domingo of The Bridal Boutique what they imagined her gown would look like, and they nailed it, with an eye on tradition, fine fabric and elegance that speaks to Kate’s personal style.

Grace Kelly’s 1956 gown.

They spoke of the return to tradition and the retro glamour of Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Ranier of Monaco in 1956. Her sense of style has long been evident, such that way back in December, when speculation began and designers started coming up with their own illustrations as to what they would design for Kate, I posted that I liked Monique Lhullier’s vision best: simple, streamlined, elegant, with a close fitting lace bodice.

Casablanca carries Lhullier’s gowns and I chose one for the styling in HI Luxury’s latest issue, in a session called “Happily Ever After,” paying homage to the royal wedding. Yet, I have to admit when I saw the gown, I was a bit disappointed, just because there was nothing beyond what fashion watchers were already expecting.

I think any fashion observer would have hoped for tradition combined with a bit of an edge, something a little more ground-breaking. Given all the speculation and excitement leading up to the event, I just wanted a little more dazzle worthy of the international stage. Givhan said as much when she wrote: “It was the most beautiful dress that was destined, doomed to be a disappointment—if only because so much was expected of it.”

But the morning after, the photos look beautiful, and true-to-form, Kate showed herself to be a sensible, tasteful, understated young woman, and that should suit her well as she makes her life in the public eye. Perhaps she’s sending a message that she doesn’t need to be a fashion icon if to be such detracts from William’s more important agendas. As an anti-Diana, she may be just what the troubled monarchy needs right now.

What was interesting is that the bridal owners said that a celebrity wedding always sends brides clamoring for the latest trend, and now, they’ll all want to look like Kate, reversing a seven-year trend in informal strapless gowns and toward traditional lace and veils. You would think that on her big day, a bride would want to be unique and true to her own personality and aesthetic on her day, but, like all most of fashion, trends and imitation rule. I always wanted a 1920s style flapper dress for my own wedding!

New life for old tee

March 23rd, 2011
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Nadine Kam photos

Michelle Douglas of Meg by Design hosted an Etsy community crafting event, teaching students how to reconstruct their old tees. Here, she helped one student to put two of her old tees together.

Already, two weeks seems like too-short a time period for the Hawaii Fashion Incubator to be in operation. There are a lot of classes and workshops on the calendar I want to try, but there are just so many things going on all around town, there’s work and just not enough time to get to them all.

It would be different if the space were permanent (there are possibilities in the works), and we could count on recurring workshops and classes.

So it was that Michelle Douglas of Meg by Design, was presenting just one class on T-shirt reconstruction and I couldn’t miss it. It coincided with the after party for Lovelessizm, so in a way, I was there for both, as curious party-goers peeked into the back room to see what was going on and stopped by to say hi and see what I was working on.

Why I had to do this is kind of a long story, starting with this large men’s T-shirt I bought at Savers a couple of years ago. It had an image of a cat in sunglasses lounging on a beach. The T-shirt was old and faded, and the plasticized image was cracked, but it just appealed to me and I thought I could turn it into a casual camisole top with a plain top bodice and the image on the lower half.

I like the eco-friendly idea of reworking something shapeless, old and unwanted into something someone might actually want to wear. Then, like many leisure projects and good intentions, it went nowhere for lack of time and motivation.

Michelle helped Aryana Chang turn her T-shirt into a lightweight sweater jacket, below.

Every now and then, I’d spot the shirt and just recently was going to add it to a bag destined for Goodwill, but then stopped short of putting it in.

On Sunday I had talked to Tiare Thomas about vision boarding, and I think the image is one I might include on a vision board. In thinking about it, I figured I want to be the cat lounging on the beach without a care in the world! Tiare had talked about balance and as much as my work is play in that I’m doing things I like, I have very little down time and wonder what it might be like to actually take a vacation without working.

For the class, I also brought in a size XXL long sleeve jersey shirt I bought from Savers for fabric, but again, never reworked, so I used it as a dress on chilly days, knotting the front into a rosette. I thought it could be the back of the camisole if necessary.

Next thing I knew, Michelle had popped the shirt onto a manikin, and tying it every which way, and whatever she did looked amazing. When I said the two pieces didn’t have to go together, she just said, “You’ve got yourself a dress,” an amazing halter-style dress. Nobody there could believe what she’d created from such an ugly basic piece.

When it came to reworking the T-shirt, instead of using the whole cat image on the skirt portion as I had planned, she said it would be more interesting to use in the bodice, and would be even more interesting if I used half of the cat on the front, and the other half on the back, and it turned out really cute.

You can see Michelle’s reconstructed wedding gowns and bridal collections during her Meg by Design launch party and fashion show at the Hifi Pop-up Incubator, 7 to 9 p.m. March 25.

In the meantime, you can also check out her items at Hifi or in her Etsy shop.

Cora Cardwell created this piece in class.

Here I am cutting fabric while there was a party going on in the background. Behind me are racks of Lovelessizm designs, back from the Centerstage fashion show. I’m not easily distracted when writing, but I found it really hard to sew with loud music.

Once a T-shirt: The almost finished top. Just gotta trim the loose threads, and the seam will be turned down for a tiny ruffle effect.