I work with a lot of private clients on special occasion looks like wedding gowns, event pieces etc. I usually don't blog about the process (just posting a final image on my IG or on Facebook) however this client had a particularly interesting request, which turned into a really creative collaboration between designer and client. I met said client at a draping workshop event that I had at Britex a few years back. She had several bridesmaid dresses (5 to be exact) all in quality fabrications, but none of which she could ever see herself wearing again. She thought that maybe I could salvage enough fabric to cut entirely new garments out of them and was expecting to have to purchase additional yardage of contrasting fabrics to complete each look. She made an appointment to come to my workspace and brought the dresses for me to "play around" and see what ideas I could come up with. She had a sort of "tech" conservative day look, but I really had no clue about her personal style, so I asked her to put together a mood board of looks that she found appealing on Pinterest. The board, to my happy surprise was full of edgy/Japanese inspired structural/minimalist looks. Armed with this knowledge and the fact that she appreciated my draping skills, I decided to come up with "new life" pieces, not by cutting into the fabrics to make entirely new items, but by flipping the garments around on my dress form and being inspired by certain elements of the pieces original construction to be utilized in a new way.
The first piece I completed began as a dusty pink satin Vera Wang strapless gown. The design element that I found to be most interesting was the hem, which was fully edged in wide horsehair trim. I immediately flipped the gown upside down utilizing the original hem to create a super structured neckline on what would eventually be her new jacket. I then sliced the dress in half to come up with the other side of the jacket and used the original seaming to create buttonholes and a pocket. The resulting look is a very "edgy" piece that can be easily dressed up or down and is incredibly comfortable and most importantly, wearable.
I am currently working on the second dress of this 5 piece collection. This item will eventually be an asymmetrical, draped top. I came up with the idea by flipping the dress on its side and utilizing the garments original empire waist shirring detail as a new sleeve "epaulette." I will then cut the other half of the dresses skirt portion to create the other half of the new top. The end result should be very interesting, as well as time consuming since this garment is made out of silk chiffon, an extremely difficult fabric to work with...wish me luck:)