Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Wedding Coat, as promised . . .

All photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography

It was me that insisted on a January wedding (it's my favorite month). And it was Joe that insisted we do our wedding photos outside. So I made a coat! We were lucky, it was about 35 degrees, a sunny day with a bright blue sky. (The week before the wedding it was about 10 degrees, so we were all really excited about how balmy it felt, hovering above freezing.)

I have been sitting on about 20 yards of ivory wool that Jenn gave me, left over from something, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to use it! Since it was pretty cold in Brooklyn in January, I doubled the wool. This coat weights so much. But it has pockets! The whole thing is lined in ivory silk. I love how my shrug/shawl thing looks as a scarf! Or a collar or something, but it's actually not attached.

In keeping with my vintage inspired theme, I modified a vintage dress pattern into a full length coat. It was one of the last handful of things to get finished before the wedding and one of my moms spent nearly a day doing all the hand finishing on this coat.

 And while it seems like a good thing to have around, a full length formal winter coat, I've been thinking of having it dyed a darker color or even, someone, I think My Phung, suggested I have it painted! Would be really cool. I love the idea of getting to wear it again.

Any other ideas? or suggestions?


Friday, March 1, 2013

When a wedding dress designer, designs her own wedding dress...

As a designer, and one that designs wedding dresses, you might think I've obsessed about my own wedding dress for years. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case.  While I have known for years that I would design my own wedding dress, it's more because it seemed kind of sac-religious not too.

What I have wanted to do for YEARS (and always been too chicken to do) was to go and try on wedding dresses, since I'm a terrible liar, I didn't do this until I actually got engaged. And I really went everywhere. That might be another story that I'll save for another post. But where it relates to this discussion is in how surprisingly difficult it was to find a dress like I thought I wanted, even in just the silhouette. 

Trying on dresses is actually advice I give to all my clients, for exactly this reason, when I found a dress that was similar in silhouette to what I had in mind. it confirmed for me that I was going the right direction with my design. The dress I tried on, I didn't want to take off! I just felt like a film star from the 30's, I was sure that was how I wanted to feel in my wedding dress. 

My idea started with the idea of some kind of short dropped waistline with a flared skirt of some kind, something vaguely art deco maybe bias, and kind of liquid in it's movement.

The easy part was knowing what color I wanted. I wanted this color. This pale green/grey/silver color. 
Once I draped the first draft, I was actually surprised how quickly this design came up and remained basically unchanged yet how difficult it was for me to complete.  (Another post I'll have to share with you is the photos from the fittings... works in progress..)

What I struggled with was my incredible desire for sleeves. I started out wanting removable sleeves. But I started designing in July when the idea of needing sleeves seems crazy in New York. By November I was horrified my sleeves were removable. And I HATED them.

I have to interrupt myself here and discuss my design team. My team consisted of my friends My Phung (who is amazing with fancy dresses), Jenn Rogien (who is a genius at telling story's with clothes, google her, you'll see), Maggi (she's a marketing & color genius), Nicole and Daniel.... I am lucky that I have so many talented designers for friends. It's weird to say that the most compassionate thing they all helped me do was, that they just gave me permission to not like what was going on and to redesign.

So in 3 separate fittings, one with My Phung, one with Daniel and then one last one with Nicole, I totally redesigned the removable sleeves into this half shawl/ half shrug thing.

Which I totally loved!! It added to me feeling like a starlet from the 30's, it doubled as some kind of amazing scarf/collar when I put my coat on. (the coat is another post.) And it achieved what I needed, a way to be warmer and covered earlier in the day and then remove it when I was too warm and wanted to dance.

Maggi also did my make-up and lent me, my something borrowed.
She had some vintage shoe clips from her grandmother (I think) and she had worn one on her wedding. I loved the little bit of sparkle and getting to share that detail from her wedding. It was really so fun how it all came together.

For my fascinator, I made it the last few days before the wedding. With my shrug, doing a big tulle fascinator seemed wrong, and everything that looked traditionally bridal just felt wrong. In the end it's mostly dark green feathers, some peacock feathers and a tiny bit of gold silk flower petals. 

Photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography
Photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography

 There is about 12 yards of fabric in the skirt of this dress. Twirling in it was so really fun.

Photos by Voeu Image Wedding Photography

In the end, the dress and the sleeves/shrug/shawl was exactly what I wanted. It could have been more green, but I loved it exactly as it was.... Especially with all the input and help from my friends. They made it so much better!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Girls Girls Girls and a tiny hat!

Last spring I had the good fortune to work with Jenn Rogien the Costume Designer for the HBO show Girls. We conspired to create a tiny hat for Shoshanna.

I did not know it would be on last nights episode to start off season 2 of the series!

So that's a fun way to start the new year!

What do you think? do you like it?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marianne and Andreas, 1 September 2012

all photos by
Marianne was planning her September wedding that was just outside of Paris from New York. She was such a relaxed bride that I'd sometimes get confused. It turned out that one of her oldest and dearest friends is a wedding planner in France. No wonder she was so relaxed! 

In addition to going all the way to France to get married, she was willing to come to my Brooklyn studio for every fitting from the very top of Manhattan!

It was so fun working with her. She was very clear about what she wanted. Something fun and blue that she could wear again that would travel well. I love what we came up with. We reinvented the train together! (You can see it above, moving around in the front!) I also created for her a matching fascinator using the fabric, lace and buttons from her dress.

Here's to you, Marianne and Andreas! Many happy adventures!  Vivez le voyage!!

(all these beautiful wedding photos are by!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Samantha in Liska! 9-7-12

Photo by me at their wedding, 9-7-12

I've known Samantha for a couple of years. When she got engaged to Alfonso, I was really excited. They are a rare couple, they're the couple that have actually been together for what seems like forever but act a little bit like they just met.

Sam is an Interior Designer and we've always had great conversations about design. So I was also really excited to discuss her wedding dress with her! She must have tried on 50 dresses. There were lots of conversations about the aspects we liked and didn't like.

We started really excited about the fabric we found, this amazingly light ivory hammered silk and the shape, a simple strapless trumpet shape. We thought this would be really flattering on her petite frame and make her feel like a bride.

 As we went along, it felt like there was something missing, something to make it more specifically her and this is what we came up with, an asymmetrical pleating that starts at the neckline and turns into a side train.  When we started this we loved it, and then thought it was too much across the body... Late one night we went back and forth via text messages looking at photos from our last fitting, until finally we both realized we were describing the same thing. I sketched out the little drawing above and sent it to her. I think I might have even said, "You sleep on it and make sure it's right. But as your designer, this is the perfect solution!"

Photo by Joe Tanis
Photo by Joe Tanis

There's a moment designing a dress for someone when you know it's exactly the right thing. In our next fitting when she could see the way the side train fell, it was so exciting, we all had goose bumps!

Photo by me
Photo by Joe Tanis

Technically, this dress is the Liska dress from my You Will Have Your Cake and Eat It Too line. And this is exactly the kind of customizing I get really excited about. Changing the fabric and adding these details, the lace at the waistline, it's really exciting to see something come up that looks so perfect for one woman.

When she came to pick up the dress, Joe was able to do a Wedding Portrait of her. (The beautiful studio shots are all his!)

It was so fun to work with you Samantha, congratulations to you and Alfonso! I'm so excited for you both! I know you'll have many many years of happiness ahead, and I did promise to baby sit your future children at least once! :)


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Brooklyn Bridge photo shoot

Last month I had the pleasure of working with Asia and Shiv, the Wedding Photography team that makes up Voue Image. Asia and Shiv created a really fun wedding photo shot on the Brooklyn Bridge. Check out more of their work on their wedding photography website.

I was happy to be the stylist and use one of my samples for our bride. The wind totally participated in showing the drama of our really long veil.

I can't wait to see the whole photo story! I'll share it as soon as it's ready. For now we have these little behind scenes images of getting everything ready!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Works in Progress

Photos by Joe Tanis
It's been fairly hectic the last fews weeks, (hence the quiet on the blog front) and there are some things that I've been finishing up that I can't wait to share with you. Alas, the Bride always gets to make her debut before I get to share anything with you!

In the meantime, here's some of my works in progress. Joe Tanis always takes the best photos of things I'm working on.