By far the biggest “transformation” of a dress during the “The Front Row” was of a gold stitched chiffon piece. This design was based on another created last year for the Fair Fashion Parade. It was the favourite of the model who assisted me with fittings, and of the audience at the parade, so I included it in the Evergreen exhibition at Object the following month. (By popular, I have no tangible basis for this, other than it seemed to extract the most “oohs and aahs” and “that’s stunning” style comments from those who saw it. As I like to create garments that have a popular appeal as well as appeal to my own tastes an inclinations, and as I don’t have a concrete measure such as sales figures go by, I often rely on the “ooh, aah” endorsement to determine future design directions…)
With the original dress in Sydney at the Object exhibition, I set about creating a similar one for The Front Row. The fabric was dyed in Eucalyptus leaves, with some pieces left in they dyebath an hour or so longer so as to create two different shades. The dress wasn’t finished in time for the beginning of the exhibition and instead this hank of coffee coloured chiffon hung in the gallery over the first week, “I’m meaning to make that up” I told everyone who wondered at what it was.
Lisa of Couturing saw the potential and agreed to wear the dress based on a photograph of the original, and so I set about getting it done. The pieces are joined with a gold running stitch, each piece is left much as is, the edges folded back so as to fall in small frills. A gold running stitch along the folded edges is both functional and decorative.
Image courtesy Couturing
Lisa wore the dress to LMFF Runway 2 with black “bunny ears” by Richard Nylon and a vintage Chanel handbag – I felt in very good company.
Image courtesy Couturing, Dress with Richard Nylon
Image courtesy Couturing, Dress with Gwendolynne Burkin
Image courtesy Couturing, Dress with Toni Maticevski
The dress also found itself in good company prior to the parade, here it is photographed with Richard himself, with designer Gwendolynne Burkin and with Toni Maticevski – legitimation by association.
I had put one day in the middle of the exhibition aside for serious transformation of the collection, and made up an indigo vat following on from a recent workshop (more about this another time). The chiffon dress was destined next for Leeyong of Style Wilderness and the City Weekly, who had also elected to wear it before seeing it made. (She had, mind you, styled the original dress in the Fair@Square parade of which she was the organiser, so was familiar with it). We agreed, that for her, the dress would be dyed in indigo. What was particularly lovely though was that Leeyong was keen to try out the indigo process on some of her own clothes, and so came along to Indigo day. We were able to decide together the twist-dyed effect we would attempt. Leeyong had had plans of wearing the dress that very same day, but the process was much slower than anticipated, and the drying even more so, and in a cruel twist of fate, the gold thread actually broke down in the dye vat and many panels had to be re-sewn! Clearly indigo is not the “natural” process I had originally imagined it to be.
Image courtesy Style Wilderness
And so, here is Leeyong at the LMFF Red Carpet Runway Presents Toni Maticevski show. Note the ominous looking sky.
Leeyong and Phoebe, image courtesy Style Wilderness
And here is Leeyong with Phoebe, aka Lady Melbourne, recognise her dress? You can read Leeyong’s own story, What a Difference a Dye Makes, about the dress on her blog – cute title! Cruelly, Melbourne chose this night to unleash some absolutely vile weather, and so not only are photos of the guests at this particular parade scarce, this dress, along with two others of mine worn that night, were returned in a sorry crumpled state, which I actually didn’t mind one bit, because this altered state beyond my control hinted at excellent possibilities for the next transformation…