Saturday, January 16, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Golden Globes 2016

Red carpet season is back beginning with the Golden Globes Awards. I still have issues with these formal events due to what I see as a lack of good old fashion glamour. For me, the dresses are lacking in interesting cut, beautiful (Italian) fabrics, and accessories. I have nothing against simplicity, so long as it's brilliant and flawless in execution. However, most of what I see today is rather.. ordinary. In part, it's the fault of the designers. Inasmuch as I am not seeing a lot of interesting dresses on the couture runways, I shouldn't expect much on anyone's red carpet. I put the rest of the blame on the stylists, who don't seem to have much in their repertoire when it comes to dressing women to look like queens. My girls were rather bored, but I refused to give them the option of coming home empty handed. So we compromised. I allowed them to improvise.


The most intriguing look for all of us was the custom designed Versace Haute Couture dress worn by Lady Gaga. True, your average woman (or doll) cannot pull off this dress, but the construction of this "Ace of Spades" velvet gown was amazing. Moreover, Gaga with her "Marilyn Monroe" hairstyle and her legendary sense of drama, pulled it off in spectacular fashion. I chose this dress, fully aware it would (and did) create all sorts of problems from the panne velvet fabric (way to bulky for the doll) to the padded (Kardashian) hips. I should point out, the original dress has lots more fabric in the skirt which I simplified to suit my doll, Brie.

I love how the neckline of the dress drifts off the shoulders and plunges deep over the bust. The darts are sharp and pointed while the fitted bodice gives way to an exaggerated, hour glass silhouette. I draped this dress directly on a spare doll body To get the shape of the hips, I taped cotton balls to the form and draped the fabric around it. It required two deep pleats to steer the fabric away from the form. The sides are then tapered back towards the body. I inserted a 3/4 circular wedge at the center back, just under the hips. At first I sewed in a tuft of pleated tulle above each hip, but the dress drooped, so I made tiny hip pads to maintain the shape. Working with the velvet was not easy. The proportions are slightly different, due, in part, to the bulky fabric as well as the difference in body proportions. If I were tempted to try this dress again, velveteen might be a better choice of fabric.


Very striking on the red carpet was Jennifer Lawrence in a fire engine red Dior dress. Though this dress is the epitome of understated elegance, it is anything but easy to make! I used a sheath dress pattern for the dress and a basic bodice top (without stitching down the darts) for the sleeveless bolero. In reality this outfit is really an exercise in trompe l'oeil. What seems to be two distinct pieces in the front, comes together as a single piece in the back with a keyhole over the torso in addition to the ones over the hips. My sheath fitted perfectly---that is, until I cut the holes over the hips. I had to make a lot of tiny stitches to hold it to the figure for the photo shoot. Moreover, my dress has darts while the original, which I believe was cut from a silk crepe, does not.

If I had the time, it would be interesting to find another alternative by draping a new pattern directly on the doll's figure.


My doll Samantha was not happy when she saw me choose the bubblegum pink Prada dress worn by Katy Perry. The dress was a banal slip dress, blending into the actresses natural skin tone. "So bland!" lamented Samantha. I made the 1/6 scale version using the wrong side of a silk satin.

The trick in getting my doll to wear it was in the accessories....opera length gloves and a furry shawl!


Karen was rolling her eyes at first over the Ralph Lauren's blue 2-toned gown worn by Kate Winslet. "B-O-R-I-N-G!!!" she cried. While this look works for a more intimate affair, I personally feel that a Hollywood fete commands a more glamorous gown, even if you do it through accessories. I remained faithful to the overall spirit of the Ralph Laurent gown. I used rayon-lycra jersey for the body of the dress and silk for the triangular insert and trim.

But to bring more "excitement" to the look, I added a cocoon made from polyester organza (another fun, instant glam fabric to be the subject of entire post in the near future).


And then there was that Stella McCartney white silk jersey gown worn by Taraji Henson, star of the hit TV drama series "Empire." And yes, Taraji did look wonderful in the dress, and the long train does add a certain amount of glamour, but jersey is well....a bit overdone. 


My dress for Yvette really has little to do with the McCartney dress other than the fact they are both white and have trains. I started with a foundation underneath then used a woven lightweight polyester to drape a more interesting neckline. I even took liberties with the train, fashioning the top edge into soft ruffles. The end result is softer, like whipped cream over the body.

Lessons to be learned here: Dresses with lots of gathers and fabric must be simplified to reduce bulk. When translating a full scale outfit into something significantly smaller, consider fabrics best scaled to the doll, even if it means a less fancy fabric. It is more important to capture the "look" or the spirit of the original dress than to attempt a line for line copy! And one more thing...don't be afraid of a challenge. You learn through your mistakes!!!

 
 
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24 comments:

  1. Your interpretation of these gowns is amazing. I think your version of the blue Kate Winslet gown is much better and love the organza cocoon. They are all beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. This is a really fun exercise, but the doll's "perfect fashion figure" also adds to the success of the look!

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  2. Wszystkie kreacje są piękne! Niektóre lepsze niż pierwowzory!
    Cudne stroje! Pozdrawiam bardzo serdecznie!

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    1. Olla wrote:
      All creations are beautiful ! Some better than the originals !
      Wonderful outfits ! Best wishes!

      LOL!!! Thank you Olla. This project is always a lot of fun for me. I must say, it gives me an insight to those whose job it is to translate expensive couture gowns into cheaper knock-offs for the (full scale) mass market! See you soon.

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  3. Yay! I was looking forward to seeing what you'd do with Jennifer Lawurence's red dress -- it's a striking design on her, but clearly she doesn't have a fashion-doll figure.

    Lady Gaga's dress was another I wanted to see done in miniature, and I'd say it looks more than close enough.

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    1. Thank you S-P. When I simply look at the doll, my interpretation of Gaga looks spot on. It's only when I put my doll next to her photo did I see the difference in the length of the bodice. I enjoyed doing that gown. But Jennifer Lawrence's dress (something I thought would be quick & easy) was a real nightmare due to the cut-outs over the hips.

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  4. Hello from Spain. Fabulous photos at the Golden Globes Your designs are very elegant and glamorous. Nice photos. I love all the looks. Keep in touch

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    1. Thank you, Marta. I'm pretty happy with how the interpretations turned out. It helps when you have such good models!! See you soon.

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  5. All the dresses look great on the models. They are all very beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, Brini. This was a lot of fun, as usual!

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    2. I also tag your for the Leibster Award!

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  6. Fabulous job, once again! Loved all your added glamour. I wonder if Dasia can pull off that red dress? I would love to try to make that one.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa. The added glamour was something I learned from my mom. She'd look at my outfit and say..."now what shoes, what handbag, how are you going to accessorize this look!" I am certain Dasia could pull off the red dress (with or without the keyholes on the hips). If you do this dress and decide to cut out the holes, start small!

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  7. Amazing dresses!!! I love all of them <3

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    1. Thank you Urszula. This is always a fun project. Pssttt...the Oscars are next month!!! So I get to do this again!

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  8. My absolute favorite of the human dresses was Jennifer Lawrence's dress. Your mini version is awesome too! The Lady Gaga one is great too, as are all your mini versions (and more glamorous, sorry real actresses :-) ). Great job April!!! xxx

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    1. Thank you Linda. The dolls are such perfect little models which certainly helps. In some cases their hairstyles are even better than the actresses. I often wish the actresses had the same sense of "elegance" and "glam" as our dolls. Sadly, the days of Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren are long gone.

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  9. Wow, you did an awesome job of your interpretations of the stars dresses from the Golden Globes! I thing my favorite is also Jennifer Lawrence's dress. I like your mini version equally well!

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    1. Thank you, Phyllis. There were two other dresses I wanted to do. The Calvin Klein gold beaded gown would have been nice to do, but I didn't have access to beaded fabric. I started out doing Kirstin Durst's black velvet Valentino gown (Grecian inspired), but it just did not work. I also liked the dress Amy Schmumer wore (off the shoulder dress with white collar & bodice over full black skirt), but I simply ran out of time. Oh well.... there's always the Oscars. Let's pray for nice dresses.

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  10. The blue & red dresses... <3
    Great post, and I liked how you added different elements to your dolls compared to the red carpet dresses, your girls sure don't look boring!

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  11. Thank you Uraru. If I were attending that event and someone had picked out those dresses for me, this is exactly how I would wear them too!

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  12. What can I say... Your dolls in these outfits looks better than people in their original dresses. Wooow! You are amazing :)

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    1. Thank you, Aya. This is always a fun project. Somehow, my dolls always manage to steal the show!!

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