Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Doll's Eye View: Paris Couture: Spring 2016


This was the first fashion presentation to follow last November's terrorist attacks in Paris. Quite naturally, security was intense and the mood, quite subdued. Many couturiers pulled back and showed in smaller venues. We live in a dangerous world. People have more on their minds than expensive dresses! To make matters worse, there is ongoing chaos following the departure of some designers from key fashion houses.  including Dior where there is no creative director.

As time goes on and lifestyles change, there seems to be increasing less need or demand for this form of fashion. Traditionally, haute couture was produced by a hushed circle of designers for the needs of "high society." Women like Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Catherine Deneuve, Edith Piaf and a host of socialites, Hollywood stars, European aristocrats and Saudi royalty once flocked to their Paris salons for their biannual wardrobe fix. One could easily drop $15-20,000 for a tailored suit and $80,000 or much more (depending on the amount of embroidery) for a gown. Today the market has dwindled. The wealthy set is content with designer ready-to-wear and with few exceptions, only eveningwear floats down a couture catwalk.

The rare couture daywear on the catwalk.
For me, even the young designers who show during couture week, seem to have lost the meaning of couture as it is now a word to describe anything and everything. This "art" should be an escape from reality. These clothes should make the rest of us dream. Sadly, most of them do not. I struggled to find something that inspired me.. Either I had done similar silhouettes before or the outfits were just not that interesting due to poor choice of fabric, cut or functionality. But I persevered and finally found a few styles

On Her A-Game
There was a lot of volume going on with gowns that seemingly are designed with red carpet events in mind. These silhouettes which are narrow at the top and super wide at the bottom, make for grand ball gowns.
It's not that difficult to make either. The skirt is a circle skirt. I used a circle of white silk topped with a circle of white tulle for the skirt. The top is a strapless camisole with shoulder straps and a little apron of gathered black tulle tacked under the bustline.
I didn't really care for this dress, as is. I felt the fabric wasn't special enough, the silhouette is too stiff and the stark white color doesn't add anything to the over all look. Using the same concept--slim strapless dress with a full flared over-dress--I used a soft, sheer georgette fabric in a boudoir blush tone which flatters the pale "skin" of my model, Violetta. With the fabric now softly flowing around the body, it is a sexier, more glamorous look. Moral of the story: you don't necessarily have to like the garment in front of you. Slip into the skin of the designer and try to envision the message he was trying to convey. Then make whatever changes you feel best makes the point!

It's kind of surprising to see grey for spring, but think morning fog at the seaside. Though we've seen these silhouettes before, it's the choice of fabric that makes them current. Soft chiffon, lace or embroidered sheers, even a rayon/lycra jersey will ease dolly into any of these subtly pretty looks.

Summer Princess
Ballet  dress turned princess ball gown, the old fashioned fit and flare looks are big. Notice too, all of the tulle and sheer fabrics used here. Again, making a version for dolly is pretty straight forward. These fit and flare looks consist of a fitted bodice or a flared (or circle) skirt for an understated elegant look. Gaze into the skies for your color palette.

Here, we like the subtle contrast of textures. Textured sheers with black velvet roses, taffeta cabbage roses against a bell shaped 2-piece gown, lace with appliques fluttering over a black chiffon jumpsuit.


This last dress is simply, a strapless mini dress with a skirt that ties over it like an apron. On top are lots of textured flowers. It looks more complicated than it is. Take a look:

1.This is a strapless sheath dress made from the foundation sloper. Since I'm using  a sheer, instead of hemming this dress, I stitch on a bit of lace trim at the bottom. Leave the top alone for the moment.
2. Using a 1/8" (3mm) ribbon, stitch on the straps near the top of the dress.
3. Pin, then sew your lace trim over the top edge. The straps will be sandwiched in between the dress and the trim.
4. Make the flowers out of bits of crinkled fabric in different sizes. (I used polyester taffeta.) It doesn't have to be perfect.
5. Attach above the waist and be sure one is placed on one of the shoulder straps.
 

 
6. Make an apron by gathering a length of fabric into enough ribbon to wrap around the doll's waist plus an additional 1/2" (1 cm). Fold each end in and glue. To one end, stitch on one of the larger flowers. The waistband can be closed with a snap.
7. For an addition bit of texture, I added in a single feather. To finish off the hem, I stitched on a row of lace trim. What's nice is that you now have two dresses for the effort of making one!!!



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18 comments:

  1. Some really great fashions here. I always enjoy seeing your doll version of the outfits too.

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    1. Thank you Phyllis. This was a very subdued season for me so I felt the need to take a few artistic liberties!

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  2. Wow, that strapless dress really does look more complicated than you revealed it to be! Interesting to know!

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    1. jSarie, I once worked as a fashion illustrator (drawings). When you are making a drawing, you have to look at the dress and figure out what to leave in and what to take out to achieve the same look as the real garment. It's sort of like an optical illusion. In effect, it's what I do when I make 1/6 scale versions of complicated. I'm sure the original dress is in one piece, but I wanted a simpler version that would work with the proportions of the doll and....voila!

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  3. Suknia jest olśniewająco piękna! Wspaniały efekt!
    Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

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    1. Olla wrote: The dress is stunningly beautiful! Great effect!
      Best wishes!

      Thank you, Olla. Glad you like it.

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  4. I love that last dress! Do you use snaps to close it in the back?

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  5. No, don't use snaps. Take your time and sew on tiny hook & eyes (size 0). If the fabric is really delicate, you can sew a tiny strip of ribbon to the underside of the opening for stability under the hook & eyes.

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  6. Hello from Spain; fabulous tutorial. Great creations. I like very much your pics. Very glamurous looks. Keep in touch

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    1. Thank you, Marta. Glad you like the photos and the tutorial. See you soon!!!

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  7. Hi April, it took a lot of talent to find something interesting enough to be will to reproduce it for the dolls! As always you did a wonderful job on all the dresses.
    Violetta is an awesome doll!!!

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    1. Thank you Billa. Well.........I almost called this report off. Overall, the season was disappointing and with all of the chaos and changing of the guard, I doubt things will be getting better in the near future. But, I HAD to find something for Violetta to wear and since she couldn't be the only one, I had to find a few more things, even if it meant making a few changes to the original designs!

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  8. Your version of the Alexis Mabille dress is a beautiful interpretation, so elegant! The black dress does look much more complicated than it is :-). As always you made lovely outfits for the dolls!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. The original dress was not very flattering, but I understood what the designer was trying to say. With the right fabric and color (and model), it really is a lovely idea. As for the black dress...it was a matter of finding a simple solution to an otherwise complicated dress but with a similar look!

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  9. Que de superbes belles idées. J'aime beaucoup toutes ces belles robes de soirées. Puis de mon coté, je viens de terminer ma robe de Cendrillon inspirée du dernier film (2015) de Cendrillon.

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    1. Merci, Shasarignis. Je n'aime pas trop les presentations de la Haute Couture pour Printemps 2016. Donc, c'est pour cela, j'ai fait les modifications. Mais je suis content avec mes versions. Je vais passer a ton blog pour voir ta robe de Cendrillon.

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  10. Thank you of the tips for the black dress, you seem to be able to catch the dress's parts easily and explain how it came to be. I like your versions of the dresses a lot! ^_^

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    1. Thank you, Uraru. Because our dolls are so small in relation to human clothes, it is most important to simplify as much as possible when being inspired by a style! Many times, we will never have the same fabric, so it's okay to switch fabrics and make it your own! I also ask myself if I would wear the outfit based on how I've interpreted for the doll. If the answer is yes...I know it's good!

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