Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dolls Eye View: Golden Globes 2019

This year's Golden Globes Award show had a Versailles moment. Strolling onto the red carpet were celebrities clad in good old fashion glamour. Yes, of course, there were some misses....as usual..but there were quite a few hits which is why my girls love this event so much.

Lady Gaga in Valentino Couture
The star of the night for us was Lady Gaga's "Marie Antoinette" powder blue gown. It was grandiose in style, sumptuous in cut, borderline historic costume which blew everything else out of the water. And at the end of the day....it was the way my girls like to see red carpet fashion. Let's not forget..these are actors receiving international press awards for being the best in the world of film and television art. The performers could and should have as much fun, passion and drama in the way they put themselves together as they do on the screen. Frankly...Lady Gaga delivered in a gown from Valentino Couture!!!
I was so captivated by this dress, I did an extensive search to see as many views as available. After a hundred or so photos, I concluded, the look could be replicated fairly simply. For the dolly version, I used a strapless princess line dress with long rectangular train. The sleeves are separate from the body of the dress and simply slide onto each arm. I created a small tube, then a simple pouf (rectangle gathered on the top and bottom) which is then stitched onto the tube. (This is similar to a sleeve we made for a jacket which you can find HERE.) I added ribbon which wraps around the wrists into a bow because I thought it added a sweet  touch to a dress that could easily waltz around the Hall of Mirrors at the Chateau Versailles in France.
But the strapless dress with train was not enough. Lady Gaga's gown had lots of volume on either side due to another train. So I shaped and gathered another 1/2 yard of fabric at the top and tacked it to the back of the dress. I needed the dress to pouf out over the hips, so I added a double layer of ruffled fabric underneath the train over each hip. If you look closely in the first photo, you see this peaking out a bit (which is why I made the ruffle in the same fabric as the dress.)

Note: I wanted to make this dress out of silk taffeta, but did not feel like driving 20 miles to the nearest fabric store. So I settled on some acetate lining I had on hand. The result was still pretty. The only thing I didn't like was Lady Gaga's hairstyle. Though the idea of tinting or adding light blue streaks to Morgan's hair was something I had considered!

Gemma Chan in Valentino Couture
While it wasn't quite as grandiose as Gaga's Antoinette dress, Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians star), clearly was on the same wave length. Here I did have some silk taffeta on hand. Gemma's gown, another beauty from Valentino Couture was a mixture of old and new. We liked the halter neck bodice over shorts tucked quietly under miles of a voluminous skirt. When I looked at the dress carefully, I didn't like so much the little bit of draping details in the front of the dress. So I cleaned up the look with a simple halter neck top that ties in the back over a simple pair of shorts and a big circle skirt. I also did not want to cut a real train, so I cheated. I took a square of fabric, folded it into four, gathered the center point and tacked it underneath the train so I could get the look for this photo shoot. Later I can remove it so that it's simply a more modern (and shorter) 3-part dress.

Katherine Zeta-Jones in Elie Saab
This is a standard classic, draped couture gown--which is why I selected this look. It starts with a foundation made from the same fabric as the outer dress. The rest is pure drapery. All the folds are carefully held in place onto the foundation with tiny "invisible" stitches. She gets in and out of the dress at the back.

Allison Janney in Christian Siriano
Again, I like this idea of a simple dress with a dramatic details that transforms it into a work of Haute Couture. I also fell in love with the color of the fabric Christian Siriano chose for his dress. (I found and old blouse and recycled the fabric for this project.) This is a strapless, fishtail gown. The sleeves are two tubes attached at the underarms at the side of the dress. Another width of fabric is folded into tiny drapes and stitched along the neckline and over the sleeves.

Thandie Newton in Michael Kors Collection
Now we've come to the Hollywood goddess portion of our program... We have a LOT of silver dresses in the house. But my girls' eyes always get really big whenever they see metallics! This Michael Kors Collection gown worn by Thandie Newton was a little bit sad, but had a lot of potential. From my point of view, the skirt part of this gown should have been a bit more fitted which is what I did for the dolly version's 2-piece gown. It is a simple wrap around blouse I cut a bit short (into a bare midriff top) over a slim evening skirt. We also though Ms. Newton could have used some jewelry and a silvery shawl. (Stylists...where are you??!!!)

Keri Russell in Monique L'Huillier
Under normal circumstances, I would have fitted this onto a doll with a smaller bust line than Natasha's. Again, however, this dress was chosen because it is silver and we liked the dramatic drape in the front. The original dress is intriguing but the neckline--for our tastes--drops too far down past the waist and looks a tad bit matronly. I made this dress out of stretch light silver lame in two parts: a fishtail evening skirt joined with a top that made from a piece of fabric literally draped over the torso of the doll. It was an interesting exercise in draping. The result....well....I'm not so sure I would make this dress again....but all my dude dolls are looking at Natasha and smiling! 

Lena Waithe in Prada
There have been other actresses sporting pant suits in the past, though admittedly, the severity and starkness of the Prada tuxedo worn by Lena Waithe did call for reflection. Is this an expression of gender, a statement in support of the #MeToo movement or simply, a personal decision to opt for comfort and sobriety over decorative fashion. In any case I wanted to respect Ms. Waithe's choice by not altering her look too much. So, I dressed Zoe in a tuxedo suit and turtleneck, and added just a touch of glamour with a more edgy necklace and a faux fur stole.

Emily Blunt in Alexander McQueen
This is a nod to all of my super talented dolly friends who are soooo good at crochet. (You know who you are, Olla, Kamelia!) I have neither the skill nor the patience for this art. What I can do is to take vintage lace trim and make a mock crochet dress out of it. The Alexander McQueen dress worn by Emily Blunt is a work of art in silver. We loved the way the dress ends in a lacy trim of its own. For Ingrid, I used two types of crochet lace. Two strips are joined together at the sides and fitted over the body into a slinky sheath. Another, more loosely crocheted trim is added to the hem and over strategic areas of the body. The dress opens from the neck down one side to the hips and is fastened with hook and eyes. Note: For more ideas on turning lace trim into a dress look HERE.

Kiki Layne in Dior Couture
Kiki Layne in Dior Couture reminded me of the kind of tulle dresses we made last year for our younger Barbies.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Behind the Design: The Moschino Staple Dress

There was a really fun dress we spotted at the Spring/Summer '19 Moschino fashion show. And, it was a dress that solicited lots of attention! Inspired by fashion atelier objects, it was a basic black sheath dress covered with rows of needles. I wanted to make this dress but knew I would not be able to find needles this tiny. So, I gave a lot of thought as to what I could use that would capture the look. After much reflection, I settled on...staples!

Making this dress is simple enough. But you'll need lots of time and patience and, of course, lots of staples!

This project starts out with a basic strapless sheath dress. In order to replicate the look, I did alter the neckline a bit but a simpler neckline will prove to be easier to make. Stitch the dress together at the side seams and iron flat.

I used the biggest staples I had )1/2' (1cm) in the house and a stapler in good, working condition. Cut strips of felt a tiny bit smaller than the staples. In this case I chose felt because I wanted to staples to hold onto something without sliding around too much.
Cut each strip from edge to edge of the dress.
Cut enough strips to cover the dress from the neckline to just above the hemline. \
Begin stapling from the midpoint of each strip to the edge. Repeat on the other side. Be careful not to staple on top of the preceding staple or you will eventually have problems with the stapler. Adjust the staples...pushing them together AFTER they have been stapled down.
 Once you have enough stapled strips, begin pinning each strip from the bottom of the dress up.
 Hand stitch each row onto the dress until you have covered the entire dress. If you have designed peaks over the bust line, make tiny strips and carefully fit them in and hand sew. I finished off the top of the dress with a strip of tulle.
When you have finished, fold one edge down and hand sew over the seam allowance of the other side, as close as possible to the staples.

I purposely chose silver staples for this dress, but remember, you can always opt for copper staples if you want a bit of color! And...Contrary to what it seems, I did not come close to using up a whole box of staples! On the other hand, this dress does have a bit of weight to it.

Up next.....the first red carpet event of the year. The Golden Globes!!!! Stay tuned!!!

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