This dress was definitely one of my favorites to work on. I personally have always been drawn to the very small, fine details - and not just in wedding dresses, but in ALL things hand made.
I’d originally sketched the dress with perfectly spaced rows of stitching on the hips and gathers on the skirt. I wanted the dress to have the illusion of a padded hip (sans actual padding) forming gracefully around the lines of the body, and for the gathers in the skirt to mimic the gathers in the bodice. When Lourdes and I got together to go over all of our sketches and finalize designs for the first collection, Heathe was definitely one of those dresses that stood out and became a final contender very quickly. What happened next, though, was pure “magical happenstance” ...if you want to call it that. My lack of description on my sketch led Lourdes to believe that there was beading at the hip instead of just tone-on-tone stitching. It was decided: stitching out, CRYSTAL BUGLE BEADS IN!
In the end, Heathe is a classic shape with dramatic elements that give it that vintage splendor. Her hand-worked details accentuate the minimal lines of the silhouette. There is movement, there is charm, and there is a timeless beauty to Heathe that a bride will feel and radiate when wearing it on her special day.
Patterning the dress was easy. Lourdes and I both agreed to add a long train to give it the drama that it well deserved. I flew to Charleston to have the first round of fittings with our model Jasmin, but once I arrived and pulled Heathe out, we both knew that there was a problem. The gathering on the skirt completely overpowered the dress, and it had to go. With a flat skirt, the fitting with Jasmin went perfectly. With some other minor adjustments, this quickly became a favorite of the collection, and we knew it was going to be something special.
Pictures by Juliet Elizabeth Photography
For the final assembly of the sample, I started with the beading after cutting all of the pieces. I wanted to get it out of the way, and though most people wouldn’t agree, it was probably one of my favorite parts. After finishing both hips, putting the dress together was very satisfying. It was the final touches of the Swarovski crystal button and the two crystal trim pieces at the waist in the back opening that took the dress from beautiful to BREATHTAKING!!! (sigh)