Madame la Marquise de Fontange
Dario Princiotta, Italy
Deciding what to create for this year's competition was a struggle for me due to my indecision about where to find a proper inspiration.
Fortunately the inspiration came just in time two weeks ago after seeing the movie The Favourite. The costumes, designed by Sandy Powell, have a very sophisticated look as a result of an fantastic reinterpretation of the historical period in which the movie is set. They are mostly black and white and they’re made in a particular range of unconventional materials such as laser-cut vinyl. Most of them were crafted by Tirelli Costumi in Rome.
So I decided to design something inspired by the movie itself, and of course by late 17th and early 18th century stays, for the 2019 architecture theme. I thought that a boned bodice with a sharp and rigid silhouette would work beautifully.
Besides all this, the main real inspiration came from late 17th century castles plans plates, those black and white drawings, both geometrical and decorative, that have an extraordinary sense of balance and harmony. Among all the plans available I chose an early planimetry of the palace of Versailles, which I used to create a geometrical pattern to embellish the piece. As a consequence, I also focused on a person, the one that gave her name to my entry: the Marquise de Fontange, a mistress of Louis XIV. It would be romantic to think that I portrayed on the bodice the room where they consummated their love.
The piece is cut and constructed as a late 17th century smooth-covered court bodice. It has a boned horsehair canvas foundation covered in one layer of cotton satin and three layers of ivory cotton organza and it’s lined using a thick pale pink satin. The decorative planimetry pattern is made of hand-cut pieces of faux suede connected to each other using silk flossing. The bodice has a front lacing fastening with hand worked eyelets and one-half of the top front is left unboned and pad stitched as a tailored lapel to expose one breast. After all, I’m a mistress, am I not?
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
It was stimulating! Just a lovely and friendly chance to have fun and overcome your limits!