Marion Brégier, France (Green Martha)
MUA and photography assistant: Eysméralda
The best laid plans… I sure had them: a carefully mapped-out, ambitious design, a precise timeline, and even some supplies. And then my life got turned upside down, I was far away from home right when I should have started, and I got home with depression and anxiety. I was unable to sew for months. So I shelved my idea and accepted that I wasn’t going to enter this year.
Then suddenly, shortly before the holidays, I felt like sewing again. So I dug out the pattern I had started drafting, and got to work. I only had a few weeks left, and no time for fabric hunting. I set aside my first idea (that I still want to make, someday…) and searched for a new one that I could bring to life - with limited time and options.
The contest deadline falls right after Imbolc, or Candlemas, which celebrates the return of the light. Where light and architecture meet, I found lanterns, lamp posts, and the shape of lit-up windows seen from the dark street during long winter nights.
I tried to use materials from my stash as much as possible – in fact, everything but the lacing ribbon and the fabric for the skirt and top was already in my possession. The corsetry mesh was perfect to play with transparency and evoke lit-up windows, and I used giant swirly sequins, sequinned tulle and some copper shiny something leftover from other projects to create light and reflections under it.
The corset’s strength layer is made of black satin coutil and black corsetry mesh. It was my first time using both, and I discovered their unique issues – satin coutil is unforgiving, and every unpicked stitch leaves a mark, mesh frays like crazy and melts if ironed too hot.
Another challenge was layering not one, but two slippery and wiggly fabrics under the mesh. The gold sequined tulle was rather tame, but the copper fabric frayed frantically, and some of the giant black sequin swirls had to be applied right over the seam between panel 1 and 2, forcing me to adapt my construction.
With so many layers, I wanted to keep the construction light. I treated the corset as a single layer with external bone casings of black satin coutil. Applying them was still almost too much for my machine, especially over the cording.
The cording is made of paper cording, sandwiched between two layers of satin coutil, and follows a swirly pattern to match the inspiration. I love how it adds texture to the plain satin.
Over the side panels I applied a shiny and thick lace to provide textural interest. It was originally a large guipure collar, that I cut into small bits and arranged into a pleasing pattern.
In the end, I love how the technical realisation supports the theme behind this project. The black satin channels and panels create the structure, both physically and visually, and the light plays through the mesh and lace.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
Due to personal circumstances, this year was particularly emotional for me. Just being able to create again was a breakthrough. The contest gave me a goal to focus my energy towards, somethign to concentrate on while I am grieving. Whatever your current situation might be, there is always something to be gained from creating something exceptional just for the sake of creativity.