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The 2020 Competition is now over.
The 2021 Theme will be chosen by our Members in April!

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Lyris Design Tree of Life from Carly Van Groeningen on Vimeo.

 

Tree of Life      Tree of Life

Tree of Life      Tree of Life

Tree of Life

    

 

Tree of Life

Carly Van Groeningen (Lyris Design)

IG: lyrisdesign

Other credits:

Model: Miss Twisted

Photographer: Sol Santana Photography

Video: Lisa Paech

Video music: Matthew Pablo

 

The Design

My design was inspired by the Tree of Life, a concept found in the mythology of so many cultures across the world. It is a concept that speaks to me deeply, embodying the cycle and renewal of life, energy and the seasons.

To evoke this cyclical concept, I wanted my design to also grow, changing through the seasons like a real tree, but bedecked with a variety of types of leaves and flowers to represent the different Trees of Life throughout mythology. I wanted the colours to be vivid metallics and sparkling crystals to enhance the sense of magic and myth. To also bring in an element of sustainability, I used many materials from previous projects to construct this outfit. The leather is left over from my 2019 contest entry, the fabrics from previous commissions, and the thermoplastic from my large bag of scraps. The only materials bought for this outfit were more magnets, as I didn’t have enough.

To demonstrate the changing seasons and the cyclical renewal of life, I wanted to make a stop motion video for the first time ever, with the technical assistance of my photographer Sol and friend Lisa. The video is unfinished, as after 6 hours the model was too tired to keep going, so we stopped at autumn. The leaves were planned to fall, and we would finish with the bare branches of winter so it could be a looping video, but now we know how long it takes we will try again with more time and preparation next time!!!

 

The Construction

I patterned the corset to fit my model, and we had one toile fitting. I chose a long-line corset dress to accentuate the length of the tree trunk. It is a single layer coutil corset, with a fashion layer of interfaced black silk dupion and a cotton floating lining. It has 13 panels, 7 solid steel bones and 18 spiral steel bones, and a boned, suspended modesty panel.

The corset was constructed by roll pinning the fashion layer to the coutil before sewing together the panels. The tree trunk and roots are metallic gold leather, appliqued once the panels are assembled. Internal coutil boning channels were basted and sewn from the right side, stopping and restarting wherever the stitching crossed the leather applique. The threads were pulled to the back and hand knotted, and the channels hand sewn where loose.

The corset was then boned, the floating cotton lining attached, and the edges bound with hand finished black silk.

The tree branches were constructed of an armature of wire and aluminium foil, coated in thermoplastic to make them as light as possible. The leaves and flowers were hand drawn, cut and sculpted out of scraps of thermoplastic, painted with metallic paints, and magnets were glued to the backs. Magnets were also glued to the branches, so the flowers and leaves could be attached and removed from the branches to create the effect of changing seasons. Nearly 600 flowers, buds and leaves were made, with 140 on the branches at any one time.

There are more details and progress photos on my blog.

 

Materials Used

Coutil, silk dupion, interfacing, cotton lining, solid and spiral steel bones, grommets, satin ribbon, leather, wire, thermoplastic, magnets, paints and crystal beads.

 

What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

Lots of fun! It is a great excuse to challenge yourself and try something new.

 

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louvanadis
I couldn't wait to see your entry, and it is absolutely amazing !
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that <3
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galadriel
This is so clever, and exquisitely executed. Congratulations !
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much!
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Natascia Serra
Amazing.
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much!
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h_eagle
This is stunning and the stop motion really takes it to another level!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you! I am glad you like the video, it was a real experiment and very challenging! Glad I gave it a try though.
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Heather
This is phenomenal!!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much!
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Paula
Wow!!!!! This isn't so much a garment as a work of art. Just stunning. The stop motion video is used to such great effect. Please, by all means finish the video as it brings your creation to life in such a unique and evocative way.
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really do want to try again with the video, now that I know better how to manage it and just how long it will take. It was a lot of fun!
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Oh this is my favourite ! Really, the concept is so great for the theme, and I like the idea of renewable embellishment ! This is perfection ! Stunning Carly !
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much Caroline!!! I really appreciate it <3
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buckinghamsgirl
This really is a work of art - at once soft and incredibly sculptural. The mix of colours, the little X detail over the centre of the bust, the insane smoothness of the fabric ... just amazing and so, so inspiring. I'll be thinking about this piece for a long time to come.
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lyrisdesign
Wow, thank you so much, I really appreciate your feedback!
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Joanne
Your execution is perfectly done, reminding me of avant-garde fashion houses and their elegance (in contrast to the tacky costumes I often see in plays). Because the color and fabric choices were extremely thought out and elevated from the rest, and the idea was extremely unique, you are one of the only two entries that I love to pieces!! :)
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much!!! I feel extremely honoured, thank you for the feedback!
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bernadettebanner
This corset is a work of art in and of itself, but can we also acknowledge that stop motion?? Because GORGEOUS!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much Bernadette!
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kitty mortensen
Finally I get to see this piece of art in its full glory. It is everything I hoped it would be from your teasers. Very beautiful work
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that <3
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Absolutely stunning work! Love the celtic knots, the base corset, the tree... everything is perfect! And the idea of the changing season is great! Love how you showed it in the video, hopefully you'll have time to finish it as you intended, i would really love to see it.
P.S. also, your model is gorgeous! *__*

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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your feedback, and I will tell my model that ;)
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certainsundries
This is absolutely breath taking. You did an amazing job!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that <3
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poppaea
This is just absolutely exquisite. The idea is so cleaver and beautifully executed, and the stop-motion just brings it to life spectacularly! Wonderful work!!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much!!!
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Kaitlyn Stevens
I love this outfit. the fit of the corset is amazing. the overall look is so organic; it is beautiful. I love that you planned ahead and made the tree have so many options. The stop animation was superbly done!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that <3
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Rossanne Hamilton
I've been looking forward to this from the teasers, it's amazing! I love that the branches can be changed for the seasons. And the knotwork is so beautiful, I really like how root-like it is, with bits branching off and curling around other sections. The stop motion is really clever, glorious to watch
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much, I really appreciate your feedback!
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kirstymitchell
What a wonderful concept. It literally keeps renewing. The video is genius. The whole thing is a real show of patience and skill. Beautiful
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that <3
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There is so much to love here, from the incredible fit and flawless applique, to the genius and skill of creating all of the foliage and having it be changeable. Just beautiful, and the video blows me away!
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lyrisdesign
Thank you so much, I really appreciate your feedback!!
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royalblack
What an incredible concept! You have created another piece of wearable art. It's always a treat to see your creations, thank you for sharing it with us, Carly!
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lcostigliolo
Amazing! This is one of my favourite entries so far. I find it beautiful and poetic, you are a real artist!
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Once again you have created an incredible piece of art. I'm in awe of your work Carly - truly inspirational.
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paulay71
A beautiful wearable piece of art, stunning.
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ggis
Your concept is the best for the theme, I'm deeply impressed! Thank you for sharing in-progress pictures and the video, your entry is phenomenal!
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marloes dadswell
I just can't get over this design and keep showing it to everybody I know! It is truly spectacular and feels like a Klimt painting come to life and I wish to live in it. The changing of the seasons is so well done and so inspired. I am in true awe of your skills and your ways with new materials. Very incredible!
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jema
Beautifully fitting and constructed corset dress which sets the standard for the decorative elements - which are breathtaking - this isn't just a garment, it's a whole art installation in one dress! incredible
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