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

Winners  ~  2nd place  ~  3rd place  ~  Beginner  ~  Apprentice  ~  Intermediate  ~  Experienced  ~  Advanced  ~  All Entries

Mary McGuinness   Mary McGuinness

Mary McGuinness   Mary McGuinness

Mary McGuinness   Mary McGuinness

 

Coral Reef

Mary McGuinness, Kilkenny, Ireland

IG: costumemarymcguinness

Model, make-up and hair: Nicole Kennedy @flarestar_nicole

 

The Design

I based my corset design on coral reefs and the contrast between a bleached reef to the vibrant colours and textures of renewal and regrowth. I used treebark pleating to show the skeletal lines of a dead reef. A layer of faded pleating emerges from underneath the main off-white reef structure and from this the diverse colours of regrowth appear in a smaller corset shape with a floating bust cup. I wanted to achieve the rigid structure of the different stages of a reef with the movement of the sea around it.

Inspiration: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/reef-side-by-side-1.png

 

The Construction

The asymmetrical design of this corset meant it required a different fitting on left and right side. On the right side the main body is fitted over the bust and on the left side it in an under-bust with a floating bust cup. The bust cup is held in place by the corset boning. It was a jigsaw puzzle and I only figured out the construction as I progressed through it. I had to re-cut the main parts as I originally used stiffer fabrics, but discovered I needed softer fabrics. It was the patterning that gave the shape to the main reef structure and the boning of the cotton underbody. I used a steel busk at the centre front and lacing at the centre back. The front and back openings are covered with a layer of faded pastel pleated silk georgette to emulate bleached coral.

I used fabrics I have had for 10 years and had them pleated. I also used remnants from various commissions over the years for the renewal and regrowth left side. For the finished look I used a skirt from 2009 to complete the reef aesthetic with a hint of the movement of the sea. 

 

Materials Used

Treebark pleated silk georgette, silk satin, spiral steel boning, steel busk, lacing eyelets, cotton underbody

 

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

It's interesting to take on the challenge and expand one's abilities. To anyone on the fence, it's a great experience and fun to see other approaches to a theme.

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galadriel
This is a wonderful idea, you can really see the inspiration in the final piece. I love the collar part the most.
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I love your inspiration and the design is so original ! We can see all the work in this piece woaw !
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Rhea Steensma
The texture in this piece is magnificent, I keep following the flow of the lines and wandering back ❤️ great design work!
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certainsundries
Stunning beyond words! I've been in awe since I first saw photos on instagram.
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bernadettebanner
This is such a clever concept but also an absolutely beautiful dress! That pleating is exquisite, especially the way you’ve manipulated all the panels and pieces and used different lengths on the skirt—it has such delicious texture!
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kitty mortensen
Oh wow, your efforts now fruit, it looks amazing and I love your inspiration. Wery well done
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kitty mortensen
*bore fruits (fat fingers small keyboard)
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kirstymitchell
This is insane! What a gorgeous gorgeous piece of work.
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lyrisdesign
Absolutely gorgeous, I love the story behind your design and you have brought it to life perfectly. So beautiful, and it looks so challenging to make!
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Annemarie
Really stunning. I can't imagine how tricky it was to put all those pieces together.
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AD
The balanced asymmetry here is really inspiring. This design, and the creation, are off the charts, unexpected, and deeply inspirational. The way this forms to the body, and holds the body is genius. I really like the colors, the design, and well, everything about it!
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isara
I gasped when I opened up the pics for this. I ADORE the structure, the concept, the asymmetry and how clean everything is within the design. So wonderfully unique.
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librarygirl
I thought the photo location was fantastic with your theme - those rocks! I also thought the front views were lovely but that back view was stunning. I also really like the side view that was all white - it reminded me of sea spray and foam - just beautiful. I hope your model didn't get too chilly!
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kacykreates
My first thought was stunning. It is a wonderful piece and so clever. I love the pleating and the movement. The colors are just right.
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royalblack
A great idea executed in the most beautiful way!
As a person who struggles with asymmetrical designs I'm always impressed when I see such pieces from other makers. The shapes, textures and layering are gorgeous, what a beautiful piece!

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lcostigliolo
Wow, Wow, Wow! Such a wonderful idea, i love everything about your idea! The design, the colours, the layers, the texture and the execution are to die for!
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The textures you have created are fantastic. Also the love the silhouette in general - a beautiful piece!
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paulay71
I love the layers you have created here and the textures creating a real sense of movement in the piece. Stunning!
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latelierdelafleur
Truly a beautifully realised concept and incredibly complex design! I love the way your modelled photos show off the movement of the skirt and the support of the construction.
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ggis
Such complex and versatile design, I love the variety of lines, shapes and textures, you made, and the way they work together. You did amazing job!
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marloes dadswell
Watching this come together on Instagram was such a treat and I adore the end result! I really am in awe of the amount of skill put into this design and the textures are truly sensational!
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jema
Wowser! Such sophisticated patterning and manipulation of de-stash fabrics in a very innovative high-end catwalk design
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