Hair, makeup, outfit, jewelry, model: Maeri Certo
Photographer: Jeni Sandor
If you saw my entry last year (Psyche, in the Beginner category), you probably know that I try to design projects that are very personal. Last year, it was remembrance of someone I lost. This year, the personal connection comes from using a building as inspiration, which is in my favorite city in the world. I used to work for Disney on Ice, and had an amazing solo vacation to Prague in 2011. It’s a city with history and art in every step you take, and Frank Gehry’s Dancing House is a perfect choice for this theme. I wanted to use inspiration that was secular, and something I’ve actually seen in person—plus, this shape is begging to be a corseted outfit! I considered various other styles, garments, etc, but kept coming back to the Dancing House. The curves and textures lend themselves to making a corseted outfit, and the glass wrap on one side and offset windows on the other are both dynamic and deconstructed. My trip to Prague was during Easter week, with stunning weather and apple blossoms round every turn, which I featured in my hair and rosy makeup, even though my photos were done on a frigid day with another of Gehry's buidlings, Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, right in my hometown.
I decided to challenge myself in a variety of ways, from using a formal wear pattern from Vogue for the corset, to bunches of new to me techniques: first over bust, first sequin corset, first time cutting spiral bones, first time bending flat steels, first hand sewn eyelets, first vinyl garment. An added challenge came from discovering that my once-used pattern had lost the side front (#3) and center back panels somewhere during my travels, so I had to draft them myself. Most of the materials for this outfit were either remnants from Joann Fabrics, or fabrics in my (excessive?) stash. I did order boning, busk, lacing ribbon, satin bias tape, EL wire, and the eyelet-boning channel business in between the layers of the center back panels, which I hand bound because of the sequins. I wanted the materials to create a design that was more evocative than literal, playing with shape and texture to re-imagine this deconstructionist hotel.
While I know I’ve made mistakes and/or there are things I could do better in the future, I’ve learned a lot and might be about ready to tackle the 'draft your own pattern' tutorial. I don’t think I’ll be doing a full sequin corset again any time soon, but I think the hand sewn eyelets were the right choice, and overall I am happy with the pieces I made and the journey I had in doing so.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
This was my second year competing, but in a way, it feels more like playing show and tell with friends than competing "against" anyone. For anyone on the fence, I would repeat what I said last year: doing this can be a form of self care in that you're feeding your creative side, and add to that not to be intimidated by what you see anyone else do, because you're really just taking yourself on a journey. If you're competing against anyone, it's yourself!
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