Another iteration of my Fantine Wedding Gown
I was puzzling over what to add to this dress to give it a little extra oomph, and in the middle of the night, as I lay in bed, the thought suddenly occurred to me: "Black beaded epaulettes!!'
I had once seen some lying in a basket at the legendary antique fair on Portobello Road in London. A bunch of discarded bits of Victorian dresses. You know how it is. This stuff just lays around (in LONDON. Certainly not in my shop).
So, I built the base of my version out of a small fraction of a pair of those awful '90s-style shoulder pads, swathed them in silk and lace, and went on a Mission to the bead store, where I discovered black jet beads as well as a genuinely delightful find: a glittery strand of pyrite. With a tiny tassel on the end. All the better.
Hence, the epaulettes are draped with loops of shiny black and fool's gold, sturdily tacked to the spaghetti strap with copper sequins. (It's actually quite a bit sparklier in person than in the photo.) As you can probably tell, wearing this dress made me feel pretty damn fabulous.
The silk gown is essentially simple. Two layers of matte silk crepe skirt meet the double-layered bodice--the bottom layer is form-fitting while the top layer is draped with my trademark Edwardian mini-paunch, which can be "arranged" however you like under the sash. There are two bust darts in the bodice, which is self-trimmed with narrow binding that creates the straps. It closes with an invisible zipper up the back.
The dress is cinched at the middle with an embellished sash consisting of three layers of fabric: the muted gold glossy lining fabric, a layer of blue lace, and a layer of Anna Sui black-and-white lace. Copper sequins are stitched throughout, creating an illusion almost like daylight coming through blue sky.
Photography by the inimitable Christopher Howard
Made in Brattleboro, VT
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