To see the dress in motion: click here
The size is quite small. It is not my custom to make such small size garments, you know I stand for inclusivity, and I am not a skinny person myself. This one time I needed to use the fabric of the bodice in a peculiar way, and so there was the limit of the fabric width to take into consideration. I made the gown as large as I could, for that specific piece of fabric and that specific cut. This is a one of a kind artwork piece, more than it is common clothing. The size has been limited by the material, and not by my wish to include or exclude people of a certain size. The next two one of a kind artwork-costumes will work on a wider range of sizes.
For the photos made on Elena of ET Prettycoats it fully closes at the back. Her natural bust and waist are 90cm and 65cm. The upper arm measures 29. If you don’t mind the back to be slightly open, a modesty panel can be prepared to allow a wider size range. For example I wear the dress slightly open at the back. My 30,5cm arms easily slip into the sleeves, though at the back it remains a bit too open on me. I would say that the natural bust and waist should not be more than 70cm and 97cm to make the dress appear at its best.
This is a one of a kind piece and there sill not be copies. Though other design in other sizes will be available from time to time.
It is a perfect costume for photoshoots, for dinners and costume events. Though it’s not the right costume for a mad dancing night. It is a delicate piece of art, all handmade by yours truly. It has to be used with the care reserved to antique clothing, vintage cars and china. One thing is sure though: it is virtually impossible to steal the scene to someone wearing this gown in a crowd.
This is not an easy dress to wear.
This is not comfortable, nor light, or fresh.
This is a costume for a queen, and when wearing it one can experience the very feeling queens of past centuries experienced when wearing their most formal court attire.
With this gown you need to second it with a nice shoulder posture. You can’t slouch. The most peculiar bodice cut and shape are achieved by cut techniques that will not allow the wearer to lift his arms much. It is possible to drink and eat. But for the rest, the wearer needs to be served, like a sovreign. This gown is made to shape the person, and not the other way around. It’s a garment that transforms you. Like for actors in theaters and movies, the very act of having this dress closed on your body, to slip your arms in the mesh sleeves is like an investiture: you become the Queen of Hearts. No matter who you are, where you come from, who you were a second before.
Luckly the dress is easy to put on: with the hair and the makeup done, it’s easy to jump in the skirt and lace the back, and close the collar. And it doesn’t require undergarments, it is built so that in one extraordinary piece there’s everything needed to shape the wearer into the queen this gown has been made for.
The inspiration, as usual for me, is various. The idea of such a collar started in my head during a rewatch of Game of Thrones. Of course it’s inspired by Cersei’s dresses. But I wanted something more. A more dramatic shape. Then there’s of course elizabethan fashion. The heart shape will surely remind of some of Elizabeth I portraits. Then the front three-dimensional hearts of the bodice were inspired by some of Marie Anotinette’s portraits. The hearts on the sleeves by italian renaissance fashion. But I just made everything into hearts. Every puff, every shape, every edge.
The bodice is built as a peculiar pair of court bodice-stays, and it’s boned in synthetic whalebone. It features five different layers of fabric and merges historical and modern techniques. It is closed at the back with spiral lacing and my usual handmade eyelets, no metal grommets here. The hip and sleeve wings are edged with silk velvet piping in amethyst purple, as the neckline.
The skirt is made by more than ten meters of iridescent organza. The lightness of this fabric creates a lovely contrast with the hard shape of the bodice. It has been heat-cut in heart shapes around all the edge. That detail alone needed a whole afternoon of work. It has then been painted and weathered to create an eye-pleasing gradient. The inner skirt is made with hand dyed silk dupion with a diamonds pattern. The same fabric lines the sleeves. The hem is reinforced to create even more volume. The front of the skirt is made, as the outer sleeves, with vintage silk velvet that was gifted me by my mother. I embossed it myself, by hand, with antique wooden block prints with an indian inspired motif. Then the velvet is painted and weathered too.
The front of the bodice features hearts of the same organza, boiled o be shaped in those beautiful hearts, layered with angelina fib a magical sparkle, embedded on the bodice and surrounded by three-dimensional golden motifs I personally shaped on the fabric with cellulose paste. They were then painted to mimic the pattern of the fabric of the base to obtain an organic look.
The collar ruff is made in hand dyed, hand pleated, hand texturised silk organza. The beautiful ombré effect creates a halo around the face of the wearer, while the red frayed and feathered collar focus the attention at the center. It is completed, as the whole dress, with heart-shaped crystals, to create accents on specific details.
The hanging sleeves are in velvet, and they protect the inner sleeves like a treasure. Once again the contrast between heavy and light comes into place: the inner sleeve is made in pastel yellow embroidered mesh, with rosettes of golden sequins and pearls. The thing I love the most about these sleeves is that they present a sort of oxymoron: the back/side pouffs mimic those of renaissance fashion, where the camicia (shift) peeked out. The light fabric came out of the heavier one. Here we have the same concept, but with inverted elements: the sheer part is the main one, and the colorful one is the detail, shaped in hearts, and present only there, it doesn’t belong to a shift, which makes it incredibly intriguing and funny to me.
The gown was created from such a wide range of different materials and colors, and I wanted to give it depth and texture, so there was a lot going on. It needed tuning. There was an orchestra of different things that needed to be put forward and backwards, some of them ad to play the forte, others to be more subtle than they were as they got in my hands. A great excercise of balance had to be made, with all of that going on. So I spent days on weathering, hand painting, spraying, staining, polishing and highlighting everything until the concert was ready, harmonious, tuneful, shapely.
And this is my thing, the thing I love doing the most, and probably do best. This tuning of visual elements brings everything together as a strong, effective, sight-satisfactory thing. And not just a sum of everything I loved and wanted to put in the gown.
I have to admit that at first I started counting the hours spent in creating this. But After the first two weeks of work I just stopped. And I kept working, because I wanted it to look as it looks, rather than fitting into a time range.
This gown is the start of a new era of my brand. It’s a new, glorious dawn. So much effort, love and passion have been put in it. As well as fears, hardship, even blood and tears, as in every masterpiece worthy of such name. It has a large piece of my soul in it and reflects my aesthetic taste new level. It’s a new starting point. It’s a wish for the future, and a little treat for your eyes, a proof of what I can achieve when I am left free to create. This is my strength, what I love doing and what I am good at. What I WANT to do from now on.
Shoes not included. Feather aigrette can be included if requested, halo not included.