Close up: Cocktail hour in lace

Lace cocktail dress
Lace cocktail dress

Creation is a strange thing, sometimes it goes well, sometimes not so well, occasionally there are a few false starts which can be frustrating.  I’m rubbish at drawing, so each design starts on Muriel Mannequin which requires time and energy for pinning, draping, cutting and often re-cutting.  When it comes to false starts, this lace cocktail dress has rewritten the chapter!

The inspiration for the dress came from a remnant of lace I had left over from a prom dress (oh how I love it when a supplier sends me a little extra – perhaps the end of a roll or making up for a flaw).  I wanted to recreate something striking and strapless as its a common request in the Eliza Wyke studio.

Nude (especially for prom dresses) is also often requested and as it’s not an easy shade to pull off – I know look like death in this colour – so I thought it would be helpful to have a sample for customers to try.

When working with lace I like to keep the shapes simple as the detail should be in the lace. In this instance, I started with my Eliza Wyke strapless bodice, and added an elegant tapered skirt.  However it was quickly apparent that, despite the corded lace, the dress was simply too plain. It needed a colour injection of some sort.  Black would have been most people’s choice, but I sometimes think putting black with any colour is a bit of a cop-out.  Then inspiration struck me when I casually chucked some remnants of fabric into a Liz Earle bag to tidy the studio…

Colour inspiration strikes as I quickly tidy the studio.
Colour inspiration strikes as I quickly tidy the studio.

A quick rummage in the trims box and I discovered some aqua coloured chiffon and grosgrain ribbon (satin ribbon would have been too silky smooth for top-stitching around the waistline).

Remnant of James Hare satin chiffon is a virtual colour match
Remnant of James Hare satin chiffon is a virtual colour match
This remnant of Carrington's chiffon is a stark contrast
This remnant of Carrington’s chiffon is a stark contrast
Two layers are better than one
Two layers are better than one
Standing in front of the purple flora, it's clear that there were a multitude of colours which would have provided a contrast
Standing in front of the purple flora, it’s clear that there were a multitude of colours which would have provided a contrast
Lace strapless dress with a chiffon and grosgrain trim.
Lace strapless dress with a chiffon and grosgrain trim
On display in the sunshine
After several false starts and additions, on display at last

 

 

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