Blast from the past… and elaborating on my “couture” rant!

Things have been such a whirlwind since opening Celebration Generation, that sometimes… well, things I was doing only 3 years ago or so seem a LIFETIME ago!

I was at a networking function the other day, and my (extremely varied!) experience in the industry came up. In explaining that – while I’d been in the industryfor about 15 years, I’d only been in cakes for the last few – the subject of custom gowns came up. Gotta say, got a pang of nostalgia about my old stompin grounds!

That nostalgia prompted me to go looking through the old portfolio.. and inspired a blog entry (maybe 2 or 3!). I’d like to share pics of the last wedding gown I ever made.

This gown design was conceived sometime in late 2005, and was created in late 2006, as a sample gown for a wedding show. At the time, I was transitioning out of custom gown work, and focusing more on florals.. but what can I say.. I’m SUPER ADD!

Something you may not know about me: I am a classically trained fashion designer, and drafted all of my patterns from scratch. It was an interesting way to use my mathematical (yet, creative!) mind. With an idea of what I want to make, a simple set of measurements, and a couple measuring tools (square rule, hip curve, etc), I can turn any idea into a custom pattern. Kinda makes me sad from time to time that all that is sitting in the back of my head somewhere, gathering cobwebs from lack of use!

You may have noticed my twitter mini-rant recently about the use of the word “couture”. Yup – that was based in my history as a designer!

If you have no idea why I’d rant about it.. a quick lesson here: I get annoyed at the overuse / cliche-izing of the word “couture”. “Couture” gets used as a synonym for fashion, or used as a label/descriptor for pretty much everything from a line of sweatpants, to cakes, invites, whatever. Pretty much anything out there could/probably has been labelled with “couture”. Technically, however.. “couture” is a term with very specific meaning. In France, it’s even a PROTECTED designation!

“Couture” denotes clothing items which are usually custom-made for a single client (though I believe it’s also been officially extending to a few small-run lines as well). They are items made from high quality fabrics, utilizing fine techniques – and usually hand sewn detailing.

While this described the work I did while making custom gowns, there is one other requirement for use of the label that I did not satisfy: As I’d learned it, back in my fashion school days… to be labeled as “couture”, the designer had to have studied in Paris, under a couturier. I did not. Some may argue “common usage” or call it as semantics… but I’ve always elected to respect it. Too bad, too.. because “couturier” sounds much cooler than “gown designer”!

Hope that doesn’t all sound too pedantic. I’m a bit of a word nerd, and find things like this interesting! Anyway, I digress…back to this gown!

Fun fact: this gown had 97 pieces of fabric in the bodice alone! That’s not including the pieces of boning that were used to give it structure, either (14 pieces, if you’re curious!)

Sigh. Pretty, wasn’t it? One of these days, I’ve gotta find a cool excuse to design & make some interesting frock. One of these days.. 🙂

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