Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Cocktail Party

There are changes afoot in my office.  The building was sold, and we have yet to see what changes will come of it all.  Last Thursday the new owners scheduled a “cocktail” party to introduce everyone (the cocktail part being a bit of a misnomer as the only alcohol served was wine).

Now, I could have played it safe and dressed like a normal person, but that just isn’t my style.  I get a perverse sense of pleasure from the idea of freaking strangers out with my wardrobe choices.

However, thanks to my supportive boss and co-workers, there were a whole lot of compliments, and not a whole lot of strange looks.  It could be worse, right?!

This dress was my attempt at creating a much more laid-back version of this full-length gown that was put together for a Marin Symphony event a couple of years ago. 

Generally, I start with the wearable muslin and then move on to the formalwear.  But not for this dress. 

The drape requires a fabric that looks good from the front and the back and as soon as I found the Bella Notte fabric I knew exactly what I should do with it.

But let’s be honest, how much wear can a dress like this possibly get, even for me?

My rusty red tencel fabric seemed to be the perfect solution for an everyday version of the fabulous 1948 design, with a little bit of inspirational assistance. 

Roland Mouret’s “Copperfield Gown”and Victoria Beckham’s Fall 2009 RTW Collection.

Instead of letting the drape trail down the back, this time around I decided to use it as an attached scarf that gets wrapped around the neck and tacked down with a brooch.

Like all brilliant plans, this one did not come out exactly as planned, but is still wonderful in its own way.  

Somehow I managed to create another rather fancy looking frock.  My only excuse for considering this a day dress is the fact that the fabric is not shiny!  And it is certainly perfect for a late afternoon office party.

By the way, the get-together was great!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 2494
Shoes:  BP “Empire-Lea” in Gold
Brooch & Bracelet:  Monet
Earrings:  Macys


  1. LOVE this dress! Wow! It makes me want that pattern - its so flattering on you :-)

  2. Wow.
    So beautifull.You look so good in this dress.

  3. Absolutely stunning! And I just love this length too!

  4. Overheard Conversation #18:

    "Meanwhile, back at the office..."
    (audible exhale) "Her life is a string of fabulous fashion opportunities."
    "My office has spontaneous parties, but only on days I'm out."
    "Same here. That's just our luck."
    "Mmmm hmmm."
    "What did you think of that hem line?"
    "Only that there's an entire building filled with neck braces and whiplash cases."
    "That's only half the crowd. The rest have poker faces while reaching for invisible maces."
    "Other's ire, fuels her fire."
    "With broken hearts, she deflects all darts."
    "Why, our careful study is starting to pay off in rhyme and reason."
    "Mmmm hmmm. We'll be more 'Laura Mae', it's a verb, than the original by mid-summer."
    "Sneaking into her camp was a great idea."
    "I'll say, beyond the clothes and each pose, we'll learn what THAT man-trap knows."
    "Starting with eyeball tourniquets as the only office etiquette worth adhering to."
    "I'll drink a moderately priced rose' in a plastic goblet to THAT!"
    "No. [raises an imaginary glass] To THESE Laura Mae's."
    "Mmmmm hmmmm, [raises and clinks an imaginary glass] and here, here!"

  5. I think it's lovely! Absolutely appropriate for a cocktail party - even a modern one that only serves wine & (I'm assuming)everyone else is wearing relatively "normal" clothes :) I like to freak people out with my clothing choices too, although you are definitely more of a diehard than I am! You look fabulous, lady!

  6. Why be average like everyone else when you can be fabulous? I think you're clothing, workmanship and style is amazing. Like a breath of fresh air!

  7. I absolutely love both versions, gorgeous fabrics and so appropriate for each event!
    I have not had good luck with tencel: it seems to turn to a mass of wrinkles the instant I put it on. Is the dress lined? How did you keep those lovely gathers at the hip so smooth?

    1. Thank you Katrina!

      The dress is not lined, however, I am wearing a slip underneath for a bit of warmth and so nothing clings too tightly in places it shouldn't.

      As seen in the photos, the fabric does wrinkle a bit, but not terribly. Perhaps you could try a print to disguise them. Although, come to think of it, I have never seen a Tencel print . . .

      And I blame the fantastic pattern drafting for the lovley gathers (I had nothing to do with it!)

  8. That dress is too amazing for words! I am simply in awe of it!

  9. FAB-U-LOUS!!! How can this beautiful dress be considered "inappropriate" in any way when I see "trashy" and "hugely inappropriate" everywhere (think "plunging, in-one's-face uberbimbo cleavage" behind the reception desk at a doctor's office, f'r instance) I also recognize that gorgeous purple brocade dress from a magazine(was it Vogue?); absolutely breathtaking! Retro without being "costumey": I love it when people can pull it off. The fabric is perfect for the dress, too. Well done!*applause*

    1. You have a great eye, Sufiya! The full length gown was featured in Threads Magazine in their "Reader's Closet" section.

      And I completely agree with you on the trashy clothing that is considered acceptable these days - I can't stand it!

  10. Beautiful! Why not make an impression with new colleagues/owners?

    What was the tencel like to work with? It's not a fabric I'm really familiar with other than knowing that it can be produced sustainably.

    1. Thank you Clio!

      As I understand it, Tencel is a brand name for fabric made of wood pulp. So, basically, it is a kind of rayon fabric. I like to think that it is sustainable (this particular fabric was billed as "organic") but I believe that the dye process usually negates any positive effect the fabric might have. But don't quote me on that - I may be uninformed - so I am just going to pretend that the dress was made this lovely color using beets.

      This particular cut is of medium weight and has a twill weave. I love rayons, and I loved working with this as well. Because it is not super light-weight, it was quite easy to cut and sew (that, and it only took 2.5 yds of 60" fabric, so I did not have to fight with massive amounts of yardage falling off the table!).

    2. Ah-so. So I guess a bit like bamboo in that it is sustainable,but not necessarily better for the environment. Thanks! I like rayon, too.

  11. I really like the dress. It is retro without looking like a costume. It is very reminiscent of Joan's dinner dress in last week's episode of Mad Men. Well done!

  12. This is such an awesome looking dress!! You combined three- no four of my favorite things- the 40's, tencel, red, and "mullet" skirts! Great job, just gorgeous!!!

    I looked into Tencel.. It's a "closed loop" process, it has a very technical definition but it's quite cool. It meets my own personal "sustainability" standards, anyway... http://3hourspast.com/2012/01/03/tencel-lyocell-fabric-the-basics/ I kind of want to do some more in-depth research that involves accosting some Tencel manufacturers, but there's only so many hours in the day.

    I wish I could borrow your dress!!! It's just so gorgeous I can't stop staring.

  13. You did an amazing job with this. I love the modification you made to the hemline on the red one. I'm sewing this pattern now. You look stunning in them both, but especially in the deep red one.