Category Archives: bridal design

Josephine

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Friday I had a photo shoot with the re-make of the Josephine gown.  This was just a quick photo shoot to get the new pictures up on the website before the save the date cards go out for the launch party, but I’m very pleased.  This is also your indroduction to Christina, my new spokesmodel.  She’s so beautiful & really represents my customer perfectly.   And, yes, the necklace is part of my new collection!

 

Josephine & 2 other gowns will be in The Little White Dress Shop www.lwdbridal.com by the end of the month, and the remaining 5 debut collection gowns will be there by the end of February.  There will also be 8 veils and 4 necklaces as well. 

Please contact Margo Trueblood, my Director of Sales & Marketing at 719.650.8502 or margo@alisabenay.com for information about how to find our gowns in a salon near you or information about attending out launch party March 14 & 15.

 

For information about editorial coverage, please contact

THE VANGUARD PR
Jennifer Smith Tapp
773.315.4491

All photography courtesy of Kim Nodurft www.kimnodurft.com

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Getting Started

I’ve been hinting for months that things have been moving at a frantic pace behind the scenes & now it’s time to let you in on the story.

When my Get Married television episode aired for the first time last November, I started to develop a national following for my line of vintage inspired bridal gowns. I’ve spent this entire past year talking with brides, event designers, bridal boutique owners, and other industry insiders. Overall, I have received amazing reviews of my line, but ultimately not a lot of sales. My business model at the time that the gowns were released was to work directly with the bride to create a completely customized gown. I’ve had the pleasure of creating several of these gowns over the past year, but ultimately I felt there was a larger audience for my designs. Earlier this spring I had a conversation with a dear friend & mentor lamenting how I knew what to do manufacture & distribute a clothing line, but it just wasn’t working with my current business model. Her advice? “Well, it sounds like you need to stop doing what you are doing & do what you need to do.”

So I started the process of making calls and inquiries. Lace, fabric, and trim suppliers; manufacturers; boutique owners; event designers; advertisers; pr firms; virtual assistants, receptionists, and book keepers; jewelry and veil designers; modeling agencies; photographers; stylists; make-up artists; and more. I asked what feels like millions of questions. The more I asked, the more the universe began to open up to my vision. As I worked towards putting together a formal business plan, the plan itself took on a life of it’s own and began to take off. It started out as my “dream big” project where I was putting together what I would do if time, money, and circumstances were no object and ended up becoming a reality. So much work has gone into this project already & right now is only the beginning.

Over the next few months you’ll get to see the behind the scenes events that shape a clothing line.  It’s a tremendous amount of work, but also tremendously fun.  We’re gearing up towards an official launch party in Castle Rock, Colorado in mid-March 2009.  I already have national television coverage confirmed and some other possible blow-your-mind possibilities in the works.  Hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I do!

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J Crew Celeste Pique Dot Dress

J Crew Celeste

I have a new client who has been franticly searching for the J Crew Celeste Pique Dot Gown for her destination wedding next summer. I’m going to be making her a replica of the gown & am currently searching for the right fabric. I have several contacts in New York & will being going there myself in October, so I’m confidant we’ll find an extremely similar fabric. The polka dots are just so unique!

I’ve seen on several websites that quite a few people are looking for this gown, so I thought I would let it be known that I can make this for you. I have found several different dot fabrics and some other similar in style white on white fabrics, but am still looking for something that is exactly the same. It can also be made in several white cotton or silk fabrics shown below.

The dot or print gown is $1450 and the plain white is $1200, plus shipping and handling.

If you have any other gowns that have been discontinued that you would like made, please let me know. I won’t copy anything that is currently available from retailers, but I’m happy to help you create something that just isn’t available on the current market. I’m an aspiring designer myself & I won’t attempt to undercut another designers work or income. Also, I usually can’t make it for less than the existing retail price, so you have no advantage having me make something that’s currently in stores. Feel free to contact me at any time with your needs & I’ll be happy to talk with you!

Here’s some of the current selections of fabric for the J Crew Celeste:

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Measureing

measurements-001.jpg

I have finally worked up my “how to measure yourself” chart. Several of my clients are waiting on this, thanks gals for your patience.

There are, as you can see, quite a few different measurements. I will do my best to walk you through how to take these. If you have any questions, please e-mail me to set up a phone consult so that I can walk you through it over the phone.  It’s easiest to print out this post & fill in the information as you go.

*If at all possible, have a friend take your measurements. When you turn your body to look at the tape measure, you actually change the measurement. If you absolutely must take your own measurements, do so in front of a mirror standing as strait as possible & looking forward. Mark the measurement with your fingernail, then look down to see what it is.

*Wear only an unpadded bra & panties, bathing suit, or some other very close fitting garment (or if you are ordering a gown, wear the bra that you will wear with your finished gown).

To begin, you will need to stop by Joann’s or your local fabric store & purchase 3-5 yards of elastic, a measuring tape, and a package of safety pins. I just use the most inexpensive skinny elastic & buy it off the roll by the yard. You should spend $5 or less on these 3 items all together. You will also need a marker felt tip pen.

Cut lengths of elastic to secure with safety pins around points 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, & 7. Yes, you are going to look like you’re trying out for the part of “skeleton” in the next school play, but I need to have these points marked and stationary during your measurement taking process.

Next you are going to use your marker to make small marks on the elastic for “side seams”. Imagine you have a plum line falling directly from the middle of your armpit to the floor. Now just make small marks on each piece of elastic going straight down your imaginary plum line (on each side).

On the above chart, the numbers go horizontally and the letters go vertically. Some only apply to full gowns or gowns with sleeves. I’m going to color code them as follows:

Red * Fill in all these for corset and gown orders

Green * This measurement only applies to skirt or gown orders

Blue * This measurement only applies to corsets or gowns with sleeves and/or necklines

O.K! Now we’re all set to measure!

BASIC INFORMATION:

Just circle the basic sizes that you generally wear

Bra size: 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44

AA A B C D DD(E) DDD(F) G

Shirt size: (number) 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24

Jeans/pants size: (number) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24

or Juniors sizes 1 3 5 7 9 11 13

Height: _____________

FRONT:

1) * Upper Bust: _____ (for corset orders, make this where you want the top of the corset to be)

2) * Full Bust: _______

2.5) * Front Full Bust: _______ How far is it across line 2, just from “side seam” to “side seam” (remember you marked “side seams” on your elastic earlier)

2.75) * Desired Corset Bust: _______ This measurement is only for corset tops. Sometimes in a corset, you want the nice fluffy décolleté coming over the top. This requires that your bust actually be squished just a bit. Put the tape measure around your full bust, put your hands on top the girls, and push them in & up to where you want them to be. Now, look at what the measurement is. (this may require a few attempts before you get all the acrobatics required!) It should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-5 inches smaller than the actual full bust measurement, just depending on how full busted you are.

3) * Underbust: _________ (your rib cage at the point where the bottom of your bra band is)

3.5) * Front Under Bust: ________ How far is it across line 3, just from “side seam” to “side seam”

4) * Bust point to Bust Point: ________ (yes, that is “nipple to nipple”, but “bust point” sounds so much nicer, doesn’t it?)

5) * Waist: _______ This will most likely be higher than where you normally wear the waistband of your pants. Find the smallest point in your torso or where your body bends when you bend to the left or right while standing.

5.5) * Front Waist: ________ You’re getting the hang of it now, right? Line 5, just from side seam to side seam across the front.

6) * Abdomen: ________ This is a tricky one. Generally it’s about 2 fingers above your hipbones, but if you are especially curvy, the elastic will try to roll up. For corset orders, please make a note to me how far above or below this line you want the end of your corset to be.

7) * Fullest part of your hips: _________ I need this even for corset orders. It helps me establish the curvature of your body.

7.5) * Front Full Hip: __________ Yep, you know what you’re doing now!

8) * Neck: ________ (I don’t know why that shows up as a smiley, it’s an ‘8’ in the draft!)

(the following lettered measurements are all vertical!)

A) * 1-2: _______ How far is it vertically from ‘1’ to ‘2’. The illustration shows it to the inside just because there was only so much room to draw a readable picture, but please take this measurement from the bust point on line 2 up to line 1, then the following measurement from the bust point on line 2 down to line 3.

If you are ordering a ‘sweetheart’ neckline, please make a note to me of how far down from line 1 you would like the tip of the sweetheart to dip. ________
B) * 2-3: _______

C) * 3-5 at center front: ________

D) * 5-6 at center front: ________

E) * 5-7 at center front: ________

F) * 1-5 at side seam: _________

F.5) * ________ If you are ordering a corset, please make a note of how far down from line 5 you would like the side of your corset to end.

G & H are only needed for gowns or over the shoulder corsets

G) from Bust point to Neck: _______ (at the point where a shoulder seam would intersect the neck)

H) from Bust point to Shoulder tip: __________

BACK:

9) * Shoulder tip to Shoulder tip: _________ (needed for gown orders, but not for corsets)

10) * Bicep: _________

11) * Wrist: _________

(the following measurements are all vertical!)

I) * Back waist: _______ How far is it from the prominent bone at the base of your neck down to 5. I need this even for corset orders, it helps me establish your body dimensions.

J) * Corset Back: ________ I only need this measurement for corset orders, not for full gowns. This measurement should be from the point where you want your gown to end at the top, down to 5.

K) * 5-6 at center back: ________

L) * 5-7 at center back: ________

M) * Back skirt length: ________ Measure from 5 down the floor, standing in bare feet.

M.5) * Heel height: _______ What height of heel will you be wearing on your shoe?

N) * Arm length: _________ from the tip of your shoulder to your wrist, with your arm slightly bent.

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A New Beginning

If you are reading this today, you have most likely just come from my homepage after seeing my debut on Get Married. Welcome. I hope you’ve had a fun time looking through my corsets and gowns. I’ve had such an exciting time creating this line & I hope that you love it as much as I do.

The line doesn’t officially launch until Spring 2008, so you may feel that there are some things missing. There are. The first collection is named the Rose Collection both because of the beautiful roses that adorn the embroidered fabric and in honor of my great grandmother Rose, who instilled in me a life long love of creating beautiful garments. The Rose collection will eventually have 6 looks. 6 corsets. 6 full length skirts. 3 jackets (in a short sleeve, a 3/4 length sleeve, and a full length sleeve), 3 bustles, and 2-3 cocktail skirts. Scroll down through my past entries on this blog & you’ll find some sketches of the 3 remaining gowns: Amelia, Gillian (which was changed from ‘Victoria’), and Penelope. The cocktail skirts are a neat concept. My gowns don’t necessarily have to be worn just for your wedding day. They’re great for any event you need to dress up. Or just try wearing the corset with jeans for a great ‘night on the town’ outfit. You’re husband will love it. Ask me how I know. Another concept I’m going to be promoting is taking your gown out of storage and wearing it for your first anniversary.

I was planning to launch the line at Denver Fashion Week 2008, but can’t seem to find any further information about the event. I had also thought of doing it in a more intimate trunk show type event at an upscale boutique. There’s quite a bit to put together behind the scenes before all that happens, so looking into different venues to launch at is just one of my many things on my ‘to do’ list. What does it mean that the line hasn’t “launched” yet? Just that not everything is completely nailed down yet. Obviously all the gowns haven’t been made up in samples yet. We’re still working on getting our selling process down pat. Things like that. You can still go ahead and order the gowns from the website. You won’t be able to have a delivery date before April 1, 2008, but we’re recommending that you go on & place your order is you’re certain you want one of my gowns.

The first thing you probably noticed about my gowns is that they all come in color. Color is my thing. My signature. What makes my gowns stand out from the crowd. Bridal gowns in color are becoming increasingly popular, but that’s not why I make mine the way they are. It’s just simply what comes from within me when I start sculpting a new gown.

Choosing to wear a gown in color may seem like a bold move. But you’re a bold girl. Really. Trust yourself. If you respond to the gown, then you’ll wear it with confidence and be the most beautiful bride that ever was. Most of the response I’ve gotten from these gowns so far goes something like this: “Yes. That’s what I’ve been looking for.” I even had one woman say “the perfect expression of all my dreams.” Wow. That’s humbling. Choosing to wear a gown in color gives you so many more options to express your true self. To shine on your day of all days and show people “this is who I am, who I really am when I’m the best I can be. This is me.” Have fun with the colors. Mix and match. Color outside the lines!

I realize that your dreams are not mine and that you may love the sillhoette of my designs, but really want a white or ivory gown. Never fear! It can be done! We will be offering a “Purity Collection” in the coming months. The Purity Collection will contain all the gowns featured currently (and the ones to come!) on the website in a white and ivory interpretation. If you’re interested in that option before you see it on the website, just let me know.

The next thing you’ve probably noticed about my gowns is that they all have corsets. I’ve been in love with the corset since my history of costume classes in college. My college (Kent State University) has one of the finest period costume collections around. We regularly were able to see first hand historical pieces are part of our classes. Fun, fun, fun! My corsets are fully functional. This means that you can pull them in to your desired comfort level. Push up “the girls”. Pull in the tummy. Reduce your waist size about 2 to 3 inches. Yes. I just said that. 2 to 3 inches. They’re also amazingly comfortable. The inner lining is cotton and the boning is spiral steel, which moves 360 degrees, instead of just front to back like traditional plastic boning.

You might also be a bit overwhelmed by the choices. Chose your fabric color and type, your trim color, your ribbon color, even the color of your eyelets. Each gown that ships out of my studio has the potential to be completely unlike any other ever made. Your gown, made just for you. Just give me a call or e-mail & we’ll chat about your gown. My fairy godmother wand is always ready to make your dreams come true!

Post Script: My size chart didn’t make it onto the new website (or at least as of this writing) so here it is & we’ll have it up on the website as soon as possible.

Size

Bust

Waist

Hips

Hem Length

2

33

24

35 1/2

43 1/2

4

34

25

36 1/2

43 3/4

6

35

26

37 1/2

44

8

36

27

38 1/2

44 1/4

10

37

28

39 1/2

44 1/2

12

38 1/2

29 1/2

41

44 3/4

14

40

31

42 1/2

45

16

41 1/2

32 1/2

44

45 1/4

18

43 1/2

34 1/2

46

45 1/2

20

45 1/2

36 1/2

48

45 3/4

 

To measure:

 

measure around the fullest part of your bust

measure around the narrowest part of your waist (not necessarily at the place where you wear your waistband)

measure the fullest part of your hips

for the hem measure from your waist to the floor in the back

I’ll have some further information on measuring yourself along with a pictorial tutorial (try saying that 3 times fast) by January.

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All systems go

I just nailed down everything for the photo shoot for this coming Monday.  Photographer, model, hair/make-up artist, intern, & local.  We’re looking into a second model at the last minute.  My model for the day is Ashley, but she’s got a time crunch.  You would think it won’t take longer than 3 hours to shoot 4 gowns, but I’m looking to hedge my bets & get a 2nd model.   For both moving through the gowns quicker (or is it “more quickly”?) & also in case we need to do some additional detail shots after Ashley needs to leave.  I’ve put some feelers out, we’ll see what turns up.

Woohoo.  I’m in business.

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sketches

Here’s the sketches I just turned into Get Married

These are cropped snapshots of the color copies, so take them for what they’re worth. I’ve cropped out the flats b/c I just don’t want those floating around the internet. If I had been thinking all the way through, I really wouldn’t have sent the flats to GetMarried, either, but they were already on the drawings when I thought of that.

Now we’ll see how many I actually get made up into samples before the photo shoot.

Josephine

Josephine is a 4 part gown (remember, the client can mix & match from each gown if she likes), the corset has been shortened & made straight across the top since the Get Married taping. For all you aspiring fashion designers out there, um…. do what I say, not what I do. DO NOT make samples first. Make your block, then your first patterns, then a test run, then go back for corrections, then a 2nd test run… THEN make samples. Unless, of course, you’ve been asked to appear on national television with 10 days to prepare.

Rebecca

Rebecca has had the bottom front of the corset straightened out to blend better with the rest of the line. Also, I’m not going to do a yoke, just micro pleats right into a waistband.

Amelia

Amelia is probably my favorite. Note to self….buy a ruffler attachment.

Caroline

Caroline is reworking the Rebecca silhouette. I’ve added 3/4 sleeves & am playing with the tuck detailing also seen on the sides of the Josephine overskirt & the back of Amelia’s skirt. I haven’t fleshed out all the pattern work yet for this sleeve, so I’ll let you know how that works out. The skirt is exactly the same as Rebecca, I’ve just added an overskirt.

Victoria

Victoria is really reworking the Josephine. Same corset, just with ruffles. Same skirt. Different overskirt (which after sketching, I’ve already decided to make changes to), and different jacket. The sleeves gave me fits to draw. I’m trying to rework the micro pleating detail in the puff sleeve. Maybe it would help if I actually tested it out before drawing.

There’s also ‘Penelope’ in the works. It’s a rework of the Amelia style a la an Elie Saab
(number 29, I can’t find another picture of it) skirt I’m nuts about.

I’m pretty bummed that I couldn’t really find markers that convey the actual colors of the fabric. They’re really much paler than the renderings. Also what appears to be yellow in the sketches is actually a pale cream color.

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