Thursday, May 3, 2012

Red, White, and a little Blue over You!

Americana style can be explained simply as a study of or a collection of items related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.  However, all of the shop keepers of Couture Doll are not from the USA; in fact we're international.  Therefore, in order to solicit the most participation in an Americana challenge our manager had to make this topic appealing to the majority.

The common denominator of most of the shop owners is that they deal in fashion.  Specifically they sew, knit, design, and develop patterns so they and others can make clothing for their own special dolls and for resale.  So this is how the Americana Happening developed.

First of all, the culture of the people of America includes the clothing they wear, so our affinity for making clothing fit in.  Next, many of us are influenced by certain fashion designers.  It seemed natural, therefore, to ask the CDS designers to take their inspiration from an American designer to make a similar, but not a copy of a garment that inspired them. To make this outfit they would need to study their designer's work, and to try to capture the "essence" of what makes their fave's designs popular. In this way the CDS designers would breathe life into an outfit they created WITHOUT totally relying on their mentor's work. 

What most of us were surprised to find out is that there are many designers who have not only "adopted" America as their homeland but have also embraced it as their country of origin for their design work.  It was, therefore, decided that our focus for an influence was to be on American fashion designers who were so classified - whether they were born here or not.

These were the names of some designers they could consider: Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Todd Oldham, Bill Blass, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsy Johnson, and one of our own fashion dollers, Jason Wu, who, of course is a fashion designer, too.  That's not to say these are the only designers who could be used.  If a CDS designer chose to pick another American designer, they would merely need to show their artist's intent to be an American designer, and then that designer could be accepted, too.  All designers had to submit a picture of their chosen designer’s work to show how they were influenced to do their Americana design.

But that was not to be all; as in many of our Happenings there was a twist:  Each entry had to be in Red White or Blue or a combo of 2 or 3 of the colors; and they must also be Summer items.  And if that weren't enough, each CDS designer had to name a specific item of clothing they would do at the onset; choosing from items ranging from a bathing suit to the show stopper with other interesting topics in between.  It was hoped by offering up an array of specific articles of clothing, with an obvious common thread of color, the audience would be clear that these designers had put together a collection without the benefit of seeing what the other designers were working on until the final curtain came up.  Finally, the complete Americana Happening was outlined!!

After this Happening was revealed completely a lot of the designers liked it, and felt Couture Doll, our unique international dolly mall, had a topic at least some would choose to work with.  This is no different than our other Happenings, of course; we never have had a topic that suits each and every shop owner.  As word reached the CDS designers about this unique Happening, those that were interested read the requirements, signed up, and began to assemble their equipment and material for another one of our set of requirements that would help inspire them to push the limits of their art abilities.  Yes, being a CDS merchant is a busy life, but it's also challenging and one that is fun.  Come along with me and I'll introduce you to the artists and the fashions that were finally accomplished and make up our Summer 2012 Americana collection.  The pictures are small on our blog post, it's true, but each shop's link is included so you can go over and look at their bigger, clearer pictures.

Hostess gown by Kevin Kilmer

His design is titled "Long May She Wave" and it is made in two parts.   The bodice and half peplum are one separate piece from the Red sequined pants.  The bodice is made from a silver micro sequined material with a blue satin half peplum.  It's a versatile, modern take on a cocktail hostess gown, sure to be at home at a chic party or some Hollywood red carpet events. His inspiration came from Claire McCardell, a designer from the 40s who was inspirational in making this type gown popular. Be sure to visit his shop, CLICKDESIGNSbyKEVIN

 Bathing suit by Larraine Elcock

Liv is celebrating an Americana tradition and will be ready for fireworks on the 4th of July in her patriotic red, white, and blue swimsuit and cover up.  The swimsuit is made of cotton, and the cover up is silk rayon.  Larraine, who is one of our international shop owners who hails from Canada, found inspiration for this outfit came from Jason Wu's Summer 2012 Collection.  Visit FringeElements to see more.

 Casual pant suit by Karen Kolkman

Another Canadian designer, Karen's took inspiration from Kate Spade -- well known for her handbags, raincoats, cool outfit names, and accessories, because she finds Spade's designs to be bold, clean and crisp.  It's titled "It's in the bag" and includes white stretch plastic skinny pants inspired by Kate's Broome street jeans collection. This outfit is appropriate for most 16" fashion dolls.  Side seams are top stitched like jeans, and pants have working front pockets with elastic waist for a perfect hip hugging fit.  The navy knit sleeveless jersey style top with sheer lace bottom is perfect for a warm summer day. It is also accessorized with a designer shoulder bag with stainless color buckles. A white plastic short raincoat with knit collar and cuffs tops it all off.  A bold silk print scarf completes the summer look whether it's white hot heat or a light summer rain.  Find both casual and formal wear at Kolkman Kreations.

 Tea dress with hat by Pat Stoughton

"Take Tea with Liberty" is the title of Pat's outfit.  Magdalena is wearing a deep navy blue and white pima cotton shirtwaist dress that is fully lined.  The deep-red satin belt sports a bit of daring with a red and white flower at the waist.  There are tiny red-and-white polka-dot bows at the heel of the red pumps.  The hat is a simple one made from a deep-red pima cotton fabric.  Shirtwaist dresses have been around for more than 40 years.  However, Pat finds Ralph Lauren is the designer who has the closest modern day designs for tea dresses; she feels his designs are simple, yet elegant.  Visit Petite Moonbeams.

  Bridesmaid by Mary Watson

Always a Bridesmaid and never a Bride?  Who cares when you are wearing this gorgeous bridesmaid dress inspired by the “White by Vera Wang” Collection.   Mary Watson of Green ThreadDesign Studio created this dress from a beautiful red silk crepe de chine.  It has a raw edged bias cut belt that ties into a large bow in back.  The front of the belt is accented with large, raw edged, bias cut roses.  A wonderful look for a summer wedding! 

 The Bride by Elisa Cetera
A summer bride would be glorious in this Vera Wang inspired silk organza, beaded gown with blue silk ribbon sash, by Elisa Cetera.  This gown is fully-lined and hand beaded with tiny iridescent glass beads.  It will come complete with floral hair arrangement and bouquet of white roses with blue forget-me-nots.  This gown, as well as many other fabulous creations can be found at PetraElise.

 Business pant suit by Rosy Bazile

Rosy choose a Bill Blass Fashion for her business suit.  It's called "Belle au Travail" and will come direct to you from Paris, France; Rosy is one of our international shop owners.  She chose to use a patchwork cotton for the fully lined jacket, a poplin for the top which is fully lined too, and a linen for the pants.  L'Atelier de Rosy is always ready to greet you at Atelier de Rosy.

 Business suit by Terry Barner

Terry Barner of Off The Wall by Terrkat, created this Americana inspired business suit from dupioni silk in red, white, and blue.  It is fully lined in white fabric, and features pleated side panels and cuffed sleeve.  She is clearly a born leader in this design inspired by Donna Karan's Fall 2012 line, and we are always lucky when Terry can join in one of our challenges - especially since he is now so busy in his new position as a designer for Horsman Ltd.! 

 Date night by Gayle Chavez

"Evening Sail" is perfect for a date night out on the ocean.  What could be better than cruising in prim and proper attire, at first donning the jacket. then later ready to dance the night away?  Leaving her jacket behind will also show off the sexy halter style design.  Fabric used is a delicate pinstriped stretch denim that has been lined in white and adorned with a white crochet appliqué.  It is beaded just at the bust line, and was inspired by the wonderful designs of Oscar de la Renta.  Taking the time to visit Gayle of Oohlalaz always reveals some treasures.

 A Night at the Opera by Peggy Burney

Peggy's sheath evening dress is made of red silk dupioni lined in white china silk .  It features both a thigh-high slit in front and a zipper closure in back.  It is embellished with hand applied white silk flowers enhanced with royal glitter.  The inspiration was the very feminine gowns designed by Austin Scarlett.  Peggy Burney's Creative Couture is the place for all this designer has to offer.

The Show Stopper by Elizabeth Fenton

Oscar de la Renta was the inspiration for this beautifully designed gown.  Elizabeth chose his design sense to emulate because they are not only classic and so gorgeous, but because the fabrics are so exquisitely embellished.  The particular design that inspired this gown was a beautiful floral embellished suit from his Spring 2011 RTW collection.   Our Show Stopper is a mermaid style, strapless gown, and shrug ensemble. The gown is cut from off-white embroidered silk organza over egg shell taffeta. The organza overlay is embellished with blue ribbon embroidery, tiny sequins and glass beads. The navy blue shrug (not shown) is cut from silk taffeta with ruffles at the sleeve and neckline.  To see this complete ensemble you need only visit Nasha's Doll Boutique.

And that concludes our fashion show.   Everyone at Couture Doll hopes you enjoyed it, and that you will visit our dolly mall  any time you need to add something to your doll's wardrobe.   And be sure to return next Friday when we will be featuring our Mother's Day Cards!

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