Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bonjour to Paris......and fashion!!

Journey with us to see how our fashion show turned out in gay Paree; the city of lights and a major fashion dominian. No. we didn't have time to make the rounds to all the tourist attractions...even if we wanted to! Instead we went there with one thing in mind - to do some research on the artist we wanted to take a reference from, to find beautiful fabrics, and to design, make, and photograph our collection. Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it, dahlings!!

Always striving to do something unique - we will be featuring our show next, then we'll do somehting you see on no other runway. We will introduce you to the artist who influenced us, give you a description of the production of the outfit, and then show you some stills! What fun!! - we hope you enjoy it.

Then stay tuned because we invite you to see an individual new line that will debut at the Toykyo Fashion Doll Show from one of Couture Doll Shop's own, Frances Weir.  Her knitwear and hat collections will be featured, and will definitely be as much of an asset to the dolls' wardrobes over there as they are here!!

Okay, enough banter, now on with the show...with a little caution - if you are on a public computer note: this does contain music. 

Now, let's look at the designers our shop owners looked to when designing this couture collection!
Pat Stoughton 
Petite Moonbeams

 Mme. Madeleine Chéruit (1906-1935) was among the first couturiers of her generation, and one of the first women to control a major French fashion house, Place Vendôme in Paris, from 1906 to 1935. She was a leader who produced fashions with a French style, and had mostly aristocratic clientele, who favored richly ornamented dresses; later gowns were adorned with hand paintings.  She designed new walking suits and afternoon dresses that became the rage in 1914.   Her designs are seen to be simple yet she used elegant, soft fabrics – but was also able to help transform high fashion into ready-to-wear couture.  Today her designs may be found in collections of major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  In 2008, her fashion house was reestablished at its original location, 21 Place Vendôme, Paris.

My name is Pat Stoughton and I own Petite Moonbeams. The dress shown is a soft silky print with slim satin straps that slim the body in Cheruit fashion. 

The bodice is adorned with a cream braid.  On her head is another Cheruit hallmark, a silk cloche embellished with a scalloped trim.  Mme. Cheruit used both feather boas and chiffon ribbons to complete her outfits so I felt it only appropriate to accessorize this outfit with a boa.

Sonia Rykiel, a famous Paris designer, is best known for her sweaters and knits.  She invented The Poor Boy Sweater which made the cover of ELLE fashion magazine, and brought her fame.  Because of it, she was crowned "Queen of Knits" by the American fashion industry in 1967.  I, however, was inspired by a Spring 2009 fashion show where several designers recreated her face dresses. 
I love the orginal dress designed by Sonia so I designed one for my pink wigged Barbie. How fun is this dress!?!  This dress was created by Mary Watson of GreenThread Design Studio.  You can visit my shop at Couture Doll  This runway creation titled, “Thank God for Flat Irons!” is made from a photograph of my doll printed onto photo fabric.  The dress was then designed by draping the photo fabric on a doll form.  I used dyed sheep's wool for the hair. 

Frances Weir
Francesca Doll Couture 

The House of Rodier was founded by Eugene Rodier in Paris in 1848.  The Rodier name is well known in fashion circles for its ready to wear knits which were first introduced in the 1950's, and for using interesting yarns, distinctive patterns and textures.
The tradition continues today with the use of inventive designs, rich colours, fine detailing and colour related separates.

My name is Frances Weir, owner of Francesca Doll Couture, and my model, Amelie, is wearing a three piece ensemble inspired by the House of Rodier. The featured piece is a hand knit, short sleeved, tunic dress knit in a dark red French pearle cotton.  The tunic is worn over a sleeveless sheath dress in an amber coloured fine, pure silk. Both pieces are complimented by a short collarless coat. The burnt orange, raw silk coat is fully lined with amber silk matching the dress.  The tiny gold bead ' buttons ' add a touch of French flair to the softly pleated short coat and the rich colours are pure autumn.

Elizabeth Fenton
Nasha’s DollBoutique  

My designer is Valentino. His designs are extraordinarily beautiful and timeless haute couture. His fabric choices were rich, masterfully embellished, and extravagant. His fashions have been worn by the highest echelon of society.  Valentino retired in January of 2008 after 45 years in the fashion business.

Hello from Elizabeth Fenton of Nasha’s Doll BoutiqueD’oro is a two piece, exquisitely sophisticated suit. It consists of a sleeveless, fitted, bias cut dress with a deep keyhole shaped back.  It is paired with a collarless, fit and flare jacket cut from gold and cream paisley silk brocade. Fur detail at the jacket cuffs and silk ribbon at the waist add the perfect finishing touches.
Anita Stoklosa
Coco Chanel. famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits was my muse.  The main characteristic for fashion from this the leading creator of all is a jacket - always collarless with a round buton. Opening her first shop on Paris ’s Rue Cambon in 1910, Chanel started out selling hats. She later added stores in Deauville and Biarritz and began making clothes.

Greetings from Anita Stoklosa, Anicetta's FashionsMy outfit was inspired by Coco Chanel. I love suits, so I decided to make a little collarless jacket with round buttons reminiscent of her style. I used taffeta and jacquard fabric, and my jacket and skirt are fully lined.  The chic, yellow, felt hat along with the purse, jewelry and stockings were also created by me. Modeling is Darla from Integrity Toys, but this fashion will fit Silkstone Barbie perfectly as well.

Anna Castanes

Dolce and Gabanna is the luxury fashion house that was my inspiration for making a bedding set that will make your doll feel like she lives in the palace of Versailles - think luxury and splendor!  Dolce and Gabbana style was originally inspired by eclectic, thrift shop Bohemia, and their original casual lines attempted to set trends rather than follow them.  In today’s latest, Fall/Winter 2013, couture collection you will see embroideries and laces  throughout the collection as well as the rich fabrics they are now famous for.

Hi from Anna Castanes, Something's Old Somethings NewLet's go back in time!  This bedding set includes a coverlet made of satin embroidered fabric with a crepe underlining; a pleated pillow also made of crepe fabric; and a satin embroidered valance with two sided panels of lace with pearls.  Bed and furniture not included. I hope you enjoy this item as much as I enjoyed making it.

Kevin Kilmer
Christian LaCroix was my inspiration for this Challenge, LaCroix is known for his Avant Guard designs, use of color, and outlandish designs - all aimed at creating a High Couture runway look.  LaCroix's use of color in his designs is breathtaking in that he uses colors that most designers would steer clear of putting together.  He uses practically every color imaginable, and his designs are revered the world over.

My name is Kevin Kilmer, owner of CLICK DESIGNS by KEVIN.   Since Christian LaCroix was my inspiration color, shape, and form were the order of the day, and this is a fitting tribute.  Done in lime greens, fuschias, pinks, greens, and golds with feathers, satins, silks. tulle, and recycled, dyed fuschia rabbit fur, this design exudes red carpet runway vibes from top to bottom!! Also, as a side tribute to my favorite British Sitcom, Ab Fab; I call this design "LaCroix, Sweetie Darling."

Peggy Burney
Creative Couture

Catherine Malandrino is an innovative French designer now working in New York City as well as in Paris, and my inspiration for this event.   She has worked in the Paris couture houses of Dorothée Bis, Louis Feraud, Emanuel Ungaro, and in the 1990s was the creative force at the French label "Et Vous" in Paris.

She has designed for such stars as Brooke Shields, Drew Barrymore, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Demi Moore, and Beyonce. Malandrino currently designs two collections: her contemporary line and a runway line that features shoes and accessories including jewelry, handbags, and belts. Her lines are represented around the world.


My name is Peggy Burney, and I invite you to visit me at my shop, Creative Couture.  My fashion is a short sheath made of cream organza and cream leather. It has a deep V neckline in front and back. This dress is daring because it consists of peek-a-boo strips of organza mixed with the leather.

For the past 25 years Karl Lagerfeld has been the creative director of Chanel. He has taken the legacy of Coco Chanel, enhanced it, and taken the design house to new heights of popularity and power. With his white ponytail, dark sunglasses and fingerless gloves, he is one of the most recognizable designers in the industry. For his Fall 2012 couture collection he chose a color palate of silver gray and dusty pink with a theme of New Vintage, signifying something to come, and something that will last.

Hi there!  I hope you’re when you are looking for fashions you will come visit me, Ina Murphey, at my shop, LaPetite Fashion Promenade

The two piece evening ensemble I’ve designed utilizes the same pink and gray color palate as Lagerfeld's, and incorporates various design elements and materials reminiscent of those used by Coco Chanel. The coat is made of sparkling silver fabric with a texture that reminds one of the legendary Chanel tweed fabrics along with pink gimp braid edging. The strapless gown is made of pale pink knit satin and silver lame’ satin. The Ostrich feather skirt features hand beading at the neckline and waist.

Kari Stackhouse

My model, Poppy, turned to Hubert de Givenchy to design her Fall/Winter wardrobe. She loves his elegant yet youthful designs. Hubert de Givenchy is a French fashion designer who founded his own couture house in Paris in 1952. He is famous for designing fashions for Audrey Hepburn as well as Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, thus successfully bringing together Paris couture and American Hollywood. He considers fabric to be the inspiration for creating fashion and has said, "Fabric is the most extraordinary thing, it has life. You must respect the fabric." His esthetic is classical, pure, and elegant.

Hi, I'm Kari Stackhouse of Tres Chic Boutique.  On a recent trip to San Francisco the unforgettable opportunity of shopping at the fabulous Britex fabric store presented itself.  The two fabric pieces that I simply could not leave the store without were the houndstooth silk and the colorful silk print featured in my design. I had no intention of using them together until I started preparing for this event, and then these fabrics seemed inseparable.  

I thought the combination was unexpected and youthful, while still maintaining elegance. Poppy's two-piece suit is made of 100% silk with recycled vintage mink accents, and a slim band of ultrasuede trim on the empire bodice of her dress. She chose to accessorize it with a teal ultrasuede handbag, matching headband hat, and elbow length gloves. Please check out Poppy's "Pretty in Paris" ensemble in my shop.
 And with this last entry we say au revoir to Paris, but stick around as I walk over to Couture Court; you don't want to miss my interview with Frances Weir of Francesca Doll Couture -- it is a treat!!
Blogmeister: Who are you? In other words - tell us a little bit about the real person behind your business name?
 Francesca, an endearment used by my younger sister for me all my adult life, is a persona - a classic couturier with elegance and flair. I decided to incorporate "Francesca" into my shop name when I created my website two years ago, as I feel it lends a European nuance and implies a certain sense of style, a certain "je ne sais quois".
Blogmeister: How and when did you discover your love for creating fashion art in the doll world?
Dolls were always a big part of my childhood but with three boys of my own, parenthood as a single hockey-mum, and a full time teaching career, my last doll, tiny Betsy McCall, remained tissue wrapped in my cedar chest for decades. She was sweet but I decided, during a move, that I did not need to keep her any longer. I discovered that the internet was the perfect place to buy and sell dolls. I sold her and then immediately had regrets .

As an adult, I knew there were doll collectors but up until that move about ten years ago I knew nothing at all about fashion dolls or even Barbies. I knew Transformers! This was a whole new world.
First I became interested in vintage Barbie fashions as I loved the care taken in construction and details. Then I found a local doll club and a friend introduced me to Silkstone and Fashion Royalty dolls. I was hooked. I had the time and I loved to knit and sew.... creating couture clothing for these lovely dolls was just the next step.  And, te internet was a wonderful place to share my original doll fashions.

Blogmeister: Did you begin creating for yourself then transition to creating fashion art offered for sale?
My interest in vintage Barbie fashions led me to selling my thrift store and garage sale finds on line. That in turn led to me knitting, sewing and selling my own creations. The feedback I received has been very positive. I discovered there was a good market for my creations and after googling "ooak" I was on my way. On line auctions gave me the opportunity to sell to doll lovers and collectors all over the world. It was exciting and lucrative, too.
Blogmeister: Was anything or anyone a significant influence on your work initially?
Several people have had a significant influence on my work: my Mother whose pre-war, pre-marriage wardrobe told stories of high style and fine fabrics; my Paris born mother-in-law whose parents owned couturier shops in Brussels, Paris and Biarritz; my dear friend whose shopping acumen and fantastic hats have inspired me for years; and my sister whose savvy style reflects a classy French flare.
Blogmeister: Today where do you find inspiration for your projects?
Oh, inspiration is everywhere: vintage photos, patterns and magazines, old movies, pieces of jewelry, gardens, landscapes, flowers, feathers... it just goes on and on.
Blogmeister: For people who would like to create their own fashion art, would you have any words of inspiration or advice?
If you can imagine it, you can create it. I see a design in my mind and then I go for it. I do not often even draw, I just visualize, especially when I am knitting.

I think good photography skills would be helpful in recording and sharing creations. I keep intending to take a course, but I am too busy!

Blogmeister: Lastly, what's up for you right now?
Well, selling doll fashions online has had some interesting results. I have met some very interesting people both online and in person. Most recently I was contacted by one of my customers in Japan. It turned out my buyer is the Horsman Doll Rep for Japan and he was interested in purchasing a selection of my ooak hats, hatboxes and Urban Vita fashions to feature in the Tokyo Doll Show in September. I just completed and shipped his order and I am can't wait to see photos from the show. Maybe another year I will go in person. That would be quite an adventure.

Thanks, Frances, this has been fun - and enlightening  for our viewers.  They will be sure to want to visit your shop for all the latest if they haven't had the opportunity yet.  You can find Francesca Doll Couture on Couture Court.

And now it's time to say au revoir until we meet again in October.  I hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer, and you are looking forward to the Fall Festivities that will be upon us very soon! 

Yes, it's time to pull out those winter outfits we love, and to add new items, too.  Couture Doll will have some lovely winter things you'll want when we return! Take care, mon cheri!