Monday, September 7, 2009

The Debutante Dress - Ruffles, organza, beads and the strict dress rules








How I created a Debutante Ball gown for a sixteen year old girl named Melissa







Miss Melissa's wish list: Coty, all I want to wear is a red dress with a top hat!!. Well that's Melissa! my son's great friend and partner for the Debutante Ball. It was a little hard at first to explain to Melissa that it was just not acceptable for a girl to wear red when everyone else was wearing white. I know you want to be different, but here are the rules and let's do it the right way, I said. I know you will be very happy in the end.




The Debutante Ball Dress Rules:






A debutante dress must be pure white not cream.



Full Length - The dress length must be between below the ankle but above the floor. It should allow for ease of movement when walking and dancing. Splits are permissible at the back of the dress only and no higher than the knee and the dress should be one piece with bodice attached to the skirt and Straps must be 3cm wide. The dress must be fully lined or a full length petticoat must be worn.



Gloves are compulsory - long sleeve opera gloves and all shoes must be white




Neckline - No plunging or revealing necklines - back not lower than the shoulder blade.

All trimmings & decorative accessories must be white and jewellery must be dainty.








Melissa had decided that she wanted a very full skirt..... so off I went to create a dress. I found three gorgeous gowns. Two of which were vintage and I pulled them all apart to retrieve the fabric I needed for Melissa's dress. The first dress had a wonderful bodice with a gorgeous lattice style glass beaded tight fitting top to the hips. This was just the beginning, then I found the amazing two vintage gowns with about 40 metres of organza ruffles between them. I needed lots of ruffles for my design. Melissa's mum Sue and I unpicked all the ruffles from the dresses, soaked the fabric in Nappy San then I designed and created the skirt. I pinned all forty metres of ruffles around the dress, layer upon layer, upon layer. The widest ruffles at the bottom and the little baby ruffles at the top of the skirt on the hips and then it was all hand sewn together by Sue. (as she has better eyesight than me, I think I need to get glasses) Then finally we attached wide organza straps over her shoulders and made new lining.








Melissa's father Paul was hysterically funny when he first saw this dress as it totally covered a queen size bed. "How the heck is Melissa going to fit through the door ? Paul said, the dress is so wide and how will Thomas be able to walk on the red carpet with Melissa, her dress will take up the whole runner. Coty, isn't it too heavy for Melissa ? and how will she be able to dance in this dress? Why do men worry so much!!!


This dress is as light as a feather and Melissa is also a ballet dancer so she knows how to carry herself in a gown like this. The dress flowed beautifully on the night, as she walked the red carpet and danced.














This is me under the dress above and with my camera photographing Melissa with the blossoms.

I spent many hours under this dress pinning and sewing the ruffles together. Trying to get the dress perfectly even on the floor was not an easy task. But we did it!! Mel looked just beautiful on the night complete with her long gloves, little white cape for her shoulders and a tiny little tiara in her hair.

9 comments:

  1. Everything you do is a work of art! thank you,

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  2. it is all so beautiful...like a dream....you captured the right moments!!hugs from your twinsister, sylvia

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  3. God bless debutante balls amd beautiful photographers' souls who can see the beauty and capture its magic.

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  4. those many ruffles.......wow.....that takes a lot of patience!

    Coty,
    your post on me and my Na-Da Farm Life made me smile within my spirit......such compliments coming from you especially are...well.....humbling.....you are such an inspiration to so many, and to single me out like that, and say the wonderful things you did....

    thank you Coty.....thank you so much - it really meant a lot.......

    With much love and admiration,
    Anne Marie
    blessings to you and your family

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  5. Your blog is one of the most lovelist I have ever seen....thank you for it's beauty...I am so happy to have found you! These images are stunning!

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  6. How fortunate Melissa was presented wrapped in your artistry Coty. The delictae dream you created makes everything I've ever seen fall by the wayside. Perhaps bridal designs should be added to your resume.

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  7. Wow! Your posts always take my breath away!

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  8. Hi,
    I am in the middle of organizing a deb ball in a small victorian country town. I am in awe of your effort for your deb ball..WOW ! Would it be possible for you to contact me? romanyroamer@bigpond.com
    Thank-you ... Romany

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Your comments and emails truly make my day a very special one. Thank you for dropping by and visiting me at home in Australia, I read every single comment and I treasure each and every one. xxx Coty