Article By – Navah Fuchs
A designer draws from all sorts of inspirations, but when Rain Delisle listened to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major, it is clear the whimsical tonality of the music played a large role in influencing the design. A sportswear designer by trade, Delisle’s dalliance into evening gowns maintained her unique point of view while honoring the elegance of her musical inspiration. The result is the urban chic winner of Project Tchaikovsky.
The checkered taffeta dances about the model’s body, while the zippers highlight the superior craftsmanship of the bodice, skirt, and train. The black organza adds dimension and movement to the skirt, which is accentuated by the structured bodice. The zipper detail might seem out of place in an evening gown, but the easy flow of the gown, along with the artfully worked fabrics, turn the everyday into couture. An attention to detail, comfort, and artistic value come together in this edgy, yet youthful design.
Fallon Coster succeeded both conceptually and in the execution of her 1812 Overture silk gown. The ease with which the golden silhouette cascaded down the model’s body, combined with the elegant explosions of lace and crystals ensured the gown was an eye-catcher. Leaving the back open showcased the figure Coster so artfully concealed within a silk glove, much like the explosions of the cannons amidst the lull in the Overture.
What is remarkable about this gown is how much it accomplishes with simplicity. Initially it seems nothing more than a well-made dress, where as further inspection yields the crystal hem and the intricate lace detailing. It invokes the tragedies and triumphs of Tchaikovsky’s life, while dancing between old world European and Old West sensibilities. The amount of reserve Coster shows in the face of one of the most extroverted pieces won her the “Patron Favorite” award.
The juxtaposition of fabric, color and structure defines Samira Vargas-Pena, and her interpretation of “The Black Swan” does not disappoint. A sweeping, yet maneuverable train of blue cotton flows like the wake of a swan; fluid and improved by the presence. A remarkable knowledge of a woman’s body helped Vargas-Pena shape the bodice so that it flowed effortlessly into the skirt and train.
The attention to detail and constant surprises of the gown are what truly set it apart. The lace detailing spills onto the train like a feather bequeathed to the lake, while the fingerless lace gloves offer an extension to the beautiful lace and crystal work. A true manifestation of the mysterious Black Swan
The saying goes, “beauty is pain” but Kelly Brown’s comfort oriented Swan Lake gown was anything but. A structured bodice of satin, lace, and beading exemplified the formal desire of the prince, while the soft cascade of organza feathers sweeps across the floor. The craftsmanship is key to a Brown design because she designs for comfort as readily as aesthetics. Every aspect of the gown was hand stitched, including the 500 tulle rectangles which flow as effortlessly as a swan across a lake. While not as subtle as some of the other interpretations of Tchaikovsky, the gown exemplifies couture comfort.
While no one would accuse Tchaikovsky of being somber, his Symphony No.2 provided fast paced and fantastical inspiration for Kinda Touma’s evening gown. Even when standing still, the gown has the semblance of movement because of the six integrated layers, finished with crulle to hold them in place. A beautiful combination of color and textiles makes this garment stand out from the rest.
Conceptually, this gown had the most complex narrative and thought out concept, utilizing orange strength, purple nobility, and green earth to embody the movements in the music. The crystals dance about the dress as high notes, along with a beautifully interwoven ribbon sleeve. Touma clearly knows how to own a bold color pallet along with a clear knowledge of a woman’s body.
A dancer knows how a woman’s body moves, and it is clear Madeleine employed her corporeal knowledge to the visceral “Love Theme” overture from Romeo and Juliet. A show-stopping red gown with an Elizabethan era collar, remains wearable because of the well worked tool. Sparks of yellow sprint across the torso to exemplify the fluctuating music, yet remain subdued in the face of the reds and pinks. Yet as much as the gown stands out, it retains the quality foundations of any true fashion forward piece; a well crafted silhouette, a complimentary color palette, and movement. A truly romantic gown with a flair for the dramatic, just like Tchaikovsky’s music.
Cam Yen Le
A natural palette combined with proportion driven florets makes up Cam Yen Le’s silk silhouette. The 1812 Overture’s explosive movements shine through the gown, while a consciousness of the woman’s body can be seen in how the fabric falls on the model’s body, yet embodies the avant-garde.
Crystals line the dress to conjure the embers of waning fireworks, while the florets range in size to show the fluctuations of the music. A floral half-color continues the illusion of corporeal fireworks.
Life is rarely black and white, but there was nothing grey about Nairomi Inoa’s bold evening gown. Inspired by the 1812 Overture, the Nutcracker, and the Romeo and Juliet suite, this gown has a romantically cinched empire waist, with a rouched top. Inoa’s designs are meant to empower the independent feminine, while remaining classically chic. By pairing the gown with full-length black gloves, Inoa charms the eye into the color blocs she created. The white and black silk work very well together, showcasing both the designer’s talent as well as the woman’s body.
Melissa Higgins brings a dancer’s knowledge of a woman’s body and movement to Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet suite. Her chiffon, silk and taffeta gown functions as a stand-alone piece, or can be accompanied by a tie on train. Hand beaded rows cinch each row of peach chiffon, leading to a beautiful maroon skirt. A lace up back adds a youthful edge to what is otherwise an interesting take on the classic silhouette. The piece is the result of an organic design and construction process, which highlights not only Higgins’ editing eye, but her creative freedom.