How I Transformed a Wedding Dress Into Wearable Art In 2 Weeks!
I recently attended the Wearable Art Gala in LA hosted by Mr. Richard Lawson and Mrs. Tina Lawson in which Ms. Gloria Carter (mother of Jay-Z) and Beyonce' Knowles Carter were honored for their contributions and commitments to charitable causes.
When I first received the invitation, I didn’t think I was going to be able to attend since we had plans to be out of town for spring break. I also had no idea how I was going to create “wearable art” in less than 3 weeks. After checking on airfares to Los Angeles, I figured out a way to get there quickly and economically, but, I still didn’t have anything to wear. At this point, I only had 2 weeks to get it together, so I started researching different artistic dresses that fit my personality.
And then . . . I happened upon a photo from the 2017 Cannes Film Festival of Elle Fanning wearing an amazing Vivienne Westwood dress known as the “unicorn dress”. It was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL and the style and design became the inspiration for my dresses creation.
First things first, I had to find a blank canvas in the form of a white or ivory satin gown and I instantly thought of getting a wedding dress. Since I had a very limited amount of time, I went to the David Bridal’s website and immediately headed to the store to see what was available. The DB website showed a Truly Zac Posen ivory satin dress which was available in my size and less than ½ the price since the style was being discontinued, however, they did not have the dress in store and the only way to get it was to order it from the warehouse in PA. It’s now Thursday afternoon and I’m leaving town the following Sunday to head to CO so I have exactly 9 days to get a dress and somehow make it “artistic”. I purchased the Zac Posen dress and ordered expedited shipping and thankfully, it arrived as scheduled the following Monday. This dress was also worn by a bride in an episode of The Royals on E! and I caught a quick glimpse of it when I randomly looked up at my tv! I jumped up and hit rewind on my DVR to make sure I wasn't seeing things and who new?! . . there it was. . . my Zac Posen dress in all of its beauty :o)
In the meantime, I was searching for a local artist that was talented and available to create the look and design that I envisioned for the dress. The artistic style that I preferred for the dress (inspired by the unicorn dress ) was very whimsical and it reminded me of something I have seen a face painter create in 5 minutes on a child’s face so I started reaching out to any and every artist, painter, face painter, muralist or caricature artist I could find in the Houston area to see who could get it done in a week! After numerous no’s, I found a local face painter named Michelle Ficocello with Houston Face Painting and Balloon Art and sent her a text msg first and then called her to discuss. After I described the project, she said she would be happy to help!!! Now, I was really starting to get excited as I could see the light at the end of the tunnel!!!
I went to David’s Bridal (DB) on Monday to pick-up the dress, but, unfortunately didn’t realize that shipped dresses arrive in a box for pick-up and have not been steamed. Therefore, the entire dress was wrinkled from top to bottom, so, in order to get it steamed quickly, I left it at the store over night and they promised to get it done by the next day (for a small fee of course :o). I went back to DB Tuesday afternoon, picked up the dress and drove it directly out to Michelle’s home. We discussed the design elements I was looking for as well as her ideas and we were able collaborate on the best way to create a wearable piece of art! She said she would get started on it immediately and was certain she could complete the project by Thursday or at the latest by Friday. At this point, I’m starting to breathe a little bit more, but, I still had to figure out how to address the long train in the back as well as the length of the dress overall that needed to be tailored before I went out of town. On Wednesday, I visited my favorite tailor Alberto at Quality Custom Tailors (QCT) and showed them photos of the dress and told them what I would need done in a 24 hour period. Thankfully, they agreed to help me out!!! Michelle contacted me Friday morning to let me know I could pick up the dress at lunch time.
I grabbed the dress and drove it straight to QCT where they cut off the train and also created a high/low effect from the front to the back of the dress with impeccable stitching so I could now walk and move around without tripping over the dress. Whooo hoooo! I picked up the dress on Saturday afternoon got it all packed and ready to go and got on a flight to CO the next day. Michelle did an outstanding job with the design given the limited amount of time that she was able to work on it, however, I did want to add some additional elements to make the dress look even more artistic and less like a wedding dress. Luckily, my girl friend Zsavon who was staying in CO with us also happens to be an amazing artist and was so helpful and gracious to help me put the finishing touches on the dress. We added some additional star bursts, painted the torso of the dress pewter and I of course had to add my signature at the bottom of the hem.
Painting the torso pewter was a super last minute idea, so, I was literally working on this dress all day (painting in between flights in the airline terminal) up to the time I put it on at 6:00pm to attend the gala that evening. At the end of the day, I finished the dress and I had an absolutely phenomenal evening celebrating Beyonce' & Ms. Carter and I had also had the opportunity to meet so many celebrities, including, Tyler Perry, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Lisa Raye, Winston Duke, Cookie Johnson, Holly Robinson Peete, Louis Gossett Jr, Kandi Burruss, and last but not least, the one and only Beyonce'!!! It was a night I will never forget!!! Until next year . . .