Finished project: Carolyn’s dress

Here is a long overdue post with photographs from Carolyn’s wedding in her amazing art deco inspired dress.

Doesn’t she look fabulous?  Doesn’t she look amazing?

And don’t you love all the details of the wedding?  Her hair and veil! The bright spring bouquets with lilacs!  The mixed and matched bridesmaids dresses!  Her shoes!  The world’s cutest mini-flowergirl!  She even cried.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Here is a selection of my favourite photos, cut down to 13 from oh, about 130!

Want to see more?  Check out the blog with all her photos

White Zombie: on set

Being on set for White Zombie was fascinating.  I have tons of theatre experience: I’ve costume and dressing for ballets and operas and plays and other live performances, but this was the first film I’ve worked on.

It was pretty much what I expected in most cases, but fabulous.

Elizabeth is fabulously beautiful

I expected that there would be moments of rushed panic (“can you just take in the lapels 3/4″ before the next shot?”) and lots of time sitting around waiting to be needed.

I make an on-set adjustment to Emile's pants

I gathered that unlike a stage play, there wouldn’t be an absolute schedule – the order in which scenes were shot got rearranged a little to suit makeup and hair, and if we ran ahead or behind schedule we just did the next thing, or tried to prep for the next.  With a play you have to start at a certain time!

Clair touches up Elisabeth's makeup

What I didn’t really realise was how much time lighting would take.  That was really the most time consuming thing of the whole day – more time was spent on it than actually shooting.  We would shoot one scene and then sit around for 30 minutes while the lighting people worked frantically to get everything just right for the next one.  My hats go off to them – they were really on call all day!

E & E practice a scene while crew check camera angles and mark choreography points

The interesting thing about the music video is that it was shot entirely against a green screen – no sets except for a staircase for Elisabeth/Madge to run down.

Elizabeth runs down the stairs for the 37th time

The fabulous thing was camaraderie of everyone on set, and how enthusiastic they were about the project.  I’ve worked with some great teams, but this one was something special.  You could tell everyone was there for the sake of the idea, and for PorcelainToy.  I was so privileged to be part of the team, to work with Andrew Armitage, the director, and with Elisabeth and Emile de la Ray of PorcelainToy, with Claire of The Vanity Case who did hair and makeup, and with the dozen and a half other people who made technical magic happen.

Technical fabulosity surrounding Elizabeth

The other fabulous thing is that we were allowed to take photos on set – very rare, and super lovely, because it means I get to show you just a little bit of what we did.  My photos don’t even begin to convey how amazing it was, and how amazing the finished product is going to be though!

Emile moves to rescue Elizabeth from the 'cliff' edge

And the final fabulous thing was the amazing caterer who fed us gorgeous food and even baked fresh bread and bagels on site.  Mmmmm….bagels….!

Yummy lunch in the sunshine - in costume!

Tomorrow: glamorous photoshoots!


So, what’s with all that Madge?

You may have notice that this blog has become a little Madge Bellamy heavy over the last month or so. So what’s with my fixation?

Well, I’m making one of Madge’s most famous costumes for a client. The costume is Madge’s ‘shroud’ from White Zombie.

Zombie Madge scares the maids

Isn’t it gorgeous? All that silk, flowing and draping!

Madge and Bella Lugosi as the zombie master

I love that it has such strong medieval inspiration. It’s the best kind of sewing: I get to do a complete pastiche of the medieval part, but it’s still perfectly historical – just to the 1920s!

I say 1920s, because even though White Zombie was filmed in 1932, I am certain that the dress was borrowed from an earlier film.

White Zombie was filmed on a shoestring budget, and we already know they re-used one dress from an early Madge Bellamy film. They also re-used sets from a bunch of other films.

After watching the movie dozens of time it’s become apparent that the ‘shroud’ is two sizes too big on Madge, and missing some pearls from around the neck, so it’s pretty obvious that it wasn’t made for her and this movie. I just need to figure out what it was made for!

The whole cast, and the dress

So what kind of client want’s a replica of a 1920s does medieval shroud from the original zombie film?

A fabulous one of course!

The frock will actually be a costume again: I’ve been asked to make it for Elizabeth of PorcelainToy to wear as ‘Madge’ in their upcoming music video.

I’m super excited!  I love PorcelainToy’s music, Elizabeth is going to look so amazing, the song is fabulous, the video concept is brilliant.

I’ll blog a bit more about making a 1920s does medieval costume, and then you get to look forward to seeing it in action when the video launches!

Madge does the Zombie Masters bidding

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Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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