‘Femme Camou’

I call this work ‘Femme Camou’, or a feminine take on camouflage but done in couture (not as a print). I have done the camouflage effect here using three shades of pink and a fourth colour in striking purple (all colours that this very special lady chose). The process was fabric manipulation that I call ‘crush pleating‘. A motif of squares that at first bulge and warp three-dimensionally are assembled together and then crush pleated one by one using a steam iron. They are then assembled as a larger piece to make a new fabric lay on which to cut your pattern. The dress is effortless chic, but the construction is 500 hours of labour and love. The fabric is adorable and gorgeous silk dupion that has been dyed bespoke (specific  to the colourways that the client wanted). I made a shawl to protect her from the winter breeze. The silhouette is tailored and therefore needed shoulder pads and interfacing work on the inside of the dress, paying particular attention to the chest, neckline and hems). To round the design off, I made a detail on the neckline. It is in a fragile bias-cut chiffon, made to look like organic leaf shapes caressing her neck. I think the bias cutting worked a treat here, as it gave the silky chiffon a degree of airiness inside the construction and made the ‘leaves’ seem to undulate and float. All the ‘leaf tips’ were then connected together in delicate crochet using a very fine silk thread of the same tonal value. The second photo is a detail shot of all these elements. On the day itself, the special lady was anything but camouflaged. She shone radiantly and everybody liked her dress!