One of the exciting challenges I face each season when I’m designing a ball gown is finding new ways to create volume, without adding weight. I’m looking for an effervescence and a weightlessness that will envelope the bride, but very gently, just like the way a blooming garden surrounds you with its evening fragrance.
Ghilian is an extravagant ball gown that represents one of my signature studies in contrasts. The frothiness of the skirt, which is made up of chrysanthemum blossoms in varying shapes and sizes, is set off by a very sculpted, asymmetrical drop-waist bodice. But there’s an unexpected balancing act at play between these two seemingly disparate elements. The asymmetry in the bodice actually echoes an asymmetry in the skirt, where smaller, tightly wound rosettes at the top eventually explode into larger blooms at the base. It’s the hundreds of yards of fabric used in the rosettes that create all that beautiful volume, instead of crinoline, which is a more traditional method. What I wanted was a princess affect that was light, never cumbersome. All of these elements are really what give Ghilian, the ultimate princess gown, such a modern sensibility.
The bodice features more studies in contrasts. The first one is in the fabrics: the crisp, matte feather faille is hard and structured, so the pleats done throughout the bodice mold, shape and define in a way that really shows off that sexy curve of the body. The other twist? The bodice is completely flat and plain. This provides a dramatic, stark contrast to the romantic blossoms of the skirt that float, drape and fan out from the torso: a beautiful tension from top to bottom.
You could say Ghilian is a bit more of an exhibitionist dress, a dress for a bride with a bold, daring sensibility.