Sunday, November 25, 2012
Ceil Chapman: Something to Drool About
When I saw the Ceil Chapman label inside, I was so glad that she realized her skills weren't up to the task. It remained in a bag in her closet for probably 15 years before she gave it to me.
I lent it to another friend recently for a photo shoot. I needed photos of the dress on someone, anyway, if I intend to sell it, and she's certainly more photogenic (and more suited to this dress) than I am. She's in a play and the 1940s-era costumes aren't complete yet, so she needed a glam dress for the promo photos.
Glam is something this dress definitely is.
And can I tell you, I would have absolutely no idea how to take this apart and make a pattern from it either. The very idea makes me weak in the knees.
It figures, doesn't it?
But look at that drapery. Look at that neckline, front and back. If this dress doesn't make you feel like you're queen of the world, you just don't have it in you.
It weighs a ton. I don't want to think how many yards of fabric are involved in that kind of draping, much less the skill involved in draping that many yards of fabric over a body and somehow making it look both more slender and curvier than normal.
I've tried this dress on and even though I'm about 4 inches shorter and 25 pounds heavier than my friend here, I felt like the freaking queen of the world in it too.
I know that even in it's time, this was an expensive, dress-up piece. But why don't people (other than celebrities) have occasions to wear things like this anymore? Why is our version of dress-up, at most, an LBD that we can dress up or down? Would the owner of this dress have even considered "dressing down?"
Rant over. Look at the pretty. Once I get it back so I can do a few more detail photos, including the label, it's going up on Etsy. I just wanted to share it with you all because there aren't many people out there who (a) know who Ceil Chapman is; (b) can appreciate this kind of fabulousness; or (c) would try to wrap your heads around how to make something like this.
Life is calming down, sort of. Took some time this weekend to have coffee with friends, went to see Lincoln last night (fabulous), and today I'm doing some craft show sewing and (obviously) some non-productive playing on the computer.