Fire and Ice
We just wanted to share here what we worked on for Elaine Kim's gown for the Singapore Tatler Ball 2015. It was truly a piece to dazzle!
1- What was the inspiration behind it? As you know the theme this year is "Fire and Ice", and both of us were more attracted to Fire than Ice. At the same time, we didn't want to take it too literally and go only for a red dress. Elaine and I discussed the concept at length and we thought that fire not only "burns" but also leaves a permanent mark. Both of us agreed that we leave a mark and have an impact on whomever we meet, and that is exactly what happened between both of us when we presented our collection last February. Elaine attended the last session and just as fire leaves a mark after "burning", we hit it off so well that we decided to collaborate professionally since then. Fire also matches our temperament because we are both quite "warm" when we meet people. This is why we went for a red and black dress, evocative of fire and also the charred mark it leaves behind. 2- What do you foresee to be the most difficult thing in the making of the dress? I see two major difficulties on the making of the dress. The first one would be to create a shade of "fire" to look as though it were burning the fabric. We've gone for 3 layers of black tulle layered on red fabric. The difficulty is in how to gradient from red to black without being too stark. The second one is to make Elaine comfortable in her Cheongsam because it has an integrated metal-boned corset. The bones that I use can follow the natural curves of the body and give a flattering silhouette so we are working quite a lot on the right position of the different cuts-out of the corset to provide optimal comfort. 3- What were some of the challenges when you were thinking of a design? The challenge in this design was to fit Elaine's personality and taste. She likes black but already has plenty of black dresses in her wardrobe. How to make it happen? Another challenge was to make it such that she could wear the cheongsam separately later on. The gown is a two-piece made of a Cheongsam and an outer skirt. I made the outer skirt quite small at the beginning, but when I showed the design to Elaine, she said that she wanted the outerskirt bigger, with more volume and length. "Let's go for drama!!!" she said, and I love that she's so daring. 4-What was the collaboration like with Elaine? Working with Elaine was very simple as we really get along. Both of our personalities are really complementary. She has believed in what I am doing since day 1, and that gives me a lot of strength to work with her. When we started work on this dress I asked her to be very honest about how confident she was in what I was doing. Her answer was very simple, "I won't be here if I wasn't believing in you". Elaine has supported me since we met, and I could not be more grateful for it. That's why I want her to look fantastic for this ball. 5- What are some of the materials (fabrics, embellishments, etc) and what do you hope to achieve with them? Elaine's gown is made out of almost 50m of different fabrics. As I mentioned, the idea was to reproduce the movement of fire on the gown and it will be a two-piece ball gown. The Cheongsam (the main part, which she can still wear afterward) is made of a "grain de poudre" red color embellished with sparkling black lace. The collar is made of lace to create a lighter look. The outer skirt is to create drama for her arrival at the Tatler Ball. The external fabric layered with black tulle represents the mark we left on each other when we met. The outer skirt is made out of 40m of fabric, and the idea is that as the fire burns and reduces volume, Elaine is going to remove the outer skirt to reveal the Cheongsam.