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Emmy Awards Show- New Dance Costume Inspirations! (Or The New Pleating 101)

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 @ 23:08 PM

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

I am thrilled that one of my favorite blogs is still being read on this blog site, titled-Should Awards Shows Provide Inspiration for Dance Costume Designs?

Of course! Did you enjoy watching the Emmy Awards this past Sunday evening? With two full hours of Red Carpet shows, the actual broadcast, and then at least two full hours of recapping what was worn, it has been thrilling.

Charles JamesThe trends this season? Dark blue and navy, along with black are the colors for sophisticated gowns. Pastels and of course, jewel tones added to the preferred color palette.

Strapless gowns and still some one-shouldered necklines.

Interesting embellishments created from the same fabrics that the gowns are made of, and clunky paillettes or sequins, and of course-rhinestones.

I enjoyed the strapless looks that had more of a peaked center, rather than a more ordinary straight across look. An example was the totally embellished column gown worn by Claire Danes. It was stunning, right?

January Jones-Like Charles James DressThe panned looks? Keep reading…The horribly costumey, very shiny, bright electric blue number worn by January Jones from Versace. When I saw her walk the Red Carpet, I knew it would be instant fodder for the Fashion Police. It had layers sort of feather-looking strips, cone-shell looking breast covers and then some sort of petticoat, hoop skirt or underpinnings that created a 3-dimentional skirt that resembled a famous Charles James gown that I have seen versions of, in fashion museums. Charles James was sometimes called America’s greatest couturier, and if you ever get the chance to look UNDER his cloverleaf skirt, you would understand why!

Another feature of January’s gown was the part of the high-low hemline. This was also part of the panned Alexander McQueen dress worn by Anne Paquin. This skirt hemline was discussed by fashionistas on the Fashion Police, as trendy. I am sure Latin ballroom dancers recognize the look, and have taken advantage of this hemline for decades!

Another trend that was not necessarily picked up by the Fashion Police and fashionistas was all the interesting pleating. I noticed it right away.

As with most everything designed, details come and go. And this is the same for embellishments for gowns and costumes. Specialty pleating was very popular in the eighties. There seems to be resurgence in pleats.

Kyra Sedgwick-Faux Fortuny PleatingBesides continued ruching and asymmetrical draping of all types, we are now seeing many gowns that are included pleating. Sunburst pleats in the hot pink chiffon vintage gown worn by Keri Russell, and also the orange gown worn by Jimmy Fallon’s wife, Nancy. The deep red gown worn by Kyra Sedgwick, was totally pleated. It was mushroom pleating-a pleat similar to vintage Fortuny pleats from the early 1900s.

Other types of pleats include knife pleating, box pleating, inverted box pleating, and accordion pleating. Pleats can be pressed or unpressed, and small pleats that are referred to as tucks.

At Satin Stitches, I was recently asked if I could find mint green pleated fabric. Seems like a reasonable question, right? But, no, you generally cannot FIND pleated fabric. You either make the pleats yourself, or you buy fabric and send it out to be pleated. There are companies that specialize in pleating and usually other types of detailing, such as custom belting or other such embellishments. Unfortunately they are becoming harder to find, as our United States garment manufacturing industry continues to struggle against the low prices of the foreign manufacturers. Of course it will not be very cost effective to send a few yards of fabric to the Far East, for example to have pleats done. I hope it will not come to that.

Keri Russell-Sunburst PleatingIt is a shame, but the craftspeople and artisans that create fabulous garments and garment embellishments are dying off and going out of business. I hope we do not lose them all, as it would be a tragedy.

Please buy American! Just a tad of editorializing here, sorry!

But keep watching the fancy, sometimes boring Awards shows, for lots of ideas and inspirations for new dance costume designs!













Tags: Costume Fabric Tips


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