One of my favorite projects within the last few years was having the honor of being chosen to design a garment that was inspired by the Conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens. A colleague of mine, Mona Lucero invited me to participate. The project was out of my box and it sounded like a challenge that would test my creativity. I always love a challenge and took this project very literally.
I started sketching some creative ideas one winter day. I paid close attention to the rounded sides and triangular windows of the conservatory, and was intrigued by the window panels of the gallery where the exhibit was going to take place.
As I began the sketches, I had a specific fabric in mind that I was going to incorporate into this project. Based on the instructions for the Doors Open Denver exhibit and my fabric choice, I began to think of a dress design. You will see that these sketches are only the beginning of the final result.
The most difficult part of my wanting to emulate the building was trying to get the sleeve to shape like the peaked windows at the top of the conservatory. It took a lot of patience, wiring, tulle, stretching, ironing and more patience! I used wiring around the inside edge to help maintain its shape and several draping experiments to get the two layers just right.
I also was inspired by the blossoms in bloom that spring when I started researching the project, which is how I came up with the name Snow Blossom. There was still white snow on the ground outside even with the first few flowers blooming, and the idea took off from there!
I love to create three-dimensional silk flowers that set my designs apart from the masses. I twist and turn, place them, replace them and stitch them down, then press them so they float on the fabric and are not flat. Here is only one of many flower photos next to the hem of the dress.
The sleeves are representational of the diamond shaped glass windows, peaked, and triangular. The black mesh is an interpretation of the windows. The black lined details at the midriff is inspired by the outside of the building’s interesting window panes. The shape of the skirt (especially the side seam) represents the rounded edge of where conservatory windows come together. The hem of the dress is indicative of flowers blossoming inside the building, each flower is twisted, turned and stitched in silk organza and tulle.
The neck accessory was the last detail and so much fun to make. I’ve created similar neck accessories for daywear and think it is an unusual item to add to one’s wardrobe to pair with a tee shirt or a silk blouse. Snow blossom was a perfect design to incorporate this similar idea. I think it ties the entire look together. Here is the real snow blossom on display at the exhibit:
And of course, at the opening exhibit of Doors Open Denver I got to pose with Snow Blossom.
Lifestyle Clothing for Fashionable Women
Brooks LTD is based in Denver, CO and designs lifestyle clothing for women, including artistic tops, unique dresses to wear around town, and more. Contact me online or call 303-573-3801 to learn more about our atelier and custom clothing design process!