The Challenge: Create a look inspired by and to coordinate with one of Philip Treacy's hats.
The Constraints: 15 minutes to sketch, 30 minutes at Mood (my guess, as this was not stated explicitly in the episode), $150 budget, one day (until 11 pm) to create, and two hours in hair and makeup.
My Take: First, I had to come up with a scientific method of getting my hat assignment. My lovely husband suggested that I just get a weird hat from a kiosk at our state fair, but I had a feeling that an over-sized ten gallon hat or a mohawk hat would not really evoke the right feeling. Instead, I cut 13 squares of paper and wrote the numbers one-13 on them. Then I drew a number out of a hat (get it?) to determine where in the hat choosing process I would get to choose. I got 12. That meant it was either the black and green swirly twirly hat that Casanova chose or the orchid hat that Kristen got. I felt like the swirly twirly hat was more my aesthetic, so I went that route. I admit I was really hoping to get a lower number so I could pick the lacy mask, but them's the brakes!
I decided once again to forgo sketching. I had a general picture in my mind of what I wanted to do, and some textures and fabrics in mind. I was thinking a modern take on vintage. I love those old timey eras in which women actually wore hats! I pictures a sort of pencil skirt in a lovely tweed with some embellishment in the back and a drapey silk blouse. Upon arriving to S.R. Harris, I started in the silks as I always do. I found one possibility that I was worried would be too yellow, did some more digging, and decided to think on it. I headed to the wool aisle instead. For the wool, I had a very specific texture in mind. I wanted a black and white fine tweed. I found several that were darker than I had in mind, but felt like butter. Of course these were the long fiber cashmeres that ran $50-$150 a yard. One yard would blow my whole budget! I found several fine tweeds that were the wrong color. Finally, buried under many bolts of wool, there she was! I had to have the hubs help me lift the pile of bolts and tug it out. It was $25 a yard, so definitely with reason. I then returned to the silks, where I went with my first instinct, a chartreuse silk. Not the charmeuse I had in mind, but I felt it would work. (Hey, chartreuse charmeuse!) I went to the embellishments to find what I had in mind for the back, but there was nothing that would work. I decided instead to look for a leather to create a sort of corset. I found this gorgeous dark purple leather that I felt would add an interesting element and keep the outfit from being too matchy-matchy. After getting things cut, I grabbed some wee buttons, cord, and a zipper. This was one of my most expensive shopping trips ever. The bulk of it fell into the leather, as it was a really large piece. I still kept it in the budget, but barely!
I began construction with the blouse. I felt it would be the most complicated piece, so I could base the construction on the simpler pieces on the time left. Maybe I jinxed myself, but this blouse made me want to kill myself! My first error was in patterning the back. I made the pieces too short and didn't realize it until I cut the fabric and tried to sew them together. There went any extra fabric I thought I would have for trimming or lining! I had to attach and tear out the waistband three times before it actually went together correctly. It is not fun to rip out seams on a gathered piece of fabric. My concept was a halter-type blouse with a tie waist and split back. In retrospect, I would have reversed and had a button waist and a tie neck, but oh well. The skirt went together much more easily, despite my delirium and putting the zipper on the right instead of the left. D'oh! I had neither the time nor the desire to fix that, so on the right it is. I had also hoped to line the skirt in the same fabric as the top, but we know where that fabric went! When I tried it on before hemming, I was concerned about it being too dowdy at the kneetop length I had first intended. So, I shortened it just a bit more to make it more edgy. I had little time left, and decided to make a wide leather obi-style belt. For styling, I went with fishnets to reflect the net on the hat. I debated my adorable purple shoes, but was concerned again with the matchy matchy. I went instead with some tough peep toe booties. Here are the results!
After examining the hat more closely, I realized that the green of my top might be too muted. However, I did not have the hat chilling in the next room for reference, so I did what I could. I plan to add black lining to the skirt and to wear it this fall, even with the zipper being on the wrong side. I think with some tights, it will be killer! While we were outside, a passerby commented on how great I looked. I admit it was a little boost to the old self esteem.
What do you think? In or out?