This time last year we were asked to make a copy of a Fortuny dress for the Russian super-model Natalie Vodianova who was taking a lead role in a film that will be showing in the coming year 2012. I had completely forgotten about this commission until I saw the picture in Epicurean Life magazine a few days ago.
Almost every time we have been asked to make costumes for films it is very much a last minute exercise – mainly because, in our studios, we can turn our very capable hands to anything in a rush. We dye the fabric, hand pleat the silk and so on, so that we do not have to out-source any of the processes and that way we can turn on a sixpence.
This particular project came to us in a very roundabout way – the story unfolded over a period of 9 months. The first approach we had was from the costume designer Magdalena Labuz who was anxious to find someone who could make a good enough copy of a Fortuny delphos dress for Natalie Vodianova for the film they were shooting called Belle du Seigneur.
This was challenging because they wanted everything to be as close as possible to the original because the original Fortuny garment might also be used. The colour came out pretty well, but the most difficult part was finding the right kind of beads and the cord that held them down the sides of the dress. We made several versions because despite the fact that our work has been likened to that of the Venetian artist Mariano Fortuny – the way that we pleat the fabric is very different in that it is more fluid and we use a great deal more fabric in our garments.
When the costume was approved and purchased we had another request to provide them with many dresses, shawls etc. that would be draped over the bed in a scene where Natalie would be chosing which dress she wanted her lover to buy for her.
So the several versions have ended up in our shop – then completely un-announced we had a surprise visitor to the studios who was looking for some Fortuny replicas for her business in America – and she told us that she had introduced the costume designer Magadalena Labuz to our work.
When asked by Elaine Deed – the Fashion Editor of the magazine ‘Epicurean Life’ for sometheing special for their autumn edition she chose one of our Fortuny replica dresses.
One of the replica dresses in the feature: ‘Frocks away’ in Epicurean Life. Credited as being in Liberty’s, but at present only available directly from us – either on-line http://charlespatricialester.com or if you fancy a pleasurable trip to Wales – well you would have an amazing number of pieces from which to chose.
Natalie Vodianova in an original Fortuny delphos dress
These pieces were selected for the bedroom scene – the only guide for the colouring came through the internet – a print-out shown in the corner of the picture. How things have changed – the internet is absolutely astonishing and makes life so easy.