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Natural Beauty: Candlelight

A Kel Ward Photography Kate's Couture Collaboration

This shoot featuring "Candlelight," one of my favorite designs, captures the natural beauty of two people in love. The bride's happiness gives her a glow, and I think that happiness is the most beautiful thing a woman can wear. Among the pixels in Kel's images there are always little snippets of emotion. I think that's how I've always distinguished her works of art from the many "photographers" carrying around their twenty thousand dollar equipment. Kel creates artistic and moving images through the gaging of light, the measuring of aperture, and the faith that the film will develop properly. Her art always makes me feel something,which is what good art is all about. 

This gown was created from mostly new fabrics and a pattern that my dear friend and fabrics mentor, Brenda Broadbent,  helped me draw up. Unlike many of my designs, this one I actually sketched out and really thought about for several months. I usually just pick up my scissors and go, but this dress was different. I got the vision for this gown one night as I was sitting in bed. The power was out, but I really just had to get my idea on paper, so I lit some candles. The light they gave off was dreamy and pleasant, and gave a warm glow to my shadow as I sketched. The lines of the dress are feminine, with a filmy layer of cream chiffon gives the dress a luminescent  glow like that of the soft light that spilled onto my sketch paper as I worked.

This design is very special to me. After I completed sketching my dress, I snuffed out the candles and went to sleep, dreaming of the floaty train and whimsical movement. By the time I had cleared a space in my brain to really focus on how I would go about constructing this dress, March had come and with it the deadline of a spring fashion show I would be hosting the following month. Because I had more dresses to make than what I had time for, my grandmother and her sister came to stay with me for a week to help speed up the sewing process. 

I already had my pattern drawn, so we cut and pinned and sewed and really had a great time together. When it came time to sew the goars (the curvy sections at the bottom of the skirt) we all gathered around the table to hold the chiffon down from all angles, trying to get it to lay flat and laughing hysterically as we did so. Eventually, the dress came together, and I know I will always cherish the memories of my grandma and my great-aunt that it gave to me. 

Since then this dress has been shot in three photoshoots and walked the runway for four fashion shows, and it now hangs in my studio to remind me what my designs are all about. When I make a garment, I want the wearer to slip it on, look in the mirror, and feel how beautiful she really is. Of course, you don't need a chiffon wedding gown to tell you that, but the way someone's face lights up when they see themselves in a dress that really extenuates their beauty just takes my breath away. I want to create art like what Kel creates. I want to make a dress that makes the wearer and those who see it feel something.  This dress makes me feel the warm glow of candlelight, and the love and inspiration for what I do.

The "fur" in these photos is actually a feathered vest that I found at an antique sotre. The lace around the hem of the dress is actually from a vintage wedding gown too. I just love the stories that lay hidden between the seams of the old garments, and I love that I get to give them new life and new stories to write and add to the collection. Thank you, Kel, for the beautiful images.

I Walked With You Once Upon a Dream

I Walked With You Once Upon a Dream