beckycochrane [userpic]

LJ Runway Monday Challenge, Week 3

August 3rd, 2008 (10:45 pm)

current mood: excited

Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air--moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh--felt as if it were being exhaled into one's face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze. It was aphrodisiac and repressive, soft and violent at the same time. In New Orleans, in the French Quarter, miles from the barking lungs of alligators, the air maintained this quality of breath, although here it acquired a tinge of metallic halitosis, due to fumes expelled by tourist buses, trucks delivering Dixie beer, and, on Decatur Street, a mass-transit motor coach named Desire.

Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

It's a party!

While in New Orleans for a Vanity Fair shoot, Summer was invited to a party taking place next month at the Queen Anne Ballroom in the city's Hotel Monteleone, famous for its literary associations. Rumor has it that an editor from a New York publishing house will also be there. Summer's been working on a behind-the-scenes tell-all about the models of LJ Runway Monday, but she knows everybody corners editors at parties with their book ideas.

"I need to lure him to me," she explained when she called her favorite designer, Becks. "Then ensnare him!"

"You sound like a spider," Becks said, but agreed to meet Summer near Jackson Square to discuss design ideas. While walking to the Café Du Monde for a beignet and café au lait (Becks) and bottled water (Summer), Becks saw this sign.

Photo copyright Jenn

An idea was born. And as an editor might say, "Then what happened?"

The white tile with its royal blue and gold colors is repeated in Summer's dress.

Anyone familiar with the Gulf Coast climate understands the appeal of linen. The crisp, wraparound skirt of Summer's dress stays away from her legs and breathes, helping her triumph over a sultry New Orleans night. The gold gossamer flowing around Summer as she moves gives the illusion of a breeze--and is ready to be spun into a web to catch her editor!

The bodice of the dress is a modified bustier. The stiff linen front pulls away from Summer's chest, allowing her skin to breathe--no smelling salts needed!--before hugging her body under the bustline. Across the bodice is the top petal of a fleur de lis (or "flower of the lily"), and the stems of all three petals adorn the front of the skirt. The fleur de lis, from the Court of Louis XIV, is a New Orleans symbol seen everywhere, including the Saints' football helmets, French Quarter balconies, Garden District iron fences, and handcrafted jewelry.

The bottom petals of the fleur de lis wrap around Summer's sides and connect at her spine. The entire fleur de lis is trimmed in gold braid, reminiscent of the gold trim on the tiled street sign.

Along with gold gossamer, Summer's hair has an iridescent bead band to keep it off her neck. It may be months away from Mardi Gras, but you never have to look far to find beads in New Orleans.

Last week's "hay" has been spun into this week's gold.

The complete look.

On Bravo's Project Runway, the designers were sent into the Manhattan night to take photos inspiring them to create a "night on the town" look for their models. Our own Heidi Gunn gave the LJ Runway Monday designers a twist on this challenge. They had to find a photo that inspired them to create a look for a night out in the Crescent City.

You can see Mark G. Harris's design here, and Timothy J. Lambert's design here. Beginning sometime Monday, you can also keep up with what the judges are saying on Heidi Gunn's LJ.

I revised this entry with a quote about New Orleans from one of my favorite authors because that was another part of the challenge, as Heidi Gunn so gently reminded me after I posted the first time.

For my previous designs:

Week 2: Going Green I won!
Week 1: Grocery Store


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

Follow BeckyCochrane on Twitter