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LJ Runway Monday Challenge, Week 8

September 7th, 2008 (11:15 pm)

current mood: accomplished

On BravoTV's Project Runway, the designers visited Diane Von Furstenberg's showroom and were given the lookbook for her fall collection. The collection took as its inspiration the movie A Foreign Affair, starring Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich's character is a chanteuse who may be a spy during World War II, and she travels from Berlin to Shanghai to New York. The designers were given access to Von Furstenberg's fabrics and told to use them for a look that would fit the theme of the collection.

LJ Runway Monday producer Heidi Gunn tasked the Runway Monday designers with the same challenge--only without providing us access to Von Furstenberg's fabrics.

My inspiration: Film noir, Marlene Dietrich, the 1940s, and Diane Von Furstenberg herself.
My materials: Linens in black and print, with a few accessorizing touches.

First, as my homage to film noir, I chose a color palette of mainly black and white. I wanted to create a look that was both intriguing and sexy. I began with a cape, an item of clothing that has been used throughout the history of film to convey danger, suspense, and secrets. Capes have always intrigued me, and I think every woman should own at least one cape during her life, whether she uses it for warmth, drama, or costume.

The cape and its hood are fully lined with a printed fabric, a nod to Von Furstenberg's emphasis on prints throughout her career.

A closer look at the lining fabric shows an Asian-themed design, my nod to Dietrich's character's escape to Shanghai in the film A Foreign Affair.

Marlene Dietrich's fashion choices tended to switch between the severe and the opulent. I enjoy the fashions of the 1940s, when women managed to overcome deprivation and rationing to make themselves glamorous even as they were coming into their own in roles formerly held by men, both at home and at the front. In a nod to Dietrich's film chanteuse, I pictured my model slipping in from an assignation around the foggy docks, shedding her cape, and melting the hearts of an audience with a torch song.

My dress design updates Dietrich's tailored look with fabric accessible to working women of any decade--linen. I also opted not to sew a back seam into the dress. It wraps around and is cinched and held in place by the belt using the same fabric as the cape's lining in a new take on Diane Von Furstenberg's iconic wraparound dress.

I love the way 1940s gowns often used an accessory on one or both shoulders for an added touch of glamor. In addition to the deep blue feathers in her hair and on her dress, I used the same complementary blue adornment that fastened the cape to brighten the shoulder of the dress.

And finally, I accessorized the shoes to match both the cape and the dress.

The total looks:

You can see Timothy J. Lambert's design here, and Mark G. Harris's design here. You can also check out Heidi Gunn's LJ to read what the judges say throughout the day on Monday. You are welcome to add your comments there, here, or on Timothy's and Mark's posts.

If you're interested in my previous designs:

Week 7: Drive It or Wear It
Week 6: It's a Drag! I won!
Week 5: Lipstick Jungle
Week 4: Olympic Gold
Week 3: New Orleans Inspiration
Week 2: Going Green I won!
Week 1: Grocery Store


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