|Springing into formal wear|
|Saturday, 18 February 2012|
by Mathilda Hatfield Hulett
For those who feel more at home in a clothing boutique than in a garden, Spring can still be your season to blossom.
Calendars are filling up fast with dates for high school proms, weddings and pageants. Stylist and designer Laine Berry notes that, like gardeners, now is the time to plan, take note of favorite colors and styles and shop for the formal that matches your personality. Laine, co-owner of the Royal We in Downtown Conway, won the crown of Mrs. International in 2008.
What should a gal seeking the most stylish, cutting-edge design look for when shopping? “Formal wear fashion is swinging back to the 90s,” Laine said. Excluding the shoulder pads, thank goodness!
The best dressed should expect “lots of stoning, lots of jersey and lots of body-conscious, fitted forms.” Laine adds that “sequins are hot.”
Today’s modern designs feature the look of “liquid sequins.” Famed formal wear designer Tony Bowles is showing gowns in jersey, a retro fabric that meets the demands of current designs of tight, fitted cuts to accentuate one’s curves. Modern colors are more saturated, too. Pageant and formal gowns feature deep, jewel-tone colors. Gone is seafoam green, replaced instead with basil, mint, citron, watermelon and lilac.
As for fashion that fits the 501, Laine explains the “trickle down effect” springing from the national stage.
Gowns, similar in design to those worn by contestants in international and national pageants, are most often the ones sought by those in state contests and local preliminaries and by prom goers.
Laine and the Royal We co-owner Shelley Kelley form the perfect team to help transform haute-couture to age-appropriate and event-appropriate formal wear. Laine can often be found sketching original designs.
These designs are then tailored for the individual, ensuring a unique, once-in-a-lifetime gown.
Shelley, an exceptional seamstress, custom made Ashlen Batson Thomason’s Miss America 2009 wardrobe. As a team, Laine and Shelley dressed the last four Miss Arkansas winners; styling their entire wardrobe for their Miss America pageant.
Again, as in gardening, selecting a special occasion dress, such as a bridal gown or bridesmaids’ dresses, prom or evening gown, requires planning, weeding through the options, envisioning the final design and a sprinkle of fairy dust. Make that royal fairy dust, just for good measure.