Friday, January 21, 2011

Small Town Frocks

I have a new project. You know, to fill all that free time that I have... stop rolling your eyes. OK, so this isn't totally new. My good friend and I have been tossing this one back and forth for quite some time now, we just needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get started. Mostly because neither one of us are computer gurus and we REALLY were hoping those elves that exist in our heads would materialize to do the WWW stuff for us. Not going to happen. In true Kootenay style, we jumped all over the fun parts (the parts we know and understand) and like the nutbars that we are we decided to do a photo shoot before we had an outlet for the photos... but it turned out so brilliantly that we knew we had to do more.

Me doing technical type stuff...

You see, this lovely lady Lara, (that I refer to regularly,) and I met working in the bridal industry designing gowns over a decade ago. We share a deep understanding and respect for the lifestyle that we live which we see as being the core premise of couture. A wealthy life has nothing to do with "the House of" or a price tag that you need to sell a kidney to achieve, hours clocked on the red carpet or fame beyond the Kardashians. Rather the understanding that style is intimate and personal, authentic quality does not compromise and comfort is not the opposite of luxury, but rather the ultimate example of the same. Coco would tell you the same thing. I do not lie. We also firmly believe that a lighter footprint is entrenched in this way of being and is definitive of the culture we inhabit.

Lara Blackman, designer for Jayne.

Cut to Lara's ridiculously brilliant skill as a dressmaker. Whilst mulling the supreme languidness of her summer on the beach and working out a plan for where to position her future floating home on the lake, she realized that while she found enjoyment in the handwork she was doing, where her heart truly resided was with couture gowns. Having been immersed in the wilderness for the better part of ten years, her take on fashion has evolved into something exquisitely organic and she knew that what she really wanted was to be exploring the idea of gowns created from reloved and natural textiles and constructing them entirely by hand (and foot) using her antique treadle sewing machine. Her goal: to create one fabulous gown every month (12 in all) using only locally available supplies, that are to challenge her both creatively and technically.

In the workroom making
ridiculously fabulous wool wigs.

She also decided to use this opportunity to search out and liberate the massive talent that resides in the Kootenays. Creative people tend to flock together and it was inevitable perhaps that such a stellar group would end up working together. While I have known Lara for nearly fifteen years, it has been a long time since we have collaborated. I am thoroughly enjoying the co-conspirator slash stylist slash PR position. We have enlisted the help of the immensely talented Avrell Fox for make-up, hair and general fabulousness, and amazingly we have found the sweetest raw talent in a budding photographer, Louis Bockner, who has surprised us all with his insane photographic abilities. Of course, Nelson is chock full of stunningly healthy and beautiful people to model and since we don't know anyone adept with Photoshop (not that we are the type to airbrush raw beauty to begin with) we will be showcasing how gorgeous actual beauty is.

I styled the November photo shoot using some of my antique pieces. Some of the silver is c1800s.

And so Small Town Frocks has been born. The idea is to not only create the garment, but to also showcase the evolution, from inspiration to technical information to behind the scenes of photo shoots and window displays. Other talent in and around the area will be spotlighted and we may even find and/or inspire a few new gems along the way, who knows? This project is all about discovery and process (and the attainment of said floating home) and the sheer passion that is what couture is truly about. And so we begin...


Three Owls said...


Hope Ava said...

Brilliant!!! I love love love it!! Collaborating with creative friends is such a wonderful experience especially when you have access to such talent! I'm totally in love with those hair pieces...I now want to attempt to create one for myself for next year halloween. I can't wait to see the rest of your collaborative creations!

Thanks so much for stopping by The French Mouse...I'm so glad you enjoyed the little furry cuties! I am on a one girl crusade to rehabilitate the image of mice and rats...I grew up reading Beatrix Potter and many other stories where mice and rats were the heroes, so I have always thought them adorable and never understood why people dislike the sweet little creatures so intensely!

Hope Ava

KillerB said...

Awesome post!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Hi Andrea! Thanks for the invitation. I had a great time perusing just a very few of your posts and enjoyed it very much. I clicked on your tablescape photo to enlarge it and had a good look. It's fabulous! I don't know where to even look for some of the elements on it. The food is beautiful! Love the vines, the cloth, the setting. Sorry you missed out on getting your dishes! i hope you get another chance someday! Thanks for stopping by!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Wow! Much talent and I love the woodsy tablescape.