Wednesday 11 January 2012

Seeing stars

Luxurious lace and sheer sophistication get their star turn at D & G

In a final attempt to squeeze in my ode to Dolce & Gabbana's massive star print trend of the season, like an expertly yet painstakingly harvested gourmet orange juice, I give you not one but two video tutorials.

They're about how to make your own version of the star print jeans, worn by Julianne Hough in Elle magazine, and the lace insert dress, worn by Lily Allen, also in Elle magazine, both of which are by Dolce & Gabbana.

First of all, a little background: Thinking of Dolce & Gabbana's starry take on their trademark sartorial sex appeal, it seems reminiscent of the theatrical whimsy of early 20th century fashion from the eloquent flair of Erté's illustrations to the theatrical oeuvres of couturier Paul Poiret.

Think of couture's founding masters and you may well remind yourself of Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, but the slightly lesser known Poiret was the most influential designer of the pre-war period. How prophetical he was in using the influence of fashion to project his image of shock and theatrical panache, noting that "all fashion ends in excess" He gave us endlessly-renewing fads of harem pants, the spectacle of the outré fashion show and the commercial addition of perfume to a fashion house's repertoire. In short, and in no uncertain terms, fashion's first branding genius, you might almost say he was ahead of his time - and how times have changed...

From designer to celebrity and lucrative branding empire - in that order - those were the days! Fast-forward a hundred years and play musical chairs as to who gets to sit in the pound seats and you'll find that fashion modus operandi reversed, with celebrities taking the lion's share as so-called "designers" in the name of becoming a brand. Those who've really arrived monopolise a design studio and put their image-inspired stamp on it. Those who want to extend on that add to their world-dominating repertoire with their "own fragrance"  (sadly not in the Jean-Baptiste Grenouille sense, but I digress) or attach anything else you care to name to their name and ever-growing empire, whether or not they're responsible for the credit they claim (which, f.y.i. makes plagiarising their style for a fraction of the price, from which they can't profit, all the more satisfying!) Okay, so there's aspirational method in such madness on the part of the adoring public, so my whinging, mean-spirited leftie point is? That who says this lavish lot needs to include celebrities of the talented persuasion?

It has been said, in a context for which sadly I can't claim credit, that reality is for people with no imagination. I couldn't agree more, and believe the same goes for reality TV, particularly in the celebutante vein. Speaking of no imagination, okay, the effort-to-instant-returns ratio make the genre - and lucrative opportunities - the perfect short-term investment, but what of society taking that angle in the long run? Civilisation as we know it, and to which we've grown comfortably accustomed, thank you very much, runs on teachers doctors, nurses and, dare I say ,social workers, not vapid, reprehensible attention seekers with entitlement complexes!  I have neither the energy nor the allocated character space to argue the toss as to where social fascism ends and common sense begins in this entry but it's an understatement to say I have an issue with charlatanry yielding gilded lucrative avenues of "designer branding," perfumes and overpublicised 72-hour marriages? I speak of course of Kim Kardashian's - ahem - blissful union that would drum up exponentially higher income from publicity than its extravagant costs and provoke an online petition to get it taken off the air. That effort that would prove about as punitive as making her write lines using a copy and paste function. Tens of thousands signed it but tens of millions still watched the wedding in the first place, the cynics continue to argue. Not that that was enough to convince countless news outlets that it wasn't purely a sham marriage, including Kim's own (okay last) publicist - what a Kard!

Okay, rant over, back to fun fashion creation and thinking happy thoughts!

For the dress, you will need

A black jersey dress

Black thread


Contrasting thread for tacking

Stretch lace, about 4m long and 15-20cm in width - got mine for about £4 including postage and packing costs from Gypsy Lace, based in sunny Derby, I believe, and listed as seller Bunter 177 on Ebay

Interfacing about 0.5m

White fabric paint - £2 by Dylon from John Lewis

Foam shapes - more on that later...



Tailor's chalk

Pattern master

Felt tip or biro

Fabric scissors

...And this is how the magic happens

Check out this video tutorial to see how I made my couture-alike creation:

 For the jeans, you need... 

 Black jeans, would you believe

 2 pots of white fabric paints, as before I used Dylon's white fabric paints, £2 a pot from John Lewis
Small, flat bowl into which you need to pour a can of your paint

Spatula, for best results, use one with a pliable scoop - all will be revealed, my friends

 Foam shapes or sheets

 Pen or pencil Scalpel


  1. I love your ideas. Would it have been faster and easier with freezer paper and a couple of star punches ? Just an idea !

  2. Do you mean star stamps or do you mean cutting stars out of white fabric? I considered the freezer paper (a.k.a. bondaweb) method but I found the paint one to be less time consuming. Glad you like my work :)

  3. I wonder if you could give me the e mail for Gypsy Lace in Derby please Thanking you.
    Patricia Lallaway

  4. Of course, Pat, it's and their website is