Creating the Ballerina
The crinoline is constructed from more than 70 metres of leather strips. Each leather strip is cut and dyed by hand, lined with luxurious black metallic lining, edge stitched, polished and surface burnished in 3 shades of rich brown. More than 50 metres of steel boning is concealed in the framework to create the elongated oval shape. The crinoline is finished with 7 vertical leather straps in a ‘lattice’ design hole-punch work – all by hand of course!
The embroidery consists of free-drawn interpretations of rose flowers across 15 metres of silk chiffon. There is no pattern to trace over just drawing freely with the machine needle as you would with a pen on paper. The embroidered lengths are hand dyed to achieve an antique ivory shade. All the floral patterns on the embroidery are then cut by hand with small snips. The lengths are then draped and tied in over the crinoline creating a pallid complexion in contrast to the dark burnished leather, adding a softer layer to the dominating silhouette.
The draped silks on the crinoline are held in place by 20 moulded leather hand carved flowers in multiple shades of burnished brown. The open cut work of the silk over the leather crinoline creates the effect of layers of ruffled petticoats falling gracefully over traditional caged underskirts.
The bustier constructed and dyed by hand, is lined with luxurious black metallic leather, moulded and burnt into shape to create the antiqued sculptured form. Delicate embroidered silk butterflies are ‘scattered’ over the decaying leather torso.
It took some 300 hours at our studio to complete.