Thursday, February 3, 2011

Style Tantrum: Masterpiece Expression

The Mid –Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase is excited to welcome Cynthia Davis, the designer behind the Style Tantrum/colorada clothing lines back to the Eco Fashion Show Catwalk in 2011! You have already seen her work – it’s on our homepage! A little more about her very unique, very green design vision…

Photo by balance photography, from the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase

I love to create and make all my designs by hand from my own imagination. My style is romantic, flirty, vintage-inspired and often simple and less formal. I like to make wedding dresses from unlikely recycled bits and pieces. I sometimes start from a simple recycled dress with good lines and add draping, ruching, bits of lace and chiffon to arrive at a brand new dress. Sometimes I'll incorporate a vintage lace panel, like the one in my Lovebirds dress with lace birds, or a bit of beading or a handmade frill. One of my favorite things is to take a vintage dress, often a simple cotton day dress with a full skirt and create an entirely new dress with a whole new glamorous feel but a bit of the soft, dreamlike feel of the original. My creations are usually one of a kind, created from mostly recycled clothing, fabrics and textiles, and custom created with the bride who will wear it in mind.

I love the feel of simple fabrics like cotton and linen. I try to make gowns that feel lovely to wear and move and breathe in warm weather and breezes. I like ragged edges and that bit of unexpected whimsy that looks 'undone' and vulnerable. Many of my creations are created in tea stained or ecru hues as well as in white and cream and have unexpected touches of color in trim or sashes. I use a lot of sheer and chiffon type fabrics but aim for a natural look and feeling in the design. I try and design so that the girl that loves jeans and boots will feel just as at home in my designs as the fashionista.

Photo courtesy Style Tantrum

My fabrics are gathered from thrifting, vintage houseware fabrics like curtains and embroidered linens, recycled dresses and wedding attire, and textile factory scraps - among other sources. I thoroughly clean the fabrics with an eye toward sensitivities before creating with them. When they are created, I endeavor to make them hand or machine washable, although this isn't possible with all of them. I also try to create things that can easily be reworn or overdyed to create a garment that can be used again. In the future, I hope to continue making one of a kind gowns but to incorporate new, eco-friendly, sustainable fabrics into my designs so I can get even more creative (and have longer trains ! :) )

I also make quite a few short or tea length styles for the bride who prefers to show off pretty ankles and shoes or who is getting married on a beach or in a field. I love brides with imaginative ideas who have fallen in love with a particular era or a piece of vintage print fabric and want something less 'wedding-ey' to wear. Since most of my work is created far from my customers, it has worked to create the dress to their size and allow a bit of time to have the dress altered locally for a last minute perfect fit. This is especially helpful with brides who gain just a tiny bit or lose a few more pounds than they expected in all the rush and need a little snugger size.

Photo courtesy Style Tantrum

It also eliminates the need for local fittings. Some of my non-bridal customers had no problems sending their pieces back in the mail to have little added extra touches from me. I want to make them look beautiful and indulge a sentimental desire to add bits of family treasures or special colors and touches. This is the most special day and your dress should make you truly happy.

Cynthia's tips for going greener:

Recycling as a lifestyle is a great way to live 'green'. Giving things away to people who can reuse what you no longer need is wonderful too. Recycling is almost always cheaper and you may just learn to adore how you look in retro styles or to appreciate the fashion from another era.

Make it your own:

Photo courtesy Style Tantrum

I loved the bride who bought anthropologie shower curtains and made them into a lovely mermaid style gown. Do your own thing and make this day an expression of your uniqueness and the couple's loves and values.

Think of this day as your 'piece de resistance' or masterpiece expression of who you are as a bride and who the two of you are as a couple and how much you love and are loved by others around you. Then, make it special. Get extravagant with the details. Not with the money, but with the many small touches that make it a celebration of you. Think out of the box and do things no one has ever done - with your dress, your decorations and the cermony and reception. Be shamelessly yourself and have a bubblegum centerpiece if it has meaning to you both. Cut the cake in a wading pool or wear a red dress to your reception.

Imagination can take your celebration from dull to breathtaking. Let your wedding dress shine on you as an expression of your spirit, your true person. And make it unforgettable!

Learn more about Cynthia's design on her website,

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