Sunday, January 19, 2014

Julie Feeney's Clocks Dress

Julie Feeney is a singer, songwriter, composer, orchestrator, entertainer, performer, musician... from Ireland.
She's very supportive of fellow creative Irish people. She's familiar to people as "the singer who wore the hat on her head on the Late Late" but she's becoming a household name what with appearance on TV shows like The Hit and sell-out concerts in the National Concert Hall, in lovely sometimes remote, varied locations all over Ireland as well as New York and other places in USA and who knows where else... I digress...
I contacted Julie Feeney because I was interested in her forthcoming opera, BIRD. Maybe I could be somehow involved, especially with the costumes.
But at the time of my phonecall, she discussed with me a dress that she'd like made to go with her latest album, Clocks. She's had a "pages" dress designed and made for her pages album. Here's a pic of it that I stole from her website
So I took on the challenge. Here's my sketch drawing and finished product #1
See the beautiful buttons I used on the back of the blouse and at the cuffs. It goes with my 'design philosophy' of scale. A garment needs to be appreciated by the wearer, the fit, the comfort, small details, usefulness of pockets, warmth etc. Then the garment is to have an effect on other people: what they see, what it communicates about the wearer, the colour, the shape and style. And in the case of costumes, what does it look like from the stage, what does the audience see.
Here I am, leaving my apartment before Christmas with the dress, petticoat and shoes to drop them over to Julie Feeney. It was bad timing because it was such a busy period, we didn't have time to fit it and take a picture of her in it with me so this one will have to make do ;)
I added the gold cummerbund. And gathered the hemline to give it a ruched effect. These were design changes which consider the view of the audience member. The wonderful clockwork patterns on the fabric of the blouse and hem was ordered from
The petticoat pokes out from under this ruched hem. Kind of like the clockwork of a dress. A little peep into the inner workings of a skirt! Just like you'd take a look at the inner workings of a clock. (Me and my notions!)
And the shoes... I blogged about the process of making them previously.
I chose them for the solid chunky heel but they aren't platforms. There's bits of clocks glued on to them. They do sparkle. But silly me, Julie doesn't ordinarily wear peeptoe.
The whole project has been such a steep learning curve. Julie hired me as her PA for a while because of the relationship we were building up around the dress. That was hugely fun and challenging. Other projects have come my way and I feel better equipped to tackle them because of this experience.
I hope to post a picture of Julie in the dress soon; of the two of us; or of Julie at a concert, performing and wearing my... nay, HER Clocks dress!