Who remembers the Fashion Plates toy? You know, the toy with all the different plates with etchings of shirts, pants, and skirts on them, which you could mix and match and then make rubbings from using crayons to make fabulous fashion drawings? Yeah, I was kind of obsessed with that toy as a little kid.
As I got a bit older, and improved my drawing skills, that fashion obsession turned into a hobby of creating fashion illustrations of my own. I drew inspiration from everywhere, from the clothes my super cool big sisters wore, to the way the iron rich soil of Southern Utah looked when it drifted over the highway after a windstorm. I carried this hobby into adulthood but I never thought my doodles would be anything more than a pastime. So when I heard about Shabby Apple’s Dare to Design contest I thought it would be fun to submit some of my drawings, but I didn’t have any real hopes of winning. I was thrilled when Shabby Apple contacted me a few weeks later to let me know that one of my dresses had been chosen as a finalist. It didn’t win but I was honored to have my illustration be chosen along with all the other beautiful finalists.
I thought that was the end of it and went on my merry way, not really giving it a second thought, until Shabby’s owner contacted me to ask if I would be interested in producing a line of my own through their emerging designers program. The little girl in me did kart wheels at the thought. My very own line? It was a dream come true and I instantly agreed.
The main inspiration behind the line was the elegance and feminine forms of the late forties and early fifties. I wanted to create dresses that would be figure flattering as well as fun to wear, and this time period embodied both of those ideas perfectly.
Sidesaddle, in beautiful aqua and nut brown, uses color paneling to draw the eye down and create the illusion of a smaller waist. The gathered sleeves and sweetheart neckline add a punch of femininity.
The goal of Aintree was to create a dress with a simple elegance that could be dressed up with a statement necklace a brooch or some fabulous bracelets, or dressed down with some great boots and a scarf. At least, that's the story from the front. From the back k you get a beautiful surprise with he diamond inset and ultra flattering pleats.
Hackney has a similar diamond detail with the pleating but it is positioned at the hip for a more modern feel. Another star of this dress is the neckline which mirrors that diamond shape,gracefully framing the collarbone in the front, and adding interest to the back. This dress could go easily for work to play with a change of shoes and accessories.
Is there anything in the world that can instantly make you feel feminine and beautiful as putting on a rose colored dress? That’s why I made Dressage. With a waist line that pulls in the top with gathers and the skirt with pleats, this dress is ultra forgiving and looks amazing when paired with a belt or ribbon at the waist.
Last but definitely not least is Grand National.
Princess seams to draw the eye in, a forgiving pleated waist, a sweetheart neckline for added interest, and an ultra hip sweater top make this dress a force to be reckoned with. This look is fiercely feminine and is sure to turn heads while the neutral charcoal gray guarantees that you’ll be the coolest chick in the joint.
This experience has been so much fun and I hope you enjoy this line as much as I’ve enjoyed making it. Thanks, Shabby Apple, for making a little girl’s dreams come true.
- Kathryn Phillips