Saturday, 7 May 2016

Red Dress 2016

Wow, what a weekend! (last weekend)  I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep.  The show itself started just around my new mommy bed time so I was up "late" lol but totally worth it!  I had such a great time and couldn't have asked for a more fabulous model to bring my design to life!
I'm always secretive about my design each year.  I have a good reason though;  I am always changing my mind and like I mentioned in a previous post, as soon as I show someone my idea I immediately feel like I need to change it.  I guess maybe I like to have a little surprise in what I'm doing and feel it's not fun if people already know what it looks like!
Like every year it's a hurry up and wait sort of deal.  We left our house around 2:30...but wanted to leave around 1:30.   It was a beautiful day for travel so we took the more scenic route and enjoyed the beautiful view that is New Brunswick.  We arrived at the Casino just 10 min before I needed to be there.  Surprisingly I wasn't a stress ball this year!
Rehearsal started at 5 and the show itself 8 with doors opening at 7.  Lots of running back and forth for me with a little one who needs to be fed.
It was so fun to dress up for the first time in a while! And have a glass of wine :)
Backstage was hurry up and wait just like every year.  This year however, we got a visitor.  Alan Doyle, the headliner, popped in to say hello to the designers and models!  What a nice surprise.  No year that I recall, has the headliner done so.   We all posed with him and said hello.  As I stood next to him for my photo he said "Hi, I'm Alan."  And me being awkward lol just smiled and said "Hi, I'm Adrienne".   At least I said something...when I posed with Jeanne Beker I didn't say a word...probably because I was in awe of sitting next to someone I would watch every week on Fashion Television (miss that show!).

Waiting backstage as the first part of the show wraps up before the runway portion is always a bit of a nerve fest.  I try to stay excited and happy by dancing in my place to the music of the designers in front of me and remind myself that it's only for about a minute that I am out there with my model.  My model, Marilyn, rocked the runway!  In rehearsal she was not as energetic (although she was) as she was during the show.  She was awesome!  And according to my sister, my model was the first to get a standing ovation and in her opinion, the best one that strutted her stuff.  Well, besides the last model, which happens to be my models sweet little grand daughter, Sofia.  She brought down the house, walking out to her favourite song "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.  What a little rockstar she was.  Backstage she was encouraging her grandmother and giving her thumbs up.  I just loved her as did everyone.

After the runway portion of the show, it was time for Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies. Unfortunately I did not stay for the show.  My little guy was screaming for him mama and so I stayed in with him.  But lets be real...I was exhausted!  What a night, what a wonderful, beautiful night.

This years show was a great experience for me.  Yes, it was challenging but it showed me that I can do it if I believe in myself and have the right motivation.  Plus, my little guy is awesome and often times watched me as I sewed.  I love him, he makes my heart happy.

Here are a few photos from the show.  The first one was taken by DeVito Photography and the rest are by my sister, Patti :)

Photo by Devito Photography

My model, Marilyn, being awesome.

I was so nervous to walk out!  She was so energetic and dancing...there was no way I could compete with that lol

Me with a few of the other designers. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  And to all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!! 

Fashionably Yours, 
Adrienne :)

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Red Dress Part Three (TBT)

Hello all!  Wow, the Red Dress show is already this weekend. two days.  I can't believe it.  It seems like it was just the show from last year!  I am nearly finished the dress...just a few more stitches here and there and it will be good to go.  I can't wait to see my model dressed up in my design and What On Earth jewelry.  I will take one more look back before the show the weekend to when I made my first jacket :)

This one was a challenging I almost said no to because I was scared.  But, the little voice inside me said, "how will you ever grow as a designer if you don't try?"  I am so glad I listened.  I do however, wish I had paid more attention in tailoring class lol.  Nonetheless, I taught myself using notes from years ago and a trusty book to guide me along.  I also listened to audio books to keep my mind from wandering into the realm of doubt.   Did I mention, the jacket was for Serena Ryder?  So...a little scary bc she would not be available for a of only and fingers crossed!

Coming up with a good design was a challenge.  I was working with her personal stylist who of course, wanted her to be dressed a certain way...duh that's her job!  And I wanted the design to still have a touch of moi in it...which in the end, it did.  I also didn't want to go over board with a complicated design because I was also making a dress for Kendra Gale that year....and working full time!! But alas...I tend to want to go above and beyond because otherwise I would not expand my knowledge in the realm of construction and design techniques.  Anyhow, we agreed on a design, all via email, which I would not person or over the phone or even face time would have been much easier.  Next, choosing the fabric....ugh, what a pain.  The selection around here is not really that great, especially when you have a material in mind...and then finding a fabric agreed on by both parties...even tougher.  However, after a few back and forth discussions and mailing of swatches, we had chosen one we both liked.   I also ordered some red leather...something I had never worked with before.  I wanted it to feel a little "Rock and Roll", if you will :)

Now, for the Adrienne touch.  Most of my designs are somewhat simple in style and appearance...I like plain fabrics, usually in black and white or both and/or a solid colour.  I therefore like to have fun with the interior of the design.  Fun printed linings!!!  And so I did just that.  The best part was, it paid off; Serena loved the interior touch and expressed it during the show!

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience and I'm so happy to have done it with such a great talent and person.  When she tried on the jacket..on stage, during rehearsal, in front of everyone...yes I was terrified.  Her reaction was "I f*&^ing love it".   Wow!  Did I ever feel good!   Anyhow, she made this designer feel like a trillion bucks for her hard work .  She, like I mentioned, spoke of the design while on stage.  I am somewhat shy...and don't necessarily like the spot light.  So, when she asked me to stand up, I almost didn't lol .   She was wonderful.  I'm so glad I said yes to making her something.  I'm also glad that my parents were both there to see my work on stage.  It meant a lot to me that they see what I love to do.

Here are a few photos of my construction process and detail of the jacket.

The following are photos by Denis Duquette.  I forgot about these and have never posted most of them!    PS I made my outfit too!!!

Her boots were awesome and matched the red on the jacket so well!

I actually didn't know Denis had caught this on camera.  I'm so glad he did.  I also designed and made her a pendant at work (What On Earth).  It was a silver pendant in a mandala style with hearts.  On the reverse it said "Live Love Laugh".  She was touched and told me that was something her mother always said.

This is her telling me about her Mom.

And then I got a hug!  She was awesome to meet.

Now, onto this years Red Dress!!  Ahh, I'm nervous and excited.
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!!

Fashionably yours,
Adrienne :)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Red Dress Part Deux

It's Wednesday and about 10 days away from the next Red Dress show that I am totally starting to freak out...just a tad.  I had intended on getting my dress finished by now but as a new mom, my days don't always go according to plan.  Also I discovered a bit of a snag!  That is, I did something I thought would be quicker  (not my style! haha) but has given me more work.    Oh dear.  I think I may have solved my conundrum but we will see.  This was due to me trying to not be so picky and a perfectionist.  My sister said to me, "It's ok, it's just the way you are", after I told her how I can be so picky and hard on myself  if it's not top notch. Thanks sis for making me accept that it's ok to be the way that I am!  Operation "Finish Red Dress" has begun!

My last post was about my red dresses through the years.  This one is about my favourite one so far, which was last years!  The original design was not at all like the finished product.  I am known to change my mind.  Basically, as soon as I share an idea I suddenly feel I need to change it.  I prefer to be secretive with my creations.

The original design was floor length with hand dyed ombré silk.  I couldn't get the lace to match the silk properly and my design idea didn't quite work with the silk....which made me so sad but I had to make a decision.  I think this decision came about 3 weeks or so before the show.  Mind you, I was working full time.  I would be at work and day dream of my dress all day, thinking of what to do next!!!  Luckily it came together quite nicely.

My model was a young model, originally from France, that I've worked with a few times, Athenaïs Testi.  She looked stunning on the runway (and I got to practice my Français, which always makes me mom too ;)!  My mother told me when the show started there was no indication of who the designer was for the dress that started the show.   As she watched, she thought to herself, well if that's the first dress (she thought it was beautiful), I hope Adrienne's is just as good.  Lo and behold, it was mine!  She made me feel pretty good about my design.  It's always great to have that kind of reaction to your design, even if it is your mom ;).  However, "Boho and Braids", a fashion/style blogger, also included it in her top five as the number one fave of the night.  That was so flattering!

                             Here are some photos from the show all taken by my sister,  Patti :)

All in all, I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out.  Much better than my original design which goes to show that sometimes, if something isn't working out it means it's time to get creative and make it even better than it could have been.  This lovely dress was recently part of a photo shoot with it's model, shot by local photographer, Maggie Hood.  It truly captured the essence of my design.  I love a classy look.  Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly....those are my fashion icons and whom I often imagine in my creations....these photos I felt, represented that so well.

The following photos are all by photographer Maggie Hood.  I love them!

So, fingers crossed that this Red Dress turns out lovely and my model feels beautiful wearing it!   I may have hit a snag but that just means it's time to get the creative juices flowing to make it lovely!

Fashionably Yours,


Friday, 8 April 2016

FBF Red Dress

     I've been working away on my Red Dress for this year and I think I'm making good progress.  It's about 3/4 finished and the show is at the end of this month.  Every year I try to push myself harder to do and learn more when it comes to design.  I thought I would share my Red Dress looks from past years!  

This was my very first Red Dress show.  My model was Brigitte Clavette, an NBCCD Jewelry/metalsmith instructor.  She was fabulous.  I hadn't really done much sewing in a few years...basically went a little off track but when I did this show, I got right back on my path!  When the email was sent around asking who was interested in taking part I didn't say yes at first.  My response was a "Can I think about it", sort of deal.  My teacher, Ellen, put me down as a designer and I decided it was a sign I should do it.  This dress, although fairly simple in design, was a challenge.  You see, I went from not desigining/sewing/creating to I have a long, lined dress with pockets and sleeves to make!  A lot of revision but totally perfect for refreshing my memory.  Brigitte topped off the look with her own fascinator and an awesome chunky pendant.  It was amazing to watch her walk down the runway!

Second year I was totally back in!  My model was Angélique Reddy Kalala, who ran the local YMCA.  She was about 4 or 5 months pregnant at the time of the show.  I didn't know what to make her since my original design wouldn't have worked for a growing belly.  This dress was inspired by one Halle Berry wore when she was pregnant.  The metal details were crocheted wire my friend Lorna did for me.  It was the perfect accent!  

Third year!  This year I dressed my husbands aunt and CEO of What On Earth Jewellers, Crystal Mulherin.  I knew she would be fun to dress because she has an awesome sense of style.  She's a classy lady with great confidence and personality.  This year I went back to school for one favourite..corsesting.  I then of course had to incorporate this into my design.  The dress is actually a two piece.  The top is a corset with a peplum (I was obsessed with them...and might still be a little bit) and a slightly flare, fitted skirt.  What you can't see is the super fun animal print lining.  A reflection of Crystals style as well as something I like to do with my designs; classy on the outside and fun on the inside. (well, classy is fun too!)

Fourth year!  I had the talented fiddle player, Samantha Robichaud, as my model.  She was so fun to work with and open any sort of design.  This design popped in my head one day and I hoped that she would like it. She loved it.  Usually a designer will sketch several designs and choose one...I didn't..there was just this one.  It felt like "the one" and I went with it.  It turned out perfect, just like I imagined in my mind.  The best part for me was while all the models walked out to selected music, Samantha came out playing her fiddle.  It was amazing!

Fifth year!  This year was a bit tricky for me.  I had originally started with a different model.  Things happened and my model had to drop out....a month before the show!  I wasn't overly panicked because I knew they would find me someone just as awesome, if not amwesomer (Yes I decided it's a word lol).  And they did, Kendra Gale from the Kendra Gale Band stepped in and although not one for wearing fancy dresses, let me dress her in this design.   She was great to work with and has such a great personality and tremendous talent.   And may I add, she looked gorgeous!  

That year I was also asked to make something for the other main event, Serena Ryder.  I made her this custom jacket featuring leather detail.  I had never made a jacket before or worked with leather...I think I did an ok job ;)
Photo by Denis Duquette

Sixth year!  This year I dressed model Athénaïs Testi.  I've worked with her on several occasions. She rocked the runway wearing what I would say is my favourite design thus far.  I probably say that every year!

A back view of the dress.  I have more photos of this dress because my sister was there taking photos.  I love the cut out look.  I feel this dress was a combination of my style and what's in.   It was classy with a twist.
Now I am currently working on my seventh dress for Marilyn Luscombe, president of NBCC.   I had a fitting with her this week and so far, so good!!  The fabric is custom dyed by Dee Wilkie and the colour suits Marilyn so very well.  It's beautiful and I can't wait for everyone to see it!  Actually, I can't wait to see it finished too!

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Fashionably Yours,

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


     I hope that everyone is having a good week so far!!  I've taken a couple of weeks off from sewing/designing...ok lets be real, that's not true..haha I have been designing, a lot.  In fact , I've come up with a whole new line based on Dee's fabric.  It's amazing how an idea can just come out of "nowhere".  I say nowhere in quotations because it does come from somewhere, just sort of not when you are expecting it or trying; it's out of the blue.  Those are the best designs...I get full of excitement and want to do it all right away!  Dee asked me if I had an idea for this particular fabric.  I said Ummm sorta! I have a whole line kind of idea!  People have asked me what my process is.  I don't have one.  Just pay attention to my surroundings and how I feel.  That being said.  Here is a look at our work together for our line we call , "ADRARA".   It took a while for us to come up with a name.  We were jut going to use our names,  Adrienne and Dee or our two last names.  It's tougher than I thought to come up with something that had a good ring to it.  It was actually Dee's father who thought of "ADRARA".  It's a combo of both of our names, perfect!  I also liked it because apparently there is a place in San Marino called "Adrara" and I so happened to be there a few years ago with my hubby.  We absolutely loved Italy.  In fact I'm pretty sure I fell in love and a piece of my heart is still there.  Anyhow, it reminded me of that feeling and I of course liked the name even more.

Our logo was created by Ashley Ketch

     The process for this line was simple...Dee dyed fabric, gave it to me, and I came up with a design.  Our original intention was (because we are creative ppl and get really excited about things and want to do it all right away) to have a line available for purchase.  Things slowed down because I found out I was pregnant and didn't want to be stressed out (Even though I love it with all my heart, It stresses me out at times because I can be a perfectionist).   I had to tell Dee I needed some time to see how things go and what I feel comfortable doing.  Being the awesome person that she is, she totally understood.  I made sure to let her know that she should still "go for it" and she did.  She has been working with lots of designers and photographers.  Each piece of silk that she dyes is even better than the previous...this makes me excited because we have started working together again (Tea Party).  She just dyed some beautiful fabric for my Red Dress and I absolutely love it.  
Back to my, slowing down was a good thing for me because it gave me time to think and discover who I am as a designer and what I want to do.    Sometimes I can get carried away with excitement and move too fast to notice the view around me.  Slowing down has helped me enjoy the scenery and flow of my creativity.  I finally found balance and understanding of who I am as a designer, my design style as well as my ultimate goal.  I want people to look at the pieces and instantly recognize that it was created by moi.   Looking at our work together I can see that I was trying to make things for other people and it didn't necessarily reflect my own designs.  I am more focused then ever to make sure I don't lose the "me" in the design.  Dee speaks with her fabric, I speak with the cut and style that I create with it.  It's pretty cool actually!

That being are some photos of our pieces.   Stay tuned for more :)

This dress started out as a different design...more flowy layers.  However, I ran out of fabric!!! Ahh so I improvised and added a little touch of something I love, lace!
This little number was supposed to be far less...just a simple skirt was what Dee thought it could be.  I however thought, no way, more.  So I needed up getting a cute little sundress out of it, using up every inch of this sweet fabric
For this, I wanted to do something simple and summery.  I, as you  may or may not know, love ruffles and so added another touch of moi to the design.
Two piece outfits have been popular for a while, especially with a little crop top.   Had to have one of these with our own spin on it.  
I have always loved the "Grecian" or "Roman" look.  In college I would always sketch this sort of style.  This is my sister modelling.  It fit her so well.
You can see a little piece of our logo in the back of this one.  It was so cool to see it up on a big screen!
This was one of the first pieces I did with Dee.  It had a mind of it's own.  Was supposed to be a maxi dress...then I started draping and playing around.  You can tell from the photo but I've got a bunch of pleats on the bodice, very abstract.  I wanted it to be like the watercolour abstract art on the fabric.
All the outfits making their way down the runway!
The finale. 

All Photos taken by Kehinde Akinsanya and Whitney Carolan for the NBCCD show "Unearthearted" last year .

I am not taking part in the NBCCD show this year because I'm just too busy with a new baby and working on other projects.  I am however, making a piece for the Red Dress, taking place at the end of this month :)

Fashionably yours,

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Tea Party

     I mentioned a few posts back that I was working on a couple designs for a shoot.  We had the shoot two weekends ago and couldn't have asked for nicer weather.  The photos were taken by my sister, Patti.  The silk was dyed by Dee. The dresses designed and made by moi!  And last but not least, the dresses were modelled by the lovely Athenaïs.   She was such a trooper with the chilly weather.  Thank you so much to everyone involved (and to my parents who let us use their yard).  We wanted to have a French tea party theme which turned into an Alice in Wonderland based idea using the small tables and "eat me" sign.  We wanted it to look whimsical and enchanting with a fashionable twist.  i.e. the fashion books on the table and our dress design.   I even made up a cheesy little story to go with it ;)

Once upon a time...
There was a girl named Athenaïs.  She was getting bored with every day fashion so decided to venture out into the world, seeking the answers to being chic...

Macaroons from ChessPiece Cafe! Mmmm

     Dressed in her ADRARA design, she found herself in a near by forest where she stumbled upon what appeared to be a tea party.   With a sign that said 'Eat me', she could not resist taking a bite of the most delicious macaroon.   

     On the corner of the tiny table was a stack of books.  Did they have the answer to her questions????  She poured herself some tea and began to read. Chanel and Dior are the epitome of chic.  Surely they have all the guidance she seeks. 

Tea Cups are Dee's Grandmothers.

Finally, the answers she was looking for!  She realized that she had them all along;  She is chic!!!  Thrilled by her discovery she decided to make her way home until she saw another sign.....
  She is now on her way to the land of fabulous things...stay tuned for more of her story. 

Fashionbly yours,