I went back to my mood board and picked out a couple of photos that appealed to me. Â I still liked my original mockup with the textured bodice and the “ragged” skirt, but I wanted to try out a few ideas for the shoulders, neckline, and sleeves. Â Here is my current favorite (which still needs a lot of work):
I am not crazy about the bell sleeves, but they are better than the other things I’ve been considering. Â I like the sleeves because they suggest wings, but they also draw the eye downwards, whereas (in my opinion) the rest of the outfit is traveling up. Â The eye lands on the bright yellow/orange skirt, then travels up to the red bodice, giving a feel of fire traveling upwards. Â Then it hits the sleeves and the direction changes suddenly. Â Very distracting. Â Of course, it may play out better on an actual person, because when looking at a person, the eye is drawn immediately to the face, in which case it would be traveling down, not up. Â But still, I’m not wild about it, though it’s the best of the mockups I’ve made.
Here are some of the other things I tried, and the reasons I don’t think they work:
This doesn’t work because the wings look stiff and pointy, while the rest of the garment flows smoothly and softly. Â Also, the wings establish a horizontal line up top that is totally at odds with the straight up/down flow of the rest of the garment. Â It also suggests a triangle, which is what I tried next, with disastrous results:
Here the hard, feathered feel is totally at odds with the soft drape of the skirt – it feels rather like a muscular, butch heroine on top, and a sappy romance heroine on bottom. Â Yuck!
Then I tried adding long, flowing sleeves, which is how I arrived at the bell sleeves:
The bell sleeves aren’t so bad, but the high neck was a real problem; now it “feels” to me like the wearer is choking.
So I put a V-neck on it, which I liked better and which is my current working mockup (it’s the one at the top of this post). Â I’m still not satisfied – wondering the bell sleeves would be better if made a little more textured in flavor (there’s a smoothness to the sleeves that is not echoed anywhere else in the piece) Â and maybe made a little shorter, about waist-length, so it doesn’t compete with the rest of the garment.
Finally, here is the one other effect that I really like, but can’t figure out how to integrate: the loose, flowing overskirt that billows out as the wearer walks. Â I think it’s totally incompatible with the draped folds, though it might make an interesting cape or something. Â (I keep thinking of the X-men superheroine Phoenix, though I don’t believe she wears a cape.)
Anyway, I haven’t arrived at a design I really like yet, so time to mull over things (and contemplate my mood board) some more. Â It’s still in gestation, and I expect to go through a lot of design changes before I’m done.