vendredi 23 mars 2018

the Godiva adventure

This amazing adventure started nearly 2 years ago, it has been one of the biggest fashion project of my small career as a designer.  It has been a dream project as one of my goal is to develop partnership with brands  and develop the creative potential of the corporate world. 

In the making of The Godiva adventure 

The idea was to create chocolate couture, mixing two elements that are not supposed to meet, fabric & chocolates.  The first reaction of people when I mentioned the project was: "chocolate dress"?  but it is going to melt.  Well, it was not the actual chocolate like you can see at the Chocolate fair (Salon du chocolate) but more chocolate boxes & packaging.  

linking 2 of my favourite thing in the world, fashion and chocolate As far as I remember, I always had a sweet tooth and chocolate has always been an obsession. For me, it is associated with childhood and quality time with my family having chocolate with coffee after lunch on a sunday.   During the summer, when I  finished my holiday homework's my grandmother will give me a piece of chocolate as a reward. 

It started from a childhood friend who submitted the idea to her team. She knew I already made some dresses for brands, like Lego, an did this proposal to sell to one of their client.  It was validated and then the team changed and they abandon the project.  I didn't hear from them for about a year. And then  one day she wrote to me that they found another client to do the project and that is was going to happen, I  couldn't believe it.  
So it went through to the design stage, with meetings,  modification, feedback, approval by different members of the team.  

Then, it was time to realise what was on paper, which was the difficult part.  
Of course to make chocolate boxes dresses, you need EMPTY chocolate boxes.  When I started the process I got very lucky to received from the postman 200 full boxes delivered to my door.

 So the hard job was to make them empty.  It is like when you are young and you need to empty yogurt pot to make plastic binocular, but this time, you have to empty full boxes of luxury chocolates.  I gave a lot away, brought chocolates box everywhere I was invited , even gave some to food bank! 

I felt that was like a dream and the best job ever! and the great thing is I didn't put to much weight on! 

The joy of being self employed and be able to work from home in your flamingo 🌸 slippers on an amazingly magical project

The dresses are extremely detailed, each sequins for example is hand stitched one by one

I was lucky to have an actual Japanese Yumiko Yukawa to take care of the origami part, which I am sure for a Japanese person are not actually origami in the traditional sense,  being very neat and precise, she helped me embodying my vision.  

Because the deadline was really tight (the dress would take at least 5 weeks to travel to Guam) I asked some help from assistants & friends and the response I got was overwhelming, so much to do but it allowed me to send time with friends around a great project!

Esme Loughrey working on the crinoline & base of the dress 

Jaimee Freestone & Florent Bidois helping out on the structure 

the devil is in the details 

Obviously the boxes I just not glued on the dresses, I had to drills holes in the bottom of the boxes, then stitch them to the fabric base and glue the thread to make it more secure before closing the boxes

neckpiece & shoulder pads ornaments for the empress dress 
picture by Anthony Lycett

Obviously I wanted to include the chocolate elements in the dress but couldn't have the real chocolate as it would melt or go off.   It was very fascinating to work with the plastic presentation chocolates. They are made in Japan where they are specialist in making fake food for restaurants and brand, and looking so real in the textures and colours!  I had a friend bitting in on of them thinking they were real and I had to be careful to mix them with the fake one! 

The making of the dress was also documented on a programme for TV5 (video here). For example this skirt made with the paper brown gaudets, chocolates wrapping took, it alone more than a whole week. 

One model is wearing the Heart dress, made from the iconic Coeur collection.  A crinoline inspired by Christian Dior 50's dress shape, adorned with iconic coeur boxes of different size and decorative chocolates with gemstones,  an essence of classical French Haute couture with a twist.  The heart dress is the most romantic and glamourous design with its laced bodice

The half opened boxes on the skirt is an invitation for the customer to take part into the Godiva experience.  

The Origami dress, inspired by the Thierry Mugler design and Japanese art of folding paper, is an edgy futuristic cocktail dress, with hand made origami covered by Godiva discovery gold paper and golden foil that give the organic texture of mineral crystals to the creation.  Each cones is decorated by brown shiny rhinestones placed one by one.  

The show piece, from tradition to modernity, is like a golden tree taking its roots in Godiva previous collection with traditional design ,with a mermaid tail skirt where the scales are made of folded brown gaudets,   leading to a explosion of the new gold discovery design.  A complex structure looking like an intertwined Godiva brow satin ribbon adorned with imitation chocolates and golden beads.  The bodice recalls the pattern of the iconic coeur collection with a mix of satin and brown leather.  

The standing Empress dress is composed with a scrumptious bustier representing an open Godiva chocolate boxes, adorned with an extremely detailed neckpiece and shoulder pads with hand stitched decorative chocolates.  The long skirt is adored with hand sewed golden sequins. The bustles made with a mix between the old and new gold collection recall a Marie Antoinette style shape and convey a royal dimension to the piece.  

Adding to the fun, you can become part of the Godiva creation by having your portrait taken standing behind the dress as if you were wearing it.  

Working from home, my whole flat got filled with the dresses, chocolates boxes or material for the project, for 3 months, I was eating Godiva, sleeping Godiva, living Godiva!

For the second batch of dress I got a none very helpful assistant in the studio who thought this coutre pieces where trees to climb on!

As a jewellery & hat maker, accessories are really important for an outfit and they definitely has been the fun part to make!

The "hand in" day was one of the more exiting and stressful day of the project, after 3 months of intense work it was the moment of true and time to see if the dresses would fit in the crate made to measure.  
We took nearly 3 hours to pack carefully each part of the dresses & accessories.  We lay them in my courtyard and the neighbors that passed by where quite hallucinated by what was happening . 

I got quite emotional when the van left the building, I suddenly felt very empty... and my studio too! 

A months latter, I was flying to Guam and be reunited with my creations. After 24h trip in buisness class, I landed on this paradise island that people know more for "rocket man" threats than its dreamy landscapes.  

The company took very good care of me, I was accommodated on a very nice hotel and rehearsed my opening speech in the infinity pool.   

Set up and last touches on "Lungining" the nickname the technician gave to the mannequin.  

The fashion show exhbition was organised for the launch of The Godiva Gold Discovery Collection takes the iconic Gold collection to a new level. It was designed to appeal to people who seek the latest experience, the most cutting edge flavours, the most attractive gifts and indulgences. 

The 4 dresses which combine state-of-the-art fashion and Godiva’s iconic chocolate boxes where displayed at T Galleria by DFS, Guam from 1 October to 30 November 2017.
The customer could interact with the models wearing the dress and take instant photo at the Chocolate Fashion photo booth. 

Multi tasking: I also did the make up and the hair of my models.  

signing autographs on Godiva boxes, for one evening, I really felt like a celebrity! 

Because I had to make two of the 4 dresses for a window in Belgium (the iconic coeur and origami one) and deadline was a bit less tight I took the opportunity to organise a photoshoot in the typical chocolate boxes village in the traditional Cotwolds in Burton on the Water.  

by Anthony Lycett

by Anthony Lycett

by Anthony Lycett

The amount of journalists attending the event was insane,  I constituted a small press review of article relating my collaboration with Godiva, 

I find it at the same time so random and exiting to be in the local News of the Pacific Island, now more famous in Guam than in London.  Some article are in Japanese and I have no idea what they say! so international! 

Guam visitor Bible 
The Guam daily (full article here) 
Frontier Magazine (full article here
TR Buisness (full article here) 
Pacific Daily new (full article here) 
Guam visotor's bible 
The adventure continues as the dresses are now in Singapour airport and will keep travelling! 

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