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Runway Sewn Your Way Challenge: Marcy Harriell’s Inspiration

This challenge presented a double whammy for me: I’m not usually inspired by the runway, and I almost never plan a garment.

When I create, the inspiration starts with fabric. I see technicolor, I buy technicolor. The planning—and I use the word ever so lightly— happens when gazing at my dress form, walking the streets of New York, or scrolling the digital world of my Instagram feed, populated by the homemade couture of my fellow sewists.

Choosing a designer

Sorely lacking is my knowledge of professional designers, which stops at my bookshelves. My handful of coffee-table tomes span Dior: New Looks (Harper Design, 2015) to Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011). So, I wanted to push myself to find out what’s on the runway today. I decided to go digital for my inspiration, using the Vogue Runway app. It houses over 20,000 shows from hundreds of designers. It’s basically a search engine for runway fashion at your fingertips, a tool that’s been collecting dust on my iPad until this challenge came along.

Photos: from the Romance Was Born collection via the Vogue Runway app.

The design team of Romance Was Born hit me like a bolt of technicolor fabric. I started saving shots to my library left and right. There were tiered ruffles, print mixing, feathers and sequins and piecing—oh my!

The garments were like happy vitamins, and we wish the models had been allowed to show their joy. That’s another reason I prefer my feed of homemade couture sewists who get to decide that they’ll smile while wearing their creations.

Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the duo behind the label, seem to have a good time on the runway and on their Instagram:

Photo: from the Romance Was Born collection via the Vogue Runway app.


Photo: from Romance Was Born Instagram

Why yes, I do follow Romance Was Born now, bringing my designer follows up to, maybe, five?

I’ve narrowed it down to two looks from the Australian-based team:

Photos: from the Romance Was Born collection via the Vogue Runway app.

Go figure, I picked the two most devoid of color. This challenge is really rocking my world. What I love about these looks are the textures created with trim and the fabric manipulation.

Planning starts with drawing

For planning, my iPad came to the rescue again, with a little digital drawing, because if I go straight to the fabric to “plan,” I’ll merrily careen into cutting and POOF!, end up with a garment, sans planning or any evidence thereof.

I chose a runway appropriate selfie from my iPhone library. It was, you know, my usual look—something somber and stern and devoid of a grin. Using Procreate, a digital drawing program with editing options that go beyond Photoshop, I outlined it to get my own croquis.

Then I started testing style lines, creating, adding, and deleting layers to sketch ideas:

These are pretty simple, but digital drawing made it easy to play. It was so easy that I found myself coming up with more ideas than I thought I’d have. How about a mesh sequined pencil skirt with pleated bodice? A half-circle cape with fringe and balloon leg pants? Wide-legged jumpsuit with trimmed sash?

Endless possibilities

I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I do know I’m aiming to work in pleating. Or fringe. Or both. Then again, there are always feathers.

Hmm. It might take me a minute to get past this planning stage.

This small garden of print, sequins, mesh, and trim is what I’m starting with, and it will probably grow when I start to sew.

Yes, I’m playing in color. I’m taking the liberty of being inspired by the Romance Was Born aesthetic as a whole. I hope y’all don’t mind. After all, the challenge is Runway Sewn Your Way.


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  1. ReikiRee | | #1

    OhHELP me this is fantastic!!! I knew nothing about Romance Is Born. How could that be?! Well, now I do and I can see why you are inspired by them. Such happy, wild, how-can-you-help-but-dance clothes!!! And I second your use of a croquis made from a photo. I'm a member of the Beatrice Collective and we just did a round of designing with the croquis that we each made from our own photos. It is so much fun, yes...it is grownup PLAY! Can't wait to see what you create, Marcy

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