Lyndsey Merryman followed in the footsteps of a designer whose name is practically synonymous with red carpet fashion: Valentino. If you need a visual, just conjure up a stunning Julia Roberts in a black and white vintage Valentino gown the year she won her Oscar, or Anne Hathaway on the red carpet this year—not only was she in vintage Valentino but it was his own patented, famous shade of red.
“Valentino was all about making a woman look beautiful and enhancing the body with elements of design” noted Lyndsey.
True to her opulent inspiration, Lyndsey’s two runway looks are red-carpet worthy. Both silk and carefully detailed, one is a floor-length black gown and the other a Valentino red cocktail dress.
Of course working in silk brought with it its own set of challenges. The fabric is delicate, tears and runs easily, and creating gowns in silk means learning a whole set of sewing techniques particular to couture design.
Lyndsey tackled these challenges. She learned how to hand pleat, sew roll hems, reinforce seams, and she created under structures and corseting to support the gowns so the weight of the gown would not stress the silk. Her red cocktail dress in particular took a lot of hand work as it includes layers of sheer, silk organza rose petals.
One challenge she was not expecting was to receive silk that wasn’t silk. Having purchased a fabric that she believed to be 100 percent silk, she learned (after construction had started) that it was in fact a blend. Unhappy with the result she went back to New York for a higher quality fabric. But, of course, it is these types of hurdles that designers are constantly plagued with.
If quality fabric is half the battle then fit is the other half. Lyndsey worked hard not only to ensure that her garments fit her models perfectly but also to ensure that the looks were cohesive on the runway. She made slight adjustments to her designs to accommodate the fact that her models are very different heights.
Fortunately for Lyndsey, she had the chance to see a fashion week in New York up close and personal. An internship with Fashion Wire Press and international photographer Ed Kavishe afforded her the opportunity to attend a fashion week, and it revived her love for this avenue of design.
Despite her glamorous choice for her runway collection, Lyndsey’s next step is more down to earth. After graduation she is off to San Diego to continue working with the nonprofit Hug It Forward—where she has been designing graphic T-shirts.
But before she leaves for greener work, she will see her gowns come down the runway on May 13.
Tickets are available at www.ccad.edu/fashion.
The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.