Traditionally, it’s black and white to Derby Day, which is a far cry from the colours of Mumbai where Siyona have their factory and workshops.
As monochrome is a strong suit of the label however, we decided that would be the day to work towards in creating a custom made dress that would be hand finished in India. As they have the ability to create all their fabrics from scratch, it was just a case of talking through what I liked, looking at samples and making some decisions. Being led by the fabric first is a unique way of designing, setting up challenges you might not face if you’d sketched out a design. It does however open up all manner of exciting possibilities, so really, the limit is your imagination.
The 3D flowers and leaves were hand sewn on to this cotton cut-work fabric, and the design came from a sample that we thought would suit my figure and have a bit of vintage flair. And you know what? It’s actually easier and more affordable than you think to work with a designer on a custom made dress. Think about all the times you’ve had an occasion and can’t find that perfect outfit – but you know what you want in your head. My advice would be to find a smaller, independent label rather than just ringing up a chain store (who get everything mass produced overseas anyhow) and seeing if they’d be open to designing something.
You might remember this gorgeous coat from Kuwaii from a couple of years ago, who custom made it in lavender wool for me after I’d seen a sample in their showroom. Or this dress from Obus, or these sneakers from MYSWEAR. All have been custom designed and made, all are smaller indie designers and most importantly I love all of them!
Also handmade right here in Melbourne is the millinery by Louise Macdonald. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the piece to finish the look, so it was a great honour that Louise agreed to collaborate on this project. Her career has spanned costume design for the BBC to working in Dubai on the Dubai World Cup, one of the richest group one races in the world. Basically she’s amazing and even better, she’s from Melbourne!
So there you go folks, an absolutely beautiful, one off dress from Siyona for the races!