Friday, June 04, 2010

Atonement Dress in Real Life

A while ago, I wrote about the green silk dress from the movie Atonement and how it was created. Well, Gemma commented that her wedding dress was inspired by that movie costume and that she had pictures. So, I emailed her back to send them and then also sent her a little questionnaire about how it all came about that she wore a version of Cece Tallis' dress on her own wedding day. Please enjoy her answers (and the gorgeous pictures!) below:

Happy couple + Mr. Rory McCrory

I'm Gemma McCrory from Belfast, Northern Ireland but now living in London, England. I am a Deputy Head of a primary school in Hackney, east London. Any spare time that I have I love to shop! Depending on my mood I either like trawling through vintage shops and warehouses or searching on the high street for vintage styled pieces. I am not very good with my hands so am a bit hopeless at actually making my own, but what I am good at is finding vintage patterns and emailing them to my sister-in-law in Belfast to make for me. It was Marie, my sister-in-law and 1940s fanatic, who actually alerted me to Lisa's post about my wedding dress.

Jacqueline Durran's design

Were you influenced by the movie Atonement in choosing your dress or was it a coincidence?
I watched Atonement and hated the movie but instantly fell in love with the dress, when my husband proposed I knew that I had to get that dress made. Being 6 feet tall I knew that any 'off-the-peg' dresses just would not do. Also being a lover of 1920s/30s clothing, the dress ticked all the boxes!

How did you find your dressmaker or did a family member/friend make it for you?
My dress maker was the wonderful Lucia Silver based in London. Believe it or not I just googled "1920 wedding dress maker" and up she popped! She has an amazing studio in Notting Hill which is dripping with vintage gowns, clothing and jewellery, as soon as I walked in I knew that she was the one for me. There was a hand made flapper dress hanging in every panel in the bay windows- stunning! When I arrived Lucia was just as excited as me when she saw the pictures I had brought with me as she was just about to start designing a dress similar- so I guess I was the guinea pig. She now uses the dress (a.k.a the goddess dress) on the main page of her web site, The State of Grace.

How difficult was it to make the dress? How long did it take?
From start to finish it took about 6 months to complete. Lucia and her team of pattern cutters made the dress from a block, they then used this to create a toile from cheap satin. After this they made adjustments to the toile and created the gorgeous finished article! It all seemed relatively straightforward to me -but I wasn't making it. Also the final costing had to be changed as so much fabric had to be used due to the length of my legs!

Gemma and the Jacqueline Durran sketch of the dress

Did they use that same Vogue pattern to make it or did they copy the dress from pictures? How many tries (muslins) were made before the final dress?
No, they made the dress from a block which they drew my measurements on. From this they were able to make one toile then finito! Experts!

What fabric is your dress made out of? It moved so beautifully in the wind.
It is made from pearl crepe-back silk satin bought from Morocco.

Did you buy or make the fascinator/headdress?
The hatlette was also made by the same team it is made from the same fabric as the dress with hand stitched silver seams. The feathers and veil were also hand attached. Lucia also made some vintage single drop rhinestone and pearl earrings which she gave me as a gift.

If given the choice, would you have worn the dress the same way that Keira did in the movie, with the long slit in the front of the skirt that was only revealed when she was walking?
No, I wouldn't have had the slit as the dress was backless and quite low-cut at the front, I think that the addition of a slit would have made it a bit less glamorous, would have been a bit OTT.

What did your intended/now husband think of the dress? Did he have an idea that you would be wearing it, had he seen it before that day?
He thought it was 'nice'-typical man! I think he was glad to see that it wasn't a meringue or something equally vile. He liked the 30s styling and hopefully thought I looked gorgeous, I think he was too nervous to notice the finer details! He hadn't seen it before but I had pictures of the Atonement dress everywhere around the house so unless he was completely stupid I am sure he could have guessed.....but then again maybe not!
And last, but not least, what is the name of that sweet ginger dog?
The sweet ginger dog is my sister-in-law's beautiful Mr. Rory McCrory, he came to visit us at the reception and I had to have a picture with him.

Thank you, Gemma for sharing your story!

Images: property of Gemma McCrory, Focus Features Films, State of Grace


Tasia said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I bet a hundred girls dreamed of wearing that dress to their wedding... thanks for sharing someone who actually did!
Sewing's amazing, anything is possible :)

Jana @ Weekend Vintage said...

Amazing dress!

Susannah said...

Wow. Wow. WOW. Gemma looks like a million bucks... and much better than KK, in my opinion. I hope this isn't the only time she gets to wear the dress!

It's wonderful to see someone busting out of the cookie-cutter bride tradition and opting for such a ravishing, flattering, timeless design. Well done Gemma for attempting it, and well done Lucia Silver for executing it so beautifully. I wish Gemma and her new husband all the best!

Antoinette said...

Beauty-full! I adored that dress, too, and it's fun to see a real-life dress inspired by it. Nice interview, Lisa.

alethia said...

Beautifulllll.... Thanks fo sharing.

sewbissy said...

Thanks for sharing this story! That dress is amazing.

Suzie said...

What a gorgeous wedding dress - Gemma looks stunning. And I was so excited to see she was from Belfast as well (like myself)! Yeay! She says her sister in Belfast makes up her vintage patterns - does she have a blog??!!! Would love to see it!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

What a fun interview! Thanks for this post.