You are my Muse

I spent the summer designing my newest collection You are my Muse. I pulled from my greatest source of inspiration, the strong and stylish women in my life. Despite a tumultuous year for women’s issues, I was emboldened by the ongoing and strengthening dialogue in the stratosphere. Women all around me have felt empowered to discuss issues that are important to them and to do so with growing courage. Their grace and confidence evokes a constant stream of creative energy for me.

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I’m often asked how long it takes to make a dress. Most custom gowns take anywhere from 40-60 hours from the time I meet with a client to the day she takes her one of a kind dress home. A collection gown is a little different. Any idea is like a seed, the concept for the gown could be growing for a moment or even a couple years before it is initially sketched out. And even from a sketch, there is no guarantee the design will make it to fruition. Within the You are my Muse collection; the Terrell was one of those long time coming gowns. I had the idea for the minimal lines, sheer bishop sleeves, and flowing skirt for a few years. I was inspired by the matriarch of my life, a force of nature, and forever lover of bishop sleeves; my mother.

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Other gowns, like the Truth, were spur of the moment. A truly organic process that was inspired by the development of the collection itself. As I was designing the Alice dress, I was inspired to create another modern gown with similar lace details. Sometimes the full concept for a dress comes complete and packaged with a bow on top and others slowly come to light. With the Truth gown, the idea for mirroring lace came first, then the neckline, then the cigarette sleeves, then the fabric, etc.

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Some designers are very private as looks are being developed. They might keep all of their draping and development in a room hidden away as dresses are being dreamed up. My style is generally more collaborative. I love bouncing ideas off friends, family, and my stitchers. Modehaus has been honored with some incredibly gifted sewers. Without their constant care and attention to detail, our gowns would not measure to the caliber that our brides expect. I’ll never forget when one of our stitchers, Jon, spent hours making sure an applique was placed perfectly on one of our gowns. That dedication to couture is what sets a Modehaus gown apart from a factory-made dress. Everything is created with the utmost care right in our atelier.  The collection came together in four months with an incredible group behind it. It took a village. Seven stitchers, two interns, one office manager, two loving business partners, supportive friends, and a great family.

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Surrounded by muses and an unparalleled team, I am always inspired to dream big and design boldly. I will always participate in growing dialogue and champion the women that I know and love as they champion me. We build each other up so we can create wonderful things and continue in kindness. Don’t be afraid to be part of the conversation. It might just inspire you too.

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Stephanie Martin