gracie-avatar-110I met Dutch Fashion Designer Monique Collignon last year when I visited Holland for the Amsterdam Fashion Week, and what a gem she has become. It is any designers dream to get a phone call asking: “hey can you make me a dress for the most powerful red carpet event in the world, the Oscars”. I leave it to my friend Monique to explain the whole process.


Hollywood celebrity Becky Baeling-Lythgoe and I have a long standing history. I have dressed her before for the Tony’s , the Emmy’s and I also designed her wedding dress. So for me she is a close friend and I understand her and her body very well. In fact I thought I did until I got the specifications. Becky Baeling-Lythgoe just gave birth to her son 2.5 weeks ago. What does this actually mean to a fashion designer. Your worse nightmare come true. I had this dress already in mind for Becky Baeling-Lythgoe. The biggest challenge was that she gave birth to a baby son 2,5 weeks earlier and lost weight every day. But this was difficult to estimate. This is a strapless dress, and a heavy one. It should be perfectly stay in place. This is always my rule especially with strapless dresses.  I tried to stay calm , asked for her sizes at that time I tried to figure out how she would look in 1 week from then. This is where my 25 years of experience separates me from the pack. It took 2 days for the dress to fit perfectly, 1 inch more or less makes a huge difference.

Dress Of 200 Hours & 80 Meters Of Crash Tule

The dress I designed for Becky Baeling-Lythgoe is from our Haute Couture Collection” L’air du temps”. There’s only 1 piece and it’s numbered which means this dress belongs only to Becky Baeling-Lythgoe. For days we make samples out of an idea I had to form the look of the fabric. Many days goes into this and the engineering is all mathematical. For example 1cm straps to 1,5 and bigger width.

The corset inside is made of silk organza. So we started with this, because from there we were building the upper part of the skirt. I constantly was at the atelier to follow the making and discussing with my team the technicalities. This is a stage which is still a very interesting for me and one of the challenges for my creative mind. Building a design, which I sketch on paper, is different to what  I see see in my head which is 3D, the reality starts to sink in.

200 Hours Of Labour

It took me 200 hours of hard work to create the fabric, we used 80 meters of crash tule. The dress has not even started yet. The bow is made of silk Gahzar on tule inside. To give the dress extra volume, there is a separate tule skirt. One of the hardest challenges is to get the dress delivered before the Oscars. Also how on earth is it going to look on her? I called Fedex after we knew how to transport the dress to LA. That’s always a stress thing for me the transport. It seems bad weather got in the way of the dress and it was a very late delivery. Was this dress going to make it at all?

Becky Baeling-Lythgoe – Does The Haute Couture Dress Fit?

But, we needed a fitting , before I could let her go on the biggest red carpet in the world! The Oscars and what a designer never wants to hear is the worse best dressed celebrity of the night goes to……….? Stress is an understatement but it’s what you do this job for, the fear and anticipation of your creation for the world to see, adore or hate.

I had to wait till Saturday night 2.30 am to see how it looked on Becky Baeling-Lythgoe. Oh my gosh the explosion of happiness when I saw the shots. Yes, yes the dress fitted perfectly and looked amazing on Becky Baeling-Lythgoe. She was hilarious and me too, it’s when you see us woman turn into school girl classmates.

I went to bed at 4 am and words cannot explain my exhaustion all in the name of Haute Couture. See you on the next red carpet very soon.