Gala Nocturna 2015 : Swan Princess

Just hearing the words “Gala Nocturna” stirs the imagination with visions of extravagant gowns twirling under glittering chandeliers.

Perched at a table, sipping champagne with my own Prince Charming, we enjoyed the spectacle of feathered costumes dancing to dark romantic music …it was stunning to watch. I had the pleasure of meeting with costumers whose work I’ve been following for years.

Viona-Art hosts several costume and historical themed events in Europe. This year’s theme is “The Swan Princess”. A fellow costume designer and long time friend Vanessa Walton of Creature of Habit (www.creatureofhabit.me) and I have been dreaming of attending one of Viona’s beautiful events for years. I traveled to Brussels for the first time with Vanessa and my Husband Jack. Adventure Time!!! It was a dream come true modeling for Viona-Art alongside Creature of Habit and Fairytas. Viona was so kind to photograph our swans before the Gala.

From Viona Art’s website – “Every year we set a different theme for Gala Nocturna. Some examples from past editions are: “The Virgin Queen”, “Russian Fairytale” and “The Pope’s Daughter”. Last time we chose “La Belle et La Bête”, inspired by the classic fairytale from Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The theme inspires our guests to create their wonderful costumes. Many of our guests are very creative and make or design their own outfits for Gala Nocturna. Every year they are looking forward to the challenge of creating a new costume that fits with the theme of the evening.”.

When I think of Swan Lake the first image that pops into my head are fluffy white gowns glittering in crystals on a smoky calm lake. I found my inspiration fabric in the LA fabric district with this single gigantic beaded feather. I wanted to add a touch of antiquity to fit the venue (www.gala-nocturna.com/venue) I sewed mirrored copper and gold gems throughout the appliqué to replicate the lustrous sparkle of the chandeliers. For the smokey dress effect I layered six layers of tulle over the skirt and tattered the edges. The hips have a heavy weight tulle cut into feathers to give the effect of wings at the side. I also wanted to create “wearable wings” with the feathered bolero and sheer netting.

My wing, filigree, and crystal headdress for the gala was inspired by the chandeliers in the venue. I wanted my headdress to have some of those elements! If you’d like to learn how to make head wings I offer a tutorial on our etsy store! www.etsy.com/shop/FireflyPath

This trip was truly something I’ve been dreaming of for years. I was so fortunate to travel with Vanessa and Jack who are both so open to adventure! Meeting people I never thought I’d have the chance to meet and new like-minded people. The whole event and experience far exceeded my expectations!

Swan Love

-JoEllen