Gucci Shell Gown- How is it Made? I’m Asking…

(An online search for “Yara Shahidi’s Gucci Gown” yielded some of these images.)

The photo of actress Yara Shahidi (of the TV show “black-ish”) caught my attention on a magazine page (InStyle).  She is a knockout and pulling off the attention grabbing Gucci gown beautifully.  It’s age appropriate for her tender years, and extremely tasteful.

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The huge pleated shell shape is the immediate focus on this Gucci dress, and it’s what I’ll be obsessing about for a long time.

The thing is, as soon as I saw this image in InStyle magazine, something clicked; I knew I’d seen this shell-like thing before. But where?

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Zandra Rhodes, circa 1981

I opened the right book, looked through it, and there it is.  It adorned Zandra Rhodes 1981 creation but in a different way. Maybe Issey Miyake archives may yield something similar.

There is a major difference between the Zandra Rhodes’ and Gucci’s detail, though. Can you spot it in the pictures?

Zandra Rhodes’ shell adorns each shoulder/armhole area of a black dress (complete dress not pictured; you’ll have to take my word for it) as an appendage.   It’s made with gold and silver pleated lame, the edges are finished with a zig-zag stitch and spiraled into a smallish “shell” at the center.  I think there may be wire under the zig-zag stitching to make it stand up.

Gucci went for a similar spiral with an Issey Miyake vibe. They’ve used a satiny fabric in pastel yellow. Here are the features I spotted in the Gucci detail:

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Stunning!
  • The large arc of the “shell” folds over the shoulder to the back, creating the equivalent of a sleeve (?), and there may be a line of stitching at the fold to give a crisper edge.

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  • On the front, the inner shell seems to be a separate piece, and not really spiraled down into a tiny shell.
  • The small shell seems to be sewn down to the larger shell neatly, making it more  streamlined.

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  • is there buckram inside the fanned out part?

I tried to find this dress on the Vogue Runway website in the Gucci collections, but couldn’t.  Maybe it was custom made for Yara Shahidi.

So …. I doodled a circular flounce shape in my notebook, and figured that once cut apart, the inner edges can be fan-pleated to create this effect.

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Doodling Gucci.  

Can you figure out a formula or something for fan-pleating?  Or use the old trial-and-error method?  Let’s hear about how you would go about creating this detail.  For the prom dressmakers out there, wouldn’t you love to make this gown for a young person?

Have fun “fanning” this detail!

Samina

4 thoughts on “Gucci Shell Gown- How is it Made? I’m Asking…

  1. I think you’re onto it with the shell. There is a corset-like bodice in there, and the skirt is possibly a separate item.

    It is a beautiful dress on her. Sigh! Thanks for showing us this.

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  2. You’re welcome 🙂 . I couldn’t not share this with my blog friends. I thought this would put us into our sewing engineer mode. The thing is, if I come up with something resembling this feature, how would I use it?

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  3. A Beautiful Gown!
    I think the basic shape of the spiral is pretty simple- only one and 1/2 times around the circle’s pivot point.
    I think there’s the a small spiral that is seamed somewhere near the waist and then again above that- to get the growth into the large front (and back) piece. I love the marriage of the front and back to form the “sleeve” too. What gives this gown it’s WOW factor is the pleating and the gold lame fabric.
    I wonder how this would look cropped to tunic length?

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    1. Ellen, thanks for your input! I immediately thought that the graduated spiral flounce information in your book would be a handy reference for trying my hand at this shell detail — page 41 — to start the process. The page was “sticker-ed” as soon as I saw it.

      Liked by 1 person

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