Allegory of Autumn



Alice Concordel


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits


Outline the story …

When the competition theme was announced, the images on the pinterest board made me think of the beautiful Art Nouveau paintings with women in flowy dresses wearing flowers. Art Nouveau is inspired by the natural world, and I wanted to find out more about this art and one of my favourite artists, Alphonse Mucha. His paintings have always inspired a form of admiration and reverence in me.

I found out that the dresses worn by his models probably actually existed at the time, as Mucha designed his own costumes and painted from live models. This is why I was inspired to design and sew a dress from one of his paintings and try to recreate the whole tableau, including the flower headdress and accessories.

I chose this portrait of the allegory of Autumn because of its beautiful detail, and the fact that the competition date was at the end of autumn. It was sure to be a challenge because of the amount of details, but they are mostly embellishments and pattern cutting, which are among my favourite aspects of costuming.

The dress appears to be inspired by byzantine garments, with the heavily embellished central tablion, but the puffy sleeves are reminiscent of 1830s dresses. The first task was to imagine what the back of the dress looks like. I chose a flowy white jersey fabric, and combined a pattern from an 1830s pair of sleeves and a medieval style skirt flared at the back.

Outline the construction…

This was a crazy adventure full of experimentation!

The way I interpret the dress, it is made up of several colors in the different parts, including a cream white, pure white, some oranges, pinks, blues and a kind of olive brown. These colours are achieved by dyeing each pattern piece cut out of the white fabric separately, before assembly.

I couldn’t find lace that resembled the pattern on the front of the sleeves, so I drew a pattern on my computer and laser cut it out of black fusible interfacing. The darker blue details on the sleeves, back and tablion are a bias strip that is sewn in and out of the fabric to make the 3D ‘pullings out’ look.

The front decorative strip has many shapes in several colours that were probably embroidery or appliqué, but I decided to make them with overlapping layers of my fabric stiffened with interfacing, then held in place with iron-on strips. The shapes are numerous and complicated, so they were also laser cut for precision and to save time.

During this time, I found acrylic cabochons in the corresponding red and blue colours to apply to the dress and painted them to give them texture. I 3D printed several types of settings that I sewed onto the dress to recreate the distinctive shape around the gems. The edges are finished with white wood beads that are sewn to the fabric, and the headband has larger jasper stones.



1 Comment

  1. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 9, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    You did such a good job replicating the Alphonse Mucha drawing – the dress, the styling, even down to the photo, its just *chef’s kiss*

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