Meritxell Pinyol


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Final photo model: Sonja DeadlyDoll and photographer: Víctor Pérez

Outline the story …

My design is based on the character of Carmilla, a Sheridan Le Fanu story written in 1872. This female character has always shadowed by Bram Stoker's Dracula although it was created almost 30 years earlier. The subject of the contest quickly brought Carmilla to my mind, but I wanted to read many novels that I had pending before make the decision. I was looking for a female character, who was the protagonist and not a mere secondary character in the shadow of a man, strong, powerful and charismatic. My readings led me to note the difficulty of finding a strong female character, relatively unknown, in fantasy literature. Circumstances of the last months, with the decease of my mother, brought me back to this character so much related to death. It causes a disease that gradually consumes until death, as if it was a cancer. Although Carmilla's character has a weak, sickly appearance, she actually has a strong will and persuasive power and she has an extraordinary beauty that charms everyone, like my mother. So finally I decided to design the perfect dress for the masquerade ball that appears in the story. The design was inspired by the decade before the publication, as the story is based on several letters written by the protagonist about the events that took place 8 years ago .That's why I documented myself in clothing history books. I chose black color for its association with the night or the mystery, but also with elegance and nobility.

Outline the construction…

Having the design in mind, a draped corset with off-the-shoulder bateau neckline and a skirt with a high volume and tulle bottom, it was not difficult to find in publications of historical patterns one that could be adapted to my design. I based it on the evening dress that appears in book "Patterns of fashion 2". Being able to see the construction of a period dress made it easier for me to make my own pattern. The pattern shown by Arnold became a starting point for converting the bodice of the dress into a bespoke corset.

Corset is made with jacquard fabric and canvas, with interlining where I introduced the bone channels with steel bones and finished it with black twill lining. Skirt was modified to show a tulle skirt with several layers and ruffles topped with lace, and has a large lace at the bottom of the skirt. I just turned up the volume with a crinoline made with ribbons and plastic boning. During the process, the design was changing and the chiffon drape all over the body was reduced only to the neckline so as not to hide the jacquard fabric, then I added the sleeves.

With all the finishing touches, the decoration was based on crystals. Then I remembered how my mother taught me to make roses with ribbon, and after trying it and seeing that it worked very well, I made some bigger ones with scraps of satin and chiffon to complete the look.




  1. Avatar KayB on March 11, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    Beautiful, certainly a strong impression!

    • Avatar Meri on March 15, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you, I’m happy you liked it

  2. Avatar Milady Ranzetta on March 11, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    I love the lines of this dress. I’m also a sucker for giant sleeves so I’m drooling a bit over this beautiful gown. 🖤

    • Avatar Meri on March 15, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you. The sleeves weren’t in the original desing but I’m very happy with my last idea of combining it with neckline.

  3. Avatar Ashley Taylor Anderson on March 12, 2021 at 3:56 am

    This warms my gothy heart of hearts. Gorgeous.

  4. Avatar Maria Jones on March 12, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Carmilla is one of my favourite books! I like how you’ve included the Victorian influence as well as maybe a nod to Carmillas previous manifestations with the more renaissance and gothic elements?

    • Avatar Meri on March 16, 2021 at 6:39 am

      The idea was to focus on the mid-century victorian shape, when the book was written. I suppose that my personal preferences ended up influencing the decoration and the final result. To be honest, as the character was unknown for me until recently, I wanted to focus on the book and I didn’t look for previous references.

  5. Avatar Desire Raven on March 13, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    I love how it has the vibe of bat wings.

    • Avatar Meri on March 15, 2021 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks ^^\/ᐠ。ꞈ。ᐟ\/^^

  6. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 2:20 am

    I think you’ve found the pinnacle of Gothic elegance. Very beautiful dress, well done

    • Avatar Meri on March 15, 2021 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you so much, so glad you liked it

  7. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Stunning work, I love all the layers of the skirt.

  8. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 19, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    You did a beautiful job. I’m so sorry about the loss of your mother, and understand how hard yet helpful it can be to use a project like this during grief. Your details are fantastic and the different textures make this monochrome design really stand out.

  9. Avatar Linda Call on March 20, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Love this! Ribbon roses are so much fun. You did a great job. Details are wonderful

  10. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 24, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    This dress is a gothic fantasy, definitely suitable for the strong and charismatic character you described! I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, losing family is such an awful thing to go through. I love the fact that you incorporated the ribbon roses, which she taught you to make, really connects the dress with her even more and makes it so personal and meaningful. I’m sure she would be proud of you for this stunning creation!

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