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Marchesa Fall 2011: Victoriana and Serious Gowns

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Going to a Marchesa presentation is like witnessing a very glamourous feats of strength competition. How long can giselle like models stand perfectly still while wearing 6-inch custom Christian Louboutins and taffeta, tulle and duchess satin gowns (this season they lasted a good hour and a half before their handlers said they could come down from their perch). 

Everything about Marchesa is about doing the impossible--down to the hand embroidery and jewel encrusting. Lace was a dominant theme in the show, but instead of using actual lace Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Karen Craig had embroiderers put the floral pattern in crystal, jet and pearls onto tulle (quite a pricey process).

The show was inspired by Great Expectations and Miss Havisham's endless plight of lost love. Lux fabrics like jet velvet, organza and re appliqued lace screamed ethereal and romantic. Costume jeweler Miriam Haskell collaborated on the jewelry this season including floral choker necklaces and cuffs using filigree, glass and crystal beading. 

There were touches of deconstruction on some of the gowns, left with raw edges (the designers wanted to impart that sense of romantic decay omnipresent in Great Expectations) but the full on glamour Marchesa is known for wasn't lost. A-listers will continue to flock to the label when they are in need of something for the red carpet. So let the games begin, what will end up at the Academy Awards? Telling of how important awards season is to the designers, Chapman said she gets almost as nervous for the Academy Awards as she does for her shows. 

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