Monday, April 9, 2012

Cognac Evening: The Backstory

I have posted photos before of Cognac Evening, one of my very favorite outfits made for Gene Marshall. Recently, designer José Ferrand was kind enough to write for me the behind-the-scenes story of how he came to create this gorgeous Circa 1951 outfit that was released in 1999:

I had started making this dress for my own enjoyment, before I even dreamed of becoming part of "The Gene Team." It turned out to be a good thing since, after meeting Mel at the Plaza during Toy Fair and approaching him the following day at FAO Schwarz, I had only a few weeks to make a small collection to show him and Joan Greene. It was bought on the spot, once they saw it along with "Love, Paris" and a third one that would develop into "Honeymoon." The design was a result of copious sketching and it owes a little to Dior's Oval collection (1951) and also to old family pictures. The original hat was more of an Ann Boleynish cap with beading along the edges, burnt orange marabou feathers on one side, and black netting over her forehead. The much loved final hat was designed by someone at Ashton Drake (most likely Michelle Tibbetts).

Here are two photos of Cognac Evening with the original hat:

And the final outfit, as photographed by Steven Mays for the original Gene Marshall publicity materials:

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