NMAH Smithsonian: This wedding dress was made from a nylon parachute that saved the groom’s life during World War II. Maj. Claude Hensinger, a B-29 pilot, and his crew, were returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan, in August 1944 when their engine caught fire. The crew was forced to bail out. It was night and Major Hensinger landed on some rocks and suffered some minor injuries. During the night he used the parachute both as a pillow and a blanket. In the morning the crew was able to reassemble and were taken in by some friendly Chinese. He kept the parachute and used it as a way to propose to Ruth in 1947. He presented it to her and suggested she make a gown out of it for their wedding.
She wondered how she was going to make “this voluminuous item” into a dress. Seeing a dress in a store window that was based on one that appeared in the movie Gone with the Wind, she patterned her dress after that. She hired a local seamstress, Hilda Buck, to make the bodice and veil. She made the skirt herself; she pulled up the strings on the parachute so that the dress would be shorter in the front and have a train in the back. The couple were married in the Neffs Lutheran Church in Neffs, Pennslyvania, July 19, 1947. Their daughter and their son’s bride also wore the dress for their weddings.
Her story starts at her lower back where the Tully fish and Stark Direwolf entwine as we move round to the front the Lannister Lion is becoming dominant over the Direwolf and at the back neck the Lions head is stamped onto Sansa. The dress colour was still very much Sansa Stark and the embroidery had pale golden tones but woven through the story are ripe red pomegranates, the red colour symbolising the growing Lannister influence over her.
The wife of Sir Arthur Atkinson of Hull wore this dress at the couples wedding in 1892. It is decorated with bunches of fake orange blossom made from wax at the neck and hem.
Madame Clapham made this dress. She was Hulls most famous dressmaker. Madame Claphams workers were superstitious. When they made a skirt for a wedding dress they would sew a strand of their hair into the hem. They believed this would bring good luck to the bride.
Rich and fashionable ladies had dresses for special occasions made at Madame Claphams salon. Madame Clapham received many wedding orders. She often created dresses for the bride and bridesmaids, as well as some of the guests.
Emily Clapham opened her dressmaking salon in Kingston Square, Hull, in 1887. By the 1890s she was regarded as Hulls finest dressmaker. The salon attracted an international clientele of rich and stylish ladies. Madame Clapham ran the salon until her death in 1952, when her niece Emily Wall took over until 1967.
Madame Clapham was an imposing figure, always dressed immaculately in black or navy. Her floor length dresses with trains, which she wore long after they were fashionable, rustled as she moved around the salon. She left behind the perfume of lavender that she wore.
Emily Clapham had piercing blue eyes, rosy cheeks and long blonde hair piled elaborately on top of her head. She was polite but firm with her clients, and ran a very strict regime in her workrooms. Her highly trained staff produced the fine needlework that earned Madame Clapham her reputation as a dressmaker.
"Wedding Bodice, Weeks, Chicago: 1896, silk taffeta, silk satin, tulle, silk floss, silver mesh, rhinestone, pearl, silver cording. “Worn as part of wedding ensemble by the donor’s mother (née Florence Sanger Pullman, b. 8/11/1868, d. 6/5/1937) on April 29, 1896 on the occasion of her marriage to Frank Orren Lowden (b. 1/26/1896, d. 3/20/1943)."
So today I have decided to do something a bit different. I’m going to share a collection from my favourite designer. I discovered him some time ago and I have followed him closely since then. The surface decoration, the shape, the influence, and the use of lace just speaks to my creativity.
Without further ado may I present the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection of Hamda Al Fahim.