It takes a great deal of sewing and fashion design talent to make a beautiful gown. To create a gown that is not only stunning, but one that is, literally, magical is a rare thing. When a YouTube video featured a young woman twirling gracefully in a gown, thats impressive enough. To watch as it transforms is truly jaw-dropping. If this wasn’t impressive enough, the fact is, the designer had no sewing experience when embarking on her difficult and rewarding project. What this dress entails and who its creator is are parts of a story as wondrous as the inspiration behind it. When viewing the video one sees a champagne-colored gown and, as the wearer twirls a number of times, it transforms on her into a beautiful multi-colored butterfly pattern that she is the center of.
It was upon hearing about a masquerade ball in Seattle that Ivy Thompson knew she wanted to bring to reality a special vision she had. It was based on an idea sprung from the Disney production of “Cinderella” where the central character is transformed and, so too, her plain dress into a stunning gown. Ivy Thompson wanted to take the concept even further; beginning as a woman in a formal gown and turning into a beautiful creation of nature. Growing up with a mother and grandmother who both loved to sew was certainly an inspiration for her. Whether it was through observing them intently for years or a matter of sheer familial talent, Ivy Thompson shows an amazing ability in the creation of this “costume.” She decided to take her first “official” sewing class to enable her to gain the skills necessary for such a difficult venture. Similar to the transformation in “Cinderella,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” featured a gown that transformed as Belle spun around. Seeing these on screen or stage is one thing, Ivy Thompson’s challenge was how to make the gown in both of its aspects and then there was her hardest obstacle.
As she tells on the YouTube video, Ivy knew the most difficult thing was going to be how she would do the transformation in one smooth, continuous motion. Her design is ingenious and she explains it making it sound much more simple than all the intricate work it must have entailed. By having a snap panel on the front of the gown and a series of laces in the back, she was able to connect a cord at shoulder level that, when pulled on, would undo both the snap panel and the lacing simultaneously and the reverse side of the fabric, in full “butterfly” pattern revealed itself. Now, the ball gown changed form to a bare-shouldered outfit that is a play on the caterpillar now becoming the butterfly. Ivy Thompson has garnered high praise from many who have commented on YouTube. One who commented marveled at the work asking, “Can we appreciate the intricate details she did to create this?” As with most presentations on social media the comments were not all positive. One person questioned as to whether she really had no sewing experience at all or whether she was being coy and meaning she had no “professional” experience. Another posted a comment about her “spinning” being dizzying and suggested that she might have been better to just stand still and let the costume “roll down.” Clearly, the detractors are in the minority and the lasting impression one is left with seeing Ivy Thompson’s marvelous masquerade stunner is a treat indeed.