Belfast-based designer, Lizzie Agnew, has revealed the stunning ‘Titanic Belfast Dress’ in the historic Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices where Titanic was designed over a century ago. The dress will make its red-carpet debut at the London Lifestyle Awards next week.
The dress was designed by Lizzie Agnew, who has created gowns for former Miss World, Rosanna Davidson and was commissioned to create the ‘Dome Dress’ based on Belfast City Hall in 2009. Moira-based jewellery embroiderer, Helen Fitzpatrick, whose work has adorned dresses worn by Princess Diana, has also helped bring the dress to life.
Titanic Belfast, which will be the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction, commissioned the unique dress to celebrate the centenary of Titanic’s maiden voyage and the opening of Titanic Belfast next spring. The dress’s striking lines, reflective of the iconic outline of Titanic Belfast being built overlooking the Drawing Offices, were achieved with the help of a local welder.
Commenting on the concepts behind the dress, Lizzie said:
“I had the difficult job of creating a stunning dress that complemented the remarkable outline of the building while remaining a fashion item that can be modelled. The dress is unique in many ways, not least in the use of the specially welded aluminium frame which forms the central section of the dress, but down to the finer details of the hand-sewn silk draping and embroidery.
“The structure is layered with metallic grey silk which captures the effect of the distinctive shimmering cladding of the building. The dress includes glass-like panels in the middle section to reflect the extensive use of glass throughout the six-floor building overlooking the slipway where the Titanic was built.
“I’ve also incorporated flowing white and pale green silks to emulate the spray of waves and give the impression that the main body of the dress is sailing on the ocean. RMS Titanic’s distinctive funnels provided the inspiration for the Titanic Belfast Hat and we’ve used a silk dupion fabric, with tuile on top to imitate the bellowing smoke.”
Helen Fitzpatrick, who has also worked on dresses for the former American First Lady, Laura Bush and Princess Rania of Jordan, added the finishing touches to the Hat, which replicates the ‘White Star Buff’ colour of the original funnel, with an intricate brooch adorned on the front.
Helen, who specialises in fine hand-embroidered jewellery, replicated the ‘White Star’ logo with a mixture of materials including Swarovski crystal beads and stones, pearls, silver pearl purl and ribbon sourced from Italy and New York. She added:
“I hope people looking at the broach can envisage the ocean and ice which inspired my design. I used stacked crystal in the centre to give a glacier feel, with embroidery and lace ribbon to capture the frothy water effect. Researching the Edwardian fashions of the era allowed me to create an elegant brooch that you could easily imagine being worn by the first class ladies passengers of RMS Titanic.”
Tim Husbands, CEO of Titanic Belfast said:
”After many months in the making, I am delighted to see the Titanic Belfast Dress finally revealed to the public. The unveiling in the historic Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices, where RMS Titanic and her sister ships were designed, is a fitting setting bringing together Northern Ireland’s maritime design heritage with the modern talent we have available now. The high barrel ceilings and cathedral-like atmosphere of the old building is a magnificent contrast to the striking, modern lines of the Titanic Belfast Dress.”
The Titanic Belfast Dress will be modelled for its public debut at the London Lifestyle Awards on 6th October. The dress is expected to appear at other events promoting Titanic Belfast ahead of the building’s opening next spring.
Check out the unveling on ITV’s Daybreak: http://www.youtube.com/user/BelfastTitanic#p/a/u/0/_kKtPL_7kg8