Tulips and Pansies and More Pansies

Chris' collaboation may have been his toughest challenge yet.

This week is about a very fun, outrageous, over the top charity event held annually in NYC -- Tulips and Pansies. It is a fusion of fashion, fun, flowers, and of course, large headpieces. Each fashion designer is assigned a floral designer, and ours was Golf Srithamrong, the self-proclaimed "Orchid King," who won in the "Most Beautiful" category for the last two years. I was excited, and thought this would be fun -- after all, how hard could it be?

Ugh. It was terribly hard. I am not used to working with other people, and sometimes collaborations just click, and sometimes they don't. Ours was somewhere in between. I have been around the circuit and back with my fair share of costume contests, not to mention certain reality television fashion competition shows. I know what judges like, and what they don't like. What they don't like is when you don't follow the rules. Namely, in this case, that everything on the headpiece besides the structure must be fresh flowers or living material.
We went through our share of design trouble with this one ourselves, which ended up with Matt chucking the first draft of our outfit literally out the window, almost crushing some poor NYC pedestrian. We were hoping for a beautiful, colorful mix and an avant garde arrangement of flowers (that we auditioned days before in our workshop), but Golf went home and changed his mind. He ended up changing the whole design the night before the event, adding hundreds of white feather butterflies to the headpiece instead of flowers. Eek. I was not happy when I showed up the day of the event...it was too late to change it and we were stuck with something that really didn't go well with our outfit, and that contained a lot of non-floral decoration. What would the judges say?Well, as if you couldn't tell already, they didn't say what we wanted them to, and happy faces had to be pasted on. I don't know how I feel about the whole thing...I think it just goes to prove what I have been saying for years, that the best things in life -- art, theater, literature, film, fashion, whatever -- are best when they are the vision of one person. An auteur. Of course collaboration is always necessary, but I believe that the main driving creative force must be by one person of singular vision. Everyone will get their turn, but there is a time to be the leader and a time to be in the background. We should have just done everything ourselves, then we could really be angry that we lost.

See you soon, 

Chris

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Met with a Challenge

Chris explains why Chrissy's gown was the biggest challenge of the season.

Fulfilling my lifelong dream of designing a gown for the Met Ball (The Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual costume ball) was incredible; having an amazing client like Chrissy Teigen was amazing (and getting to cover the dress with thousands of Swarovski crystals was so decadent). Then why was this task the most overwhelming one of all the ten episodes of Mad Fashion? One word -- pressure. The overwhelming pressure of one of my designs being seen at the incredible fashion arena that the Met Ball has become was one sort of pressure, but having such a short period of time to do it in was another. My first shot at it and I have to get it done in three days! That, plus the added drama that Chrissy's boyfriend, who just happens to be John Legend, was there to give his opinion. Oh, and did I mention I only had three days?! The black beads, sequins, feathers, and safety pins were flying, and between all of us we magically whipped up a dark, sexy, feathered, and human-haired dramatic masterpiece. There was a little tussle over the leather neck corset I wanted Chrissy to wear, but she was more comfortable with the feathered collar with a custom-made dramatic necklace. She looked amazing (when doesn't she?) and had her red carpet Black Swan fantasy come true. I was thrilled to see the dramatic train we worked so hard on floating up the red stairs of the museum. Chills! I can't believe that ten episodes have gone by so quickly. A lot of work went into each one, from the camera crews, the editors, the sound guys, the electricians, the directors, executives, and especially from Matt, Izzy, Alex, Christine, and Jake. What an amazing experience -- to get to work with such great people doing what I love, and then have it magically turned into a fun and outrageous TV show! And like Carol Burnett always used to say, "I truly am so glad we had this time together."

See you soon,

Chris

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