My post titles are really gripping lately, aren’t they?  I just can’t come up with witty headers for the RAWards looks.  Ah, well.  You’ll have to settle for little wit, but a whole lotta pretty.

The fifth look is another that underwent a rather extensive transformation from sketch to final product.  That had to do with a few things:

1) my falling out of love with the idea of using that grey pinstripe suiting

2) my realization that the original idea for this look was DULL DULL DULL

3) my recent love affair with bustles

So, the (dull) original (dull) sketch was this (SUPREMELY DULL):


The original idea was a brocade bustier, grey suiting mini skirt, ruffle capri leggings, tattered collar & spats.

I realized one day that it was just boring.  It just felt thrown together, no real inspiration.

As I mentioned, my love affair had begun with the bustle, and I knew that I wanted to do a bustle in that gorgeous brocade.  This time, I decided to do an attached underskirt, rather than just the bustle (as shown in the first look).  The brocade made the most gorgeous bustle.




I ended up going with the bustle and a repurposed mens-wear bustier featuring belt loops at the waist, to accommodate a belt if desired.  This fit beautifully from the get-go.  No alterations needed at all.

The final design walking the runway:




And from the pre-show shoot:





I couldn’t be happier with the look–Marielle really brought it to life, and looked gorgeous.

Clothing by me:

Hair & Make Up by:  Amanda Bravender  For inquiries :

Model:  Marielle Songy/NolaChick

Photographer:  Underexposed Photography

Number Four

I have a little secret about the fourth look.  *I ended up re-styling a dress I showed at my last RAW runway*  Not that people couldn’t recognize that fact themselves just by looking at the dress.  And in all fairness (to me), I did have every intention of making a NEW dress in a different fabric–even had it all cut out (it’s still sitting in pieces on my “sew these someday” pile).  The original idea was this:


The idea was to use this grey stretch suiting I have that has a maroon pinstripe.  Lovely fabric, but I was hesitant to use grey.  It was just so…..grey.  I know, like army green/brown and cream are fascinating colors.  Who knows what it was, but I ultimately decided I didn’t want to use the grey paired with the brocade looks.

So, anyway, this look was originally designed to be that fabulous slinky grey pinstriped dress with a plunging neckline, a brocade under-bust corset, spats and a tattered lace collar.  Of course, the spats took a hike.

I quickly decided to use the brown pinstripe dress instead of making the grey.  Well, maybe not quickly, since I went through the trouble of cutting the dress out, but the decision was made.

The first fitting went well–other than the fact that the corset was 2 sizes too large.  I’m not posting images of that fitting primarily because, well, boobs (ooo–I just opened my blog up to a whole new search category!).  It was discovered at the fitting that this model has more, shall we say, blessings up top than previous models who have worn the dress.  I had thoughts of a tank top for modesty’s sake (though I never really liked the idea too much).  It hadn’t occurred to me that we didn’t try the dress without a bra at that fitting, and luckily we were able to make it work without a modesty panel for the show.

So, after the fitting, I re-made the corset.  I love the under-bust corset–I’ve been wanting to make some for awhile but somehow hadn’t gotten around to it.  I have plans for many more.

Luckily, the dress fit like a glove already so no alterations were needed.

Onto the show!





And the pre-show photo shoot:





Love it!

Clothing by me:

Hair & Make Up by:  Amanda Bravender  For inquiries :

Model:  Ashton Akridge

Photography in final images by:  Underexposed Photography

Third Time’s a Charm

The third look in the show is the one that under-went the most transformations.  I started with one look, changed to a second (that I was never 100% happy with for this show) and completely re-did the entire look at the last minute.  Literally.  My last fitting for this look was the morning of the show.  I finished it up in the hotel room that we had for the event.  I’m now a proud member of the small group of women who have brought sewing machines to their hotel room.  Booyah!

My initial idea for this look was playing off of the lace idea.  It was to be a lace tunic dress–the very top would be lined, but the dress and skirt portion would be sheer.  Since I don’t send naked ladies down the runway, I made a khaki bustier to go underneath.  All that would be paired with ruffled full length leggings, the spats (in brocade) and a tattered lace ruff:


I somehow managed to not take a picture of this look on the dress form.  I think I deleted it accidentally.  Suffice to say, it was pretty much as you see in the sketch (minus the spats).

At the fitting, it…..well……it looked awful.  The top of the tunic was resting inside the top of the bustier, creating what can only be called a shelf above her bust.  It looked so awful that I didn’t even snap a picture of it on the model.  I had had an inkling that this look wasn’t going to work–and maybe I’d just fallen out of love with it by the time I had the fitting.  Maybe I could have made it work, but I was determined that it wasn’t going to.  Either way, I had brought back-up options.  The bustier was great on her, and I brought a pencil skirt (you saw it in my previous RAW show, actually) to pair with it.  The skirt needed many alterations, but was workable.  Everything looked great on her, but it all kind of looked…..the same color.  Her skin, the bustier, the skirt, the shoes….I wasn’t feeling it.


So, I put this look to the back of the queue and just kept moving forward with the others that I was 100% behind.  I figured something would come to me at some point.  Hopefully.  Or else I was screwed.

So, I completed the other looks, and I stressed and I thought and I changed my mind about a ba-zillion times.  Finally, I decided on doing a dress that was similar to my finale look.  I used a brown suiting with a metallic pinstripe for the top, and a cream lace with the soft moleskin under-lay for the skirt.  The underlay is shorter than the overskirt.  The back is grommeted and laces for a better fit (and a little more “staying up” power than a zipper can offer).  I bustled the back of the skirt a bit, too, for volume.  I couldn’t be happier with the result!

Walking the runway:







And a shot from the pre-show photo shoot:


trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-elizabeth-underexposedphotography2 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-elizabeth-underexposedphotography3 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-elizabeth-underexposedphotography4 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-elizabeth-underexposedphotography5

The dress suffered some tearing during the show, so, sadly, it won’t be available for purchase.  However, I can make one to measure and in any color desired.  Contact me for details.

Clothing by me:

Hair & Make Up by:  Amanda Bravender
For inquiries :

Model:  Elizabeth Austin

Photography (final image only):  Underexposed Photography

Second Look

Continuing on with my RAWards New Orleans looks, my second look went through a slight transformation from sketch to final design.  After dreaming up my first look, I decided I wanted to play with military-inspired colors (primarily an army greenish-brown), lace and brocade.  I ended up with 3 green/brown & cream looks and 3 red brocade & black/brown looks.  This second look was designed to go along with the first.

My initial sketch included my signature ruffled capri leggings, a lace tunic, spats, & the tattered lace ruff:Image

I’ve already discussed that the spats were the main element to go, due to my inability to make my brain play nice and create a work-able pattern that I liked.

Onto the first incarnation of the design–again, I don’t work in muslins, so I went right for the fabric:


I re-purposed some mens dress-slacks (wool) for the very top of the tunic.  There is an under-lining to the tunic, and I used a really lovely cream moleskin–so soft–that kind of gets lost under the beautiful lace.  I cut this so that I could take full advantage of the scalloped edging on the lace.  The tunic has a zip-back for closure.

At the first fitting I realized that the ruffled leggings just didn’t work–I hated them so much with this that I didn’t even nab a picture with them on.  Plus, hello beautiful legs! (I sound like I have a leg-fetish!)Image

You can see one of the (five or so) incarnations of the spats here.  I love the idea, but I’m glad I opted for sanity and gave them the boot.

The fitting went well–just ditched the leggings and put in the zipper.  Done.

Final design walking the runway:



Above photo by:


And, from the pre-show photo shoot:





The dress will be listed soon in my shop–contact me if you’re interested.

Clothing by me:

Hair & Make up by:  Amanda Bravender
For inquiries :

Model:  Jennifer Culicchia

Final images by:  Underexposed Photography


So, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I found myself honored (and shocked) to be in the final 3 fashion designers of the year for RAW New Orleans this year!  Coming as it did during the last of my Halloween rush, it’s all a bit of a blur to this day.  Being a finalist meant putting together a 6-look mini-collection for the awards show, which was on November 14.

I immediately began brainstorming, sketching, imagining.  Most of my ideas seem to come as I’m drifting off to sleep, or as I lie awake in the wee hours (I have a bad habit of waking for 2-3 hours every night).  The first look I imagined came around 3am one night and stuck with me for a few days, so I knew it was going to HAVE to be part of the mini collection.  First up, sketch:


Military-influenced bustier, bustle, spats & a tattered lace collar.  I originally envisioned a pompadour-mohawk for the hair, but later changed my mind since those pompadors are being used entirely too much lately.  The spats ended up taking a hike, too, as I just couldn’t get the pattern quite right and needed to streamline things a bit (mainly for my own sanity).

I don’t generally make mock-ups in muslin.  This is ridiculous, I realize, and can have terrible consequences (hello, wasted fabric!), but, *knock on wood*, I rarely have a problem with my methods.  So, this was the next step:



I was pretty obsessed with that bustle.

The bustier is reclaimed cotton (from mens khakis) with metal buttons and cotton twill trim, lined in cotton twill.  The bustier is cream taffeta.

Since my model has legs for days, I decided to go with no skirt under the bustle–it opens at each side as she walks, so I did, for modesty’s sake, make a pair of ruffled boy-shorts to be worn underneath.

First fitting went extremely well, with no real alterations needed:



(excuse the lighting–it was dark outside and my studio photographed rather yellow–photo editing washed it out too much, so I stuck with the yellow)

Onto the show!  This was my opener for the show:







I told my models to have fun with this show–why take fashion too seriously?  The music was a remix of “In the Mood” and was perfect.

I was lucky enough to have Underexposed Photography do a mini shoot pre-show, as well:


trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-amber-underexposedphotography2 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-amber-underexposedphotography3 trapped-in-time-designs-amandabravender-amber-underexposedphotography4

Hot, right?

Clothing by me,

Hair & Make up by:  Amanda Bravender
For inquiries :

Model:  Amber Carollo  (

Photography by:  Underexposed Photography (

The bustier is already listed for sale in my shop:

I’ll have the bustle up at some point in the future.  If you’re interested in ordering, contact me–remember, I primarily work custom/made to measure, so can make one in your size and color choice.

Once More, With Feeling

Now that Halloween-crazy-town is over (my busiest season of the year), and the last-minute Vampire Ball, and the (I don’t think I’ve discussed this) RAWards (I made it into the final 3 designers of the year for RAW New Orleans!) are over, and Thanksgiving traveling has ceased (ending with my getting sick), I can try to focus back here again.

Once I’m feeling up to snuff I’ll tell you all about the RAWards, and show you my designs.  But, for now, I’m going to play it safe and play the “post some pretty pictures of someone pretty” game.  Today’s offering is Christina Ricci, a favorite of mine for years.  Maybe a hold-over from my grunge-independent-dark years, but I feel like she’s made a rather successful transition to fashionista these last few years.  Enjoy:













ImageBecause it’s Monday and she’s beautiful.


Because my Halloween season is running full-tilt and my poor brain isn’t working all that well.


Because posting pictures of a beautiful woman is just…..easier right now.


Because I’ve loved her since high school.


Not that I need any “because”.


I mean, come on.


Kate Winslet, y’all.







Because she’s pretty much how I’d dress all the time, were I to be able to afford Vivien Westwood….and to be slightly further off my rocker.


Because I love her work and her look.


She’s kind of like a fairytale, really.  “All the ancient classic fairy tales have always been scary and dark”  Yes.


“Usually I’m frustrated when I look at my films and I don’t believe that I’ve made a real transformation beyond my usual sets of gestures and expressions. I still have this nagging feeling that it’s me, that I didn’t create a unique character.”


“I hate this image of me as a prim Edwardian. I want to shock everyone.”


“You become very angry and depressed that you keep getting offered only these exceedingly demure and repressed roles. They’re so not me. That’s why films like Fight Club were so important to me because I think I confounded certain stereotypes and limited perceptions of what I could do as an actress”


“People have lots of misconceptions about me. My mum, who is half French and half Spanish, gets outraged when I’m called quintessentially English. I owe my looks to my mum-which was 90 percent of getting my first job. And, some people would argue, 90 percent of my entire career.”

“Journalists are always calling my features Edwardian or Victorian, whatever that means. I am small, and people were smaller in those times. I’m pale and sickly-looking. I look fragile-like a doll. But sometimes I just wish I had less of a particular look, one that was more versatile.”helena8

” I have to struggle to change people’s perceptions of me. I grew very frustrated with the perception that I’m this shy, retiring, inhibited aristocratic creature when I’m absolutely not like that at all. I think I’m much more outgoing and exuberant than my image.”helena9

“I drink booze, I smoke, and I’m hooked on caffeine. I actually have been known to swear at times and belch and even raise my voice when provoked.”


TnT Tuesday


This slinky number was made specifically for a photo shoot.


I have to admit, it’s a little sexier than I normally go for.

I’m kind of a costume nerdy girl…..more Helena Bonham Carter in regular life than Victoria Beckham.


So, I went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on the neckline.


I did compromise a wee bit–the original idea was for it to be cut to the navel….


I used the dress in my RAW runway show, too.

And, WOWZA, Mary brought that baby to LIFE.


I recently listed it in the shop.  (yes, it’s been cleaned)


The belt is part of the sale–it’s actually made from a re-purposed leather purse strap.


I hope to make more of these in other colors and fabrics.


One of these days….


You can find the dress here:

Modeled by:

LouAnn Eads

–Mary Andrus

Images featuring LouAnn photographed by:  Gustavo Escanelle

It’s Good to be the Queen


1roy·al adjective \ˈri(-ə)l\



Definition of ROYAL


1.  a : of kingly ancestry <the royal family>

b : of, relating to, or subject to the crown <the royal estates>


c : being in the crown’s service <Royal Air Force>


2. a : suitable for royalty : magnificent

b : requiring no exertion : easy <there is no royal road to logic — Justus Buchler>

3. a : of superior size, magnitude, or quality <a patronage of royal dimensions — J. H. Plumb> —often used as an intensive <a royal pain>

b : established or chartered by the crown

4: of, relating to, or being a part (as a mast, sail, or yard) next above the topgallant