Designing Your Dress at Designing Dreams

Full of elegant custom dresses, Elena DoVales' exclusive boutique is an experience like no other store can offer. Since her establishment in 1988, she has built a reputation for the most beautiful, hand-made, elegant and unique designs. Her current location, an impressive 7,000 square feet, is over flowing with one-of-a-kind pieces. From her wide selection of gowns, beginning with newborns and ranging up through prom age, there is an amazing selection for every occasion.

"I love working with luxurious silks, laces, and trims. In fact, I use them as my inspiration when custom designing dresses," says Elena do Vale. Elena is one of just a handful of designers who create for the individual party girl.

All couture designers love one-on-one creativity. It's a special challenge when a girl comes in and says she doesn't have a clue what she wants. That's when the elaborate process of creating the perfect gown for a particular girl starts.

First, the princess is taken through the store, reviewing the gowns on the floor, discussing necklines, preferences, skirt shapes and, of course, fabric.

The process includs educating the party princess of different fabrics' characteristics and how each fabric affects the draping. Elena ushers her clients to the back room where they choose from 400 shades of colors. By draping the colors on the clients you can visually select the perfect color. The most important factor about a custom gown is the girl's personalization of every detail.

When there is an agreement about the design, the gown is sketched. The princess gets measured for the custom dress. Then there's a first fitting. The dress is shaped, draped and fitted to the body. This ensures a gown that is expertly molded to her shape.

The second fitting is when Elena is satisfied with the gown's perfect shape. At this time crinoline, boning, trims, buttons, and decorations are discussed.

A third fitting is scheduled to ensure the gown fits like a glove, and to work the length depending on shoes or ballet slippers.

The pick-up is when every detail is viewed and everyone is satisfied. The princess can bring the gown home at this time, or come back for another fitting if final adjustments need to be made.

It's a laborious process, with a whole team of talented women working on different aspects of the gown. Couture designer Elena do Vale says, "It's our team work that makes one of a kind gown so beautiful."