Letters

Letters 09-08-2014

Try This Real Advice

The Advice Goddess? More like the “say confusing analogies and never answer the question,” mere mortal. Take the first reader’s question last week about breaking up with his iPod-purchasing GF: “MP3’S A CROWD”: Break up with her, iClod...

Nine-Year-Olds With Guns Not OK

I have been thinking about this awful situation in Arizona where a 9-year-old blew a shooting instructor away with an Uzi machine gun. I was looking for any consistency with other aspects of life...

Respect Our President

I recently read a Canadian’s view on our lack of respect for our President. It made me think about a time when, once elected, most Americans rallied around our new leader. We became united in moving forward and leading the world...

Northport Sewer A Bungle

The Northport sewer cost is $15.669 million not $12 million as recently stated in the Express. It is the most expensive sewer per household the Michigan SRF ever funded. Today the sewer is only processing 51,000 gpd on average...

Y Members Deserve Answers

Three weeks after Tom Van Deinse was fired from his position as Executive Director and Tennis Pro of the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, I am still trying to understand the motives of the YMCA Board of Directors for their decision to remove him after 14 years of service...

Reflections on Order

Old men make lists. My father did it, and now that burden seems to be imposing itself on me. It wells up inside me with a vengeance and I must give vent to it. Here is my list:


Home · Articles · News · Features · Silk & Satin/ Ali Frankhouse
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Silk & Satin/ Ali Frankhouse

Kristy Kurjan - January 24th, 2011
Silk &Satin: Meet custom wedding dress designer Ali Frankhouse 1/24/11
By Kristy Kurjan
What is a bride to do when the gown she craves doesn’t exist? Have one made.
 Enter Ali Frankhouse, a Northern Michigan designer who creates custom
gowns for the bride-to-be. Her one-of-a-kind wedding dresses have
graced weddings from New York to Northern Michigan.
The couturier designed her first official wedding dress just after
graduating from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles with a
BFA in fashion in 2001. Her attention to detail was displayed in a
gorgeous white lace wedding gown for a close girlfriend. Since then,
clothing design has been her passion and word-of-mouth advertising has
established her name in the wedding industry.
The process begins by creating a design based on a picture,
silhouette, or sketch. Clients often have an exact dress in mind or a
basic idea of what they want. Frankhouse will sketch a vision and the
process begins. Before cutting any fabric, she tells her clients to
“try on a lot of dresses first to know what looks good on their body
and what they like.”
Next, she drapes an initial shape on a mannequin in muslin, an
inexpensive fabric, of which she creates a sample for the first
fitting. “At this point it doesn’t have any bells or whistles,” says
Frankhouse. “It is just the basic silhouette, to get an idea of what
the dress will look like and how it will fit.”
MULTIPLE FITTINGS
The dress is then cut out of the actual fabric made of delicate fibers
like silk, satin and lace. Frankhouse’s brides have the option of
choosing from swatches or bring in their own fabric.
From there, the designer finishes the dress in steps, requiring
multiple fittings along the way. “I’m picky so I do a lot of
fittings,” says Frankhouse. “Depending on the style of dress I can do
anywhere from 5-10 fittings on a wedding dress. Even a simple sheath
dress might require five appointments.”
For the designer, one of the most difficult aspects is dealing with
her perfectionist tendencies. “I stay up late, sometimes until 3
a.m.,” she says. “It is stressful, but it’s how I get things done.”
Once all of the beads are in place and the hems are tailored, her hard
work pays off when the blushing bride’s dream becomes a reality.
“Everything comes together and fits perfectly,” the designer explains.
“It is a relief to know it worked out the way it was supposed to, and
it always does!”
The experienced designer advises to keep wedding gowns classy. “Some
brides want to show too much and are looking for a backless and
strapless dress, which is impossible to make. I would tell those
brides that they can be sexy without showing everything.”

ETHNIC RESEARCH
In 2008, Frankhouse designed her own wedding dress with inspiration
from her father’s Spanish heritage. “I knew I wanted ruffles, and the
flamenco look, so I researched Spanish wedding gowns, both recent and
as far back as the early 1900’s,” she says. “A long time ago black was
the wedding dress color in Spain... Initially, I wanted an all black
dress, but decided against it, went with a white dress, and then added
a black sash.”
How much does a couture creation of hers cost? The designer charges a
base price of $1,000+ depending on the complexity of the gown in
addition to fabric cost. This price includes all aspects of the dress
creation from the initial sketch to the alterations which usually
takes about six months. Also in her repertoire, custom
mother-of-the-bride and menswear.

For quotes and availability contact: Ali Frankhouse at 231-409-3770.

 
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