Friday, June 27, 2014

Fashion Friday: Estrada

One of my favorite aspects of pageantry is the fashion. I know I've said this before, but I never had the chance to go to prom or any sort of dance in high school (my school didn't have any!). So, I never had the chance to go prom dress shopping at all--and I always felt like I was missing out. When I discovered pageantry, I knew this was my chance to make up for that lost experience and go all out when searching for dresses!

My dress selections have varied widely: my first ever pageant dress was purchased on Amazon for about $65 and was completely plain and simple. My second was a fully-sequined prom number. My third was a stunning Tony Bowls gown with some of the most intricate stoning I've seen on a dress. And my fourth, and favorite of all, was the stunning Sherri Hill mermaid gown I wore throughout the end of this pageant season.

The many gowns of the 2014 pageant season!

As a vocalist, I discovered something that made my heart go pitter-patter: I needed to do double the dress shopping to find talent wear as well! Again, my choices have varied. But until Miss New York, all of my dresses had one thing in common: I purchased them off the rack. Since this was my first and last chance to compete at the state level, I decided to go all out and have a couture talent gown designed for my performance to Wicked's "For Good."

As Miss Westchester 2012, I was introduced to Jesus and Antonio Estrada, twin fashion designers who have taken the pageant world by storm with their beautiful pieces. They've dressed multiple state and international competitors, outfitted Miss Universe for some of her appearances, and most recently were the masterminds behind Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady's final walk gown. I knew they would be able to create a gown that matched my vision.

Erin Brady rocking her couture creation by the Estrada Brothers

Designing a gown from start to finish was such a fun project. We started with sketches. Next, the Estrada team did some shopping to find fabric swatches. It was my job to select the color that I liked best. Then, we looked a trim ideas. This was followed by my first fitting, and before you knew it, I was trying on the final gown and preparing to leave for Staten Island!

Here is a fun, step-by-step photo montage of the making of my gown. Enjoy!

 Looking at trim, taking the first measurements, and starting to create a pattern for my gown!

First fitting! Creating the top and beginning to lay a skirt for the gown!

Looking to Pinterest and Photo Albums for some inspiration as we discussed straps and trim. Thank goodness for cell phones!

Testing the sleeves--could I move my arms to perform with them? Yep!

Having the hem finished as I wore the dress. This was especially fun, and also ensured that the gown was the perfect length!

I really, really wish that I had some on-stage photos to show you--I ended up wearing this gown on finals night for the awards presentation and crowning! As soon as I receive pictures, I will be sure to share them here and on my facebook page

Thank you so much, Jesus, Antonio, Stephanie, and everyone else at Estrada! You made this process extremely fun, you supported me as I prepared for the state pageant, and you made me feel like Miss Universe as I glided across the stage to receive my non-finalist interview award. I can't wait to see the designs that you dream up next!

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