Inside the Making of a Gown (B. McGowan)

Post 23 of 269

GUEST BLOG: Gown designer Joey Galon

My name is Joey Galon, originally born and raised in San Francisco, California. I received my B.A. degree in Fashion from San Francisco State University. In my senior year of college, I interned in the Special Events Department for I.Magnin, working with some of the greatest designers from Givenchy, Carolina Herrera, Thierry Mugler, and so many more. After graduating college, I relocated to Southern California working at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills and got to work with Valentino, Escada and many more fashion designers.

I took a bit of a diversion in my career and started planning corporate & sports related events, eventually pulling me away from the fashion world. 25+ years in the special events industry, I had a deep yearning to design some gowns of which I officially launched my line at the last "True Beauty Expo" a beauty expo hosted during the Miss USA pageant week in Las Vegas.

I remember feeling so intimidated looking at the other booths of amazing fashion design icons like Sherri Hill, Tony Bowls, Carlos Alberto and many more established pageant gown designers. Always envisioning one day, I will have a gown on the Miss USA competition stage.

Gown sketch for Miss Nevada USA 2015

Gown sketch for Miss Nevada USA

Fast forward to today, I was approached less than a week out from our reigning Miss Nevada departing to Baton Rouge for her official Miss USA competition journey. I had designed a gown for a previous Miss Nevada USA, Jade Kelsall who loved the gown I made for her that she texted a photo of it to Shanna Moakler, Executive Director for the Miss Nevada USA pageant.

Shanna asked if I could make a gown for Brittany McGowan before she departed. I took on the challenge and made my promise to design, construct and have a gown ready for Brittany by the time she departed for Baton Rouge.

Shanna was open to my direction and design, so I at least had some creative freedom to create a special dress representing my state of Nevada. We chose silver as Brittany would be representing the Silver State of Nevada. I found some incredible lace fabric and saw a design that I felt would best compliment her figure.

I had also made the detachable Edwardian train of platinum silver dupioni silk. I've always loved working with this fabric as I love how light it is that it flows well and at the same time has great body and form when it drapes.

Close up of Brittany's gown

Close up of lace appliques

Brittany was so inundated with her last week that unfortunately, she wasn't able to meet me earlier in the week. I literally sent her a measurement sheet to fill out and then from there, we cut the fabric to make her gown. She arrived back into town on Friday as a going away party was planned for her that night.

Before she left for her send off party, she tried the gown on and it fit like a glove. I then took the gown and applied (by by one) thousands Swarovski crystals throughout the gown.

The gown is very sheer and I used a very light liner, so I reinforced some areas on her body with extra cut out lace appliques.

Basically, the gown was ready for her by the time she departed. This was the fastest gown I designed and turned around for delivery to any client.

Because Brittany had the gown for a very short time, she didn't have any prior rehearsals in the gown. She literally was practicing her walk and detaching her train in the hotel hallway.

I had Brittany's gown commissioned by a local Nevada designer, Joey Galon, three days before she left for Miss USA. I discussed the style and cut with him and chose the color and fabric! He was fantastic in executing it so quickly! 

When Brittany first put it on, she had that magical moment and just knew that was her dress! We thought the detachable train would be fun and dramatic. You could tell when she walked out she simply felt beautiful and for me that is the whole purpose of evening gown competition!

-Shanna Moakler, Executive Director of the Miss Nevada USA pageant

Joey and Brittany during fitting

Joey and Brittany during fitting

While watching the telecast of the Miss USA pageant, it was so surreal watching Brittany make it up the ranks as finalist. I just wanted to see my gown on tv and certainly, the goal was accomplished.

Truly it was a magical experience as I had set out a goal to have a gown on the Miss USA stage and here I had the opportunity.

I could've easily declined allowing my fear and/or doubt get the best of me due to the lack of time....but I trudged forward and stayed committed to creating this gown for Brittany and finally, fulfilling my dream of a gown at Miss USA.

I will eternally grateful to Jade Kelsall (Miss Nevada USA 2012), Shanna Moakler and for Brittany McGowan for taking a chance on me and providing me with such a golden opportunity -- the chance to fulfill one of my greatest dreams.

I'm just building my evening gown design dress at a time!

Look out goal is to have my company name up there in the rankings with all the other great pageant gown establishments.

Miss USA 2015Miss USA 2015

(photos by Miss Universe Organization and Joey Galon)

This article was written by Guest Blogger