Inside the Making of a Gown (M. Powell)

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GUEST BLOG: Gown designer, Ashley Renee Tribble with Marissa Powell

Some designs come to me once I meet a girl, some are inspired from dresses past, and some truly come in dreams.  The dress that Marissa Powell wore for Miss USA 2013, came to me in a dream...but almost 2 years ago!

SketchThe dress came to me in black, fading to turquoise blue, intended for a blonde. But for one reason or another I waited on it.

I sketched it a few different times, coming up with the same thing every time, but when I colored it...nothing looked good but white.

I started looking at different colors of sequins. The color I kept being drawn to was a pinkish, clear AB color, that made me sure that I would keep the color as white.

I knew the stripes were going to be satin, but I loved the idea of varying texture.

So altering the satin, sequins, mesh over and over in varying sizes felt organic. The hem was done out of a 5 inch horse hair completely covered in sequins.

Adding horse hair to the hem really allows the skirt to stay out, but also keeps it from going in between the girls legs.

image6I knew the gown needed a final touch, crystals! I wanted the bust line to be encrusted in Swarovski AB stones, all different sizes and shapes. I wanted the 'icing on the cake'. I know this design is one of my busier ones, but when it's on Marissa you can't not look at her face. The gown never detracted attention from her, it simply accented her.

I have been fortunate enough for these past years of designing to use Sherri Hill's factory to have my gowns produced, who has been my mentor since the first day I opened Sassy Chic Boutique, so I knew after I sent in my sketch, I would get exactly what I dreamed of.

When the gown arrived, I ripped open the box and knew right then and there that gown NEEDED to be on the Miss USA stage!

I brought it with me to a Sassy Chic Boutique trunk show in St. Louis and posted a picture the night before, the gown received a lot of attention, many girls calling dibs on it for their next dress.

image3But for some reason I was hesitant for people to try it on, I wanted it to be on 'THE' girl!

When Britt Boyse, director of Miss Utah USA pageant, called and asked if I could mail her the gown to try as an option for Marissa, I knew that she was it!

Through pictures, texts and emails we figured out that a new one needed to be made, it needed to fit her perfect.

So with some adjustments to the measurements, a new one was produced.

Marissa's gown was sponsored by Ypsilon Dresses, so we sent it to there to finally see it on her. The gown was too long, so instead of hemming it from the bottom, the seamstress took it up from the skirt.

If you compare the sketch to the finished product, you can see Marissa's is more of a mini skirt.

"When I finally got the dress and put it on, I was THRILLED to say the least. The designer helped me put together the perfect amount of sparkle on the dress to compliment the white gown. My dress was interesting because you could see my legs through the material which I liked, because it was different. I felt like a million dollars walking out on the USA stage in my gown. I have never felt so beautiful in my life! I was so grateful to my designer, Ashley, for helping me create my dream gown and for making it come to life more beautifully than I ever expected!


Most importantly, I wanted to remember my friends, family, and state that had helped me along the journey to Miss USA, so before I left, I sewed into the top part of my dress some of the crystals from my state gown. Every time I got nervous I would look down and remember who I was representing on that stage and all of the people who had helped me along my journey — it filled my heart! Some my most life changing moments happened in that dress, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
-Marissa Powell, Miss Utah USA 2013

From the moment I met Marissa I knew she could capture the crown of Miss USA, not just because of her beauty, but because she already was Miss USA, I believe it's a state of mind, not a title.

When she was called into the Top 5 I cried, seriously...I was holding my business partner's hand so hard. I was getting tons of texts from my husband, family, friends, and clients. All while looking for Britt's red hair in the sea of fans...I thought to myself she's winning! We all know it turned out a different way, and Marissa's character is why I feel lucky she chose my design.

None of it would even have happened with out the trusting friendship/relationship of Britt Boyse. I hope in the future to design many more gowns for many fabulous women, but I know this gown will forever be in a special place in my heart. I know my future is endless and as long as I care about each girl and design as if it was my own competition gown, I will lead into a path of happiness and success.

Miss Utah USA 2013 - Marissa Powell. Photo by Miss Universe Organization.

(Photos courtesy of Miss Universe Organization, and Ashley Renee Tribble)

This article was written by Guest Blogger

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