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Series 15 Week 1: We're Back!

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  Quote Thess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Series 15 Week 1: We're Back!
    Posted: 25 Sep 2017 at 22:59


The frock spot is back!

The much needed hiatus has done me the power of good and I am looking forward to getting stuck back in to this year’s Strictly. Especially with the addition of Shirley to the judging panel. So much knowledge and a critical eye that missed nothing, yet delivered with kindness and a genuine desire to improve the celeb’s technique.

But we’re not in this little corner of the Blue Room to discuss the panel. No! We are here to discuss the real stars of the show - the lovely costumes made by the very talented ladies of Dancesport International (DSI), headed up by Vicky Gill.

This should have been posted on Sunday, but with 15 couples to watch, plus a few plumbing disasters to cope with put paid to my Sunday, so I didn’t get around to finishing this until this evening.

Anyway, let’s get on with reviewing Series 15 opening night frocks, shall we?   

Alexandra Burke:

Nice clean lines in this simple and classy frock and a lovely mixture of greens keeping the look very light and fresh. The skirt could’ve had more substance by the addition of another layer or two of fabric, but with the wind machine blowing across the floor it floated in a charming ethereal manner which suited the mood of the dance. I wasn’t keen on the macrame back - maybe it was the colour rather than the style, picking out the paler colour from the crystal stones made the laces pop, whereas I think it would have looked better with a more receding colour. A very simple and clean neckline with barely there straps meant that Alexandra’s tendency to lift her shoulders was on show. A couple of floats might have disguised that a bit, so props to her for going without that option.

Debbie:
I am in two minds about this frock. Onthe one hand, I do love a red dress and this was an all out scarlet feast. But on the other hand too much of it will swamp a petite frame and although Debbie worked that skirt like a pro (you could argue that she is ... ), she did at times look overwhelmed. The frock itself was very nice - did you spot the body stocking sleeves? Very good colour match to Debbie’s skin. The little scalloped edging under the skirt to be seen when swirling the skirt around was a touch of modesty that was needed with so high a split. When you get to Debbie’s age an open crotch skirt is not the way to go. I liked it, I liked the way she handled it, I would just have preferred it on someone else!

Janette:
Everyone wants to capture a little bit of La-La Land! Bright yellow colour just popping on the floor and beautiful cut, those cute little sleeves balancing out the width of the skirts really nicely. The godet skirt, with lighter weight godet’s, is becoming one of DSI’s ‘go-to’ styles and it’s easy to see why - these little triangular inserts provide enough weight to hang well, swirl and ripple on the move, but remain sleek when stationary. The beaded strands across the back added some interest there and were a delightful touch, as was the sweetheart neckline created by the stoning on the front. Not a colour I am overfond of but it looked gorgeous on Janette. A quick mention for Aston’s suit - not overkeen on it, although I can see that it was at least designed for dancing - you’ll notice that there was no ride up in the shoulder or across the back when he went into hold, thanks to a few little design tricks. Picking up the yellow colour in the tie but having it in a slightly darker shade was nice, and was less of a contrived look.

Chizzy: A lovely shade of blue with an expertly cut skirt, that lay sleek against the hips but gathered in soft folds around the knee. The wrap around styling of the top half and the diagonal bands of colour at the seams, both defined the bust but drew the eye inwards and did a fair job of minimising Chizzy’a bust, leaving the fluted hemline to balance the silhouette. Bugle beads around the hips featured in Oti’s Cha Cha frock of last series and I think it is an unexpected area to have them, but I quite like it - it does a good job of smoothing the contours in this area. And it goes to show that it’s not only the long dresses that can get caught in your heel!

Diane: A strappy silver and white fringed number that shook and shimmied as it was supposed to. Keeping the fringing to the centre of the dress and allowing Diane’s skin to show through the straps on the hips was a smart move that stopped her looking like an ill-defined snowstorm. The headgear and loose hair flapping about however was a touch too much - the dress was frantic enough without Diane’s hair whirling around and I just really disliked the headband.

Ruth: Lovely silhouette and a beautiful ripple on those skirts in the rotations, this was a great frock. Keeping the decorations in the same colour as the gown gives a classy effect, with the interest added in the different patterns used. Quite a deep waistband on this one and the horizontal chevrons doing a good job of bring the eye front and centre. Again the beads over the hips,but this time coming down in points, directing the eye down and elongating the line. A lovely lacy top with a modest scoop back accentuated by a darker border in stones was delightful, but I am undecided on the straps. I liked the sweetheart line achieved, but I would have liked to have seen it with much thinner ‘invisible’ straps to give it the ‘off the shoulder’ illusion. No matter really, it was a lovely gown nonetheless.

Susan: A cute and flirty little frock, that did the job without being too all-out glitz and sparkle. A good move to keep Susan feeling comfortable, given her previous comments about not having worn a dress since her teens. The proportions were spot on, a flattering length, the fluted cap sleeves adding a little structure and width to the shoulders and a good swirl in the skirts. An earlier version of the dress had a much higher V neckline and I think it was all the better for deepening it and adding a nude sparkly underslip, giving the bodice a lovely subtle glitter. The red satin sash against the matt patterned fabric defined Susan’s waist nicely and lifted the overall look.

Oti: I’m not a big fan of pink, so I was quite happy to see that the blueish studio lights knocked back the colour a little. Another gown with nice clean lines, more chevrons (a series 15 design trend?) nicely lining up with the godets - a beautifully understated bit of design. The unfussy topline was the perfect choice given the floats. Speaking of which, I loved that they were dip-dyed, pink to lilac, very subtle. Overall a nice mover on the floor.

Molly: Possibly my least favourite frock of the night. An unforgiving length, especially with the splits, and it didn’t do her any favours. Initially designed carrying a red belt to match the straps at the back, this was swapped out for a dark one, presumably to give Mollie, who has a very straight up and down figure, more of a waist. I might have liked it better with a full skirt with a bit more weight to it, but Mollie looked cute and comfortable in it and it did show off her lovely legs.

Katya: Very cheeky ensemble of cropped sweater and denim capri pants, echoing the Fifties vibe of this routine. You have to have excellent legwork to pull this off and, off course, Katya does. But it’s more the sort of costume you wear for a showdance rather than on the circuit.

Karen: channelling her inner Goth in this creation that was like the curates egg for me - I loved the fluttering shreds of fabric around the hem of the skirt, they added much needed weight, width and movement. The colour choices between skirt and cummerbund was strange but I liked the lacey effect vest style bodice (also picked up by Simon’s epaulettes). Two things struck me as ridiculous - the ankle boots and the dead crow atop Karen’s head. But Karen is a game girl and of all the pro dancers on Strictly over the years, I think she has had more than her fair share of odd frocks, yet she carries them and works them - almost in defiance! This wasn’t the worst she has ever worn, but it must be up there with the top three!

Amy: wowser, what a frock! Right up my street, glorious scarlet in a sheer fabric with a restrained touch on the decoration, just varying sizes of stones over the hips to accentuate her curves. The deep neckline and back were needed to provide relief from the red and stopped the overall look being too overpowering. The black satin binding on the hem was an inspired addition mirroring Amy’s jet black hair. If I were to be picky I’d mention that the sides gaped a little instead of staying taut on her body, although they may have been designed that way, I feel the lines would have been sleeker had they remained flat. I can’t leave without mentioning Brian’s red shoes. A required element of the story maybe, but a mistake to put so much focus on beginner feet.

Gemma: This was a fun little number, the colour is gorgeous and while pink may not be a natural colour choice for edging, the little clashing band of colour on the hem and the lining really worked. Decoration contained to the bust this time, with twisting vines of all variations of orange, adding a bit of depth to the colour scheme. The skirt was a longer version of Mollie’s and all the better for it, say I, because it danced much better and Gemma was able to work the skirt to accentuate the choreography. But, I do wish they had got Gemma’s hair under better control - I really can’t abide all the trails of hair whipping around, it looks so messy.

Nadiya: it’s actually quite hard to critique this frock, as it just didn’t stay still! With hip action that our female celebs can only dream of, Nadiya made this dress really work for her. Gold can be a bit brassy if you choose the wrong shade, especially on a blonde, but this pale gold beading was warmed up by the coral fabric underneath and in the straps. A lovely colour combination. And it wasn’t as revealing as you may have thought - the eagle eyed will have spotted a liberal use of body stocking. Not a frock for the shy dancer!

Charlotte: Another gorgeous frock, my word there has been no shortage of them tonight, so well cut to skim and elongate the body and on that point I have noticed a distinct absence of belts on the ballroom frocks. Hooray!!! And don’t you see that the body lines are much more elegant as a result? But back to Charlotte … a stunning bodice, the lacy fabric overlaid with crystals and pearls. The only thing I didn’t like was the crossed straps at the back. I first thought that it was a clever little bit of design (the capped sleeves continuing across the back to become straps is something I haven’t seen done before, but when Brendan took her into hold, his right hand interfered with the design and they were getting rucked up. It’s great to see unusual designs for the back, it is the part of the frock that is seen the most, but unlike Janette’s stranded beads which Aston could slip his hand underneath so they still swung around freely, Charlotte’s straps were crushed and the back view lost it’s appeal.

So there we go, week 1 and we’ve had some absolute stunners. My favourites were Amy’s glorious scarlet number for ballroom and Gemma’s tutti frutti orange creation for latin.

Special shout out to Brendan for going 'old school' and rocking a well cut tailsuit. Lovely :)

What were your favourites?







Edited by Thess - 25 Sep 2017 at 23:21
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
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  Quote Thess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2017 at 23:01
edited to include clips. then re-edited because I apparently can't do BB codes haha! Will try and include pictures for next week!!
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2017 at 02:17
will have a look at your permissions Thess must be a glitch on sub forum

great to have you back
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  Quote Thess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2017 at 02:46
Thanks hun, nice to be back And don't worry about the permissions, it's probably me being a bit of a div!!
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2017 at 09:57
I posted a link to this on twitter and Theresa Hewlitt Vicky's right hand man has tweeted her approval :) 
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  Quote Thess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2017 at 14:01
Woop!
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
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  Quote Maisie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2017 at 22:12
Worth the wait Thess!! Dresses much better than they've been the last couple of years - let's hope they keep it up. Didn't like Mollie's but she's a bit of a lollipop & probably harder to dress than some (will she be this year's Kellie Bright??). Loved Susan's - glad they didn't go over the top with her.
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  Quote Thess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2017 at 06:45
Thanks Maisie. I agree about Mollie - there will, I'm sure, be a few tricks used with her future frocks (finding the perfect skirt length for her is one) but I reckon she will carry a ballroom dress beautifully.
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.
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  Quote Jo Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2017 at 18:59
Hi Thess. I can't read the frock blog at the moment. I've got sore eyes and I've been advised to stay off line as much as I can. Not easy.. Missed you last year and sorry I won't be able to join you this year. Will just be popping in the BR once a week to go on the show thread.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
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