Couture Gown Makeover Workshop

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The idea to create a couture gown from a gown one already owns seems like a fairy tale, one that involves the help of three fairy godmothers. Without their help, turning a plain prom dress into a Picasso would be equivalent to mission impossible.

This is where Jane Wilson-Marquis comes in.

The designer has introduced an amazing new workshop, located at her Manhattan studio, that allows pupils to create a couture gown without spending a couture price. It seems to good to be true, creating a couture wedding gown, without needing a loan, but I assure you this workshop is real, and really good.

“It started with the idea to give people couture experience without the couture price,” said Jane. “Essentially it started with the idea that people could buy a very inexpensive dress and then they could doctor it to make it unique to them without costing a lot of money. You could buy a generic dress from David’s Bridal with almost no details and if you have an idea and want to add something and make it special and unique, you can do that.”

The two-hour workshop offers pupils with a gown and a vision, the chance to design a customized dress with the help of an expert. Jane Wilson-Marquis helps each pupil as she learns how to put her creative touch on her chosen dress to transform it into a couture Cinderella creation.

“I have customers who want to have a medieval and renaissance yet contemporary look but don’t know how to achieve it, so the whole idea is to give them a sense of how to go about getting it,” said Jane. “They come to learn about what’s possible, we can transform the dress if they want to, but the workshop is the starting point.”

The workshop consists of two brides and allows the collaboration of both Jane and the student’s vision by incorporating different styling techniques taught in the course. Students will be able to learn how to transform their gowns and add stylings of their choice. Utilizing newly learned styling skills, students will be able to add everything from embellishments, hand-painted flowers, fresh water pearls and lace applique to the gown but also make adjustments like incorporating a sheer top layer to the skirt or altercating the bustle and neckline.

“I thought one day it would be nice to run a workshop because the skills are quite basic that people need,” said Jane. “This is like a Martha Stewart venture.”

The workshop will run you $250 per duo– the class allows you to bring a friend or family member to help. (Right now Zozi.com is offering the class at $120.)

If you’re not looking for a workshop, Jane also offers another option: gown-makeovers. Her new “Wedding Dress Makeover Service” will modify any dress, new or old to your liking, no matter the budget. Inspired by your ideas, Jane and her staff will adapt your dress with elements from decorations to treatments.