Garden of Eden
Fabric Free Swarovski Beaded Ball Gown.
Gail Be, American, United States, 2003-2007
This stunning masterpiece is made exclusively from over 750,000 beads, sequins and metal findings. It stands an amazing 61 inches tall and weighs 26 pounds. It took nine people approx. 7,800 hours, over a four-year period of detailed handwork to complete.
The shining green foliage of this dress is a winding matrix made from tens of thousands of Chinese silver-lined beads and sequin panels. These were painstakingly hand sewn for more than two years. The flowers of the dress I made with vintage and modern Swarovski crystal beads and metal findings.
The rare green beads for the center of each flower, as well as the hundreds of diamond looking beads that connect them, are rare vintage crystal. These beads were taken directly from the edelweisslogo and Swarovski--K.S. and Company packages—bearing the original stamp from the 1930’s
"The Show Stopper" is what my Design Team appropriately calls this magnificent dress. However, trying to keep her together came with a whole set of problems. After each fitting the rigid metal flowers ripped the delicate sequin matrix to shreds.
Since all of my designs have to be fitted onto a live person, Heidi and another model patiently endured over 250 hours of fittings. It took us years of trial-and-error to create a technique to keep the dress in one piece.
I grew up with thousands of flowers each summer so I realized at a young age there is no such thing as a “color clash” in nature. I generously used over 70 different colors of Swarovski crystal beads to make the flowers to resemble the Garden of Eden. Heidi is holding an apple to represent "Eve" the temptress wrapped inside the Garden.
Since the vintage beads have never been worn before I believe they emulate an indescribable, yet palatable "special energy" from the time period they were manufactured in. We hear over and over when someone first sees her or gets close "Oh, I just got goose bumps." This unique affect adds to the rareness and intrigue of this design.
My goal for undertaking such a huge project was to salute the strength and endurance of the human artistic spirit that began with the people and era that made the beads decades before. And then the final applause to the resilience of myself and my Design Team to complete Eden. It is my sincere hope that when you stand in front of this incredible dress it will inspire and release the creativity spirit deep within each of us.