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Jai Ho || A.R. Rahman
Emma Monroe; PR

Congrats on making it to the second round, ladies! Your second challenge is Prom Queens. You will have to style your assigned model in the perfect prom attire. Take into consideration the trends for this season along with adding your own personal touch. Feel free to go with a gown or something short and sassy. Impress us!

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As you can see, I do not style dresses for mundane, boring, average girls. My dresses are meant for girls who want to make a statement; who want to set trends, not follow them. My designs stun and shock and still make people feel beautiful without going too entirely over the top.

And that's exactly what I aimed to do this time, for the prom challenge. I didn't want a typical prom dress: the pastel satin with the simple form-fitted top and average skirt. I wanted something one-of-a-kind that pushed boundaries but still held a tasteful classiness to it.

And because of that, I was inspired by--once again--my travels and experiences and attempted to reflect them in my work (I'm starting to think this should be my focus: representing different cultures through clothing). Just like last week was inspired by Saint-Tropez, France, this week is inspired by India. And more specifically, Indian weddings, which I feel are so absolutely stunning and glamorously lavish and hold that old-world feel that I want to recreate in my own works.

I began with inspirational pictures of Indian brides, dressed in sarees with gold jewelry, henna, and lots and lots of traditional gota patterns. I wanted to take those themes and present them in a subtle way within the gown. Basically, I didn't want it to look stitch-by-stitch exactly like an Indian saree.

Obviously, I chose red as the gown's color, since red is the traditional style of an Indian bride. The halter-style corset of the dress is inspired by henna patterns, with all the swirls and intricate designs. Likewise, all of the swirls are inlayed with thousands of tiny Swarovski crystals, representative of the bindis that many brides wear.

The skirt is a bit more contemporary. I tried to avoid the stereotypical long, flowing prom gown or mermaid gown and instead opted for something a little bit more eye-catching: a hi-low skirt. It's classy enough for a prom gown, yet still feels fashion-forward (and not to mention much more easier to dance in--I remember the days of long, constricting gowns that limited your mobility on the dance floor!) Plus, variations of the hi-low skirt trend are super popular right now, and let's be honest, how many times have we debated about whether to wear a short dress or a longer dress to prom (hint: now girls don't have to!) Anyways, the skirt is flowing and soft with ruffled fabric that creates and balances agains the textured top.

Also, I added a removable gold shawl to the outfit, with traditional stitching reminiscent of Indian tapestry, since I for one often get cold or may feel a bit too exposed in a gown like this. I added a bit of sparkle via more Swarovski crystals to tie in with the intricateness of Indian garments.

Overall, I wanted to stick to richly colored fabrics of crimson, gold, and burnt orange. My main priority was to put special focus on the finer details like embroidery, patterns, stitching, etc to really make the dress look like a modern interpretation of a centuries old celebration. After all, it's the details that I care most about.

--Emma Monroe

[Next model: I'll be sticking with Lauren]
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