When Minneapolis based designer Gail Be (you may recognize her work from Lady Gaga's most recent music video) began her career in the bridal industry crafting jewelry for runway shows, she dreamed of making her pieces the focal point, rather than the accessory. Eventually she realized she would need to create the dresses being featured instead of the jewelry that accented them. This was only the beginning of an arduous 20 year long series of events that culminated in the creation of Fantasy, the largest beaded wedding gown in the world.
Garnering inspiration from a length of beaded lace, Be commenced crafting the dress in 2004. She decided the dress needed to be a bridal gown as she had discovered through many years of traveling that weddings are a common denominator for women all around the world. With many interruptions and side projects along the way, Fantasy is only now nearing completion. And that 6 in. bit of lace that led the way? It holds a prominent place on the front hem of the skirt.
Down to the Details:
Fantasy is 100% hand-crafted, and made entirely out of beads and wire. As Gail says: "Fabric is a dirty word around my studio." Composed of both vintage and modern beads, there is a little something old, and a little something new. Well a lot actually, as the dress is composed of nearly one million beads!
The intricate designs in the beading have developed gradually as the dress is made, without the help of patterns or sketches. This means that Fantasy truly is a work of art, with beautiful symbolism of little girls all around the world dreaming of their wedding day. The photos can hardly convey the gradeur of this stunning piece. When the glimmering crystal beads catch the light, it looks like a fresh layer of first-fallen glittery snow. And our favorite detail? Two small blue crystals hidden within the beadwork -- a bridal must.
Dress By Numbers:
Beads- 1 million
Weight- 400 pounds
Train Length- 20.5 feet
Train Width- 19 feet
Number of beaders- 23
Time To Complete- Over 20,000 hours
Beading Wire- 7 miles