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Don’t Mothball Your Wedding Dress

Recycle it.

by Mick Kelly . photos by Matt Rose

What to do with that beautiful gown once the wedding’s over? You could stick it in a closet. You could sell it on eBay or to a consignment shop. There’s apparently a new post-wedding trend called “trashing the dress,” where bride and groom put on full wedding regalia and go roll in the sand or run through the forest for photos. Yes, you’ll tear up your dress, but you’ll look amazing while you do it.

Rosanne Capone thinks there are plenty of other options—both before a wedding and after. The 45-year-old seamstress, caterer and English teacher says she’s always nourished her “inner princess.” Since she was a girl, growing up in suburban New Jersey, she’s wanted to make beautiful ball gowns and romantic wedding dresses. Her teaching career took her away from fashion, and for years she taught English at private high schools around State College, Pennsylvania.

But eight years ago, after moving to Asheville, she dove back into sewing again, stitching together whimsical creations like cocktail dresses with flowing, curtain-like sleeves or a ruffly skirt with a polka-dot shrug. A few years ago, a friend came to her with a request: Help her make a wedding dress for only $75. The friend showed up carrying a 45-year-old dress with a long train that had been her mother-in-law’s. “I said, ‘Let me do a sketch and we’ll go from there,’” Capone recalls. “When I got finished, there was maybe a yard of material left, and it looked amazing. I thought—hey—I think I should maybe focus on this.”

Nothing is sacred when it comes to recycling fabrics. As long as the bride is happy, Capone says she’ll turn an old wedding dress into a tablecloth, a doily or a handbag. One client, she says, asked her to make a party dress out of lace from her wedding gown and lingerie from the honeymoon. Currently, Capone is turning a cathedral-length veil into a pillow. “Sewing is a full-contact sport,” she says. “I don’t look at it as a wedding dress or curtains or whatever. Can I make a purse out of these pants? I’ll do it.”

She sells her line of clothing, Gypsy Rose Creations, at boutiques around Asheville, but now that it’s wedding season, she’s turned her attention to re-creating and re-purposing wedding dresses—including her mother’s. After 45 years of marriage to her father, Capone says her mom, who’s visiting Asheville in May, is ready to see her dress take on a new life. The dress hasn’t been unwrapped in years, but the Capones are ready for a big adventure. “I try to respect where people want to go with the fabric,” Capone says. “I’ll just have to get my hands on it and see where it takes me.”

Find Rosanne Capone at 828-450-6977 or check out her clothing at Honeypot (86 North Lexington Avenue, downtown Asheville; 828-225-0304) or The Circle (426 Haywood Road in West Asheville; 828-254-3332).

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 02:27PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | Comments1 Comment | References22 References

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