I design and make custom concert gowns for opera singers and instrumentalists. All body shapes are welcomed and celebrated, and I design each gown for a unique human being and draw each pattern by hand. If the gown is for a special event, I consider the venue and the concert program. If it will be worn often, I can design a gown that is appropriate for a variety of performance types. Workmanship is top quality. I use 1950s couture pattern making to create flexibility, and 19th century construction techniques to provide strength. These dresses will last through many years of wear.
My favorite styles are classic, elegant, and feminine. The dresses I design are often hourglass-shaped, following the natural curves of a woman's figure. To support the gown's shape, a custom made corset is attached inside. Details such as appliquéd lace, fanciful fans of fabric, or sparkly Austrian-crystal beading draw attention toward the face. Many dresses have detachable parts. For instance, an overskirt with a train, asymmetrical chiffon robe, or sprig of bright detail on the bodice can make a gown more adaptable, or create a subtle transformation from the first to second half of a concert program.
I design and create each gown in collaboration with my client, over a series of consultations and fittings. The process begins with a conversation about the style and function of the gown. The first fitting is an opportunity to determine silhouette and material, and there are at least two additional fittings. Each gown requires several weeks to build, and elaborate gowns can take much longer.
For each corset, I use over 200 yards of thread. Machine sewing uses doubled thread, so the seams stretch 0.1 mile, or eleven trips across the Met Opera stage.
Copyright Emily Rosenberg. All rights reserved.
I have an enthusiastic understanding for the specific needs of singers, and my work is distinguished by attention to detail and a thoughtful, collaborative approach. I began my career making 19th century ball gowns for dance historians. Later I worked as a bridal dressmaker, theatrical designer and opera costume maker. I studied corsets in London, and worked as a freelance designer in New York City, and backstage at the Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera House.
I am delighted to be making gowns for fabulous women all over the world.