Rachel Rose Takes the High-Sodium Approach
She demonstrates that painting silk can get salty.
The finished paint job, at center.
It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a few bottles of vibrant silk paint and a container of rock salt. It’s one of designer Rachel Rose’s favorite techniques—although she currently relies heavily on paint brushes and eye-droppers for creating her stunning silk shirts. Here, she shares the how-tos of the technique—which would also happen make an appropriate grade-school chemistry lesson—just in case you have a couple of silk scarves that could use some DIY-ing.
“First, I coat the fabric with dilutant. It spreads the paint around.”
“Dark colors are better to use for the salt—light colors don’t get the same effect. This is a blue that I’ve mixed. It has some black and some red in it.
“Then you place the rock salt. It takes a little while to work.”
“You can see it’s already starting to pull the paint. It’s really cool!”
“To finish it, I use this enormous steamer. It sets the paint permanently and also brightens it, brings it out, and saturates it.”
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How Rachel Rose Designed Her So-Stunning Wedding Dress
The grandmother of all gowns.
Secret recipes, killer stories, excellent hand-me-downs—all reasons to give it up for grandma. And badass designer Rachel Rose really hammers home that last point: “Before I was even engaged, my grandmother gave me a piece of lace. I kept it out and saw it every day—I always knew I wanted to use it for something,” recalls Rachel. That something turned into her wedding dress, which she designed all by herself. Here, Rachel takes us behind the design, from her first drawings to the day she said “I do.” —alisha prakash
“My grandmother found a few pieces of lace when she was going through some old things and instantly thought of me. She wasn’t even sure where the specific piece I used came from—she bought a lot of patterns for all her daughters growing up. The strips of lace she gave me were quite small—I knew I couldn’t use it for the entire dress—and I even had to bleach them because they were old—so the first step was finding all the materials. I went to a fabric stores for satins, chiffons, laces, and crepes de chine.”
“I knew I wanted to use the lace she gave me, so I started sketching ideas of ways I could incorporate it. The sketch evolved slightly after I started looking at the fabrics. For example, I wasn’t going to have the chiffon underneath the lace, but I thought it added more fullness to the skirt. I knew I wanted something strapless because I love the sweetheart shape—it’s very flattering. I also loved a sheer overlay because of how romantic it looked on the skin. Lastly, I knew I wanted buttons on the back.”
“The top row of lace on the dress is my grandmother’s lace. The bodice has satin boning. The chiffon top is very delicate, and the buttons are self-covered with the same chiffon. There are five different pieces of lace that alternate down the dress, as well as pieces of chiffon lining each piece of lace. And underneath, the skirt has a silk lining.”
“My husband and I got married last spring at the Metropolitan Building in Long Island City, Queens. The final design was very easy to move in, sit in, dance in. I wanted to surprise my husband with the design. I was nervous about it—I wanted him to love it. And he did, so that was great.”