Local Designers

Art Institute Goes to Benaroya

Ludovic Morlot’s wife might have worn Valentino. Instead she wore Justin Bartle, a fashion design student from a small town near Mount Rainier.

By Laura Cassidy September 29, 2011


Who would you wear if your husband were debuting as the city’s new orchestra conductor? Rodarte? Chanel? Lanvin?

Ghizlane Morlot, wife of Ludovic Morlot, rang up the Art Institute of Seattle and requested that three students present gown ideas for the Seattle Symphony Opening Night Concert and Gala on September 17.

Justin Bartle, a Mineral, Washington native and fashion design bachelor of fine arts candidate expected to graduate in spring 2013, submitted the design that Mme. Morlot chose for the recent event.

Here, three questions with Bartle about the experience, and a brief slideshow that takes you from sketch to finery.

WWW: What did you know in terms of Mme. Morlot’s style and what she was hoping for in a gown?
Bartle: Well, when I think of the symphony, what comes to my mind is a classic hour glass silhouette. Mrs. Morlot wanted color, but not a more traditional red or black, so I made several sketches to show her my ideas and design.

What outside inspiration did you bring to the design. What did you want the gown to be "about."
I wanted the gown to be the center of attention. The main idea was color. I selected this orange silk chiffon fabric that reminded me of a coral fish. It’s also a very on-trend color for the fall, and I’ve noticed couture gowns this shade. Then I decided to have several crystals on the top of the sweet heart style to make it more dramatic and classical.

Mme. Morlot had also requested that AI students style her. How did you want to complete the look?
I wanted the hair to be flowing like the gown itself. Otherwise, I left the styling to my fashion student collaborators, Kristine Mileson (fashion marketing, bachelor of science candidate, spring 2012) and Daniella Kirby (fashion marketing, bachelor of science candidate, summer 2011). Since there is beading on the dress and handbag, the jewelry is understated.

Who are your biggest design inspirations?
I adore Valentino. There is the most perfect craftsmanship in each of his couture gowns. He is one of my all-time favorite designers. My family is also a huge inspiration. My mom and dad have been very supportive with my career choice.

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