And so, after all of that, I come back to the first dress that I ever fell in love with - Joan Shum's Lady Catherine. Swoon. It has the band across the waist (not rouched, but still defining), a natural waist with a fairly high flare, gorgeous, dramatic details (hand-painted roses and a brooch), and lace. It definitely fits the bill for dramatic. The neckline and the lack of a train are the only drawback - it may qualify as pornographic on me (since I'm above an a cup). Oh yeah, and that $5K price tag.
And so, I'm faced with the dilemma. I have had two places recommended - one that is a seamstress who creates dresses from photos of designer dresses (an obviously, can adjust things) for significantly less, and the other who sources knock-offs for you. I love the idea of actually being able to afford a dress like this, but I feel a little skeezy about it. I do know artists, and I'm very protective of them, and think that they absolutely deserve every cent that they charge. So is the knock-off route really the way I want to go? Doesn't Joan Shum deserve to be compensated for her amazing creativity and time designing the dress? (Not that I can afford to do so, no matter how I shift the numbers around.)