Cleopatra Capriccio

Did you ever want to go back in time?

Well, we can with Art Gowns and imagination. I choose the 1920’s! What a decade of influences to inspire an Art Gown! King Tut’s Tomb was discovered. Art Deco was the movement. Chanel and Vionnet eschewed the corset, flattening the chest and dropping the waistline.

In 1920 women’s right to vote was ratified in the U.S.A. – Cafe Society lead to the Jazz  Age, and the Fitzgeralds were all the rage. Flappers were making their mark, and Zelda Fitzgerald was the most famous flapper of them all.

Cleopatra Capriccio is dedicated to Elizabeth Gracen, a 21st century Flapper. Twenty some years ago, she was the star, and I was her designer. We have remained good friends, since.

As a matter of fact, she gave me the Mini-Me I dress up to go with the Art Gowns.

It began with the gift of a sequin fabric, a leftover from a TV series.

I paired the sequin fabric with a table runner I’d hung onto since my teen years, and yardage of: a soft grey, heavy weight, acetate satin curtain lining, purchased at a liquidation sale for $0.75/yd (120 ” wide).

The dark blue Dupioni silk table runner is embroidered with actual silver metal thread. It was already a vintage piece back when I was gifted it. I cut the diamond shapes and zig-zag bordeur out of the runner.

 Finally, some dark royal blue silk that had been stored for 25 years in musty storage, also gifted, rounded out the fabrics. I harvested sequins off of the scraps, and sewed them onto the silk.


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I pinned CleopatraCapriccio up, but she still wasn’t as short as a Flapper dress. Still, the sequins did a fun bit.

Elizabeth Gracen
Elizabeth Gracen arrived in NYC from a small town in Arkansas a year after traveling the world as Miss America 1982. She used her scholarship prize money to study acting at HB Studios and photography at the New School. She later moved to Los Angeles where she has worked as an actress for over twenty years, most notably as ‘Amanda’ on the long-running HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES and HIGHLANDER: THE RAVEN.

In 2012, Elizabeth formed FLAPPER FILMS, a production company devoted to developing inspiring, informational content for multi-generational men and women. Her films have met with great success on the international film festival circuit and on streaming media platforms.

In 2016, Elizabeth formed FLAPPER PRESS and published her first YA novel, Shalilly.

Visit Flapper Press

Cleopatra Capriccio designed by and © Resa McConaghy – 2020

Photos © Resa McConaghy – August, 2020

Jazz Age Cover of VOGUE Magazine – July, 1926

Artist: Benito

141 thoughts on “Cleopatra Capriccio

  1. Timothy Price

    Another masterpiece, Resa. The gown is awesomely lovely. Elizabeth Gracen would look great in it. I did a quick check of both of her sites. It looks like she has a lot of neat things to explore.

    1. Thank you so much, Tim!
      Elizabeth is a truly lovely person. She is also a great talent who cares about what she is putting out into the world. I admire and adore her.
      She’s been publishing some of my Art Gowns. Of course, I recycle them for a magazine format, as opposed to a blog.
      I find it quite apropos that the Art Gowns posts are being recycled. They are after all, from recycled, up-cycled, repurposed, leftover, cast out….etc. fabrics.
      I’m so happy you come here to visit!

    1. Thank you so much Gi!
      It was a long time coming, and it wasn’t just the pandemic that got in the way.
      Norm agrees with you. He says I should model the gown.
      LOL… he wants me to model any of the gowns!

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy!
      I think celebs should wear Art Gowns… made from all scraps, and up-cycling, and recycled and old sell off fabrics. They say they care about the environment. Show it off!

    1. Hello Janet!

      My weekend was wonderful, and I hope yours was as well. Have a great week ahead!
      Thank you for the lovely comment!!!!
      I’ve been quite sluggish on the blogging scene, lately. The gown needed to be finished, and sew that’s what I was doing with most of my spare time.
      That always happens when a gown is around the 75% mark.
      Anyway, I’ll take a healthy break before I start the next one!

        1. Hey Janet!
          Yeah, I’m back to drawing Gowntoons!
          I’m doing a new Rene Rosso/Princess Blue Holly/Art Gowns Models adventure, the one where they go to Chicago!
          I’ve begun to draw flower gowns. The botanical garden there is very inspiring!

  2. Resa, what can I say about this gorgeous gown? I am blown away, I love it so much. It must have been such a huge project and the finish is so awesome I’m speechless. The late lighting is absolutely perfect for this, it brings out the richness of this fabric, a golden dream, and the brighter light brings out all the vivid colors and sequins dancing on the wall. This took my breath away. This took me back to those Flapper days long ago, such a wonderful era, wish I were there. Brava, dear Resa.

    1. Love you dear Holly, and thank you for the lovely comment!
      Yeah, this one was the longest time I ever took to make a gown. Yours was the last one, and that was I think November 2019. so, it took about 10 months.
      It was the sequins, very hard to work with, especially when I harvested them from the scraps of the sequin fabric and sewed them onto the silk ties…. one at a time!
      Covid threw me off a bit, until the Zen state of needle in needle out won me over!
      The 1920’s are very inspirational.
      I really got into the whole lighting thing, after you gave me your feedback on the first shots. For that I thank you, and for your honestly!!!!!

      1. ❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️ Such intricate work, you are a master designer Resa. It took a long time but is worth it just to see this gorgeous outcome. The lighting is so perfect, le sigh!

        1. Thank you, dear Holly!
          I feel a bit of a sense of loss when they are done and posted. Yet, because they take so long to make, I know can draw RR/PBH/Art Gowns Adventures in between.
          I only hope ‘Oron isn’t having thoughts of donning it.
          I’d like to dedicate a gown to him, but I just haven’t figured out how to create an Art Gown of Humour. It will happen one day!

          1. I can imagine you must feel a sense of great accomplishment ( you should!) but a bit of sadness that it is done after all this time. It was worth it for us, your devoted fans and friends my dear Resa. Oron definitely needs a gown. Perhaps a Jester would suit him (no pun). RR and PBH have become bored and longing for an adventure. Oron could come along.

            1. Why do I want him to be the bad guy in RR?PBH tales? LOL!
              Anyway, my next post on GLAM, when I get back there, will be for him!

              1. Yeah…. the humorous guy.
                I know.. I guess I thought a funny bad guy.
                I have to dream up a story with a jester type.
                Maybe there could be an adventure at a palace? or….. xoxo

              2. Interesting! A funny guard?
                Hmm, I need to try drawing his face first.
                Men are a challenge to me, but he could be the breakthrough. He is quite the looker!

              3. He cracks me up too!
                Thanks… I know I’ll come up with something.
                However, right now it’s the flower gowns for the first episode. xoxo

              4. ❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️
                xoxo So exciting, can’t wait!!

              5. I just answered the comment he left on Cleopatra. I asked him to mail me a couple of photos he likes!

              6. That will help a lot. I’m really kind of excited to see the outcome of this. His really a very talented guy, I suggest everyone visit him at Professional Moron . You’ll laugh yourselves silly.

              7. IKR!
                Anyway, before that all comes to fruition, I will be doing a post for him on my Street Art blog. Perhaps I can use what you just said here as an endorsement?
                Perhaps I should send you a code for the post?
                I want it to be funny as hell, but also highlight the other aspects of the blog. I’ve got the perfect art for MR. WAPOJIF!

              8. He will make a perfect subject and I can’t wait to see what you do, Indeed his blog is a plethora of eclectic subjects. Yay for Mr. Wapojif! 🍷👯‍♀️❦🌹🎨🍷👯‍♀️

    1. Aww, thank you dear Thunder!! You can sprinkle fairy dust on me anytime! I love it!
      Sew, I grew up being told I was not the type for piano or tap lessons. They, however, bought me a sewing machine. This is what it has come to! I’m quite happy about it all.
      Love to you!

      1. Can’t like because WP is being an ass.
        However, told you were not the type? Talk about cutting you off before you start. Though, the seeing machine seems to have been the perfect choice because you create magic!
        Love to you!

  3. This is the third time around for me to visit your post. Exquisite work, Resa. You have capture the elegance and strength of the age in which it was envisioned. Your use of recycled material is truly remarkable, especially the table runner that you had since your teen years. It now has taken its rightful place. Brilliant, Resa!!!

    1. Thank you Rebecca!
      I really did take time to embrace the history of the era.
      I know you see the Egyptian influence, as well as the Art Deco.
      Lol! That poor old table runner. I lugged it here, stored it there. I’m so happy you see what I am up to. IMHO,I think the glamorous movie stars, who support correcting climate change, should embrace this kind of glamorous beauty. Yes, they could wear vintage gowns by Dior, St. Laurent or whomever. That would be a start.
      Yet, my trash to treasure gowns (garbage to gorgeous… I’m looking for a hashtag here,) are definitely in the catalogue. If only they did not need a Brand Name to feel confident in.
      I would be happy to make a living few dollars, and donate the rest to the planet!!!

  4. Now that’s a gown! Excellent use of recycling as well. It’s the type of thing we should all be allowed to go to work in each morning. Alas, I’m settling with a hoodie.

    It is a jazzy type gown, too, I can imagine Buddy Rich wearing that for one of his drum solos. Although he’d probably prefer his normal tuxedo thing.

    1. Thank you, dear ‘Oron!
      Buddy Rich? Not Buddy Poor? You come up with the craziest ideas. I should think the bass drum would be problematic in a gown.
      Hey, I want to try drawing your face for a character in one of my Gowntoon stories.
      Could you mail me a couple that you like?
      Hoodies are goodies!

  5. You’re amazingly creative, my friend. A true genius, the sewing needle’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci. A stunning ability, who surprises again and again. Even for all of us who are in no doubt because we know your exceptional talent. Go back time stylish in topclass level. You are not a queen but an empress. 😉

    1. Dear LDN,
      Thank you for this wonderful comment!
      You know, I checked and you have been here for all my Art Gowns, since the very first one!
      So happy you are here!
      Hey, how has Tux been holding out during Covid? I guess not many germs get into the closet.
      Did he get a peek at Cleopatra Capriccio? Did you have to bring in the Snappy Guard Dog?

      Sending love,
      Empress Needles Da Vinci

      1. Dear empress, have told you before that you don’t to get rid of me. 🙂
        The only crisis the tux has experienced is wearing electronic tagging behind the closed door in the closet – it sounds almost like a wild coyote in rut. 😀

        1. Electronic tagging… well seems like Tux is getting the Hi-Tech Treatment! 😀
          Are you sure a coyote didn’t get in the closet somehow? Poor Tux!
          My dear LDN,
          I never want to get rid of you.
          -Empress ❤

          1. Yes poor tux, but talk about your gowns, then it’s out of pedagogical reach – if not locked inside the closet, then it’s immediately on its way to Canada with all its bow ties to chase them. 😀 😀 😀

            1. I understand! Poor Tux would probably drown in the ocean, and the bow ties would wash up on the shores of Newfoundland, same place as the Vikings. 😀 😀 😀

              1. The “new found land” vikings come from Norway and maybe Denmark too – they took the journey from there to Iceland and Greenland later on to Newfoundland. I’m born in Denmark but the tux is from Italy (some of the bow ties are danish as well as french and german). Never told about italian vikings, so probably it would “only a wet italian” landing in Canada.? 😀 😀 😀

  6. My goodness, Resa… this s remarkably beautiful and so much love and work and detail and talent and love sewn into it… Jaw dropping beauty. WOW!

    1. Thank you dear Marina!
      It took 10 months to make it. That is even longer than Cecilia Lionheart, which took a half a year.
      Anyway, it was great to have all that Zen sewing to keep me occupied the last few months…. and drawing. Now, I’ll be doing more art again, now that I have secured paper.
      I’ve started the flower gowns. Lots of fun!

      1. Zen sewing… I like that but it’s what makes it so unique and beautiful, that’s what I meant by putting all your heart in it! Big big hugs and love! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
        Happy painting!!!!!

  7. Beautiful! What amazing work you do, Resa I especially like the photo with the sequin light like a train coming from the gown–a Star Woman with a light trailing gown.

    That Vogue cover is quite striking.

    1. Thank you, Merril!

      I was wondering if someone would point out the shot with the sequin light. I quite fancy it, and your “Star Woman with a light trailing gown” is a very poetic description!

      I adore the Vogue cover, and just had to use it! Here again, you are the first to mention it!
      Be well!

    1. Thank you!
      It does fit me, but I would prefer a model. This is my 26th Art Gown, and I have modelled 1.
      So, it’s not out of the question. However, don’t hold your breath!
      3 of the Art Gowns have been modelled by non professional models, just nice looking women.
      I actually consider them art, not garments. It is a strange art form, and hard to sell.
      If I do model one, it would be Queen Isabella.

    1. Thank you!!!! It took 10 months to make, and I am thrilled when anyone likes it!
      I’m very behind with blogging, and will be by soon! Much love to you!

  8. Resa, the gown is exquisite! You know I love 1920s fashions. And what a surprise — I thought I recognized Elizabeth Gracen from the Raven series! (I actually watched very little television during that time — two jobs, or one job + an overload of college classes. I didn’t even own a tv for several years.) How wonderful to know what she’s been doing since. And she’s more beautiful than ever. A marvelous post, my friend. You’re the kitten’s ankles!

    1. YAYAY!
      I’m so happy you like this Art Gown. I do know how much you like the 20’s, and other past times.
      I actually thought of you a few times while making this, because of that.
      I hope you are tickled that Elizabeth has companies: Flapper Films & Flapper Press. She is so talented, and a joy to work with. I had the great challenge & honour of designing the costumes for “Highlander: The Raven”. She was the star. I will never forget this time of my life.
      Thank you so much, Teagan! You are the kitten’s ankles, too!

  9. WOW!!! another most brilliant design and so, so love the fabric and the history behind the fabric and smiled big time of you holding onto your fabric stash for so long… Reminds me so much of me and the amount of fabric I had when I would be making my own dresses and dresses for my daughter…
    Now its my wool, yarn stash lol… Which will keep me happily knitting for several years if i never go into a wool shop ever again.. LOL

    Just beautiful Resa and I know the effort and time and patience in your hand-stitching too So I bow to your beautiful creation.. And love the name..
    And also the history of Elizabeth Gracen which was so interesting..
    Thank you Resa…
    Much love my friend ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Sue!!

      Yeah, some things are hard to throw away, because I know I’ll need it one day, even if it’s decades later. Lol
      Seems I hang onto some friends, as well. Elizabeth is very inspirational.
      I always like your wonderful comments, as you know what I go through to make my Art Gowns.

      I adore knitting, and understand its appeal for you.
      Not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I have an Honours Degree in Knitting Technology and Design.
      How’s that for an odd duck?
      Happy knitting to you, dear Sue, and may all you purl(y) dreams come true!
      Resa xo

      1. Thank you Resa I remember you saying about your degree, and that takes some doing..
        My cardigan project I finished yesterday and will share in due course on my garden blog… 🙂 Much love my friend… and thank YOU.. ❤

    1. Thank you so very much, dear TVTA!
      It took 10 months to make this Art Gown. I do believe the pandemic caused some extra time to be needed. In the end, I am very pleased. Also, the therapy of hand sewing has had a positive result.
      Your 30’s post was absolutely charming!
      XX Stay Safe!

      1. Yeh, you put a lot of work into that for sure, as you always do – but having the spectre of Covid-19 around didn’t help much I bet. Same here with some of my writing…
        Thanks for checking the 30s post, and when you get chance – no rush – have a quick look at some street art I found in my town at the end of lockdown, I know you’ll appreciate it :)x
        Stay safe and well too! And creative… no matter what virus they throw our way 😉

  10. I don’t know why WP isn’t letting me like any posts. It’s been a problem for months, Wayne and I can’t figure it out. I ❤ ❤ ❤ everything you post and really wish this problem would get sorted out.

    1. Poor Sherrie! I don’t know why either. It happens to me now and again, but it clears up on its own….sometimes a day or2, sometimes a couple of weeks.
      I found this online.

      “Please try clearing your browser cache and cookies, and make sure that third party cookies are allowed in your browser settings. Then log in and like a post again to see if it still happens. Keep in mind that there can be a delay between liking a post and the post appearing in the widget on your site.Feb 8, 2018

      Topic: ‘Likes’ not registering | Forums”

  11. The gown – magical and mystical. All drama and deep thoughts. The story of its creation so thrilling and demanding of strict attention. God indeed is in the details. XXXXX V.

    1. Ahh, thank you so much Virginia!!
      This one took me 10 months to make. In the end , I am very satisfied.
      In about 3 weeks I will feel antsy, and start another.
      Hope you and yours are doing well, and are all healthy.

      1. We are doing well, Resa. Living out in the country, and then shopping in a small village has been a great help. Lar is happy to be back climbing in Squamish. Big big hugs to you.

  12. Oh I so love this gown, Resa! I also love reading about the history of each yard of fabric. It is so fascinating to learn such intimate details about your creations :). You are amazing! X

    1. OH!!
      Inese, thank you so much for your lovely comment! It took 10 months to make her, and I am very pleased in the end!
      So happy you got to see her! Lol! You are amazing, too! XXOO

    1. Thank you, Valentina!
      Dupioni is a very special silk. It comes from very unique silk worms, that have 2 extruders. I have always been fascinated by Dupioni silk!
      I did not know it was used for lamps and chandeliers. Thank you for that information!

  13. I loved to learn about Elizabeth Gracen, a wise use of her prize and if she’s a friend of yours she must be lovely.
    Your creativity has turned rescued remnants to a go girl gown. I love love love the sequins and cant believe you sewed so many by hand, I did a t-shirt once and planned to do patterns all over the front, I ended up just putting them around the neckline (front only) and quit the project.
    It’s weird at the moment isn’t it, almost like mid-limbo, I’ve had a busy project I’ve been working on seven days a week for the last few weeks so I’ve neglected my blog too but just looking at what you’re up to re-energises me, keep on keeping on 🦄💞💃🌻🌈

    1. Dear Charlotte!
      So happy you learned about Elizabeth. She truly is a smart, fun person.
      Yeah, the sequins…. they are one of the reasons the gown took 10 months to make. The other slow down was Covid.
      The fact that the gowns take so long is why I do the “Gowntoons” in between.
      Many of us step away from our blogs, from time to time. It’s healthy! One can’t always be on social media. We need time to sing, sew, paint, dance and other things…like cooking, gardening or fixing up the home. There is so much one can do in life!
      You keep on keeping on, too! ❦🎨❦🎭❦🎼🌹❦🎨❦🎭❦🎼🌹❦🎨❦🎭❦🎼🌹

  14. Unique desgin of gown.but dear Resa!! I heard all Egyptian queens had used the gown which were open at breast side.but you have given a lovely look to that type gown.💖

    1. Thank you, Aruna!
      Yeah, no open breast gowns here!
      Still, I was incorporating more than one influence.
      Thank you for the lovely compliment!
      Best to you!
      (I hope Drew gets better, soon!) ❤

  15. Dear artista Resa, aw(e) what an absolute treat once again! Super-flapper-fabulous!! I just put on some 1920´s Jazz tunes to listen to and go with your post, and feel superprivileged to take in your stunning art gowns once again. I adore the 1920´s I adore the Fitzgerald´s, especially Zelda, and I adore your work!! So elegant, sparkly, and glamorous. Thanks so much, what an absolute treat. You are an artist extraordinaria my dear!! Will check out your friend´s page and work during the week. Muchos besos, love, and awe! xoxoxo

    1. My dearest Gypsy,

      YAY! I’m thrilled that you enjoy this Art Gown, and that it helped you take a trip in time via music, the Fitzgerald’s and Cleopatra Capriccio.
      You comment has made me very happy, and I can’t thank you enough!
      Muchos besos & love! xoxoxoxo

      1. Dearest amiga Resa, it is honestly my pleasure. I sincerely adore your work and inspired way of being in the world!! Thank you for sharing your massive talents with us:) Your art is soul-nourishing, my dear!! Much love y besotesss!! Enjoy your weekend dear xoxoxo

  16. Fantastic visit to the 1920s, Resa, with your talented dress design, and the flapper info. I am a big fan of art deco and flapper history, this was a great treat to see. Your description of how you designed and created this masterpiece was fascinating. It’s truly beautiful, and how fun that you got a photograph with the sequins lighting up the wall. Your talent is inspiring! Also enjoyed the Vogue Magazine cover from 1926.

    1. Jet!
      Thank you very much for this fab comment!
      The 20’s are such an interesting time! HEY! We are in the 20’s again. I wonder if these 20’s will be as cool as the era my Art Gown visited.
      It was great to spend 10 months partly steeped in that era.
      Masterpiece…. aww….. …………
      Yeah, I found that 20’s Vogue magazine cover in an old book. I was going to give it away, but I think it will live with me a bit longer.
      Thank you very much for your visit!

  17. Oh wow resa how gorgeous your 1920 creation is❤️ love your whole story, quite magical in every way. Coming over to you after your presence at my blog reading sues newearth story❤️ lovely to meet you 💃🏼🌈 sending love x

    1. Thank you, Diana!
      Although I do read time to time, I find great escape and Zen times building Art Gowns from unwanted things.
      Trash to treasure.
      Thank you for your visit and lovely comment!

  18. EUREKA!! What a gown, Resa! OMGosh! The depth of texture and the color and the sequins and deco design. WOWOWOW! I also love the “mini-me” ….. I’d wear that in a heartbeat. I do not have the patience to work on anything like this …. and to know you sewed each sequin one by one AMAZING! I am in awe of your talent! Incredulous job! The way you arranged this gown in combination with the different lights blew me away! And how awesome you know Elizabeth Gracen. I went to the two sites you listed here and just quickly perusing them I like her! What an impressive woman and truth be told I can actually see why she is your friend. I bookmarked the sites and plan on going back to refer to and enjoy.

    I cannot thank you enough for showing everyone what a lot of hard work and persistence will and can produce. I’m so proud of you and how you live your life. Smart too getting into Zen. That is where I’ve been after like you getting thrown a huge curve ball but now? Staying in my world and “mmmmmm’ing”. SMILE!!! Glorious gown!! xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Dear Amy,

      Yay!! Thank you for this wonderful comment!
      It is a lot of work, but as we both know, the Zen time we spend pays off big time.
      Sequins one by one, sewing the entire gown by hand….needle in/needle out!
      Gardening is very Zen. The earth, seeds, sprouts, watching growing, receding, growing.

      So it will be with my next Art Gown. I will be sewing flowers, one by one, as if they are growing in my fabric garden.

      Like you, I can hardly wait to see what I come up with!

  19. Pingback: Fast Fashion | Green Life Blue Water

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