For a Handmade Custom Gown
Samantha Sleeper, 148 W. 24th St.; samantha-sleeper.com
There’s “made-to-measure” and then there’s Samantha Sleeper, who designs and sews bespoke gowns for each of her clients. Her approach has attracted women looking to deviate from the ultratraditional, whether that means incorporating subtle color into their gowns or hand-painted flowers or all-over beading. “I am a function-over-form kind of person, so I wanted something practical that was beautiful,” actress Jamie Gray Hyder says. “Sam was great at deciphering my requests and putting them into design terms.” The process — with gowns starting at $5,000 and tending to fall between $6,000 and $12,000 — requires an investment of time and resources, but Sleeper’s fans prize her collaborative methods. “Sam and I went through a series of iterations before we landed on the final version,” Hyder says. “I decided on a two-piece number with a delicate lace overlay for the ceremony that I could lose for the party to reveal a strapless jumpsuit underneath. It was the perfect mix of feminine and funky.” Freelance stylist Stacey Cunningham had Sleeper make her two gowns, one of which was covered with “all the feathers, all the beads — it was so much fun.” Still, she appreciated how Sleeper spangled with intention. To avoid a glittering Big Bird vibe, she hand-trimmed feathers to accentuate Cunningham’s waist.
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