Former modeliste Cecile Pelous will be returning to Salt Lake City to present a three-day draping workshop for charity. The event will be held at the Fashion Institute at the Library Square Campus on November 15-17 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Those planning to attend should bring 5 yards of inexpensive fabric and have a basic knowledge of sewing.
A very important part of the designing process, a modeliste drapes fabric over a model and shapes and pins it until it satisfies the vision of the designer. Pelous learned her trade working in several of the top fashion houses in Paris, such as Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and Nina Ricci. She has dressed the late Jackie Kennedy and the Duchess of Windsor. She also taught at one of the best fashion design schools in the world, La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, in Paris.
Draping is a method of pattern making that “takes the concept of the designer and makes into a reality,” explained Mojdeh Sakaki, program director for the Fashion Institute at SLCC. A mutual friend of Sakaki and Pelous introduced the two, which started a coalescent relationship between the charity and prospective fashionistas in the Salt Lake community.
Pelous first came to Salt Lake City four years ago to raise money for First Hope Orphanage, a charity home she started for children in Nepal.
During her years in the fashion industry, Pelous travelled to India to help the poor become self-reliant. She would spend three months out of the year donating her money and time to help those in need. Pelous believes it is her calling to put herself in the service of others and says that she has always felt privileged to have choices in her life and had the desire to share that with others.
In 1990, homes and a school were built for 47 orphans, almost half of them blind, with Pelous’ savings, equity from the sale of her home in Paris, and other donated funds. This became First Hope Orphanage.
Pelous wants to make sure all of the children that come to the orphanage have access to the best education, because in Nepal a “good education is the most important thing for the future,” she says in “Nepal First Hope,” a short film of her work available for viewing on YouTube.
Anyone from the community can take part in the workshop, but space is limited to 22 people. Sign up is due by November 14. There is a suggested donation of $125, with all proceeds going to First Hope Orphanage. To sign up, or for more information, call 801-957-2017. A fashion show on Nov. 18 will feature the participants’ work.