Vineyard designer Chrysal Parrot debuts gown at Emmy Awards

Ralph Stewart

A gown by Vineyard designer and dressmaker Chrysal Parrot made its debut on the red carpet at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night. Dahvi Waller, a producer for the popular AMC series “Mad Men,” wore Ms. Parrot’s original design to the star-studded event in Los Angeles, hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Science.

Ms. Parrot joined the ranks of famous fashionistas, such as Vera Wang, Donna Karan, and Oscar de la Renta, in creating the dazzling apparel worn by the who’s who in the television industry who attended the prestigious awards ceremony.

When asked in a phone call on Monday what it was like to see her fashion creation among those from top designers, Ms. Parrot said, “I’ve been working so hard and putting in such long hours, it didn’t register with me until last night, when I saw the dress on camera.”

She was pleased that the gown got double exposure, on the red carpet and again onstage, when Ms. Waller joined the “Mad Men” producers and cast in accepting the show’s fourth consecutive Emmy Award for outstanding drama. The series focuses on life in New York’s advertising world in the turbulent 1960’s.

Ms. Parrot said the gown’s journey from Demi Monde, her boutique in Vineyard Haven, to the Emmy Awards all started with an article in The Times. Since Ms. Waller planned to attend a writer’s retreat on Martha’s Vineyard the last week in August, she told Ms. Parrot she came to the Island with the intention of finding a local designer that could make her a dress.

“She said she wanted something that was absolutely unique, and that nobody else in LA would have,” Ms. Parrot said. “She came here with the full intention of finding a designer here that could make her a dress.”

Ms. Waller started her search on Google using the words “designers on Martha’s Vineyard,” and found a recent article about Ms. Parrot in The Times as the first listing (“Dress designer Chrysal Parrot opens Demi Monde in Vineyard Haven” by Gwyn McAllister, published August 17).

Ms. Waller called Ms. Parrot on September 1 and came by the shop that night. She selected a gown off the rack, which required extensive alterations. Ms. Parrot went to work on them right away and Ms. Waller returned for two fittings before she left the Island on September 4.

“It took me all week to get the alterations finished,” Ms. Parrot said. “It was definitely rush, rush, and get the dress out there.”

Ms. Parrot shipped the dress to Ms. Waller in Los Angeles, and she received it on September 14, giving her five days to get the dress pressed and ready for the big night.

“I hated not being able to see the dress on her for a final fitting after the alterations, but it all worked out perfectly, ” Ms. Parrot said with a sigh of relief.

Ms. Waller selected a gown Ms. Parrot describes as “very curvy, form-fitting, and sexy.” The body of the dress is made of black silk dupioni, with straps made of cream silk organza laid over black silk. The bottom of the dress has “a mermaid flair,” she added, with three layers that include black silk overlaid with white organza and embroidered Chinese brocade.

Photos taken of Ms. Waller in the gown by Kevin Winter of Getty Images were published online on Sunday by Zimbio, an interactive magazine publisher focused on entertainment, style, current events, and other pop culture topics.

“The dress looked absolutely stunning on her,” the proud designer said about Ms. Waller’s appearance at the Emmy Awards. “I was very pleased.”

Ms. Parrot opened Demi Monde on State Road in August. She has been doing custom designs and alterations for private clientele for 25 years, and on Martha’s Vineyard for about 10 years. She previously had a studio above the former Che’s Lounge off Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

This week, her designs will grace the runway show for the Vineyard’s Fashion Week finale on Saturday night, September 24, at Dreamland in Oak Bluffs.

“The funny thing is I’ve been saying for ten years that one of my dreams would be to have one of my gowns worn on the red carpet at the Oscar Awards,” Ms. Parrot said. “But the Emmys are just as good as the Oscars for fashion designers. This is a foot in the door.”