Film producer Sonia Machado-Hines says yes to the Renaissance dress
Every bride agonizes over finding the perfect wedding dress, but rarely does a bridal gown inspire a movie. For filmmaker and Playa Vista resident Sonia Machado-Hines, one dress did just that. She produced the short documentary “Dressing a Renaissance Queen,” about the painstaking recreation of a famous gown by costume designer Nola Yergen.
“This dress has quite a story,” says Yergen, who created it for her own wedding. Though the marriage didn’t last, the dress lives on.
Yergen finds inspiration in historical garments and takes great pride in getting the tiniest details right. “All the pearls and garnets are real,” she says. “The dress is silk. Everything is hand-sewn. The materials cost over $2,000.”
If you’re a fan of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, you may recognize this dress from his painting “The Wedding by Proxy of Marie de’ Medici to King Henry IV.” Yergen says the dress took a year to research and another year to construct.
In person, the dress is stunning. I’m desperate to run my finger down the fine silk, but I restrain myself for fear of sullying the gown. It’s truly a work of art, and recently won Best In Show at Costume-Con, an international costuming event and competition.
Machado-Hines met Yergen on the set of a film Machado-Hines’ actor-husband, Terence Bernie Hines, was working on. Yergen was the costume designer. The two spent hours together talking and getting to know each other before Yergen finally showed her the dress.
“I knew we had to make a movie about it,” says Machado-Hines.
As a filmmaker, Machado-Hines is completely self-taught. Originally from Cuba, she grew up in Indiana before meeting her husband in New York. Her current film, “Hyster-Talks: Real Women Tell Their Stories” is about the $20-billion industry around uterine fibroids.
After living in Sherman Oaks, she and her husband decided to move closer to Hollywood so Terence didn’t have to drive so far to auditions.
“We drove to West Hollywood,” says Machado-Hines, “and kept driving west. Then Playa Vista said ‘Hi, I’m it.’”
Rubens’ painting still hangs in the Louvre and is featured in the film, which isn’t available to the general public yet but is making the rounds at various film festivals.
“The movie shows Yergen making the dress, and then she’s dressed. It cuts to the painting, and it’s so transcending. You’re transported to the time period,” says Machado-Hines.
As far as the future of the dress, Machado-Hines says she would love to exhibit it in Playa Vista.
“There’s a film festival in here and I really hope the movie gets in. We could display the dress. It’s its own entity — it talks to you. When I see all its parts [the corsets,
crinolines, stockings, etc.] go on and off, it develops an identity which is fabulous.”