That is not an optical illusion or special staging just for the photo, the skirt of this dress was drafted to make the pleats twist around Ginger's hips. It was a lot more mathematically involved to achieve this effect than it looks. Nonetheless, I like the way it turned out, even if the dress looks more simple in pictures than it does in real life.
I remember that Ginger had two standard outfits on the show, her pearly white dress, and the cheetah print dress that could be repurposed as a swimsuit. I remember seeing at least once that she had a tight cocktail dress made from sail canvas with "S.S. Minnow" printed on the thigh, which I thought was genius on the costumer's part.
It was kind of hard to find a good picture of her in the cheetah dress, although the picture of Mary Ann wearing it while suffering from a case of amnesia (which made her think she was Ginger) were plentiful. Go figure.
seams of her pearl dress, but it's hard to see, which reinforces my preference to not use black in my designs. In this case, though, the black was necessary because there was no way that I could make the entire outfit out of the cheetah material, it would just be "too much" and no other color than black would pair well with the print, so black it is. Still, the bodice fits her like a glove, which I love and is something you can't hide, regardless of the dark color. I also placed some hand sewn flowers trimmed in black sequins on the shoulder to add more interest.
The long mermaid skirt is removable for extra versatility! While I can totally see a starlet walking onto a tour boat wearing the long dress and thinking it's a perfectly fine dress for sailing, if you get stuck on a deserted island, a shorter cocktail dress is better just for convenience sake. And, oh, it looks good in real life and I can see some people liking this version better as it looks a little more youthful.