DESIGN CONCEPT – To read, perchance to dream …
The plight of women in the mid-1800s – women constrained by gender, education and fashion. To read, perchance to dream … of a life beyond the constraints of locality and expectation – a life of travel and colour, a life with depth, richness and variety. A life with a little danger, adventure – even if only for a short while….
The dress, with its tight corset and voluminous skirts, made from the pages of books (their little pleasure), but made dull by the inevitable. The dreams manifest in the wings that unfold from the dull confines of the expected restrictive dress. The wings, drawing a path beyond their confines, dreams of faraway lands – bright and colourful, varied and patterned, delicate and transitory. Like a butterfly – free for a time, but ultimately doomed.
Throughout all – paper is the carrier of dreams. Paper in the books that are read, paper in the patterns that help form fashion constraints, and paper for the maps and visions of freedom.
Materials and Execution
This work is crafted primarily from recycled and upcycled papers and paper products. Over the base dress, comprising kilometres of hand fringed paper, is a fitted jacket also reminiscent of the detailed wide-collared dresses of the period. The jacket is crafted from recycled tissue dress patterns, – folded, pleated, gathered and features fine cutwork to reflect the finery of the period. The back of the jacket appears to have a delicately folded peplum, resting close to the dress. With arms lowered and stance demure, the dress reflects the expectations of the period, but with arms raised, the manifestation of dreams in maps and exotic papers.