I designed and constructed this gown for Atlanta's annual charity fashion show, The Night of Spectacles. The event raises financial support for the uninsured to receive sight-saving eye surgeries, eye glasses and eye exams from the Lighthouse Foundation each year.
The challenge for design entrants is to create a beautiful garment from broken, or unusable lenses and frames.
In the beginnings of my design conception, I researched how bending rays of light enter the eye. The long, organic lines of soft pleating reference this in the final garment. I chose a very light, tinged yellow, diaphanous fabric to suggest the quality of beams of light, while engaging them.
The idea that vision does not only come from the outside in, but can come from the inside out, became my motivating inspiration for the design.
Life and growth springing from an inner light -making its way out -I articulated with floral petals appearing to grow out from the body. I suspended layers of tinted lenses for this effect.
Continuing in inspiration from nature, even the artistic ruffling of climbing fungus, growing up and out from trees, worked its way into this design. The spines on the shoulder I crafted from the legs of glasses frames, mirroring the beautiful imagery of the lionfish. The hanging columns of lenses down the waist are inspired by ruffled tentacles of jellyfish. The sound created by the columns of lenses when the garment is in motion echoes their inspiration from the sea.
My approach to stitching the gown was entirely hand-work and draping. Working off of the foundation of a leotard in this manner was a delightfully freeing process.
I was honored to be selected to have my piece worn on the runway in April of 2013.