May 5, 2009

WEARABLE ART [NSCAD, Louanna Murphy, Sarah Roy, Bree Mackin, Kaleigh Dunlop, Stephanie Merrick, etc…]

I actually needed almost two weeks before reviewing The 19th Annual NSCAD Wearable Art Show. There was so much to process.


The evening of the show was dark. Wind and rain pummeled the giant tent where packed onlookers huddled close under a dripping edge. The models’ earthy sculptures of the night danced on a waterfall laden runway.

Despite intense bouts of shivering and frozen knuckles, I embraced the job of photographing the event and got to enjoy it (minus the note-taking). My good friend, colleague and reporter for Fashion Magazine Nadine La Roche had the duty of keeping track of the immense of amount of talent traipsing to the tepid beats and disjointed vocals of Tom Waits, Enya and The Radio Dept. We could have easily been listening to Mozart’s Requiem by the Republic of Florence Philharmonic for all I cared.

I turned off my loathsome flash and shot everything manually, which is why the photos have that certain nicotine-stained je ne sais quoi? to them.

Wearable art. Deep independence of mind. Fashion design or … I don’t know, the lines are gray (or maybe silver) if you asked one of the 40 students that showed. The really most awesome coolest thing ever? Recycling seemed to be the ‘joy de vivre’, the source for all things wearable. Now that’s sustainable art uh…fashion…uh…art…uh…

The only thing missing? A silent Venetian masked audience. The crowd could have been creepier, it would have made sense.

Read Nadine’s review here for a less…surreal…representation or here for Sue Carter Flinn’s detailed pre-show report for The Coast.

Louanna Murphy’s 4 outfit collection inspired by our feathered friends. I know the bird thing is obvious I just felt like adding a bit of little collage for presentation kicks. This collection was my favorite. It melded creativity, bold color, feminine shapes and impressive tailoring. The hats were a hit and not just your average feather headband, these creations are worthy of the late Isabella Blow. Below, Louanna and Nadine during intermission at the Anna Leonowens Gallery with a partial view of the “block party” in the background. Louanna will certainly be a designer to watch for in the future.

Next we have a medley of Midsummer night’s dream meets the Witches of Eastwick. The witches creatively designed from outdated prom attire were a collaboration of the show’s organizers Bree Mackin and Sarah Roy. The design at top left is from Mackin, a wirey gold twinkle dress fit for Glinda the Good Witch the early years.  Kaleigh Dunlop’s moss leaf creations evoked the most haunted fairytale. The whimsical props involved a violin made of sticks and gloves of rhododendron. The models/actors danced and played on stage for many minutes conjuring giggles and sighs from a mesmerized audience.

Designer Stephanie Merrick (pictured below left), showed silvery dresses made from layers and bits of plastic shower curtains with straps and necklines made from shredded money. Even though the materials are non-commercial and cannot be reproduced easily I could see these dresses selling in top Paris boutiques for thousands of dollars worn by the most daring of all socialites.

Bustiers were high on the list of favorites this year. The “Paper Dolls” collection by Sarah Roy was quite beautiful and wearable. Tres sexy fabulous girls.  Arianne Pollet-Brannen took old leather shoes, ripped them apart and made something of a futuristic wardrobe for Robin Hood and his band of merry theives. A calculated patchwork of earthen leather. There was also something sort of S&M Thierry Mugler-esque about the whole thing. I particularly loved the bustier made of black leather boots, this model was fantastic! (See below).

I did not get great photos of a lot of the outfits, my use of no flash being one reason and the other being some of the girls walked too fast and posed not long enough *hint hint. You can check out way more photos here and do so, it is totally worth seeing all of these amazing designs. I feel bad I could not include them all but I would be here literally all week writing and now I have to get back to my own collection for spring 2010.

Some of my other favorites…

In order going clockwise and if I have messed up please let me know.

Alison Seary, Arianne Pollet-Brannen, Lindsey D’Ambrosi, Kathy Marsh, Bree Mackin, Bridget Robins and Josephine Stephens and Arianne Pollet-Brannen.

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