This dress was the result of several different but highly related concepts. Langley, Virginia is the headquarters of the CIA. I had been researching the CIA's involvement in funding and arming paramilitary death squads in Nicaragua to terrorize the Sandanista aligned masses. I also was researching the USSR's usage of honey-trap spies during the Cold War, wherein female spies would seduce and gather intel from NATO aligned agents, often during pillow talk. The synthesis of these different inspirations is a gown representing both intriguing and seductive femininity and the looming presence of death and violence. The black "bodybag" sheer layer references the CIA and Reagan's deception of the US public during the war on drugs, as well as the very literal covering-up of the truth behind the Iran-Contra affair. Behind the curtain, as it were, is a beaded 16-point star, found on the CIA's seal. This ensemble as a whole is a play on the femme fatale, but from the perspective of the two sides of the Cold War and their operations.
3-piece ensemble consisting of wool trousers, linen apron,
and a linen wrap dress. 10 pockets in total. For this project, I
focused on making pieces that would prove highly functional
for artists of all mediums, Dre (model shown) for example being an
incredibly gifted painter. Each piece was designed to be
comfortable, using loose-fitting silhouettes that could be
worn every day in and out of the studio. Still, I've kept an air
of femininity with large slits on the apron and dress, while
choosing to make wide-legged trousers in reference to the
newfound liberation from gender-coded clothing by the
women of the Bauhaus in the 1920s. Jewelry by me as well,
in reference to Anni Alber's DIY hardware store jewelry. The
Bauhaus was threatened with extinction by Nazi forces in
the advent of WW2, and I thought about that a lot while
fantasizing what women would wear if the Bauhaus were to
have been founded now. 100 years after the Bauhaus was
founded, ironically, we again find ourselves in the midst of a
pandemic and rising Nazism. It seems like some things
are never learned and some things never change, which is
why I chose not to take a neofuturistic route in my design,
choosing instead to modernize these silhouettes in a more
realistic and contemporary manner that felt appropriate for today.
Project image board
Layered editorial photo composites
This dress was inspired by the Blood Falls of Antarctica. The Blood Falls are a collection of small fissures on the tongue of the Taylor Glacier. The water that flows from these cuts is red due to high iron content, but to me, it symbolizes our Earth literally bleeding as the Antarctic slowly begins to melt away due to climate change. This was my first time ever working with knit.

Preliminary sketches

© United States Antarctic Program Photo Library

I created these trousers for my Sewing II class. About 3 weeks prior to beginning this project, I was cheated on by someone who I thought loved me. I decided that it was time for me to love myself, and if I couldn't exhibit strength on my own in my time of weakness, I wanted to create something to help someone else exhibit their own strength and confidence. For this project, I was assigned my Burmese zodiac, which is a serpent dragon. On the left leg, you see black tulle. This tulle is meant to symbolize the shedding of skin, as a snake does. Beyond the simple connection to my zodiac, this also symbolized me shedding the old pieces of myself I had to let go of after being cheated on. My old perceptions of love and relationships, and my desire to be a martyr. Just as the shedding of skin indicates growth and a pseudo-rebirth, I was describing my own growth and the surrender of my former pain which I clung onto so dearly.

Sample fit check

Fit check with final fabric before adding tulle

This dress was originally a 3-layer laser cut silk cocktail dress, inspired by the Italian Op-Artist, Antonio Calderara. After a dissatisfying critique and an even more disappointing grade, I decided to use the remaining scraps of silk that I had and begin to distress and tack them onto the dress. Over the course of several hours, I wetted, ironed, tore, and stepped on the dress. Perhaps I was releasing my anger, but I think this version is better than the first. After I reclaimed my dress, I wanted to finish the look I was going for, so I decided to reinterpret the Visard mask of the 16th and 17th centuries. Using the remaining grey silk organza, I fashioned a full head piece, then hand sewed black velvet onto the face, creating the visual effect of a black hole. Finally, I created a ruffled collar with the remaining white wedding silk, then distressed it in the same manner as the dress. To me, the final product looks very haunting. I can imagine seeing this dress float out of a foggy swamp on a dark night, approaching me slowly as I'm consumed by the black mask.

Preliminary sketches

Vizard reference image alongside my reinterpretation, added ruff collar

This dress was designed by draping the fabric directly on the dressform, no sketching. For this assignment, our instructor gave all students the same amount of striped cotton and tasked us to create a dress, taking into account the direction of the stripes. My instinct was to pintuck the stripes to make them skinnier. I used the pintucking around the waist just underneath the bust, creating a slimming effect. All of the pleating around the waist allowed for extreme fullness around the skirt and the upper body/sleeves, which only further accentuates the slimming effect of the waist.

First draped on a half-scale dressform

Before deciding to use the wrong side of the fabric, the pintucks at the center were all white

more work