Thursday, February 21, 2019

Read My Dress


In late January, fashion designers Viktor and Rolf showed their Spring 2019 Couture collection, and photos of the voluminous, candy-coloured dresses decorated with cheeky or inspiring messages were soon all over social media.  I thought they were delightful - why wear your thoughts on a t-shirt when you can put them on a giant dress?

Source - Getty Images

The two dresses above are my favourites from the collection, which Harper's Bazaar dubbed "Slogan Couture".  The quote on the green dress is from artist Frida Kahlo, and if I could own one dress from the collection, that would be it.

Source - AP

I thought it would be fun to make a modified version of my own (because that is the kind of thing I would rather work on than clean my apartment).   Since two giant dresses are better than one,  I challenged my uber-creative friend and fellow blogger, Melanie, of Bag and a Beret, to make one too.  Even though we live on opposite sides of the country we can still collaborate on creative projects.

The white dress in the photo above was the inspiration for our challenge.  I knew I wouldn't be able to match its volume unless I was willing to spend a fortune on miles of tulle so I made do with multiple layers topped with some lace curtains and a vintage crinoline.

It was crappy weather for an outdoor photo shoot, but it was better than in my cluttered apartment.  This was taken in my backyard,  which was definitely not a suitable location for a dress of this magnitude! It deserves a runway.....


I wanted the messages on the dress to be a rebuttal to some of the messages society has given me for most of my adult life. 


I learned at an early age to not open my mouth when I smiled in order to hide my protruding front teeth, and the lesson stuck for the rest of my life.  Unfortunately, being acutely aware of not showing one's teeth can also result in what is unkindly referred to as "resting bitch face".  When I was in my 20's and 30's, I was appalled when someone, usually a man, would pass me in the street and say "Oh come on, smile, it can't be that bad".  I never knew how to respond, and so would say nothing.  Either my expression has softened, or now that I'm older, men don't care what my face looks like, but it's been a while since anyone has told me to smile, and if they did, I would have no problem telling them to f**k off.  

I'm enjoying experimenting with creative photo shoots for my blog and while they are definitely more time consuming and often require another person to take the photos, they provide a satisfaction that documenting my everyday outfits doesn't give me.  I'm also improving my Photoshop skills which I've been wanting to do for ages.  Melanie has been a huge inspiration when it comes to trying more creative approaches to photos and I can't wait to see her version of the "Big Dress".  Head over to her blog to see what she's come up with - she's three hours behind me so it may not be up until later tonight.

21 comments:

  1. Love your blog and your smile. (Yes I have seen it) I modelled, this year for Little Black Dress Gala and carried a sign: I am Woman. Others carried different ones. It added a lot to the runway. I love clothes with messages, just not designer labels. I notice that the men's tshirts in thrift shops have far more interesting signs on them. Keep writing. Love the blog! I am trying out Instagram so have a look at first learning. Colleen Tsoukalas on Instagram.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Colleen - so nice to hear from you! I'll look for you on Instagram.

      Delete
  2. Fantastico! Bravo! and Encore! Do it again, Shelley, do it again! The Snow Queen in your back yard. Magnificent photoshop skillz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now where's all that tulle I've been collecting...

      Delete
    2. I'm surprised you haven't already made a big tulle skirt. I want one soooo much but haven't found any good ones secondhand, and I've thought of trying to make one, but I bet tulle is a bitch to sew with.

      Delete
  3. Love this! And I second the "don't tell me to smile." Yes to being visible, yes to taking up more space in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent project. I am sure all of us over 50 have a special message we would like to share. I am inspired to try this on a jumper and see what happens ( or if anyone notices).

    ReplyDelete
  5. That photo of you in the snowy back yard is just perfection - well worth the effort (and the freezing temperatures) - it's worthy of inclusion in some snazzy fashion magazine.
    Working on a statement dress is way, way better than cleaning your apartment, where's the visibility in that? xxx

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love it! Love it all! I came here via Bag & Beret and you both did an amazing job with your creations. I'm mildly obsessed with that silver petticoat and may now need one myself. For SOMETHING. SOMEDAY.

    I bought myself a sweatshirt with the "I'm sorry I'm late I didn't want to come" slogan but it was from China so would barely fit a 2-year old. Maybe I'll just cut that part off, sew it onto a tee and attach a silver petticoat to the bottom. Oh, right, my sewing macing hates me. Well, I can still see it in my mind's eye and it's fabulous. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Bettye
    https://fashionschlub.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had the silver crinoline for several years and have worn it to an event and in a parade. Unfortunately, the fabric is starting to pull away at the waistband so it only gets worn for short periods of time. I think you should cut the slogan out and sew it on to something else - you could even do it by hand if your machine isn't cooperating.

      Delete
  7. I'm new to your blog but not new to you. We have mutual comrades in Suzanne and Mel and they speak of you with glowing admiration and friendship. I hope one day we can all get together. I'd love to meet you in person.

    Meanwhile, there's this incredible dress you've put together that is so fantastic I find myself almost speechless. I mean--curtains!!! I just love it. And the statements you added and the reasons for the statements.... It's so good! You and Mel both inspire my own creativity with these kinds of posts, so please keep 'em coming! I'll be sure to sign up so I don't miss another post.

    - Sherry
    http://www.petiteover40.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sherry - Welcome! I've heard a bunch of great things about you from Mel too. I'm hoping to get back to Vancouver to visit Mel this year so maybe we can all get together.

      Delete
  8. This is amazing! I love the petticoat worn as the top layer, and great sideways thinking on the curtains for the bottom. Those V&R dresses remind me of Valentine's hearts. I would want one saying, "Don't Give Me the Side-Eye".

    I am happy that I've passed the age point where men holler "Smile!" at me. Now I just give them my patented "laser beam/stink eye" with my Resting Business Face.

    What a fun challenge! You both excelled!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The V&R dresses are very reminiscent of those candy "message hearts". I'm glad I don't get told to "SMILE!" anymore - I would be inclined to slap anyone who did.

      Delete
  9. I love this take on the V&R dresses. So creative. You did a brilliant job. What I find a little sad is that you learned not to laugh. Never mind the comments of men to your not laughing, but you should feel free to laugh whenever you want to. I think there is nothing wrong with your smile or teeth. Seen them often enough.
    Greetje

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful! Definitely a better use of time than cleaning. I agree with Greetje, too, & hope that you smile and laugh as you want to, now, without such thoughts xxx

    ReplyDelete
  11. You guys both did a great job! Talk about being creative wearing a petticoat around your neck.

    Kudos for taking the photos in the cold.

    I HATE it when someone tells me to smile! Ugh!

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. woww, I love to see some creativity in action!, love that you got your inspiration from Viktor&Rolf and make it rock your way!. And love particularly that Mel is also involved in this plan!. You Are Rockstars!
    Love the picture on the backyard, thanks for brave the elements to take it!
    Glad that you're improving your photoshop's skills, it has been very appealing to me for ages and never had the opportunity/time to give it a try! Great to see you doing it!. You did a brilliant job!
    And I love to see some messages on dresses! I hate so much when people tell me to be 'kind' as if it was compulsory to be lovely and nice because, you know, I'm a woman. grrr. I have the right to be wild and loud and totally unappropriate!
    besos

    ReplyDelete