January 24, 2011
Though I often look to it for inspiration, complicated old womenswear really isn’t my realm. I find something charming in letting creativity grow within the set confines of menswear, and to be frank, an ease in just breaking the gender-mold and calling it a day.
But my dear sister came to me, asking for help: she expressed a need for something different to wear to her after-prom party. (This was after she had explained the reason behind such seemingly superfluous social event.) I was home and bored to the point that spurs craftiness, and thought I’d make a little project out of this.
So I took one of her favorite shift dresses and had my tailor render it collarless in clean, off-white denim.
I wanted to paint a print on the dress, but God forbid I do one more thing in paint splatters. I was vaguely inspired by Balenciaga Spring 2008‘s saturated florals in sharp shapes: vivid, graphic, feminine. I thought of experimenting with sponge painting, and drew up a plan.
The dress would be taped off in a V in front and a wide stripe at the back, to allow me to just paint all over it.
Here’s what I did:
I taped off the shapes three times over, as tight as I could.
Then I created my painting implements: rounds cut out of dishwashing sponge.
For texture, I shaved off bits from the tops of the sponges. (Please note that the red nails are clearly not mine.)
I then lay on my first layer of color, twisted-on circles of deep purple acrylic paint: sullen, painterly buds. I let my blooms set with a hairdryer before adding another layer over.
Then a bright blue, slightly watered down to let the colors sort of run into each other and blend.
And for foliage to sustain my flowers: a bold grass green twist-sponged all over. I then layered all three colors about two times more for depth.
As a highlight, abstract stamens of pastel yellow applied with the end of a bamboo skewer, randomly dotted around in ones, twos, and threes.
I then (excitedly) peeled off the tape and hung the dress out to dry for about a day.
close-up of the texture on the finished painting-dress
Here it is worn:
vintage sunglasses, DIY handpainted dress, Aldo wedges
her hoof-shoes, a staple of the Brooklyn hipster ilk, and gift from yours truly
scarlet lips and tortoiseshell Persol 0649′s