Monday, October 03, 2011

Pret-a-Porter 2011

Third year on the Women In Design team for the IIDA (International Interior Designers Association) Pret-a-Porter competition. Each year has been a different experience. The first year I was part of the team through a proxy. We discussed the design over phone & visit. I came up with sketches for the headdress & the team chose which one I would make. Then I worked in my cabin in Estes Park. Didn't see the final couture outfit until it was coming down the runway to win Best in Show.
2010 year was a devistating year. I was one foot in the team and one foot out. The outfit was in constant flux. I made some paper flowers but that was all for that year. The show was two weeks after my father's death. We didn't place that year.
2011 is my year to be involved. Its my 'what worse can happen' year. I'm glad that I did because this year the IIDA upped the anti. The competition still only allowed 25 teams but the attendance to the show has increased so it had to be moved from the Exdo Center in the warehouse district to the Denver Center of Performing Arts (DCPA) Ellie Caukins Opera House. We were expected to create outfits that would fit the bill of an opera house. On top of that, the IIDA wanted 70% of the outfit to be in the Pantone colour of the year- Honeysuckle. I love designing in warm colours...but the Pantone colour Honeysuckle is not honely-like at all- its hot pink!
Our distributor was Kimball Office Furniture. Hot pink office furniture! Tough but the WiD team figured it out. We did our digging and not many operas have good female role models, not something that WiD wanted to put our name on. So we did some reinvisioning in our design Steel Awakening as Madame Butterfly with empowerment. A form exposing dress with stylistic kimono sleeves. The base of the dress was representative of female sexuallity in Japan. Only female ghosts got to have a libido (as a demon) ancient Japanese could only tell these women were ghosts by the lack of feet; they moved around on a cloud. The obi belt made from braided macrame was to be holding a torso encompassing lotus that was formed from wood veneer. My headdress was formed out of task chair seat cushions.
Six weeks before the show the materials we chose for the outfit were still coming in. The main piece was the lotus cage that needed two 4ft x 8th sheets of veneer. What showed up us a stack of 8in x 10in sheets of veneer. A phone call was made to the IIDA & they allowed us to come up with an adjusted design & sketch. A couple days later we had a new design and we won the bronze.