In school we had a project where we should find an architect/building to take our inspiration from. I have had a picture of Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí in my inspiration folder for ages so I choose to go with Gaudí as my inspiration. And then down the road in the research process I found Mucha, how could I have missed Alphonse Mucha for all these years.
I wanted to use the bone like pillars that hold up Gaudís buildings and the draped fabric and flowing hair of Mucha to make a dress.
several toilles was made to make sure that it fitted my friend Isabell that had promised me to model it for me. It is interesting that a small bust is in need of so much work with the toille, and that that work is in such a different way from a large bust which is what I normally work with.
The bones that I used is chicken bones that is leftovers from a bunch of nice meals. They have been cooked and cleaned and here they are drying, later I painted them and lacquered them. I could have bleached them as you normally do, but chicken bones are so brittle so I did not want them to be more fragile then what they already was.
The top of the dress is made out of white leather that is prepared with a new kind of tanning process called “wet white”. It is a organic tanning process which is much better for the environment than ordinary chrome tanning. Where chromed tanned leather can make it’s wearer allergic and is highly environment damaging, wet white leather can be recycled and it can also used as fertiliser if prepared right. Another plus is that it comes in white naturally, chrome tanned leathers are grey, vegetable tanned leathers are a really light brown at best. To achieve white the leather these must be finished heavily which makes it loose a lot of leather character and almost always turns out looking like plastic.
Another plus is that it is not as sensitive as vegetable tanned leather, I was able to press the seams with with a hot iron, something that a vegetable tanned leather really do not appreciate.
The leather is amazingly soft and drapes just like fabric, it is truly amazing. One downside is that people do not think it is leather at all due to it looking so soft and white without a coating.
I have lined the top part of the dress with cotton coutil, to make sure that it holds the breast in place and do not stretch the leather and making it to big.
The bottom part is a really light and see-through silk fabric and the skirt has about 8 meters of fabric in it, I wanted it to be light and flowing.