Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Samurai Ballerina

I am one of 10 fashion designers competing in the "Beyond the Armor" fashion challenge sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Garment Guild.  We were given a private tour of the facinating "Beyond the Armor" Samurai exhibit at the DIA, and challenged to design garments inspired by what we learned and saw.

You can vote for your favorite design at http://www.detroitgarmentgroup.org/#!vote-dia--dg3-design-competition-/ckeg (vote for Bridget Sullivan, #8!) now through May 12th.  The winner will be revealed on May 17th at a fashion show finale at DIA.  The show starts at noon and is free with general admission just RSVP by calling 313-833-4005

Here is my final design!



I was inspired by 'Reeds and Cranes," a silk painted folding screen painted by Suzuki Kiitsu.  He was trained by a powerful Samurai artist named Sakai Hoitsu, who adopted him and elevated him to the elite Samurai class. 


Samurai culture is full of rich symbolism, and the crane is a powerful image that can mean many things.  The Samurai warrior learned about facing death bravely by watching cranes, who appear calm and fearless when attached by an enemy. Cranes are a symbol of longevity and soaring spirit.  They are also considered good luck in marriage because they mate for life.  I kept these ideas in mind when I sketched the initial design for my "Crane Dress."


Crane Dress Sketch

I used kozo, a natural fiber used in traditional Japanese papermaking, to create the "armor" bodice of the dress.  The fiber must be cooked and beaten with a mallet before sculpting.  I added gold leaf and a wash of sheer metallic paint after sculpting.







The dress is made from a vintage wedding dress that I re-shaped and lined to create a halter top silhouette with gold chain trim.




I designed the Crane Dress specifically for a talented dancer named Destiny.  I was inspired by the Samurai practice of balancing"bun" (arts) and "bu" (war).  This reminded me of the beautiful blend of strength and grace in ballet, as well as the delicate power of the crane. 

Here is the final result!

*****Don't forget, vote "Bridget Sullivan, #8" here!*****

Thursday, February 6, 2014

*Escape*

My dresses are featured in an EllĂ©ments Magazine spread this month!  






Photographer Ali Saloum shot these beautiful pictures of model Cara Marie Ruetz at Stoney Creek Park this fall.  Remember when it wasn't an arctic polar vortex outside?  Me neither.

Behind the scenes!





More photos from this series to come 


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hello Toledo!

My Magnolia Necklace and Dress were recently displayed in the Toledo Museum of Art's "Art of Japanese Fashion" exhibit.  The museum issued a fashion challenge for designers to create a garment inspired by their current exhibition, 
"Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints".


The dress is inspired by the magical "flower and willow world" that geishas are said to inhabit.  The necklace is made from (*suprise!*) kozo, a fiber used in traditional Japanese paper-making.



This dress was on display from September until December,
when the exhibition ended with a fashion show finale!









Wednesday, November 13, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...



Photography by Megan Marcoux
Model - Savannah Jo
Hair and Makeup - Stein McGee
Before the transformation...




Fashion + Animals + Music 
= The Caftan Dress!

This dress and matching dog dress made from a vintage caftan I bought at an NYC thrift store called "Cauz for Pawz."  

The Cauz for Pawz organization promotes the health and well-being of animals by donating  funds and supplies to animal shelters, so this was the perfect opportunity to create some doggie fashion! 

Esperanza Spalding performed in this dress with Wayne Shorter and the Nashville Symphony in April. For this special Earth Day performance, her stylist added moss and violet embellishment.   The outfit is featured on Esperanza's Style Blog.






Behind-the-scenes of the shoot!  Megan Marcoux took these pictures on a rainy Detroit afternoon on the steps behind the beautiful Detroit Institute of Arts.




Peanut: Professional Dog Model







Monday, October 7, 2013

The September(/October) Issue





I'm featured in Ambassador Magazine this month!  I had so much fun talking to Audrey LaForest during my interview about my past and current work.  Check me out page 59 of the September/October issue! 




Notice the triple-vision photo of me?  I got to work with two of my favorite people for this photoshoot. 
Photographer Lindee Robinson took my portrait and did the amazing editing to create the collage image, and Camille LaMontagne worked her magic with makeup, and did some modeling as well.
Below is the photo the magazine chose, along with two other photos from the shoot!








Sunday, September 8, 2013

Michigan F.A.S.H. Fest 2013

This is about to be a really long post...with lots of pictures!

My designs were featured last Friday in the Michigan F.A.S.H. Fest, a wonderful yearly event hosted by Leslie Pilling of Presence II Productions.  The festival is an amazing collaboration of local business, musicians, and artists.  For more information, check out their website! http://michiganfashfest.com/

So here are pictures from the show!  There are links under some of the photos to posts with additional information about the garments.




Hot Pink Batik Shift






Column Dress





Kozo Wrap and Dress




Library Dress and Necklance










Peony Headpiece, Necklace, and Dress

Hydrangea Necklace and Dress



Dogwood Necklace and Dress


*My runway appearance!  So excited!*


Behind-the-Scenes:






Thank you to my lovely assistant!