The Unique Piece
This shirt dress has a draped upper the front section which starts from the right and goes inside the left side seam. The whole front section has a long buttoned placket simulating the front part of a shirt, but only the two top buttons are functional in this dress.
At the back, it has a concealed zipper with a divided collar into two. The elbow length sleeves were draped directly on the dress with a fixed pleat and double button barrel cuff with a half binding edge in shell fabric and stitched by hand.
The sequins’ applications placed at the front were inspired by the El Anatsui´s exhibition called Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works.
This dress has in total 3.825 sequins embroidered by hand on 51 applications.
The dress is made with satin, a 100% natural silk from Italy, and inside it is fully lined with polyester.
The following video is on Youtube and has English subtitles available.
The first time I saw the El Anatsui exhibition was at the Bass, Miami Beach´s contemporary art museum. I was astonished by his work, for a moment they seemed like fabrics hanging on the walls - the artist had joined aluminum bottle tops with wires to create magnificent structures.
The final constructions resemble traditional African textiles and crafts and combine aesthetic traditions from Africa and the global abstraction movement.
For me, the most important details of his work are the drapes and pleats inside the structures - the manage to keep the square shape without loss of form.
After this adventure, I was wondering how I could re-create this effect in a garment by reinterpreting the form, respecting the drapes and weaves and keeping the contour of the dress.
I designed a shirt dress for a customer. She is very well read lady and interested in art. Her family used to own an auction house in Germany, and this was the ideal occasion to use El Anatsui as inspiration.