For the Final Project for Integrative Studio 1, we were given the prompt to create a garment, a sculpture, or an installation inspired by a fairytale. I worked in a group with Kasey Riera and Ashlyn Simpson. Together, we chose the story of How the Sun Loved the Moon.
In the story, the writer depicts the Sun as this dominant and exuberant being. “The Sun would bring people joy and warmth throughout the day, yet he craved to live a life of solitude.” The Sun is being described as this entity who doesn’t understand the strength of his own powers. The Moon is painted as a “sad kind of beauty” who was the light in the blanket of darkness. As the Sun grew weary, the Moon would illuminate the sky surrounded by the millions of stars. The stars would watch over her, hoping that one day, they would get close enough to her so that she would no longer feel empty. One day the Sun caught a glimpse of her as he was sliding out of the heavens and he instantly fell in love with her beauty. He wished to see her more than these fleeting moments, but she knew that this would never be. The Moon told the Sun,”Don’t you dare abandon your blessing of light for my darkness.”
Inspired by the very poetic imagery in this story, we wanted to create an ethereal garment that harnessed the characteristics of the Sun and the Moon. We went through many iterations of designs, from starting with a cape with wings, to different kinds of dresses and unconventional silhouettes. One theme in all three of our designs was the depiction of sun rays and a softer moon. For our final design, we derived much of our inspired from the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the Met. Two garments from this exhibition that stood out to us was a Thierry Mugler pleated dress with shoulders that mimicked the shaped of wings and a gown with pleated wings at the back which folded over one another. We thought that the pleats resembled the lines of sun rays, so we wanted to incorporate that into the design. As for the moon, we knew we wanted to imitate the “sad kind of beauty” as described in the story. Our Professor, Rachel, suggested that instead of pleated the moon as well, we let the fabric fold and crease in a more organic way to give a softer structure. Lastly, when designing the whole garment, we knew that the back would be showing due to it’s radial length, so we decided to create constellations because in the poem, it describes the stars as watching over the Moon and connecting her with the Sun.
To construct this piece, we used gold and gray taffeta fabrics to represent each. We lined each with interfacing to give the fabric a firmer structure in order to holder the pleats. For the Sun, we ironed each 1 inch pleat and then beaded the lines of them with gold, copper and reddish beads. On the back of the sun panels, we drew our own zodiac constellations as a way of putting our signatures on the piece. We also added rhinestones to evoke the glow that they emit. For the moon, we decided to use a gathering stitch to manipulate the fabric and give volume. We also beaded the moon to mimic the craters and phases of the moon in purple and slate gray beads. To combine both together, we hand stitched each panel to a harness we made out of scrap fabric. Lastly, to make to top of the sun stand up, we added wooden rods to help it create the shape we wanted. For the finishing touch, we made a crown inspired by the sun rays. To make it, we used a headband and zip ties spray painted in gold.