In creating my final, I took a weekend to just focus on making the dress and jacket I had envisioned in the sketch below. I went home to Philly for the weekend to make it with the help of my mom, who had more experience working with patterns and clothing to help me figure out how to construct the complex designs. I altered the original designs to create the outfit I had envisioned. Once I finished the basic pieces, I began the long process of appliquéing the bottom of the dress. It took many hours of precise hand sewing small pieces of floral silk chiffon to the skirt. The process was humbling and required my full creative attention.
In thinking about how to style the look, I knew I wanted to have black accessories to avoid bringing attention to those aspects and to emphasize the universal nature of accessories, to show that many women use these same accessories no matter the color. For my hair and makeup, I looked back to the Fall 2012 Dior Couture collection to find inspiration. The hair was all middle-parted straight hair, so I stuck with that for my shoot. I discovered that the makeup was done by my all time favorite makeup artist, Pat McGrath, and I used her own products to develop my version of her design.
In contemplating on how to document my piece, I decided on photographing my pieces in the same places you would see a working woman on her way to work, on her coffee break, or leaving work. I modeled for and directed the photos and had my friend Ally photograph my pieces around the city. The photos describe a true feminist, embracing both the masculinity and femininity of her style and personality, feeling free to express herself however she choses in the workplace.
The inspiration behind this look is the 2012 fall couture Dior collection designed by Raf Simons. Simons combines both masculine and feminine aspects of fashion and brings the pieces into a modern time. For my piece, I took a very masculine silhouette and mixed it with feminine detail for the woman in the workplace. The dress itself has a 1950’s style, grounded in a time period where women were leaving the workplace, which they joined during the war, and heading back to stay at home. The jacket brings it forward to the 1980’s, a decade where the percentage of women in the work force had tripled since the 50’s, and famous for the huge shoulder-padded suit jackets, which is obvious in this piece. What gives this look a feminine touch is the silk chiffon appliqué along the bottom of the skirt. The fabric hand sewn along the bottom of the skirt is reminiscent of flowers and makes the outfit obviously feminine. This outfit represents the working woman as she participates in the work force, powerful and strong while still reclaiming her own femininity. With its historical references, this look represents the woman today, someone who is proud and not afraid to work her way to the top.