Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Trashion/Refashion Show 2018: Medieval Maiden

This was the year that Syd not only designed but constructed her own complete garment for the Trashion/Refashion Show. I'd been threatening/promising her for years that the next year, she'd be on her own, but then the next year would roll around, she'd design some complicated garment, and before I knew it there I'd be, muscling together sequins and T-shirts and silk sheets at the sewing machine.

And then I formed a Girl Scout troop, and that troop decided to become, during the month of February, the Girl Scout Cookie War Machine, and I found myself instead spending eighty-hour weeks as the fixer for the world's largest girl-led business. I realized that I had to let go of also figuring out the construction of a child-designed outfit from unsuitable fabrics under the unflinching supervision of said child/tyrant.

So Syd did it alone this year. And it was amazing. For both of us, I think.

It was interesting to watch how Syd approached constructing her garment this year. Previously, she's only ever had to worry about the design itself--although she helped me sew and glue, she didn't have the responsibility of figuring out exactly HOW to make her design reality. This year, of course, she had ALL of that responsibility, and I noticed that she was instinctively more flexible and more adaptable, more experimental. She let the fabric guide her as much as she did her design, and I think that it shows in her final result. The completed Medieval Maiden garment certainly resembles her original design, but to me, having seen the skirt that she started with, it looks much more organic than our previous collaborations--it's not so much that she took this and that and the other thing and made something completely different with them, as we've done in previous years; more that she molded these things into something that works differently, but is still very much what it was in the beginning.

My favorite part of the entire process might be the photo shoot that I get to do for her application, especially if the weather is cooperating for a change. I have to include some required poses, but after that we just get to show off!

One of my favorite parts of Syd's garment is that when she's still, with her arms back, you can't see her wings.

Syd would tell you that the wings are made from the inner lining of the original skirt. I will tell you that they're actually made of pure drama.

The interesting thing about this skirt was that it had three layers, plus lots of embellishments to play with. Syd kept the outer layer as-is, although at the dress rehearsal she decided that it needed to be pinned up at the sides so that she wouldn't trip during spins. The inner layer of the skirt made the wings, and Syd used the waistband of the middle layer as her neckline, then cleverly split it down the back and tacked it in place where she wanted the stitching to stay. And that's how she made herself that open back!

In the detail images you can see all the pleating and embroidery leftover from the costuming.

It's important to me that a child's garment, even one meant to be seen on a fashion show runway, should welcome active movement--really, it should invite it. Syd, however, makes her design decisions without my input, so I was pleased to see that she incorporated so much of that ethic into her own garment. This dress is made to move!

And one last action shot that has the bonus of showing off our junky yard!

Syd also had the responsibility of caring for her garment until the show, which I guess explains this pic that I found on my phone of her cat sleeping on the dress, which is, of course, crumpled on the carpet. Sigh...

Eight years in, Syd and I are old pros at spending the day of the fashion show in the theater. We get to watch all of the other acts--

--eat some pizza (eight years in, Syd also has a LOT of opinions about how much pizza one should take from the craft services table in order to ensure that there's enough pizza for everyone, and we spent the rest of the afternoon after this discussing the specific ways in which she felt that some people were not observing this completely unwritten, made-up, and entirely in her head rule. Life with tweens!)--

--and touch up her hair and makeup. I still got to help with the hair, but my days of doing makeup are apparently over:

And then--it's showtime!

Here's the video, if you'd prefer the full audience experience:

This is the first year that I did not have to step on stage AT ALL. I was a little sad when I realized that this meant that I wouldn't have the same backstage time with Syd--we're quite fond of our silent backstage dance parties!--but otherwise, the stage is not somewhere that I currently feel called to be. I was happy to watch her shine from my seat safely in the audience:

And look at her shine. Always, afterwards, I ask her if she's glad that it's over. Always, she tells me that she wishes she was still onstage:

We'll be back again next year, I guess!

P.S. You can always find WIP pics and discussions from these and all my other weird projects on my Craft Knife Facebook page.

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