As an extension of the thesis I created a garment for the singer Chisu for her farewell performances

All the work I did to achieve garments that would interfere with the wearer raises the question of an actually wearable version of a dress based on this project. One that wouldn’t restrict or bother the wearer. Luckily for me I got the perfect opportunity to test this out. Based on unfinished sketches, photographs and half-thought out sentences about my thesis I was asked to design a dress for a Finnish singer Chisu for her 9 farewell performances. Her stylist, Mikko Vainio, asked me if I was interested in designing a dress that included porcelain elements to have a unique and eye-catching moment on the stage. In the end I believe that it was the decision to make the aesthetic very commercial and marketable that made it possible for Vainio to see the potential in the project. 

I was given specifics of what the dress needed to be: Black, floor length with long sleeves and entirely made out of a single layer of lace. After sending out initial sketches of the dress I quickly got a response saying both Mikko and Chisu herself loved the concept. 

I decided to make a train for the dress to make it as dramatic as possible while keeping the silhouette slender and slim. The fabric was non-stretch black lace that was custom fitted for the singer. I continued with the aesthetics of the thesis and cast in total around 450 spikes in varying shapes and sizes. To keep everything elegant I finished them with a glossy black glaze. The porcelain spikes were placed only on the bust for a couple of reasons: The singer didn’t have to pay attention to the porcelain, for it was only in one area and not on the constantly moving hem or the sleeves. Also the placement allowed the porcelain pieces to catch light and sparkle in the spotlights.

For the cape I wanted to make a full pattern with the porcelain. I made the spikes smaller and spread them throughout the cape, which was made out of very heavy black velvet. I chose the velvet because the heavy fabric wouldn’t be affected by the weight of the porcelain and so would flow naturally. Also the contrast between the matte looking finish of the velvet and the glossy surface of the spikes enhanced the spikiness of the cape. I played with the textures of the materials because I wanted everything to be black, but at the same time I didn’t want the spikes to get lost in the fabric.

Based on the comments and discussions, with the people who saw the garment, about the dress and the cape it would seem that using porcelain as a part of the dress elevated the garments to a new level. The porcelain as a material is new and unforeseen for this purpose and it created an intriguing and exciting end result. It was surprising and raised a lot of questions and interest towards my work in general. The innate value of porcelain and the craftsmanship made the garments more luxurious and unique. With careful design choices the porcelain could be embedded into the garments in a way that it didn’t create any issues or cause any interference to the movements of the singer.

MUAH: Miika Kemppainen

STYLING: Mikko Vainio

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