Updated: Nov 16, 2019
By Resa McConaghy:
Happy Birthday, Barbie!
Barbie turned 60 years old on March 9, 2019. Sixty is a milestone in anyone’s life, so Art Gowns wanted to celebrate the sexy senior by creating a special couturier Art Gown for her inspired by the work of Italian haute couture designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
During the 1920s and 30s, Elsa Schiaparelli dressed the rich and famous across Europe and America and creatively collaborated with such icons as Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. She was Coco Chanel’s direct competition between the two world wars and was the first female fashion designer on the cover of TIME magazine. Read more about her insanely fascinating life here!
This doll-sized creation is made from a circa 1970 Schiaparelli tie, from my personal stash. The print size is perfect. It was deconstructed and pressed flat. Barbie was then draped in the bias cut fabric.
Both ends of the tie were lined in Schiaparelli’s embossed “shocking pink,” a colour of her own inspiration and instigation for which she became quite famous. I used the “shocking pink” tie lining to line the tail of Barbie’s Art Gown.
I also made Barbie’s necklace, bracelet, and earrings. Her shoes were lime green, so they got painted blue. Her hair was a disaster, so I did a braided top knot with curly crown burst.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BARBIE!
You've never looked better!
ABOUT ART GOWNS
The Art Gowns are made from repurposed items (i.e., taking old clothes apart), recycled fabrics (i.e., curtains), and anything up-cycled that I can get to work (I embellished one Art Gown with 300 wine corks). If I buy fabric, it's from bargain bins on the street, from the back of the store, or from yard or liquidation sales. I stick to around $2.00–$4.00 per yard. I also buy acrylic paint and fabric medium, as I actually paint some of them.
They are 100% sewn together by hand. No machines are involved. As of today, there are 23 Art Gowns (Art Gown 24 is currently under construction). They all have names and personalities. Art Gowns are not garments per se, but can be fit to an individual and used for promotional photography or events.
An established Costume Designer in film, television, & digital media, Resa McConaghy has worked on productions for Showtime, ABC, Disney, CBS, CBC, Hallmark, and more.
Her mission: to enable the articulation of character through wardrobe.