Bianca Bowman of Manyung Gallery Group has been a great client and friend for many years. I shared with her an idea I had of making dresses from primed artist linen and having them painted by an artist in my shop window. Bianca said “I think I know the perfect artist to help you” Belinda Rogers….
This is the first day Belinda and I met (November 2015). Belinda spotted some of Mirjam’s hand printed silk samples…. introducing Mirjam, and from here the collaboration of 3 Artists & 3 Windows unfolded.
We decided each window would display a different garment, fabric and artist canvas.
Mirjam and I Skyped regularly about her colour & application concepts and my garment designs.
She previewed my toiles (mock ups of my new designs) and we picked a colour. I then gave her the measurements I needed for the fabric and the freedom to go for it !
Her fabrics began to arrive in the post from Jindabyne (where she lives and works) then the paintings and sewing began….
Window 1 – “The Weaver”.
1st week of February 2016.
Play suit – Main fabric is red and white hand painted/printed silk (by Mirjam Aigner). Waist band is patterned teal and yellow Japanese cotton. Collar is white and blue printed silk (by Mirjam Aigner). Straps – Black 100% Italian wool.
The first window was really exciting – the blank canvas !
Belinda walked in the door with a sack full of paint. She took a look at Mirjam’s red fabric and started to work on the first canvas called “The Weaver” (dressed in Jody Kahlon painter’s overalls).
Belinda and I worked for 12 hours straight. It was 40 degrees in the window. We slogged it out in the “sweat shop” to Tori Amos, Dolly Parton and Sue Ray. By 8pm that evening the first window display was finished. PHEW… What a day!
Window 2. “Twigs and Birds”
End of March 2016.
Mirjam’s beautiful twigs and birds fabric arrived in the post. The excitement was beginning to brew and Belinda was very inspired to experiment with different techniques and colours. I was feeling like I had discovered a new opportunity with these two amazing women. This window “Twigs and Birds” was an absolute pleasure to create, Belinda and I really started to get to know each other. We were enjoying spending time together so much, that we stretched out the working process.
This installation took 3 days to create and we couldn’t wait to keep the momentum going !
(This painting is my personal favourite).
Sleeveless Dress – main fabric hand painted and silk screened twigs and birds (by Mirjam Aigner). Waist band – orange textured Japanese silk.
Window 3. “The Dancer”.
April, May & June 2016.
Singlet Dress – 4 metres of hand painted silk organza (by Mirjam Aigner). Neck piece assorted Japanese silks.
The final window took months ! Firstly Belinda had an exhibition in April, it was really important she had the time and space to paint her collection. Secondly Mirjam was preparing to travel Over Seas which added pressure for her to produce the last piece of fabric for the final window.
When the fabric arrived in the post, I got quite a shock ! The colours were insane and the large circular pattern on the fine silk organza created a challenge for the dress I had already designed. I needed to deconstruct this fabric and re-create a garment that would best reflect my tailored designs as well highlight her fabric. (In other words I didn’t want to fuck it up).
I needed time to absorb the new flavour and I needed help.
My friends Lorraine Frank and her daughter Larise are from Zimbabwe. They happened to see the fabric in my work room and they loved it. Their reaction triggered me to create the African inspired neck piece to compliment the fabric for the dress.
My next mission was to deconstruct the fabric. I called on my fabulous friend Vincenzo Pintaudi to walk me through the process of fabric laser cutting.
As I only had one piece of fabric, there was no room for error.
It was in Vince’s workroom that I truly began to visualise what was going to unfold.
I also had no idea how many hours of arranging and sewing I had ahead of me.
104 bias cut scallops needed to be arranged and re-arranged and re-arranged again.
It took several nights and several glasses of wine to layer the the skirt section of the dress.
This final window display “The Dancer” and garment took 3 weeks to make and complete (not including visual dreaming time!)