The Shape of Dreams
In the Fall semester of 2022, 24 up-and-coming student designers from high schools across Tampa Bay completed the free program Fashion Design at The Dalí. Program participants learned the fundamentals of design, construction and runway presentation from program instructor and PCCA Design Technology Theatre Department Chair, Trish Donnelly. With visits to The Dalí Museum, students explored the work of Salvador Dalí and selected one of his paintings as the inspiration for their fashion designs.
This year, students explored the theme The Shape of Dreams, aligned with the special exhibition of the same name. This theme challenged students to create tangible connections between the subconscious state of dreaming, fine art, and fashion. At the end of the semester, community leaders from the industry came together to judge the students’ designs and award prizes in several categories related to sustainability, wearability and more. Student work is showcased in this online exhibit and winning designs are honored in a special exhibition at Neiman Marcus, International Plaza in January 2023.
Thank you to our program sponsors:
Puzzle of Autumn, 1935
St. Petersburg High School
About me… I am a junior at St. Pete High School who recently moved here from North Carolina. I am very passionate about fashion design, car spotting, and watch collecting. I am hoping to attend FIT and work for an Avant Garde fashion house such as Balenciaga or Undercover.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Puzzle of Autumn because I wanted to connect with the more abstract concepts of the piece rather than the visual feature of the painting. I believe that this piece has more depth than what is visually available to the average viewer.
My piece connects to dreams by… I was fascinated to think about the way Puzzle of Autumn uses symbolic language to create a dream scenario, one which I explore in my creation. A hooded puffer jacket synthesizes the clouds in the painting with the abstract concept of having your head in the clouds. I drew from our guest speaker’s presentation on sleep paralysis to develop this work, using nylon tethers to reference this phenomenon.
My materials… For my garment design, I chose a traditional pants outfit featuring a clear panel, multiple pockets and nylon tethers. Plus, a puffer jacket with a hood and headgear. I thrifted most of my materials, using the family-owned business Jay’s Fabric Center as well as online retailer Amazon to fill in the gaps. I was extremely careful to not be wasteful in my sourcing, as I believe that the mass consumption of poorly sourced and constructed clothing, or “fast fashion”, is a massive threat to the clothing scene as we know it.
My process… I identified the metaphoric ways Dalí’s painting suggested a dream and amplified those in my garment. The multiple pockets were designed to weigh down the wearer, symbolizing how one’s dreams and aspirations can put pressure on them in the real world. The nylon tethers symbolize the idea of paralysis, a concept from the paralysis and dreams talk, as well as a visible concept in Puzzle of Autumn. The puffer jacket, while black in color, suggests the puffy clouds draped across the sky. This merges with a sleeker glove to symbolize the more defined cirrus clouds towards the center of the painting. The clear panel on the pants displays the concept that dreams can reveal one’s true subconscious thoughts and feelings. This contrasts with the hood and headgear, symbolizing the tendency to hide from reality in a world of illusion, or to have one’s head in the clouds.
What I learned from this program… I learned that there are many ways to interpret a work of art. Instead of taking the more obvious path of referencing the visual details of the work, I chose to use metaphor to explore the concepts behind Dalí’s symbols.
Sentimental Colloquy, 1944
Florida Virtual School
About me… I am 15 years old and my passion is art of all kinds.
I chose this work by Dalí because…I chose Sentimental Colloquy because I believe it gave me the most artistic freedom, whilst also encapsulating things I love.
My piece connects to dreams by… This piece connects to dreams by representing my aspirations. I have always loved music. I play instruments and write songs, and elements of music are all throughout this piece. I have also taken the branch growing from the broken piano and shown it in my costume with an abundance of greenery, representing growth and life.
My materials… I solely used items that could be repurposed from their original use. I have many thrifted materials in my costume in addition to personal items such as sheet music from my grandmother. I created a natural dye out of tea to give an aged effect to the sheet music which references the piano in the middle of my chosen artwork.
My process… I tied every part of my costume back to either Dalí’s work or my own interpretation of dreams. I started out with a variety of sketches for my design, and then used the materials I had and worked to attain more materials to create a design as close to my sketch as I could achieve.
What I learned from this program… Creating this piece has made me understand very well that, if you do not adapt your artistic vision when you are creating, your end result will never live up to your expectations. To me, adaptation, growth, and passion are all the most important parts of creation.
Daddy Longlegs of the Evening – Hope!, 1940
Osceola Fundamental High School
About me… I am a 2-D/3-D artist. Aside from making jewelry, I’m fairly new to fashion design. I don’t view this as a hindrance, though, since I’ve incorporated my 2-D and 3-D knowledge into my piece.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Daddy Longlegs of the Evening – Hope! due to the unique message Dalí conveys through his imagery and symbolism. For example, he showcases a daddy longlegs at dusk because it’s a sign of good luck.
My piece connects to dreams by… Daddy Longlegs of the Evening – Hope!, was created when the artist first came to America and represents the almost the death of Dalí’s Surrealism. For instance, the horse coming out of the cannon is like a nightmare. I’m drawing on that dream symbolism with my wings and skeleton corset.
My materials… I used wire, faux gold chain, spray paint, oil paint, blue satin and tan fabrics, canvas and feathers.
My process… I created wings to represent the Nike goddess in the work. I’ve also recreated certain aspects of the painting on the left side of the skirt, while showing imagery of World War II on the right, because Dalí painted this piece after moving to America to escape the war in Europe.
What I learned from this program… I’ve always wanted to explore the wearable side of art, so I thought the Dalí fashion program would be a great opportunity to learn an area that I’m not usually exposed to. I just like fashion a lot. It has always interested me.
Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus, c.1934
Boca Ciega High School
About me… My name is Apollo D’Amico. I am 15 and I go to Boca Ciega High School. I’ve been sewing since l was 6 and designing since I was 13. Sewing is my happy place. l grew up wanting to create things and sewing has really made my dreams come true.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus because I liked the color scheme of the painting. I came up with a design very quickly after learning the message behind the painting.
My piece connects to dreams by… My piece connects to dreams by the use of the light blue color of the fabric and the navy lining in the skirt to give the two-tone interpretation that, like dreams, my piece is not just one thing and everything comes together at once.
My materials… I thrifted cotton and rayon fabric that I dyed navy blue with Rit dye. I also used scrap interfacing that I owned and repurposed, and of course, my sewing machine.
My process… I began with draping the fabric and marking and creating the patterns. Then, l made the lining for the bodice pieces out of the draped fabric. l then dyed the rayon and the cotton to a navy blue and seam ripped the skirt of the rayon dress l bought then cut out the skirt/cape pieces from it and assembled the skirt with the lining. Then l used the leftover rayon to make the bodice pieces and sewed them to the lining. l made the bodysuit piece out of the cotton fabric and some spare elastic l had and attached it to the bodice. Finally, l sewed the skirt/cape on to the bodysuit piece.
What I learned from this program… I learned more techniques that make draping easier. I also came away realizing that creating my own pattern takes more time than l thought it would. I was taught more patience as l found time to work outside of the classes.
Shades of Night Descending, 1931
Palm Harbor University High School
About me… My name is Talia Deka. I’m a sophomore at Palm Harbor University High School and I play sports like track and MMA. I have been into fashion since I can remember. I am a shopaholic, so clothes are my life.
I chose this work by Dalí because… The painting I chose is Shades of Night Descending. I chose this painting because of the colors of the sky. The colors of the sky are very beautiful and otherworldly so I wanted to incorporate it into my design.
My piece connects to dreams by… My design connects to dreams in the way that nothing makes sense. In my design I put things that should be included at the top of the design at the bottom instead. I placed things where they do not belong similar to the nonsensical nature of dreams. For example, in my design, as in the Dalí painting, the femur bone is in a rib cage position.
My materials… The materials I used are a white stretchy material for my skirt. This material was donated to the Dalí. I used a black flowy material for the train and the painted part I used a linen. I used wire for the femur.
My process… My design includes many parts from the painting I chose which is Shades of Nights Descending. I included the sky, the woman wrapped in fabric, and the big shadow in my design. It has been so much fun participating in this wonderful experience. I have met so many amazing people and I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity.
What I learned in this program… Last year I realized I wanted my future to be in fashion, but I had no idea where to start. Then I found out about this program and how much you can learn from it, so I applied. This experience has already taught me so much. I have learned that you can get inspiration from anything. You can create artwork to wear. There is so much that goes into creating a design. I learned how fun it is to see your design come to life.
Galacidalacidesoxiribuncleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson), 1963
About me… I’m 15 years old and a Sophomore at Tampa Prep.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Galacidalicideosoxyribonucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson), or Galacidalici for short, because, to me, it looks like how a dreamland would look. I also like how it connects to science and DNA, and I incorporated that in my design through the use of double helixes.
My piece connects to dreams by… I love the cloud texture, and the angel in the background. It really encompasses the feeling of freedom that I get when I dream.
My materials… My design is created out of beige satins with white embroidery, and pearl-beaded voile. The satins were from Joann’s, and the voile was from a past project with a draped cape. The embroidery thread was part of a stash of supplies that was donated to me.
My process… This project started like most of my others: designing first and then figuring out how I was going to pull it off. I first started with a pattern to make a basic skirt. The bodice pattern I drafted using a sheet on my dress form. I used the embroidery thread to add a double helix motif, embellished with pearls.
What I learned from this program… Technically, I learned many things, but what stood out the most was learning how a design is created. Before I always drew inspiration from how something looked on the outside, the architecture of a local pizza place, or the petals of a flower. In this program, I learned that you could draw so much from the internal elements, and how something makes you feel when you look at it. When I chose my painting, I knew I wanted to do something flowy. Flowy encapsulates how dreams make me feel – free, because they’re the only relaxing part of my day. This experience really showed me how to look deeper into what I create.
The Weaning of Furniture – Nutrition, 1934
Hollins High School
About me… I’m 14 years old and a freshman at Hollins High School. I love roller derby and dyeing my hair. I have always wanted to be a fashion designer.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition because it caught my eye back in fifth grade when I first saw it on the wall. I love how surreal it is. It really makes me think and often makes me think twice about its true meaning.
My piece connects to dreams by… I focused on the dreamlike forms in the painting and used my fabric to create the same dreamy look. I went with a physical approach rather than the meaning of the painting.
My materials… I used a lot of bigger, softer fabrics because my skin is really sensitive. I used a marble rainbow for under the coat to add some layers to it and the main dress is a caramel brown. The coat and velvet for the neck overlay is a harsh red. I selected the caramel brown and the velvet from fabric donated to Ms. Donnelly’s class. I got the red fabric and the marble rainbow from a thrift store near my house. I also used some old ornaments from my attic.
My process… First, I chose my materials. Then, I pinned the fabrics in place, then pinned them together before trying it on. When sewed the next piece together, it did not fit around my arms, so I tried again until I did it correctly. I chose to use some of the colors I saw in the painting, especially the mixed color from the sky. My friend Eren helped me some; they cut my pieces in half for me and I glued them on the pocket as a dresser drawer.
What I learned from this program… I learned to collaborate with others and ask for help to bring my ideas to life.
Scarlett J. Hernandez
Morphological Echo, 1936
Boca Ciega High School
About me… I am a freshman at Boca Ciega High School. This is my first time doing something like this.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Morphological Echo because I liked how the painting looked with all the different shades of yellow.
My piece connects to dreams by… I decided to use the colors of the painting as the colors of my design to connect the design with the dreams seen in this Dalí painting.
My materials… My materials were a yellow silk-like fabric, a dark yellow-brown stretchy fabric, a sewing machine, a multicolor fabric, a serger, a mannequin, fabric scissors, yellow ribbon, and pins. I got my fabrics from Gibbs High School.
My process… My process was straightforward as I was learning the fundamentals of sewing while creating my design. Once I choose the fabric from the donated materials, I learned how to take my measurements and cut the fabric to these exact dimensions. Next, I used the serger to cut off and even out the edges. I sewed the skirt together first, then the top, and finally the belt. Then, I finished the top by cutting equal pieces of yellow ribbon and cutting six small holes (three holes on each side). Finally, I put the finishing touches on my design.
What I learned from this program… Something that I learned from this experience is to practice time management because it will help you stay on top of things. Another thing that I learned from this experience is to have a good eye for how to make your design and finish it.
Fantasies Diurnes, 1931
Hollins High School
About me… I’m a junior at Hollins High School where I hold a leadership position in a multitude of extracurricular activities like student council, art club, gardening club, and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Prior to this program, I had never really taken much interest in fashion design, despite enjoying fashion myself, so this was a new challenge for me.
I chose this work by Dalí because…I chose Fantasies Diurnes because the composition of the blues and the odd shapes spoke to me. I recalled famous fashion designs when looking at this Dalí piece. I was mostly inspired by Iris Van Herpen’s designs which I saw previously on the internet; her work piqued my interests in fashion.
My piece connects to dreams by… the dissociative nature of dreams. How, when you are dreaming, you don’t really know what’s going on, the walls are melting, and the chairs are talking. This was the vibe that I got from Fantasies Diurnes because even now, I have no idea what the giant blob is supposed to represent.
My materials… My aunt, a seamstress for 30+ years, provided me with the blue satin I used for the dress base and the draping was from her bag of fabric scraps. The only thing I bought was the nude mesh for the dress’ support and the dark blue fabric on the bottom, which was cut from an ombré scarf I got at the thrift store.
My process… As for creating the dress itself, I had no idea where to begin. I’m truly grateful for the assistance of Justice, a volunteer from Fanatics, and Ms. Donnelly, the program instructor, because they guided me through the entire process. Back in September, everything was foreign to me, from draping to sewing a simple line. This made the process scary to me. However, I was able to overcome these physical barriers and each week, I felt myself gain confidence in each piece I sewed.
What I learned from this program… I learned the basics of sewing from this experience. There are a few techniques I have not thoroughly mastered yet and I may not be able to design a garment completely independently. However, this opportunity allowed me to explore a new area of design that I would never have had the chance to explore otherwise.
Eggs on a Plate Without a Plate, 1932
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… I’m a sophomore at Gibbs High School. Since initially experimenting with makeup in 7th grade, my main passion has been makeup artistry. Costuming has piqued my interest for a long time; however, this is my first time constructing anything significant. In my everyday life, I love to wear anything pink, girly, and glittery, but darkness inspires me as well. My piece is less so a representation of me and more my ideals about the artwork.
I chose this work by Dalí because… Despite its warm palette, I chose Eggs On a Plate Without the Plate because this piece challenged my brain in an interesting way. The ideas behind the painting inspired me and I’m quite proud of the design inspired by it. Eggs On a Plate Without the Plate is meant to represent an embryo’s point of view in the womb and being birthed into a new world.
My piece connects to dreams by… In my dreams, like the embryo referenced in Dalí’s work, I’m often alone in places I don’t recognize. When we are in the womb it seems as though we are alone in a dark scape. In reality, we are surrounded and cared for by the person who loves us most. I included visual cues for these ideas in my design in ways such as using dark and cold materials. Additionally, the constriction around the body is meant to show how we are always surrounded by good even if we don’t feel it. In my subconscious, I am often stuck and feel alone, but I know I am cared for.
My materials… The first thing I started working with was the “latex” a.k.a. trash bags. The pieces I created consist of a long tube, or umbilical cord, extending from the stomach of the dress, a tube constricting my legs and neck, and a pair of earmuffs closing me off from the outside world. My dress was trial and error since I had never created one. I ended up using my mock-up dress and dying it for my final piece. I created the skirt of my dress using interfacing so I could really get the structured look I was going for.
My process… Creating this piece was trial and error due to using an unfamiliar fabric. Luckily, the stitches held well. Stuffing each tube was tedious but worth it in the end. I was more worried about constructing the dress. I’ve never made a full outfit, so I decided to buy a pattern and alter it to fit the dimensions I created. I had to dye my fabric which took extra time but matched my vision perfectly. Ripping holes in the fabric pained me slightly but, in the end, it turned out just how I imagined.
What I learned from this program… During my time in Fashion Design at The Dalí, I realized that work like this requires dedication and the ability to persevere. I made mistakes often and I felt frustrated that things were not turning out how I wanted. But as I looked closer, I could see my mistakes and learn how to fix them. One of the things I loved most about this program was how I could incorporate my thoughts into my project. I have so many ideas embedded into my outfit, and I really felt as though I could let my creativity loose. It was exhilarating to create something completely on my own that represents my own ideas and no one else’s.
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… I’m a sophomore at Gibbs High School. Currently I am in the PCCA Technical Theater program with about one year of experience in sewing. I love to be creative and to challenge myself to make new and beautiful things. My favorite part about being a sewer is learning how to use and design with new fabrics and styles.
I chose this work by Dalí because… For this year of the Dalí Fashion Program I chose Cadaqués. This painting is a picture of Dalí’s old summer home with his sister posed in the foreground. I love this painting because it really shows what dreams mean to me. Certain aspects of this painting are reminiscent of dreams, like the way the breeze blows through the bushes and the light whimsical colors used to make the sky and buildings. The painting gives a sense of freedom and childhood which is very comforting to me.
My piece connects to dreams by… Dreams have always been a comfort for me, like a little escape from the real world. My mind can create a fantasy land to get lost in. That is why for my dress I really wanted to make a garment that was whimsical and beautiful. My dress is light and flowy which is one of the most likable qualities of the dreams I have. It has a fantasy look to it which indicates my love for adventure and escape in dreams. I was making my dream dress inspired by my best dreams.
My materials… To make this process sustainable, I used some of the donated mattress fabric in my piece. This was used in the making of my short underskirt and for all the lining. The outer fabric I used for my bodice was thrifted in a secondhand shop. As for all the other fabric, I was able to buy it all on sale which made this project sustainable for my wallet. All my outer fabric is a polyester and silk blend.
My process… From the beginning I knew I wanted to make something using either green or blue. After selecting my painting, I saw how I could connect the two. I used the idea of the flowing leaves on the bush to make the bottom of my dress. I also tried to connect to the beautiful green color that the painting has. After getting my idea I created a pattern by draping. After that it was just a lot of finding fabric and then cutting it. For my leaves I used three layers of fabric that I would turn inside out to get the shape. This whole process did take a little longer because it is all from scratch.
What I learned from this program… So far, I have learned so many technical and creative skills from this amazing experience. I have expanded on my sewing knowledge along with learning new skills. I have also learned to look for the deeper meaning in paintings and dreams. So far its safe to say that the Dali Fashion Program has broadened my horizon.
Model Name: Ruby McCandless
Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces, 1938
H.B. Plant High School
About me… I’m sophomore at H.B. Plant High School. Fashion has always been a big part of my life but, it wasn’t until I was in this program last year that I realized I could design and create my ideas into reality.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces because I felt that I could really connect to the conflicting message of the painting. Instead of representing Joy, Beauty, and Charm (the Three Graces) as the title suggests, Dalí’s painting shows the Three Fates measuring the thread of life, holding life, and cutting life. This duality sparked memories of a traumatic event that I experienced last year. It affected me greatly and doing normal things like going to school, walking around my neighborhood, or even driving to certain places became a huge challenge for me. This changed how I look at life. As Dalí’s painting suggests, we cannot control everything like the Fates do, no matter how much we wish.
My piece connects to dreams by… Looking back and remembering how I felt last year made me realize how different that world was and far I have come. Dreaming is often viewed as frivolous thoughts that come up in one’s head; they create confusion but always pass. For me dreams were front and center, and people forget that they can turn into nightmares. Just like the painting, dreams that were once beautiful quickly turned into something to fear. But I also figured out that intrusive thoughts can be easily mixed up with reality which meant I could change how I look at my situation. It didn’t happen overnight but, I was able to look at the world with more grace by acknowledging those nightmares and then letting them go or using them as fuel to make change.
My materials… I really wanted to experiment with different textiles and media this year so I decided that the best way to approach this would be to up-cycle most of them. The cream-colored top used to be curtains and so did the pants. The earrings are made from extra fabric and the neck piece is made from leftover yarn from a previous project.
My process… I wanted to incorporate the Fates gripping the string of life to represent the fear of being trapped. I crocheted the neckpiece as if it were a web to underline the prominent feeling of imprisonment of oneself. The embroidery in the white sheer top stands for the vulnerabilities of myself and how they make me exposed to the outside world, just like the stripped Fates in the painting. Inspired by the red cloth as the focal point in Dalí’s work, I made sure that the skirt of my design had a red under layer that can only be seen if the person is moving. This represents my ability to mask my emotions from friends and outside family from what I really had been feeling. The red under-fabric shows the strength and boldness of anxiety and how it was constantly shifting for me. I hope that any individual can relate to the message of my design that dreams will affect people no matter what, so the perseverance of the individual is what determines the outcome of reality.
What I learned from this program… I loved getting feedback from everyone I’ve worked with during this program because it has helped me develop my final design. I hope that the one thing people can take away from my design is that I learned not to let fear control the actions of my daily life; instead, I found the power to keep walking through the thick and the thin.
Dit Gros, Platja, Luna, i O’cell Podrit (Thumb, Beach, Moon, and Decaying Bird), 1928
Palm Harbor University High School
About me… I’m a senior at Palm Harbor University High School and this is my second year participating in the fashion program. I love 3D art and using all different kinds of materials and textures in my art. I have learned from this program that fashion is a great way to work with multiple mediums, textures and ideas!
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Dit Gros, Platja, Luna, i O’cell Podrit or in English Thumb, Beach, Moon and Decaying Bird. It was a piece made during his anti-art phase and I was attracted to it because of its use of neutral colors and use of other elements like rocks or sand that he found in his hometown on the beaches of Cadaqués.
My piece connects to dreams by… Dalí took a lot of inspiration from his dreams and the things around him. For example, he used textured sand in this work to represent his home, which is a place that Dalí would dream and paint often throughout his life. I was drawn to his use of found object and texture and to the fact that I can relate to Dalí’s connection and dreams involving the place where he grew up. In my design I used shards of shells that remind me of the beautiful beaches I’ve grown to love for as long as I can remember. The shells reflect dreams about my family and friends and all the amazing memories I’ve made with them while at the beaches where I grew up. Another element of Dalí’s piece, that I wanted to incorporate into my design, was the decaying bird that reappears in his work. It is said that the bird can represent Salvador Dalí’s relationship with sexuality and how he perceived sex. However, in my design I wanted the decaying bird to symbolize recurring dreams of mine where I’m trying so hard to achieve something but no matter how hard I try to achieve what I’m chasing after I somehow sabotage myself and break myself down. The bird would represent myself after all these dreams have worn me down and left me with just bones.
My materials… In my design I have the bird stitched into burlap with white thread. I have never tried to stitch something that big before, but I’m proud of how it turned out. In my piece I use different shades of burlap to represent the shapes in Dalí’s work while using a neutral and sustainable fabric. In Dalí’s summer home of Cadaqués, he would often paint on burlap that he would get from local fishermen. This material is very affordable and capable of many different things both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional.
My process… My design cost was very minimal because of the use of burlap and the fact that I was able to dye it. I used the burlap to mimic the abstract shapes including the moons and thumb. I liked how the neutral colors of the burlap complemented each other and really reflected the tone of the inspiring piece. My design reflects Dalí’s work in my perspective in an affordable, wearable, sustainable, and fashionable way.
What I learned from this program… This year I was able to take my experience from last year and build on it for the program. During my time at The Dalí Museum, I’ve learned a lot about the business side of fashion. For example, I’ve learned how important connections in business are and the process of making and designing products. I’m so lucky to be able to have participated in this program for 2 years in a row. I’ve learned so much about myself and the community around me and I can’t thank everyone who was a part of this experience enough.
Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra, 1936
Palm Harbor University High School
About me… I’m a senior at Palm Harbor University High School. I play flag football and have a burning passion for fashion! I’m so excited to share about my work and creative process.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose the painting Three Young Surrealist Woman Holding in Their Arms the Skin of an Orchestra because I loved the color palette and feeling of the painting. The first time I saw it I knew it had to be the one I worked with, and the wheels started turning from there.
My piece connects to dreams by… The prompt “shape of dreams” is so broad and so personal; I wanted to blur lines of the piece and details but still exhibit sharp and intense details like the sharp contrast between the tuba, cello, and piano in the painting. I wanted to show that in my dreams, I often remember one thing vividly, but others are blurred and seem distant in my mind. I often dream of fashion, and I like to play with proportions thus the big sleeves and stiff tuba, I’ve always been fascinated with unconventional materials in fashion, and I am so happy I have been able to incorporate that in my piece with the handmade flowers and the aluminum tuba. I wanted the piece to not be too far off from the painting as many of my dreams are.
My materials… The painting has so much potential for unconventional fashion choices like the flower heads and the stiff tuba along with the flaccid cello and piano. I’ve used a nude power mesh to almost replicate the dainty silhouette along with structured puffy sleeves to replicate the woman’s flowery heads. I really wanted to capture the contrast of the flaccid cello and piano with the stiff structured tuba by making the cello with gathered fabric draped over my shoulder while the tuba remains stiff made of aluminum on my hip.
My process… I worked to blend the visual elements in the painting with the fabrics and materials I had available. Interpreting the meaning behind the cello, piano, and flower heads helped me decide what to include in my design and how to form it to a piece of clothing.
What I learned from this program… Through this program, I have learned that fashion is not and should not be limited to fabric; amazing pieces can come out of the most unconventional things, like plastic and aluminum.
Model Name: Mariah Bentley
Girl with Curls, 1926
Osceola Fundamental High School
About me… I’m a sophomore at Osceola Fundamental High School. I am passionate about designing and creating clothing. It’s my favorite hobby and something I hope to pursue and in which I strive to succeed. Fashion is probably my favorite form of art; I never lose motivation for it no matter how exhausted and burnt out I am. I spend a lot of time sewing, especially with my theatre department as I am Head of Costumes in addition to being a student fashion designer for the Dalí. Both these roles are big goals I set for myself and was so glad to have accomplished.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Girl with Curls because there was just something that kept drawing me to it, like the painting had a hold on me.
My piece connects to dreams by… The painting Girl with Curls, to me, symbolizes mystery and fantasy. Both very good things to have for the shape of dreams.
My materials… To symbolize fading I had my materials do the talking by using sheer fabric on the bottom and as I go up, you’ll see more and more solid fabrics like silk and cotton very soft fabric for that soft feeling.
My process… My piece symbolizes the random people who fade in and out of our dreams and more importantly the unforgettable ones that you must puzzle together. This woman in Dalí’s painting was the ideal woman, or a “dream girl” as some may say, and she’s not quite completed in the painting either. I guess nothing really can be perfect at least not all the way and that had something to do with process as well in a sense.
What I learned from this program… This was a very good experience, and I enjoyed every second of it since this is something I am passionate about. This experience showed me that I need to stay on top of my schedule and really focus on managing time. These past few months I have been busy; it’s a struggle juggling a fall play, Thespians’ Festival, school, and the Dalí fashion program all at once. Next year, I hope my participation will be a lot smoother as it is my first time doing something like this. My peers and mentors have been so kind to me and helped me when I needed it especially during hectic times this semester. I hope I can return and show my improvement in these skills.
Skull with its Lyric Appendage Leaning on a Night Table Which Should Have the Exact Temperature of a Cardinal Bird’s Nest, 1934
St. Petersburg High School
About me… I am Elle Orchard. My most prominent trait is determination. I push myself academically to keep up with my IB workload and honors societies at St. Petersburg High School, however, my strong suit is anything artistic. I attempt to utilize my gift of creativity whenever I get the chance. This includes dancing, choreographing, cooking, sewing, pottery, interior design, photography, lacrosse, and many other forms of self-expression. I began sewing at the age of six with the help of my grandma, but it was not until I was around 10 that I sewed anything other than a simple pillow or bag. I began to dive deeper into the world of fashion and sewing as I started to get more into secondhand and vintage clothing. I personally love when my clothing has meaning behind it. I spent many years practicing sewing by altering and flipping these old clothes to give them a new life.
I chose this work by Dalí because… My design was inspired by Dalí’s work Skull with Its Lyric Appendage Leaning on a Night Table Which Should Have the Exact Temperature of a Cardinal Bird’s Nest and its ability to convey “the shape of dreams.” Dalí’s symbolism in the piano with a crack, the nightstand, and the crutch take a simple artwork and expand its meaning to a new level. This references anxiety, childhood trauma, death, and comfort in old age. Dalí’s small details such as the lyre excited me because I wanted to incorporate them into my designs in subtle ways.
My piece connects to dreams by… I referenced Dalí’s dream symbolism through the lyre on the shoulder of my design, the feathers and charms that dangle from my dress, and the cracked piano. The earthy colors and sand that have water-like movement inspired me to make my design asymmetrical to represent the airy, flowy, blown sand. This was important to me because, much like the way sand is blown in all different directions, dreams take all different paths and directions. Dreams are often formed subconsciously and involve different aspects of one’s life in strange ways. This is like Dalí’s use of symbolic images and how they are all situated in unrealistic ways.
My materials… All my materials are repurposed, second-hand materials. I only bought one item – a vintage taffeta fabric to bring the earthy tone of the painting to life. The suede rope, vintage charms, gold trim, black pleather, and leather materials were all gifted to me by my grandmother who received them secondhand. This makes me the third owner! I am proud to finally put them to use. The feathers are a variety of different types, colors and patterns. These are making my design like a dreamcatcher.
My process… I examined the meaning of Dalí’s symbols and transformed them into tangible parts of my design. The piano is central to my design. The crack symbolizes anxiety. I wanted to display both peaceful dreams and wild nightmares; this is represented by the crack in the belt. As a final touch, I included feathers to symbolize the cardinal in the bottom right corner of the artwork. The cardinal is the one calm aspect of an overall anxiety-ridden artwork. I included this in my design to highlight the legend of the dreamcatcher and how it protects sleepers from bad dreams by catching them and only letting the good ones pass through. The cardinal is the dreamcatcher of Dalí’s painting.
What I learned from this program… I have grown immensely during this program. I am very grateful that I was not afraid to ask Mrs. Donnelly for advice and ensuring I am using the correct technique while creating my dress. I was able to grow on the knowledge that I had already known and got to become way better at following patterns and altering patterns. I even learned how to graph a sleeve for my pattern.
Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, 1943
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… I’m in my senior year at Gibbs High School. This is my third year participating in Fashion Design at the Dalí, but this year I wanted to challenge myself to make more than just a “pretty dress.” For my final year in the program, I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone. I tried something innovative that uses more of my creative vision and blends my past experiences with the present.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man. Dalí made this piece about moving to America which was exploding into a world power. America, a much more peaceful place than Europe which was dealing with the bloodshed of World War II at the time, was Dali’s new home and signified a rebirth of his art. While interpreting this piece and translating it into a wearable garment, I decided to do a transformation garment so the audience could see this transformation of Dalí’s.
My piece connects to dreams by… A bodice of ribs that look deteriorated, a reference to my own experience with dreams- foggy and inconsistent. They’ve been that way since I experienced sleep paralysis years back, sleep paralysis is when you wake up but your body is still asleep. I woke up feeling paralyzed and my visions were not my own, experiencing living nightmare in the form of hallucinations. The paralyzing feeling is reflected in my design by the back spine piece.
My materials… I used a thermoplastic to make the shape of the corset, thermoplastic is a sheet that you heat up and it takes the form of whatever it’s on. From there I sculpted onto the bodice I made with foam clay and painted it. The tights I bought from the dollar store and painted them with acrylic paint that was watered down. The egg shape was created with Hulu hoops and scrap fabric I painted.
My process… I explored the meaning and visual elements of this painting to conceptualize each part of my design. While incorporating the egg which shows a common Dalí troupe of turning hard objects soft, I created a structure that would do exactly that. On the runway, the piece transforms first with the egg pushing up on the fabric of the final piece until it bursts open, representing the birth of America as a world power. From here red blood is symbolically smeared across Europe, before revealing the undergarment – a bodice of ribs. The tutu is inspired by the umbrella-like object above the egg. The mountains of his summertime home Cadaqués are represented in my painted tights along with brain waves from dreams. My goal was to create a piece that felt like a living painting, down to the last details of hand drawn figures on the ballet shoes. The audience at the fashion show, acting here as the onlookers of the painting, will see this performative fashion piece come to life.
What I learned from this program… I learned a lot about my own artistic voice through the program this year, I experienced some trial and error. And from our guest speakers how to better advocate for myself and my design, I revisited old techniques I had not done in years like sculpting and really learned how to push my own limits on what I thought I could do. I leave the program with a better understanding of the fashion world and what it takes to make it down the runway.
Model Name: Ava Shimmel
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, 1958-59
Alonso High School/Homeschool
About me… My name is Sofia Pickford, I am a senior at Alonso high school, and this is my fourth year in the program. I do musical theater, as well as costume design for the stage, and have won a Broadway Star Award for Best Costume Design along with two nominations. I enjoy baking, reading, and taking care of my chickens in my free time.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, because it’s so detailed and rich. There are so many ways I could interpret this work and I saw a variety of different directions to take my design.
My piece connects to dreams by… In some of Dalí’s writing, he originally titled this piece “The Dream of Christopher Columbus.” I decided to incorporate this idea into my design by visualizing a larger-than-life Dalinian god of war, using stiff fabrics bold colors and sharp lines to represent the harsh realities of Spain’s future, while using tulle to offset that.
My materials… Sustainability is very important to me, so for my materials I used spare fabric from wherever I could find such as prom dresses, blankets, my mom’s former classroom decorations, and my old clothes. I also took advantage of some materials donated to the program such as rope wrapped in duct tape that one of the other students brought in from their Halloween parade decorations.
My process… For my process of coming up with the design, I wanted to focus on the idea of a premonition as a form of dream since some interpret this piece as Dalí wishing that Christopher Columbus was a Spaniard. I used flags to incorporate the future of Spain’s colonization, and a saint’s robe for the first element to represent the basis of the journey.
What I learned from this program… One thing I learned is to go with whatever comes your way. For example, I completely changed routes with the bodice of my piece when I saw the ropes on the table. Additionally, I found some spare fabric that inspired me to add a new take to this piece.
The Broken Bridge and the Dream, 1945
Hillsborough High School
About me… I’m a junior at Hillsborough High IB who loves rowing, soccer, and fashion design. This is my 2nd year in the program.
I choose this work by Dali because… I chose The Broken Bridge and the Dream for my design because I identified with the painting. It seems to me the figures are climbing the stairs to reach their goals, but the bridge just stops, so they inevitably will fall off and must start again. While they’re climbing, however, they’re dancing, as though they’re enjoying every step of the way. For me, this is representative of how you may have a goal, and you might do the work to get there, and then it just ends up falling through, but despite that, you still enjoyed the process.
My piece connects to dreams by… This process connects to dreams because often, dreams are representations of desires, and the fear that you might not be able to get there. The people in the dream are reaching for their desire by climbing up the stairs, but then the stairs reach nowhere, because they are scared of failing. Even if they don’t consciously know it, their dream will display that fear.
My process… To represent that on my dress, I chose to make a set of cardboard stairs rising from the bottom of my dress to the waist. On the staircase I have white figures, just like in the painting, who are climbing up the steps but never reach the top. I wanted my design to have the mood of the painting, so I chose to make the dress itself the same colors as the sky, since it takes up over half of the painting. I also wanted to include the figures not on the bridge, the ones instead dancing below. They all have white wraps around them, and decaying hair, so I designed a white headpiece like the wraps around the people and chose a slicked-back hairdo for the model.
My materials… I used recycled cardboard from packages and old boxes in my house to make my stairs. I thrifted white heels and put glitter paste and ribbons on them. For my figures, I used some pipe cleaners I had, glitter paste and ribbons.
What I learned from this program… My project this year is very different from last year. Last year, the main part of my dress was sewing in gold ruffles. It was all fabric, and drape tape. This year, I decided to go more architectural by making giant stairs out of cardboard. That was a very different experience because there was no sewing involved, just hot glue and figuring out how to make it stand up. I’ve still had issues with managing my time properly though, just like last year.
Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages), 1940
Florida Virtual School
About me… I am a senior attending Florida Virtual School. Art has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up with free creative expression has allowed me to play with many different mediums, one of my favorites being fashion.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose the painting Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages) because I thought the concept of age is very interesting. I was also drawn to the warmth, earth tones, and textures found in the piece.
My piece connects to dreams by… Throughout my childhood dreams and other stories that I have heard, I noticed a common theme of a symbol of perfection or idealization. My goal is for someone to look at my piece and immediately be able to connect it to Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages), but also recognize a feeling of familiarity of past dreams.
My materials… Almost all the materials used in my design are thrifted fabrics, including curtains, thread, and up-cycled fabric donated to the program. I did source my trim through retail because I wanted something that had the right amount of texture and the perfect colors to complement the rest of my garment.
My process… My process began with researching my selected painting, its meaning and inspiration. I then sketched silhouettes that created a story of age. I chose colors that fit the painting and complemented the “age” storyline.
What I learned from this program… From this experience, I learned a lot about how age and dreams correlate. I also learned about the phenomena of dreaming and how it manifests during sleep.
Velázquez Painting the Infanta Marguerita with the Lights and Shadows of His Own Glory, 1958
Blake High School
About me… I’m a senior at Blake High School and fashion design is my lifeblood. There is nothing I love more than designing clothing and it’s what I plan on doing for the rest of my life. I teach middle school students how to sew one day a week in their technical theatre class. I am currently designing for a band called Moontower. Our upcycled collection comes out with their next album Air Take Care.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose Velazquez Painting the Infanta Marguerita with the Lights and Shadows of His Own Glory because I was heavily inspired by the industrial aspects of the piece, and I felt I could pull a story from it. I really loved the contrast of different colors, the long hallway, and the fracturing of the Infanta’s body.
My piece connects to dreams by… I wanted to represent the humanity behind dreams and the attempt to interpret them. Marguerita seems to be losing herself in chaos. I chose to use a corset to signify the pressure of trying to hunt for meaning. Dreams probably don’t have meaning at all, but people search for the meaning they want regardless, often upsetting themselves when it is not found. This desired meaning is represented by the bright colors. The width of the pants mimics the long hallway which also invokes the long expanse of journey to reach a meaning. Similarly, the jacket is worn as a cape to represent the vast expanse of the mind and the straps represent being stuck in it. Dreams could mean everything or they could mean nothing.
My materials… I used final sale outdoor fabric from the sale section of Joann’s and chose to dye the pieces myself. The rest of my hardware and paint came from my previous projects.
My process… After selecting the interpretation of dreams I wanted to incorporate, I analyzed the visual elements of Dalí’s work. From here, I decided to design wide-legged trousers, a corset, and a jacket meant to be worn like a cape, I felt these would best represent the story I was trying to convey. I chose to use fabric painting as a means of trying to portray the artful aspects of the piece. I also felt that the industrial look would be well represented by a brushed gray, stiff, denim-looking fabric.
What I learned from this program… This program taught me a lot about knowing when I’m overworking myself and solidified my knowledge of the importance of working with intention; everything must have a reason and a purpose.
Apparatus and Hand, 1927
Osceola Fundamental High School
About me… I’m a 10th grader at Osceola High School. I have very little sewing experience, but I enjoy creating and designing outfits. I joined the Dalí fashion program to have an enjoyable time and to get experience in something I possibly want to do in the future. My dream is to attend a college with a prestigious fashion program. Additionally, I consider myself an extrovert and I was hoping to make new acquaintances, which I did.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I like Dalí’s artwork such as Apparatus and Hand because it is odd and interesting. I chose to work with a complex Dalí piece such as this because I felt that it was a great way to learn advanced techniques for sewing.
My piece connects to dreams by… I was able to show my interpretation of dreams through Apparatus and Hand with its geometrical shapes and free form lines. I understand the geometry of the painting to convey a sense of what people cannot comprehend or recall from their dreams and the free form lines show the creative and odd nature of our dreams.
My materials… I used a vast array of materials. I found myself unhindered by what I could create. Thanks to my instructors I was able to have all the necessary fabrics and more. My piece consists of papier-mâché, wire, a hula hoop and fabric of various types, textures and colors.
My process…. I started my process by envisioning the three pieces I wanted to create. One being a skirt with a round flared out bottom, another being the triangular top I had taken from the art piece itself, and lastly the hand. I had already owned the corset and thus found it to be more sustainable to use than creating my own and with my limited sewing experience, making the corset would have been impossible.
What I learned from this program… This experience was amazing and finally gave me the motivation needed to pursue my dreams of fashion design and creation. Without the help of this program, I would never have had the idea to create or even learn to sew. I learned so many things, ranging from new stitches to simply how to thread a sewing machine, all of which is useful.
Sofia Severino Leth
Model Name: Cassidy Chermak
The Ram (Vache Spectrale), 1928
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… I currently attend Gibbs in the PCCA program for technical theater. I’m in my senior year and this is my second year in the Dalí Fashion Design Program. Since I was young, I’ve always loved creating art no matter what I was making. I have been pursuing art to make my passion my focus. This program was the best experience for me because it has let me show how I can thrive doing the things I love and work hard for.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I chose The Ram because I believe that it clearly depicts the variety, the look, and the energy that dreams portray. I love how Dalí uses fluid shapes throughout the entire painting giving the same illusive feeling that dreams have.
My piece connects to dreams by… In my design, I wanted to emulate the feeling of dreams through the wings in my design; I wanted to mimic the same shape the bird’s wings create within the artwork. All the sharp shades of colors in this piece show the different sides to dreams. To me, dreams are illusions, a blend between reality and the subconscious. The thoughts that occupy my waking mind are always present in my dreams, whether they are good or bad. My dreams, like so many people’s, often feel real and I experience the same emotions as if they are truly happening. But when I wake up, I realize it was never real. I wanted to evoke this feeling in my design because this type of dream deception happens to everyone; we are all tricked by our dreams, just like how my pants will trick the eye. I wanted to create an illusion with my pants by making them flow so everyone will think they are a skirt.
My materials… Throughout my whole piece I used many recycled materials. I got the fabric for my pants as a donation from a mattress company, I used an old bed sheet for the wings, scarves to use as fabric from thrift stores for the veil, and I got cardboard from packaging laying around school and home.
My process… A dream can be grim or pleasant, this is shown through the dark and the lighter colors of the painting. I found fabric relating to the colors of the painting and what I couldn’t find I dyed it myself. I wanted to emphasize the ram itself by creating a mask of a ram’s skull which I crafted out of cardboard, tinfoil, and a lot of hot glue.
What I learned from this program… This project was a first for me for many reasons. Although I did this program last year, I didn’t sew my entire design then. This year, I sewed the top, the wings, the veil, and the pants. I even learned how to draft my own pattern for the pants since they are unique. I loved working on this piece. Despite having to get through some hard times during this program, I learned a lot more than I thought I would and I’m so grateful for this experience.
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… My name is Connor Totten, and I am a 17-year-old Local Designer in the St Pete/ Tampa Bay area. I am currently a Senior at Gibbs High School working on my Technical Theatre Diploma. I have participated in numerous Fashion shows locally, my recent being my second time with St Pete Fashion Week as well as a solo feature show in April in Snelle Isle.
I chose this work by Dalí because… I took inspiration from the painting Paranonia by Salvador Dalí. What I found particularly fascinating about this work was its multiple sources of inspiration. Dalí created this piece as a retrospective of women’s empowerment in the 1930s. The artist was inspired by the way women were finding ways to use their sexuality to feel empowered, which had never been done before. Alongside this theme of sexuality, there is also a prominent theme of paranoia. Paranoia can be described as anxiety-inducing, exaggerate self-importance, delusions of persecution, and can be tied to schizophrenic behaviors. Mixing these two themes of sexuality and paranoia felt like an interesting juxtaposition to incorporate into a High Fashion look.
My piece connects to dreams by… This piece is designed to incorporate multiple themes such as paranoia, sexuality, anonymity, and dreams. My ultimate goal with this look is to create a sense of shock and confusion within for whoever views my work; I want to alter their ways of interpreting the possibilities of fashion.
My materials… When thinking about materials and styling of my final look I wanted to keep my shopping list as eco-friendly and budget friendly as possible. I have only used headstock of second-hand materials as well as hardware such as wire that I already had in my home. All accessories I am using have been made by myself, such as a feather wig resembling hair and a pair of second-hand kitten heels.
My process… When brainstorming my final design, I was looking at specific details within the painting that explored these two themes. One detail I found particularly interesting was Dali’s use of Double Imagery. In the background of Paranonia you can see mountains and other natural-looking landscapes, but when zoomed in, these natural shapes turn into noses and eye shapes. I found this technique intriguing to incorporate into a garment. This idea led to me draping a sheer black tulle fabric over a white satin to create natural-looking shapes. This use of double imagery felt natural when thinking of ways to incorporate the themes of paranoia and this year’s theme, The Shape of Dreams. Moving on, I knew I wanted to create a jacket that mocked the natural shape of the bodice placed in the center of the painting. I decided to design a piece that would enhance both masculine and feminine body shapes, creating a hyper-natural form that seems confusing to the human eye, thus invoking a sense of paranoia in the viewer’s mind.
What I learned from this program… Throughout this process I have learned many new things about the overall process of design and construction. Each year I learn new ways of bringing my designs to life through new materials and techniques. This year I learned more about how to use wire understructure to support fantastical shapes and silhouettes, as well as new materials such as plastics to add texture that I’ve never explored before. Not only did I learn new physical techniques, but I also learned how to step out of my comfort zone within designing garments and pushing the boundaries within all aspects of fashion design such as makeup/ hair, and accessory styling.