Return to the Fashion Design at The Dalí 2023-24 Online Exhibit.
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, 1958-59
H.B. Plant High School
About me… I like to say that change is the best gift life can give you. I lived in Qatar for most of my life and have now moved to the U.S. for my senior year at Plant High School. Now I know this may sound like another tragic immigrant story, but my experience is nothing like that. My dad secured a job in Florida and my mom still works in Qatar. And interestingly enough, my parents gave me the choice to move or stay.
So why did I choose to spend my last year of school in a completely different country, school system and culture, instead of enjoying my last year of school at home with friends I grew up with? The answer is simple: I came here with the intention of spreading knowledge about my culture and religion to others, while also learning about theirs. Growing up in Qatar, I was never aware that there were people who viewed me as alien. But I even came to find out that it is me who is also uneducated about others’ cultures. An event that really opened my eyes was when I volunteered in the FIFA World Cup (FWC) as a tour guide of NMoQ in Doha, where I educated guests on Qatar’s rich history. I got to meet people from all around the world coming to watch their country play. I found myself learning about others’ cultures while also teaching them about mine.
What strongly impacted me is how people’s heritage and religions influence how they dress and act. I always admired when I saw an Indian lady wearing her sari, or a Saudi woman wearing her abaya or a Swahili man wearing his kanzu. Despite their differences, I found one thing in common: their heartwarming smiles. All of them treated me with respect despite our differences.
Seeing people proudly representing their culture is what brought me closer to mine. I noticed myself slowly inserting my identity into my artwork, my clothing and jewelry. This experience influenced me to take this huge step in my life.
Here, I’m currently adjusting to the change of lifestyle, whether it’s minor or major, to be able to grow my mindset and make society grow with me. As everyone my age is scared to leave home, I built the skill to feel okay with great changes in my life and sacrifice my comfort to educate people on my culture and inform those back home on other cultures.
And I think this is a skill very few people my age have. Coming to Florida was like my life inverted. From the private British to public American school system, from Arabic to English, from seeing my friends and family every day to missing them deeply – I’d be lying to say adjusting wasn’t difficult, but my morals kept me going. Now, I feel I that have taken this huge step at 16 is my greatest achievement.
I chose this animal because… I chose the sea urchin because this animal is a symbol of Dalí’s Spanish culture identity. My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by adding sea urchin beads to the dress and also tying-in elements of Spanish culture, religion and history, as Dalí does in his painting “Discovery of America.”
My materials… Cotton, calico and recycled fabric.
My process… I start off by sketching out what I want to make, then making multiple drafts. Once I’m happy with a draft, I start to make the pattern. Normally I take a ready-made pattern and adjust it, then when the pattern is cut I go to paint and add color. Then I sew the pieces all together and add the details.
What I learned from this program… I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. At first I didn’t want to use a sea urchin, because I originally wanted to use an octopus. But since the octopus was chosen, I had to make a last minute disunion, and ended up picking the sea urchin.
Dinner in the Desert Lit by Burning Giraffes, 1937
St. Petersburg High School
About me… I’m a senior at St. Pete High School and have lived here in St. Pete for the last 2 years. I’m very passionate about fashion design, automotive design, and watch collecting. I’m hoping to attend school for finance and eventually go into the business management side of fashion such as trend analysis and collection curation.
I chose this animal because… I chose the giraffe because I liked the Dalí piece behind it. In Dinner in the Desert Lit by Burning Giraffes, there are elements of formal wear that I believed could be well represented by my design style. I also liked that the painting was charcoal, as I predominantly use black in my designs.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí’s work by… My work is a formal outfit that incorporates elements of melting wax and stretched proportions. The tall top hat symbolizes the long neck of the giraffe and pairs well with the subtle leaflets of fabric throughout to show off the leaves giraffes eat. The melted wax symbolizes the burning element of the giraffes and shows off the concept of being slowly worn down over time.
My materials… For this design, I used a mixture of linen and cotton, with selvedge denim that was sourced from a previous project. I also incorporated dripping wax throughout my design in order to add layered textures and create a connection between Dalí’s work and my design.
My process… When planning for this look, I took inspiration from Dalí’s heavy use of the color black, and his depictions of open flames in his works. I thought that this idea could be well represented by melting wax and would be a safer way to add nuance and texture to my pieces.
What I learned from this program… Similarly to last year, I learned that there are multiple ways to interpret an artwork. I also learned that everyone will interpret artwork differently, and the telltale sign of a good piece of art is that it can be interpreted differently by everyone, and will be meaningful to everyone, regardless of their background.
Hannibal Crossing the Alps, 1970
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me…I am a sophomore at Gibbs high school, as well as a tech major in PCCA. I have been sewing for around three years, however, this is my first year being a part of Fashion Design at The Dalí.
I chose this animal because…I chose elephant for my animal because I’ve always loved how majestic and strong they appear. Another reason is that I love working with different textures and I believe choosing the elephant would allow me creative freedom in that area.
My piece connects to my animal and/or Dalí’s work by… Through the use of textures and different textiles to emulate its skin, wrinkles, and various body parts. In terms of connecting to the painting, I’ve chosen to take the beautiful color palette from the painting and apply it to my piece. I’ve also chosen to use the element of movement from the painting with the inclusion of a walking stick.
My materials… For my materials, I chose denim for the bodice and the majority of the skirt to imitate an elephant’s rough skin texture. As you go further down the dress, I chose to gather the layers in order to emulate the wrinkles and movement of the animal. I have also made a walking stick that resembles an elephant’s tusk with hand painted details and anti-poaching and pro-wildlife insignia in a style similar to scrimshaw.
My process… At the beginning, all I knew is I wanted to use denim, and from there I found my concept of using two rearing elephants back to back. This is shown by using an elephant’s ears for the bodice, sleeves as the trunks, and the gathering as the wrinkles of the animal. Although in the beginning I wasn’t totally happy with my design because it didn’t include enough of the painting, I was able to change a few things. I began with the color palate and changed it to emulate the neutrals of the painting. I also took the use of walking sticks or spears in the painting and decided to create my own, while still including elements from the animal.
What I learned from this program… This program has taught me so much. It has shown me the many places I could work while still being in the fashion industry. It has also shown me how to interpret a theme and create my own work of art. I’ve learned the overall process of a large scale design team and how to collaborate or use another artists work while still creating a unique piece.
The Ram, 1928
Lakewood High School
I’m 17 years old, enjoy 2D and 3D art and am excited about learning fashion and costume-making. I aspire to be a marine biologist. However, designing my own outfits is a hobby I would love to pick up.
I chose this animal because…
I enjoyed the diverse ways rams can be interpreted besides just the face value of the animal. Plus, their horns, eyes and hooves inspired me.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by…
There is a lot of mistaken identity between rams and demons, which also happened to another animal in one of Dalí’s paintings. In his work “Portrait of My Dead Brother,” the vulture from the story the painting is inspired by is shown as a blackbird. This mistaken identity is one of the reasons I wanted to make more ‘demonic’-inspired outfit.
As a beginner, I was recommended to buy clothes and make them my own instead of working from scratch. I plan to use thrifted clothing, fake fur, 3D-printed hooves, wire and foam.
I decided to work on the shorts first, which would then lead to the shirt and waistband. After that, I would try to work on the legs, shoes, horns and, finally, gloves.
What I learned from this program…
Everything on fashion design and sewing! I knew nothing on these topics before, and really enjoyed learning the basics. I hope in time I’ll improve. I’m excited to work on future projects and am already planning to use what I’ve learned to make a stilt spirit costume.
Head of Donkey, 1936
Lakewood High School
I’m a 17-year-old interested in nature, 2D and 3D artwork and costume design. I plan to attend UNCC to study marine biology.
I chose this animal because…
I chose the donkey because of its connection to mythology. One of the myths of King Minos references a donkey.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by…
My piece connects to Dalí’s Head of Donkey because of the literal donkey features and the Rorschach aspects. I chose to create a formal look inspired by a picture of Hermann Rorschach.
My materials include thrifted clothing which has been adjusted to fit my design, fake fur and 3D-printed hooves.
Starting with the pants, I’m working my way up to the jacket, while in my spare time finishing the ears, legs and tail.
What I learned from this program…
I’ve learned a lot through this program! I came in knowing absolutely nothing about sewing and textiles. But as I’m working, I’m learning so much.
Telephone in a Dish with Three Grilled Sardines at the End of September, 1939
Howard W. Blake High School
About me… I love making art, including painting murals and doing collages. I also really love decorating my bedroom. In my spare time, I usually listen to music and enjoy going to concerts. My favorite music is grunge, alternative, metal and punk, but I really love anything a little “out there.” If I’m not doing that, I enjoy seeing my friends. We run a Soup Enthusiast club at school. We talk about philosophy and current artistic culture. Currently, we’re trying to do a movie-watching challenge.
I joined the Fashion Design at The Dalí program after hearing about it from people in the “Think Big for Kids” program, specifically my mentor, Kamilla, and the program director, Cyndy, who encouraged me to visit The Dalí Museum and learn about this program as much as I could. I was also told about this program by my costume design teacher at Blake High School, Ms. Parks, who had another student do this program last year and is always helping us find projects to do outside of class.
I chose this animal because… I chose sardines as my animal because I was intrigued by their political significance in the painting. They represent changing ideals in the world at the time and the effect of rapidly progressing technology that fails actually to solve any issue.
As the story goes, Dalí found himself haunted by the calls of Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain and their war negotiations. The sardines represented the basic meal of a Spaniard, which, in turn, represented what the calls meant for the world and the new-found ease in lying and deceit through technology, which was the only thing that would come from it.
I also picked sardines for their iridescent shine on top of their black and grey coloring. I thought that this look could be well-shown as a design and that the color scheme would work well with what I was hoping to accomplish. I also find the smooth shimmer of the sardine and the mood of the painting to have a dark effect that I love to emulate.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… My design connects to Dalí’s work through the punk and beat roots that I have included to better showcase the counterculture and a sense of faux apoliticism that was contained in his art and personal life, as well as his shifting political viewpoints.
In these subcultures, there is some overlap between his opinions and those of the groups who take inspiration from the artists of the time. Using that, I then took what they wore and reverted it back to my design. I added a few industrial-themed parts to contribute to the other connotations of the sardines involvement with the ties to immigration and factory work.
My materials… I used many materials that I thrifted from Goodwill and I took apart other clothes to get the fabric color I wanted—I used the full program credit to do so. I also found pieces in my own closet that I saw potential in for redesign and material. I purchased fabric and a pattern from Joann Fabrics, using the discount provided by the program.
There were many things that I took apart to repurpose and redesign. I wanted to upcycle and make new pieces, and for this I wanted to incorporate lace, nylon, cotton polyester and sequins, to give fresh looks to older items.
My process… My process has been a combination of spontaneity and proactive time management. I find influence from my favorite music and books, especially ones with stories of wartime and economic distress. I find this helps me better comprehend what it meant to be an artist at the time of my Dalí reference work. I looked through various forms of protest media and rebellion through systems of class rulings and money. I also went through many fashion books to understand the subcultures of the 60s, 70s and 80s. These help to inspire me in the clothing that I wear and design and to gain new perspective as to what choices were made and why.
What I learned from this program… Through this program, I have learned the value of working with and learning from others in a community. I found myself meeting people from other backgrounds and influences that gave me new ideas. I enjoyed getting to see other artists from the area and people from other parts of the fashion industry.
I took advice from those with real-world experience and interacted with animals I may have not otherwise seen. We were able to go on a tour of a company that produces sports team merchandise, though what intrigued me was the inner workings of their business. I gained insight into sustainability and how to use resources and connections to unite the fashion industry. Finally, I learned what all of these things look like together and how I can use this to my advantage and help others in the same way.
Seven Flies (and a Model), 1954
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
I’m a senior at Gibbs High School in the PCCA technical theater program.
I chose this animal because…
I chose the fly as my animal because of its symbolism between life and death. Sometimes when I think of flies I imagine them feasting on lush bowls of fruit or flying through gardens with beautiful flowers and crisp vegetables. Other times I imagine them swarming around decaying carcasses and rotting meat.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by…
I wanted my piece to reflect the idea that between life and death, rich and poor, young and old, beauty and disgust, flies are inevitable.
So far my dress has been made completely out of a single tablecloth that I got from Goodwill. I plan to sew feathers around the waist which I have accumulated over the past few weeks from my pet chickens.
My process for making my design has been primarily draping. To cut down on waste, as well as time, I have been draping with my actual fabric instead of making pattern pieces. This gives me a lot less room for mistakes, but it pushes me to be more cautious and intentional with my design.
What I learned from this program…
This program has shown me the importance of making connections. Not only have I been able to make new friends with the same interests as me, but I have met and learned from people who are already working and experienced in the industry which I hope to pursue a career in.
The Sheep, 1942
Boca Ciega High School
About me… I’m a senior at Boca Ciega High School. I hold leadership positions in my school, such as Publicity Manager for Theatre and Treasurer for Student Government Association. I was also the Treasurer for Junior Class Council last year, and Vice President for Associ-Asian. I was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to America when I was 12 years old. Ever since I was young, I admired the characters in media who have love for fashion and being pretty. These characters created who I am today and my love for fashion. Consuming this media made me enjoy dressing up and being imaginative with my outfits while growing up, since I aspired to be those characters. Nowadays, I treat my school hallways like it’s a runway. Even if it’s the earliest in the morning, I will always dress up like it’s a fashion show. I am very thankful to be able to walk in a runway through this program, as this is such a huge once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.
Other than fashion, I really enjoy theatre. Freshman year was my first time ever being in a theatre class. My first play was “Almost Maine” in my sophomore year, where I played as Marci and I won an All-Star Cast Trophy when we took it for One Acts. I’ve also been in many plays: “Barefoot In The Park” as the Deliveryman (Sophomore Year), “Clue” as Yvette (Junior Year), “Radium Girls” as Grace (Senior Year), and “Words Words Words” as Kafka (Senior Year) — “Words Words Words” was the One Act we took for Districts and I won another All-Star Cast Trophy.
I chose this animal because… I really like sheep as they are very fluffy, and during the animal selection process, I saw wool on the free fabrics to use.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dali’s work by… My piece connects to the work by being transformative. It transforms from a mini dress with a fluffy bottom to a long dress. I got inspired by Dalí’s painting incorporating the sheep, as it was an overlay. In other words, it was originally a sheep painting that he painted over. This work was done during the 1940s, a time when Dalí was collaborating with Coco Chanel, so I incorporated pearls and the color black, as those were elements Chanel was known for. Then, I used wool on parts and pillows on the bottom of the skirt to signify the sheep—this pillow is inspired by “counting sheep” before falling asleep.
My materials… The hat I used for my design is a repurposed bunny hat that I had in my closet, and the top layer of my corset is from a curtain I got from Goodwill. I got fabrics from Goodwill through my voucher, plush from my old stuffed toys that I stored in my closet and donated fabrics provided to us. The pearls are store-bought from Michaels but I assembled the pieces myself, such as the pearl necklace. I used the pearl beads to create the necklace.
My process… I removed the seams of the curtain I got from Goodwill and used the decorative part for my corset. Then, with the help of Ms. Donnelly, I cut out patterns and pinned the fabric and cut it to work on my corset. For my hat, I removed the seams of my bunny hat, took off the ears, and used the fabric from the ears to cover the bunny’s face. I then cut and stitched the bunny hat to make it shorter on the side, so it’s a perfect fit for my head. With the left-over scrap fabric, I cut two equal-in-length rectangles and sewed them together and then put plush in them (I used plush from my stuff toys that’s been in my closet for a long time). I then used the wool to create a design to add more sheep to my piece, which is what I used for the sleeve. I repeated this process but used a shorter rectangle to add the fluff design for my gloves and then a bigger rectangle piece for the fluffy bottom part of my skirt. I used a pattern I got from Joann Fabrics to create my skirt; the fabric I used for my skirt was a mixture of donated fabrics and fabrics I got from Goodwill through my voucher.
What I learned from this program… I learned to self-advocate by going to Goodwill for the voucher and asking questions when I needed help with anything. I also learned how to sew and basic techniques in dressmaking.
The Font, 1930
H.B. Plant High School
About me… My name is Gracie Haas and I am a sophomore artist at Plant High School. I have been devoted to art since I was little and I always try to incorporate art into my everyday life, whether that means the style of my clothes, makeup, or daily activities.
I chose this animal because… I specifically chose the lion for several reasons. One of the main reasons I chose it is because the lion symbolizes empowerment, which is something I deeply value in my life and as a woman.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… My piece connects to Dalí’s work because of the historical side of the design. My piece strongly connects to the historical fashion of 1700s Spain, where Dalí was from, specifically the queens of Spain, including Queen Isabella Farnese and Queen Mariana Victoria. The gold on my design also strongly represents the mercantilism periods of Spain, when their economy was mainly based on gold exported from the New World.
My materials… My materials included satin, cotton, tulle, and lace fabric. Most of my design has been recycled from something I have previously worn or that I have gotten from thrifting at places like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Most of my fabric has been donated from the program or has been bought secondhand.
My process… My process was very planned out—I wanted everything done in sections. The first thing I worked on was the corset top, which I had previously used in a costume a year prior. To make it fit my design, I added some trim and I painted a beautiful swirl pattern on the corset. For the swirl patterns, I attempted to add some inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh’s piece titled The Starry Night (1889), as Dalí was very fond of his work. I then began working on the skirt portion and determining how I would tie it into and fit it perfectly with the top. I did lots of research during my process on Spanish monarchs in the historical era of the 1700s that I was going for. My process was especially longer than others when it came to sewing—I pride myself on the fact that I sew almost everything by hand, while most use a sewing machine, and while this may take me longer, I believe it further connects me with my work.
What I learned from this program… This program helped me connect further with new people with similar passions and even people who I had previously met at my school. This program also taught me about the professionalism in the fashion world and what it would take for me to achieve my goals of becoming a fashion designer in a realistic way, while also guiding me on how to get there. Overall, this program helped me extend myself and my passions through my designs and connect with people so well that I may eventually work with them again in the future.
Apparatus and Hand, 1927
Tampa Preparatory School
About me… My name is Lucy Haura. I’m 16 years old and a junior at Tampa Prep School, and this is my second year in the Fashion Design at The Dalí program. I am in the biomedical concentration at my school and really enjoy science, chemistry and human biology. I also love sewing and being creative on my own time, including going to a Parsons Paris fashion intensive this summer and putting on my first runway show in August.
I chose this animal because… I chose fish as my animal and Apparatus and Hand (1927) as the Dalían piece. I chose this work by Dalí because I really liked how the colors worked together and I wanted to combine structure and softness in my piece. I chose to have fish as my animal because I really enjoy working with fancy fabrics and embellishments. I wanted to use sequins, rhinestones and other notions to bring sparkle and detail into my design.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… To me, my design draws inspiration from Dalí by demonstrating fear. Dalí painted Apparatus and Hand to represent his fear of intimate contact with women. I wanted my design to symbolize how you can have a strong front and appearance, yet everyone fears something. The dress is a structured piece with lots of boning, embellishments and drama to draw your eye. However, there is the big red handprint showing fear and demonstrating that it is present and impactful for everyone. This is further shown with the fish, as represented by the large amount of beads and sequins on the bodice who live in a school to frighten and prevent predators from attacking. In this way, they put up a powerful, intimidating front. However, individually, they are fragile animals, which I convey quite literally within my design with the “fish” being shiny bits of plastic sequins and glass beads. Apparatus and Hand helps my design represent strength despite fear by showing Dalí’s fear of relationships with women, something you wouldn’t have immediately been aware of.
My materials… My design was created out of white, matte satin from Joann Fabrics to make the dress, some blue chiffon I already had at home for the cape in the back, and a mix of rhinestones, pearls and sequins that I either already had or purchased. I also used scrap white fabric from my house to line the bodice and extra interfacing and boning to give it structure.
My process… My process started by drafting a pattern on my dress from some scrap fabric I had. I tried to create a seashell neckline to bring in some of the fish’s environment. It had a large, scalloped edge and a low back. I sewed it together, fit it to myself, and created the lining, interlining, and exterior for it. I also sewed in boning channels to the lining. Ms. Donnelly helped me find a pattern for the skirt; I wanted a more fitted skirt at the top and a soft drape at the bottom with a slight train. I also cut that out of the matte satin—the beading on the bodice took a very long time. I used the at-home sessions to bead while watching shows and movies during the break.
What I learned from this program… I learned a lot more about construction than I thought I was going to. For the skirt, I tried creating a bias-cut skirt for the first time. It was cut at a 45-degree angle so that it would have a nice drape. I had to figure out how to position it on the fabric in order to cut it and also how to insert a zipper into a bias cut. I also got a lot of practice with embellishments; I used many different types, like hand-sewing sequins and pearl beads and using fabric glue to attach rhinestones. I had to learn how to sew the bodice while working around sequins and other embellishments that could get in the way of the machine. During this year’s Fashion Design at The Dalí program, I was able to practice a lot of fine design and detailing while constructing my design.
The Language of the Bird, 1950
Hollins High School
About me… I’m a senior at Hollins High School. I’m involved with many different extracurricular activities, holding leadership positions as Senior Class President, Art Club President and Founder, and NHS Online Liaison. I hope to pursue fashion design professionally after graduation, whilst dabbling in UI design.
I chose this animal because… Swans are versatile creatures, present in many different pre-existing, notorious cultural works. For instance, Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Leda and the Swan by William Butler Yeats, and more recently, the movie Black Swan. The potential cultural references were a big factor in my selection of a swan. Additionally, the Dalí artwork itself is very dramatic and beautiful, so naturally, it was also my favorite from the Dalí Museum’s recent sketch exhibit.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… Rather than my design being purely animalistic, I wanted to stick with the themes presented in the artwork and explore the contrasting ideas of good and evil.
Language of the Birds was based on the infamous Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. In this section, the main character speaks to the Justice Eagle, asking it what the decisive factor is between what heaven and hell is for nonbelievers. The eagle explains that justice is a concept beyond human understanding. This is interesting because Dalí remained unreligious for the majority of his early career. However, in the 1940s, Dalí began exploring his faith and even met with Pope Pius XII in 1949. This painting was created in 1950, so theoretically, it could represent his interpretation of Catholicism.
In regard to his depiction of a swan, Dalí has previously depicted his mother in the manner of Leda from Greek mythology. I believe that unlike pop culture’s association of swans with innocence and purity, Dalí views them as more of a mischievous character. In this sense, this painting represents Dalí’s possible regrets with his earlier atheism, believing he is like the swan, too far gone for any justice.
My materials… I used fabric I got from my aunt, an old wedding dress from my friend’s mom, and various scraps from Goodwill through the program’s vouchers. I also bought fabric dyes for the Goodwill fabrics. But unfortunately, due to my lack of research, I discovered that polyester does not dye well and three bottles of dye later, the fabrics remained the same, only a little more washed out.
My process… Now in my second year in the program, I knew I wanted to try fabric manipulation through smocking techniques, as I had seen it on social media beforehand. I also wanted to do some kind of on-stage transformation to go with the themes of good and evil.
What I learned from this program… My only regret with this program is not having done it sooner. After last year’s program concluded, I had found my passion. Being able to actually go through the process as a designer, I realized that this is something I really enjoy doing and wouldn’t mind giving it my all to pursue.
The Ants, c. 1936
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… I’m a 17-year-old junior at Gibbs High School and I learned to sew as a freshman. Since then, my skills have evolved, and I’m thrilled to showcase my progress during my second year of Fashion Design at The Dalí. While both fashion design and makeup artistry intrigue me, it’s the transformative power of makeup that I discovered in middle school that has become my greatest passion—I aim to infuse both aspects into my piece.
I chose this animal because… Dalí’s fascination with ants in his paintings intrigued me, leading me to explore their symbolism. Ants, often associated with death in Dalí’s art, provided a unique departure from the mammal and bird focus commonly seen in fashion. The vast number of interpretations of death in fashion design slightly intimidated me . Through my piece, I seek to connect Dalí’s ant metaphor with the silhouettes and styles of Victorian-era funeral attire.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… Drawing parallels between Dalí’s use of ants as a symbol for death and Victorian funeral attire. I found inspiration in the ants’ abdomens, reminiscent of a late 19th-century bustle. In my garment, I conveyed the stark contrast seen in the painting The Ants by using black fabric as the dominant element accentuated by gold. While inspired by traditional wear, I added my own twist to infuse modernity into the Victorian aesthetic.
My materials… To realize my vision, I opted for classic satin to maintain focus on the garment’s construction. I used assorted thrifted black fabrics to add any extra details, while a crimped gold fabric and gold tassel trim introduced a striking contrast and visual interest.
My process… After navigating the complexity of my design, I strategically simplified my process by using a pattern for the skirt reversed for a unique touch. Sculpting the bodice and meticulously hand-sewing details were the challenging yet rewarding aspects of the process, contributing to the final result.
What I learned from this program… Participating in this program revealed the beauty of diverse perspectives. Sharing my ideas and hearing others’ unique concepts reinforced the individuality of creativity. This program empowers us to embrace our quirks and express ourselves in ways we might not have considered before, fostering a creative environment where we can all thrive.
Illustration for “Tres Picos,” 1955
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… My name is Elsa Kusek and I am currently a junior in the PCCA Technical Theater program at Gibbs High School. This is my second year participating in the Fashion at The Dalí program and I am so excited to be a part this year, as it has allowed me to combine my passion for fashion and animals into something wonderful.
I choose this animal because… Pertaining to the theme, I choose the butterfly as my animal because of their overall beauty and their connection to Dalí. There are so many variations of this wonderful creature and it has really allowed me to experiment. To Dalí, butterflies meant change, hope and freedom. He had a great appreciation for their beauty, which I did my best to display in my design.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… The piece of art by Dalí that displays butterflies and has inspired my work is called Tres Picos. While in the design process, I made sure to connect colors from the work and continue to use similar shapes, like the main butterfly in the background as inspiration for my design.
My materials… So far, I have not paid for any of my material I’ve used and plan on acquiring anything else I need without spending any money. Everything is secondhand; the bodice is made from donated fabric, the skirt was transformed from old clothes and the wings were hand dyed and structured with wires. It was very important to me to use what I had around me in order to keep this piece as sustainable as possible.
My process… Throughout this process, I’ve used many new techniques, like pleating for the bodice and draping for the skirt. But my biggest challenge has been the butterfly wings, and finding ways to structure them. Right now, I am using foam sheets and construction wire to create the wings and everything else is pretty much draping.
What I have learned from this program… During this process, I’ve learned a lot like how to source materials and how to work through new obstacles. This year’s program has showed me the depths of innovative thinking and I am very proud to be a participant.
Portrait of My Dead Brother, 1963
H.B. Plant High School
About me… My name is Libby Lewis and I am a junior at Plant High School. I am very passionate about spreading inspiration and awareness about sustainability and storytelling through painting, animations, and fashion. This is my third year in the Fashion Design at The Dalí program and I am so excited about learning new techniques and experimenting with new materials.
I chose this animal because… Vultures are typically regarded as disturbing animals that survive off of dead things in our society. I wanted to take a traditionally dark and mysterious creature and showcase the beauty in order to break any negative connotations. Vultures play such a vital role in the creation of life because when they consume carcasses, they eliminate possible pathogens that could harm other organisms. One of the main things I think about as a designer is how I can take technical aspects and incorporate them into my art. While brainstorming, I constructed a folding fan on a larger scale to function as the wings.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí’s work by… Alluding to the myth of Castor and Pollux. A set of male twins were born from an egg, one mortal and the other immortal. Dalí felt a connection to this story because of the loss of his own brother before he was born. Close in age and named Salvador after his deceased sibling, Dalí saw himself as immortal and his past brother as mortal. The vulture symbolizes his unique relationship with his past brother. While this ideology can still be seen throughout my garment through the vulture influence, I also took this story to compare the innocence of youth, shown in the white feathered collar, just like a baby vulture with the wisdom of an adult, which is represented by Dalí himself. Dalí’s brother died at a very young age and was not able to experience life like most can. In his youth, Dalí built a life that his parents could be proud of and was able to discover and learn not only for himself, but for his brother. My outfit connects to this by contrasting the dainty, feather collar of youth and the structured, developed wing-like cape.
My materials… Inspired by the vulture, I am using materials that I have ‘scavenged’, yarn scraps, thrifted curtains that I sourced from previous projects, donations from the Dalí, friends and family, and thrift stores. I’m focusing on texture this year and incorporating some new ways to elevate my outfit through textiles by combining punch needling, crochet, pattern making, and lots of layers. While most of my material is used from the same thrifted curtains of last year’s outfit, I added new techniques to elevate my design. By including a hoop skirt (which I made from pex tube), folding fan-type wings, and a wire-based neck piece (which I collected from our shed), my design can be seen as a garment ready to walk the gala.
My process… As soon as I received my animal, I set up a mood board to have a physical idea of how my vision could come to life. I researched more about the behavior of vultures, different types, and how it could relate back to Dalí’s work. After finishing my rendering, I sourced my materials and began working. Watching YouTube tutorials, asking lots of questions, and through much trial and error, I was able to create my final design. I knew that I wanted to incorporate the powerful essence of a vulture by adding wings to my design while still keeping the elegant look of runway fashion. By adding the dotted pattern seen throughout Dalí’s work as well as the ominous color scheme there is a cohesive effect that ties the final design together.
What I learned from this program… I’m now in my third year, and as always—and more than anything—I have seen how the people of this community have made it such a special experience because of their dedication to creating new ideas to share with everyone and pushing me further than I think I can go. Because of this, I’ve tested the limits for what materials can be used as fashion and have learned that there are none.
The Ecumenical Council, 1960
Shorecrest Preparatory School
About me… I am a senior at Shorecrest High School. I am deeply passionate about the arts, particularly oil painting and fashion design. I am an active member of the Art Club at my high school and volunteer at Creative Clay.
I chose this animal because… I chose the octopus as my animal because I had instant inspiration due to their tentacles and the overall fluidity I could connect to my design. Octopuses have an elegance within the water that I wanted to express through fashion.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… My piece connects to the octopus and Dalí’s work by utilizing the colors of his painting as well as making my garment look like an overall canvas.
To parallel Dalí’s process to my own, I researched and discovered that Dalí dipped an octopus in paint and pressed the tentacles onto the canvas, creating an abstract pattern. To convey how Dalí utilized an octopus to paint, I painted my fabric, splattering and abstractly marking the fabric to create a unique color pattern shown throughout the back of the skirt and corset top. Furthermore, I accessorized my garment with gold cross pendant necklaces to connect to Dali’s work, which incorporated Catholicism.
Additionally, my piece connects to the octopus through its overall aesthetic, showcasing fashionable life-size tentacles. Moreover, my garment’s movement represents the ocean’s fluidity and how octopuses elegantly move within it.
My materials… My materials are thrifted polyester fabric, painted curtains, acrylic paint, paint brushes, stuffing, taffeta, chiffon, and boning.
My process… My process consisted of getting the opportunity to browse the works within The Dalí Museum to pick our painting and its associated animal. Next, I brainstormed design concepts and drew a rendering sketch of my garment, along with notes about the sizing and materials. I began my construction by draping muslin to make my patterns. Then, I used thrifted curtains as my main source fabric, which I painted with acrylic to correlate with the colors in the Dalí painting, and then began to sew my garment. I sewed the corset with the addition of boning to give it structure. Next, I constructed a full-length hoop cage skirt and an underskirt with voluminous painted chiffon draped over, giving an overall fluidity to the look. The additional details I incorporated were tendrils of chiffon and tulle ruffles, which lined the corset and spindled down the skirt, representing the tentacles of an octopus. In addition, I sewed dramatic life-size tentacles with rosette suction cups made from taffeta and filled with stuffing. Two tentacles were sewn onto each side of the cage skirt, attached to my fingers and forearms with a fishing line to give the illusion they were moving as my arms moved. Finally, I accessorized my garment with the gold cross pendant necklaces.
What I learned from this program… This program taught me to gain inspiration in many ways, such as analyzing Dalí paintings and going to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve to aid our animal kingdom ideas. Additionally, I learned you can use various resources to construct a garment, such as refurbishing thrifted items with the $50 Goodwill voucher that The Dalí’s program provided.
Daddy Longlegs of the Evening–Hope!, 1940
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… Hello, I’m Ayaa Mouzahem. I am a Junior at Gibbs High School (PCCA) and I have been sewing since my freshmen year.
l chose this animal… Because I’ve always thought that spiders are very beautiful and at the same time very terrifying, which I think is the basis of the femininity that I wanted to incorporate in some way. I also chose this animal since it is misjudged by mainly being seen as a disgusting or aggressive animal but it ultimately is a harmless and helpful animal, especially to us humans. The artwork the animal is depicted in is the start of Dalí’s journey to America and a symbol for luck, which spiders are depicted as.
My materials… Consisted of a variety of donated and thrifted fabrics and textiles. I mainly used bedsheets and pillow cases, which I’ve found were great, as they were much more affordable and had just about the same amount of yardage than just getting it from a fabric store. I did end up buying crepe and chiffon for the outer-most layers of my dress to ensure that sturdy and clean look!
My process… With going about this was mainly draping, pleating, and hand-sewing. Starting off with drafting the bodice to run down the body rather than stopping at the hips, and then ultimately creating small handkerchief skirts that mimic webs, especially with the sheer chiffon material imitating the transparent webs.
What I learned from the program… I have learned a lot about sewing, sustainability, and overall better choices you can make when it comes to design and construction for both my budget, the environment, and ultimately, my sanity. The kindness of all the volunteers and donations really helped us me in my design and construction with there being fabrics I hadn’t even thought of using.
Lobster Telephone, 1936-38
St. Petersburg High School
About Me… I am a senior at St. Pete High School, prioritizing well-roundedness. Not only am I creative, but I am also academically and athletically driven. I work overtime to balance my International Baccalaureate workload with various artistic endeavors. I utilize my creativity to problem-solve and innovate, demonstrated when I teach dance to young children, lead my lacrosse team as a captain, choreograph for cheerleading, and engage in various other activities.
I learned how to sew when I was around six; however, it was not until I was older that I gained the confidence to take on challenging sewing endeavors. My grandma is the sole reason I began to sew. My gratitude for her extends beyond my thankfulness for her guidance in the fundamentals of sewing. I credit my grandma for showing me the combined power of textiles, imagination, and compassion for others. As a second-year participant in the Fashion Design at The Dalí program, I worked diligently to carry on my grandma’s legacy and make her proud.
I chose this animal because… I selected the lobster for its symbolic and aesthetic significance. The primary reason is its iconic status in surrealism, brought to life by Dalí and his benefactor, Edward James. This traditional critter embodies the ideas of femininity, pleasure, and pain.
The lobster, known for lifelong mating, is considered one of the most romantic animals, with the red color further accentuating this symbolism. Beyond romance, the lobster represents the cycle of life and death, evident in its transformation to a deep red tone when cooked. Additionally, the lobster symbolizes strength and protection due to its hard exoskeleton. In choosing the lobster, I aimed to encapsulate these rich layers of meaning in my artistic expression.
My gravitation towards the lobster was also influenced by extensive research on Vera Wang and the true meaning behind her red wedding dresses, as well as Sylvia Plath’s confessional poetry addressing the double standards women face in society. In my pursuit of storytelling through my work, I merged Dalí’s perspective on the lobster with my understanding of these other artists’ works, creating a cohesive narrative that solidified my choice of this intriguing creature.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… I was captivated by Dalí’s unconventional interpretation of the lobster, particularly his pairing of this creature with a telephone—a seemingly abnormal yet profound combination. This juxtaposition underscores Dalí’s belief that unrelated items can be fused to create new meanings. In his surreal world, the lobster’s tail is placed over the telephone’s mouthpiece, a visually striking image challenging conventional associations. My design aims to not only represent the lobster but also encapsulate the female experience. This is manifested through the fierce red satin, the layered tail shaped like a female silhouette and lobster tail simultaneously, and the form-fitting nature. Similar to Dalí drawing attention to the lobster’s underside meeting the ear during a telephone conversation, I sought to push boundaries with my garment’s overall fit and flow.
The lobster telephone composition introduces the unsettling notion of serving this unconventional duo to someone expecting a traditional seafood platter. It symbolizes the unexpected realities and concealed aspects of a woman, inviting contemplation on hidden complexities beneath seemingly ordinary surfaces. This juxtaposition provides a
thought-provoking commentary on the intersections of reality and imagination.
Inspired by this complexity, I incorporated layers of fabric into my design. These tiers of fabric serve to add thought-provoking texture and introduce the same sense of abnormality that Dalí himself embraced. Through these layers, I aim to convey a depth of meaning, mirroring the intricate layers of symbolism found in surrealism.
My materials… In capturing the essence of the lobster’s feminine, glamorous, and fierce red color, I chose a vibrant red silk fabric for its striking effect. In the spirit of adaptability and sustainability, I repurposed a red tablecloth to mock up my design first.
The red zipper closure on the side served a practical purpose while allowing the back of the garment to be as impactful as the front. Inspired by the telephone motif, I used wire to provide structural support, mimicking the cord of the telephone around my neck.
The bodice construction involved using embroidery backing to hold the structure of the cups, requiring patience and precision. To enhance the glamorous feel, I adorned the bodice with long beads.
My process… I initiated the design process by sketching out numerous conceptual ideas to come up with my final rendering. I then created a more technical design, including layers, seam lines, and closure placements. Moving on, I focused on draping the bodice pattern on a dress form, particularly honing in on the cup detail. I had to hand-sew the cups before stitching them with my machine due to their specific organic shape. The bodice, where I began, required over a month to complete as I hand-draped it and crafted both the lining and outer pieces. To reinforce the delicate silk fabric, I added interfacing and boning on the lining piece.
Following this, I drafted a pattern for the dress bottom based on my measurements, ensuring that the godets laid perfectly for the sleek design I envisioned. The initial mock-up verified the desired shape. Subsequently, I added the tail of the dress and shoulder details. This intricate process demanded significant time and dedication, involving extensive hand-sewing and meticulous fitting.
Layering the fabric for the train was particularly time consuming. It took three days alone to layer the fabric for the train, involving hand-sewing gathering stitches and meticulous pinning every centimeter to achieve the desired effect. The finishing touch was the hand-sewn beads on my bodice cups. Mathematical calculations and careful rationing of fabric were essential to my construction process. Throughout this creative journey, I visualized each step and troubleshooted as needed, navigating the process without specific guidelines or instructions.
What I learned from this program… Participating in The Fashion Design at The Dalí program has been transformative, shaping both my creative and personal journey. From conceptualizing ideas to crafting my final design, the program fueled my passion for fashion design. Encouragement from mentors has inspired me to take a significant leap, applying to various colleges for fashion design. Along the way, I learned to navigate challenges, develop patience and thoughtful problem-solving. Acquiring new skills, such as boning a dress and draping abnormal cups, has expanded my design capabilities. Above all, the program instilled in me the confidence that I can achieve anything with determination.
Palm Harbor University
About me… I am a chemistry girl; my special interest is in skincare and my dream career is to be a dermatologist, both of which are very much not in the realm of fashion whatsoever. However, I grew up watching Project Runway with my grandma, a woman who has inspired creativity within me, and have always wanted to try designing or sewing an outfit or costume.
I chose this animal because… I chose the horse because they are elegant, graceful and bold, but are often overlooked in the modern world despite having played a crucial role in early societies. Dalí’s painting featuring horses, Paranonia, displayed all three of these aspects, making it one of my top favorites from which I could draw inspiration.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… The biggest and most obvious parallel between my work and Dalí’s is the monotonous, slightly analogous, color scheme of cool-toned, low-luminosity hues with a hint of lighter colors, such as gray or silver. Some other representations of his work included the emphasis on the visual aspect of the bust and the transformation of the shadows in Paranonia into asymmetrical details like a single bustle and a single bow.
My materials… For materials, I sourced from fabrics that were donated to the program and from thrift stores like Goodwill, while smaller details and products for construction came from both the workshop and retail stores like Joann Fabrics. I also used the internet as a tool through videos about sewing and free online pattern templates to help me along the way.
My process… My process was very much experiment-oriented, revolving around trial and error and seeing what works best versus what doesn’t work as well. While my process was most definitely not close to being professional, it’s been the most helpful tool in learning from my mistakes.
What I learned from this program… This program was by far the most unique experience I’ve had in terms of “workshops” I’ve taken, mostly due to how varied the content of the program is and how many different areas of knowledge it touches on.
The Average Bureaucrat, 1930
Hillsborough High School
I chose this animal because… I had the very second choice for animal in the program, yet I chose one of the most unpopular. I decided to do a snail for my animal because even though they are often considered to be gross, their shells are actually very pretty. Despite being found less frequently in art, snails have a lot of recognizable features I could pull from.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… The top of my dress will have a snail shell made of papier-mâchè and paint. The tulle skirt is supposed to represent the trail of slime. The miniskirt on top of the tulle is made of glittery fabric. The meaning of the snails within the ear of Dalí’s painting is that Dalí’s dad doesn’t listen to him, so I’ll cover my model’s ears.
My process… For my designing process, I start by sketching the design over and over again until I figure out what I want it to look like. Then, I look at fabrics and try to make a model of it. Then, I redraw the design for how it will logically fit and start making the piece. I sometimes redraw the design up to 20 times.
What I learned from this program… In my three years in this program, I’ve especially learned time management and planning. I’ve learned to balance my time and set aside extra time each week to work on my design while being in the IB program at school and having 15 hours of rowing practice each week.
Rainna Rodgers Spaights
Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, 1943
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
About me… I am a 16-year-old sophomore at Gibbs High school. I am an aspiring designer who hopes to attend Florida State University and then Fashion Institute of Technology for my Master’s Degree. I have one year of experience with making garments and a few years of making fashion renderings.
I chose this animal because… I chose a chicken egg because eggs are some of my favorite foods to eat due to them being a versatile food that can be cooked in many different ways. I also really like chickens as an animal because they are extremely cute in my opinion and to me they represent innocence. I gravitated towards the color palette used in this painting. I also thought that by choosing this painting, I had many different directions I could go with my piece.
My piece connects to this animal by… My piece mimics the shape of an egg in the skirt and using yellow fabric to represent egg yolk. The headpiece represents the uterus of an egg located at the top of the painting. The lace on the corset was meant to add a youthful look to match the innocence of a chicken.
My materials… My materials consist of random scraps of fabric Ms. Donnelly, Sumaya, and our sponsors provided us with. These scraps are what I used for the sleeves, the blood, and other embellishments. The corset was made of a fabric I found in one of the donation boxes, the boning was bought from WAWAK sewing supplies online store, and the lace was seam ripped off a shirt from Goodwill. The skirt is made out of satin and tulle I found at Joann Fabrics and the red fabric on the skirt was from a donation box.
My process…I first began with the sleeves since that was the first material, which I grabbed from the donation box. I tried out different draping directions and then bunched it at opposite ends. I then moved on to the corset; I used an old corset from my closet to be used as reference since I did not have pattern. The fabric for the corset was originally lilac, so I had to dye it, and I also dyed the sleeves yellow.
After that, I moved on to the skirt; I had my model come over so I could measure them with the satin on in order to make sure the skirt is walkable. I then started sewing on the tulle in order to create an egg shape. I also added some fake blood onto stuffing and then secured it onto the hole in the skirt. Finally, when all of the pieces of clothing were made, I used the rest of the fabric that was either donated or from Goodwill to decorate the outfit.
What I learned from this program…This was my first time ever making a whole outfit from scratch, so I did learn what that feels like. I have also learned more about Dalí and his creative process. For example, during our tour of The Dalí Museum, I learned how his fears inspired many of his pieces and that he was a feminist who would paint female figures out of admiration and empowerment.
Nature Morte Vivante (Still Life—Fast Moving), 1956
H.B. Plant High School
About me… I’m a junior at Plant High School. I have been pursuing fashion since second grade when I started classes, up until the eighth grade. In ninth grade, I joined tech theatre and became my theatre company’s costume manager/designer. Since then, my love for all things design has grown and widened.
I chose this animal because… I initially chose the rhino because of the connection the animal has to strength. After choosing the rhino, however, I learned about the cultural significance it has around healing properties as well as the comparison to a unicorn, which symbolizes purity. All of this broadened my awe for Dalí’s view of these animals.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… My piece connects to the rhino/unicorn through the symbolism of the strength of Christ and biblical virtues. While working on this piece I had so many ideas for what concept I wanted to use, and I kept getting stuck when something in my life trajectory changed. What got me through it is my relationship with Christ and the values in which I hold myself.
The Bible verses that inspired different aspects of my piece are Proverbs 31:25, “she is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future,” as well as Peter 3:4, “your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes, rather I should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle spirit which is worth in God’s sight.”
I pulled those verses to inspire the virtues part and almost to show freedom; these were represented in these silhouettes. The skirt represents women and Genesis and God, making its perfect creations on Earth to show that all strength comes from Him, which represents the rhino side. Implicating a bleeding heart was important for me because of the verse, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Dalí believed religion could be justified by math and science, as well as perfect symmetry, so using that in the patterns was super important. The skirt, which is a circle, has perfect symmetry. Dalí found answers through the knowledge a rhino withheld, and I wanted to reverse those ideas by showing how rhinos could signify something bigger.
My materials… The materials I used consisted of old fabrics from Goodwill, yard sales, old dance costumes, organic fabrics and organic embroidery thread. Mostly I wanted to stay true to the message of my piece all the way down to the fabric, coming from the Earth to the model, who was probably the second biggest inspiration for my concept. I wanted a model who would wear the piece knowing the importance of this message and is probably one of the strongest and most values-centered person I know.
My process… My process consisted of going between sketches and a million different ideas, along with a lot of failed constructing and trying to learn new sewing techniques that worked best. When I finally chose an idea and concept, finding the right fabrics was hard; it was a lot of rummaging and settling. The easiest part was probably the sewing once I finally put my one thousand thoughts to rest. The process taught me so much about myself and challenging myself as well as knowing myself.
What I learned from this program… This program taught me that you’re never going to be ready and you just have to jump in the deep end. But there are so many supportive people at the bottom of the pool waiting to answer your questions no matter how silly.
This program pushed me so much as an individual that I wouldn’t have done on my own without it. I haven’t worked under people who genuinely want to help kids in a long time, so that was quite shocking but healing. I am so thankful for the chance to share my art.
Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus, 1934
Palmetto Charter School
About me… I’m in 8th grade at Palmetto Charter School. I am the youngest person in this program, which has taught me many values and brought me a new perspective on my creativity.
I chose this animal because… The animal I chose was the praying mantis. I chose this animal so I can show people how Dalí interpreted it differently than most people would. Dalí found the praying mantis particularly special because he believed it related to his wife Gala. She was his muse for many of his works and was the love of his life.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… Dalí thought of the praying mantis as female dominance, and they could change from pretty to ugly quickly. This shows in my design by dropping the beautiful silky and flowy skirt to reveal the torn-up and bloody tights.
My materials… I spent my $50 that I was given at Goodwill to buy most of my fabric. The shorts, leggings, tights, and shoes were all purchased at goodwill. I got the fabric for the corset at Michaels. I bought the sheer fabric for the train and the sleeves from Jay’s Fabric Store.
My process… My process for designing and constructing my piece was to find fabric that I thought embraced the animal as much as possible.
What I learned from this program… Something I took from this program is that, from my perspective, you don’t always have to be the best at something or the most skilled. You just have to prove you can and learn from the best to one day become the best. I also learned to self-advocate. I had to buy materials and actually learn and construct my piece, all while managing my time and making the best product I could. If you think you are the best at something, you’re not. Someone will always be above you. Learn from your peers.
Profanation of the Host, 1930
Osceola Fundamental High School
About me… My name is Violet Willow Schuele and I’m an 11th grader at Osceola Fundamental! I’ve been competitive swimming since 6th grade, yet on the high school team since 10th. I love fashion, specifically designing it and wearing it. I’ve stayed away from creating it until last year when I realized how hard it truly is to create piece, but I’m determined to get through this program and make something up to par with my expectations.
I chose this animal because… I chose the grasshopper because Dalí was horridly afraid of them and considered them grotesque. Many people also feel the same way about grasshoppers. I chose them in order to make a “horror” piece, yet struggled greatly to interpret them as such.
My piece connects to this animal and/or Dalí work by… I consider Profanation of the Host to be flowy and odd. It incorporates yellow, green and occasional splashes of red. I’m using all these colors to make my piece mellow, and not extraordinary, for Dalí’s work is made with a muted palette.
My materials… I used Eva foam for the grasshopper on my back, metal for the antennas and EVA foam for the headpiece with clay around it. My dress consists of a satin slip dress underneath, with an overlay dress crafted from a shirt I found at Goodwill that I deconstructed and fabric given to the program in the donation bin. The only item I had to pay for was the satin to create the dress, the foam was given to me by a teacher of mine who no longer needed it. These connect to a “grasshopper” through construction and color.
My process… Is complex! I’m working with a fabric I’m not used to, and EVA foam, which I’ve never used before. I’m a relatively new to sewing and I’m trying a lot of new things, which is very hard!
What I learned from this program… Technically, I learned a lot, specifically how to construct and work with EVA foam. I personally had learned how to interact and ask for help when I need it. I try to do everything by myself, yet this year, I realized it’s okay to ask for advice and assistance from peers and coaches!
The Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1969-70
About me… I’m a 15-year-old homeschooler who is passionate about sewing and art. Since the age of 7, I started to learn how to sew by attending classes once a week and adored creating my own plushies and bags. As I grew older, I strived to create my own clothing, which resulted in me designing my homecoming dress this year. When I was a toddler, I was engrossed in being able to transfigure a blank sheet of paper into something captivating. I’ve experimented with several mediums over the years and recently discovered a love for oil paint. Because of my passion for art, I have developed a desire to pursue it as a career. As a result of my interest in sewing and art, fashion design piqued my interest.
I chose this animal because… The main reason I chose my animal, the bull, was because of its horns. I was inspired to create a headpiece using its horns attached to a bull skull. The symbolism of the bull also contributed to my decision. I was intrigued by bullfighting and how prominent it was in Spanish culture. As a result, it led me to choose the bull as my animal.
My piece connects this animal and/or Dalí’s work by… I incorporated a bull’s horns and skull into a head piece with red and black flowers inspired by both Venus and the flowers in Dalí’s piece The Hallucinogenic Toreador to represent femininity and used black flowers to represent death. I also created a detachable red skirt to represent a muleta used to guide the bull in bullfighting. Underneath the detachable skirt, I painted a bull and used red and yellow in my color palette, which is the color of Spain’s flag, where Dalí is from. Finally, I drew inspiration from the traje de flamenca, or flamenco dress, which is worn for dancing because of the flamboyant ruffles and bold colors. Because of that, I added lots of ruffles to my design and used a silky, bright red fabric to create an eye-catching effect.
My materials… Some of my materials include old t-shirts, aluminum foil, papier-mâché, clay, store-bought fabric, floral bouquets, and acrylic paint. First, I started shaping my head piece with aluminum foil to form horns and a bull skull, then added papier-mâché to keep it light. After that dried, I applied a layer of gesso, sanded it down, painted it with acrylics, and glued black and red roses to the top. Next, I repurposed two black shirts and used one to create ruffles on the top of the other shirt. Finally, I painted a bull on yellow fabric that I bought, sewed my red skirt, and attached it with Velcro.
My process… Originally, it was difficult to visualize my design; however, once I started doing research on Spanish culture and analyzing the bull’s exterior, I knew I wanted to create a headpiece with horns and a bull’s skull. Once the headpiece was designed, I brainstormed on the top and knew I wanted a simple black ruffle top that could be accented with anything to save time. Finally, I decided I wanted to hand-paint a bull onto my design but wasn’t sure how. Once I finalized my rendering, it helped me visualize the rest. I envisioned painting a bull on the first layer of my skirt, covered with a red ruffle skirt, with Velcro to later reveal the painting underneath.
What I learned from this program… I learned the process of designing and executing my vision. Listening to the advice given to me about how to make a fashion rendering helped me improve as a designer. This program also gave me the confidence to work with materials I’m unfamiliar with, for instance, using acrylic paint on fabric and creating my own headpiece. Because I branched out of my comfort zone, I was pleasantly surprised with the result of my vision. Consequently, I became a better designer through this program and obtained the ability to execute my vision.