Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 7, 2010

The Dress that Makes the Woman is my challenge to design, embellish and wear a dress for an entire month. The goal is to do this for one year, creating twelve wearable dresses. The project will be documented via photography, blogging and social networking. The project start date is today, November 7, 2010 and will end one year from today on November 6, 2011.

Guidelines for The Dress That Makes The Woman are as follows:

1. Wear one dress everyday for a month while transforming it into a couture self portrait
2. Photograph myself in the dress daily
3. Exceptions to rule #1 includes sleeping and working out

Aside from when I was in middle school wearing uniforms, today was the first day that I knew exactly what I was going to wear. The dress I have created as the base material to wear for the month of November comes from three separate black dresses. Each dress represents a significant time in my life. The first dress is made by Sole Mio. It was purchased when I was 15 years old while on vacation in Aspen. I wore it to a high school formal. The second dress is Lulu Lux a sheer gauzy prom style dress worn when I was17 for a series of photographs for a high school art project. The third dress is by Adu Gluck-Frankel for necessary objects. I purchased it to wear to a wedding in 2005 . A year later I wore it for an artist who wanted to paint my portrait in it. This dress is one of the reasons I am now married and a mother.

In combining these three little black dresses into a "starter" little black dress, I am combining elements of my past and forcing them to fit my present needs. I want to start this project off with each dress being up cycled from something that has
meaning to me but I also want to make them a reflection of who I am and not just how I have seen myself. In a way it is an exercise in being present.

I am inspired by the little black dress, which, according to Coco Chanel is all any woman needs to be fashionable. The little black dress suits any woman of any taste. I have also chosen black because it is what I am most comfortable in. I want to start this project or performance off in comfort.

Wearing the dress for the first time today brings excitement as well as some trepidations. I am excited because this means no more wondering what to wear everyday. It also means accessories accessories accessories; in the form of footwear, outerwear and jewelry. It also means doing what I love to do with sewing and altering clothes to suit my daily needs, moods, and social calendar. What scares me is the performative aspect of this project. Will I be able to do this? Will I have the courage to see this to the end? I hope so. I am going to try to channel Marina Abramovic, Sophie Calle, Cindy Sherman, Tracy Emin- my female heroines of performance and art and fashion. I am also going to add a little bit of inspiration from The Art Guys and their project "The Clothes Make The Man;" the title of which I am obviously basing this performance on.

I think of myself as a couture installation artist, however,this time the installation is on my body and will take place in my own daily life. This is like Performative Couture Art. It will certainly be an interesting experiment.


  1. Wylie, this is so cool. What a great project. You'll be posting the photos, right?

  2. Nice project. I'm excited to see where it goes and it has gotten me thinking about uniforms which is a subject to which I keep returning.

    I have very boring normal clothes that I wear to work each day these are definitely a uniform of sorts. I think many men do this in one way or another. I think it would be interesting to do this in a more obvious explicit way and see how it turns out.

    Uniforms are interesting in other ways, too... They can make others feel "safe" because the wearer sends a clear signal to others about which caste, position, responsibility, social status the wearer belongs to...

    custodian, mechanic, plumber, office worker, professional, etc.

    More later. Dress on!

    Best to Clark and Asa and Nollie

  3. Wylie- I love this. It is such a nice culmination of your work over the past few years and a great conceptual piece. I've been testing out ways to make art every day (can be a challenge for us Moms!) and have yet to settle on something. You are an inspiration! xo